“Whilst thou delightest to honour thy bride, laden with gems and shining in gold apparel, we burn with all indignation that is linked with shame, lamenting thy infamies.
“When thou art stirred by furious lust, our mind is troubled, and recalls the fashion of ancient times, and bids us grieve sorely.
“For we rate otherwise than thou the crime of the foes whom now thou holdest in honour; wherefore the face of this age is a burden to me, remembering the ancient ways.
“I would crave no greater blessing, O Frode, if I might see those guilty of thy murder duly punished for such a crime.”
Now he prevailed so well by this stirring counsel, that his reproach served like a flint wherewith to strike a blazing flame of valour in the soul that had been chill and slack. For the king had at first heard the song inattentively; but, stirred by the earnest admonition of his guardian, he conceived in his heart a tardy fire of revenge; and, forgetting the reveller, he changed into the foeman. At last he leapt up from where he lay, and poured the whole flood of his anger on those at table with him; insomuch that he unsheathed his sword upon the sons of Swerting with bloody ruthlessness, and aimed with drawn blade at the throats of those whose gullets he had pampered with the pleasures of the table. These men he forthwith slew; and by so doing he drowned the holy rites of the table in blood. He sundered the feeble bond of their league, and exchanged a shameful revel for enormous cruelty; the host became the foe, and that vilest slave of excess the bloodthirsty agent of revenge. For the vigorous pleading of his counsellor bred a breath of courage in his soft and unmanly youth; it drew out his valour from its lurking-place, and renewed it, and so fashioned it that the authors of a most grievous murder were punished even as they deserved. For the young man’s valour had been not quenched, but only in exile, and the aid of an old man had drawn it out into the light; and it accomplished a deed which was all the greater for its tardiness; for it was somewhat nobler to steep the cups in blood than in wine. What a spirit, then, must we think that old man had, who by his eloquent adjuration expelled from that king’s mind its infinite sin, and who, bursting the bonds of iniquity, implanted a most effectual seed of virtue. Starkad aided the king with equal achievements; and not only showed the most complete courage in his own person, but summoned back that which had been rooted out of the heart of another. When the deed was done, he thus begun:
“King Ingild, farewell; thy heart, full of valour, hath now shown a deed of daring. The spirit that reigns in thy body is revealed by its fair beginning; nor did there lack deep counsel in thy heart, though thou wert silent till this hour; for thou dost redress by thy bravery what delay had lost, and redeemest the sloth of thy spirit by mighty valour. Come now, let us rout the rest, and let none escape the peril which all alike deserve. Let the crime come home to the culprit; let the sin return and crush its contriver.