From the Ancient Norse.
(This piece describes the disaster of Sigvald, Earl of Jomsborg, a celebrated viking or pirate, who, according to tradition, was repulsed from the coast of Norway by Hakon Jarl, with the assistance of Thorgerd, a female demon, to whom Hakon sacrificed his youngest son, Erling.)
For victory as we bounded,
I heard, with fear astounded,
The storm, of Thorgerd’s waking,
From Northern vapours breaking.
Sent by the fiend in anger,
With din and stunning clangour,
To crush our might intended,
Gigantic hail descended.
A pound the smallest pebble
Did weigh, and others treble;
Full dreadful was the slaughter;
And blood ran out like water,
Ran, reeking, red and horrid
From batter’d cheek and forehead.
But though so rudely greeted,
No Jomsborg man retreated.
The fiend, so fierce and savage,
To work us further ravage,
Shot lightning from each finger,
Which sped, and did not linger;
Then sank our brave in numbers
To cold, eternal slumbers;
There lay the good and gallant,
Unmatch’d for warlike talent.
Our captain this perceiving,
The signal made for leaving,
And with his ship departed,
Down-cast and broken-hearted;
We spread our sails to follow,—
And soon the breezes hollow,
From shores we came to harry,
Our luckless remnant carry.
THE KING AND CROWN.
From the Suabian.
The King who well crown’d does govern the land,
And whose fair crown well fill’d does stand—
That King adorns his crown, I trow;
And he who is thus by his crown adorn’d,
And for whose sake never that crown is scorn’d,
Does bear a well-fill’d crown on his brow.
To a Mountain Torrent.
From the German of Stolberg.
O stripling immortal thou forth dost career
From thy deep rocky chasm; beheld has no eye
The mighty one’s cradle, and heard has no ear
At his under-ground spring-head his infant-like cry.
How lovely art thou in the foam of thy brow,
And yet the warm blood in my bosom grows chill;
For awful art thou and terrific, I vow,
In the roar of the echoing forest and hill.
The pine-trees are shaken—they yield to
And crashing they tumble in wild disarray;
The rocks fly before thee—thou seizest the rocks,
And contemptuously whirlst them like pebbles away.
But why dost thou haste to the ocean’s dark
Say, art thou not blest in thine own native ground,
When in the lone mountain and black shady wood
Thou dost bellow, and all gives response to thy sound?
Then haste not, I pray thee, to yonder blue sea,
For there thou must crouch beneath tyranny’s rod,
Whilst here thou art lonely, and lovely, and free—
Free as a cloud-bird, and strong as a God.