The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The King retired; the stranger guest
Followed and entered with the rest;
The lights were out, the pages gone,
But still the garrulous guest spake on. 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

As one who from a volume reads,
He spake of heroes and their deeds,
Of lands and cities he had seen,
And stormy gulfs that tossed between. 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

Then from his lips in music rolled
The Havamal of Odin old,
With sounds mysterious as the roar
Of billows on a distant shore. 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

“Do we not learn from runes and rhymes
Made by the gods in elder times,
And do not still the great Scalds teach
That silence better is than speech?”
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

Smiling at this, the King replied,
“Thy lore is by thy tongue belied;
For never was I so enthralled
Either by Saga-man or Scald,”
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

The Bishop said, “Late hours we keep! 
Night wanes, O King! ’t is time for sleep!”
Then slept the King, and when he woke
The guest was gone, the morning broke. 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

They found the doors securely barred,
They found the watch-dog in the yard,
There was no footprint in the grass,
And none had seen the stranger pass. 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

King Olaf crossed himself and said: 
“I know that Odin the Great is dead;
Sure is the triumph of our Faith,
The one-eyed stranger was his wraith.” 
    Dead rides Sir Morten of Fogelsang.

VII

IRON-BEARD

    Olaf the King, one summer morn,
    Blew a blast on his bugle-horn,
Sending his signal through the land of Drontheim.

    And to the Hus-Ting held at Mere
    Gathered the farmers far and near,
With their war weapons ready to confront him.

    Ploughing under the morning star,
    Old Iron-Beard in Yriar
Heard the summons, chuckling with a low laugh.

    He wiped the sweat-drops from his brow,
    Unharnessed his horses from the plough,
And clattering came on horseback to King Olaf.

    He was the churliest of the churls;
    Little he cared for king or earls;
Bitter as home-brewed ale were his foaming passions.

    Hodden-gray was the garb he wore,
    And by the Hammer of Thor he swore;
He hated the narrow town, and all its fashions.

    But he loved the freedom of his farm,
    His ale at night, by the fireside warm,
Gudrun his daughter, with her flaxen tresses.

    He loved his horses and his herds,
    The smell of the earth, and the song of birds,
His well-filled barns, his brook with its water-cresses.

    Huge and cumbersome was his frame;
    His beard, from which he took his name,
Frosty and fierce, like that of Hymer the Giant.

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Project Gutenberg
The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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