The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,299 pages of information about The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Her forecastle man was Ulf the Red,
Like a wolf’s was his shaggy head,
  His teeth as large and white;
His beard, of gray and russet blended,
Round as a swallow’s nest descended;
As standard-bearer he defended
  Olaf’s flag in the fight.

Near him Kolbiorn had his place,
Like the King in garb and face,
  So gallant and so hale;
Every cabin-boy and varlet
Wondered at his cloak of scarlet;
Like a river, frozen and star-lit,
  Gleamed his coat of mail.

By the bulkhead, tall and dark,
Stood Thrand Rame of Thelemark,
A figure gaunt and grand;
On his hairy arm imprinted
Was an anchor, azure-tinted;
Like Thor’s hammer, huge and dinted
Was his brawny hand.

Einar Tamberskelver, bare
To the winds his golden hair,
  By the mainmast stood;
Graceful was his form, and slender,
And his eyes were deep and tender
As a woman’s, in the splendor
  Of her maidenhood.

In the fore-hold Biorn and Bork
Watched the sailors at their work: 
  Heavens! how they swore! 
Thirty men they each commanded,
Iron-sinewed, horny-handed,
Shoulders broad, and chests expanded. 
 Tugging at the oar.

These, and many more like these,
With King Olaf sailed the seas,
  Till the waters vast
Filled them with a vague devotion,
With the freedom and the motion,
With the roll and roar of ocean
  And the sounding blast.

When they landed from the fleet,
How they roared through Drontheim’s street,
  Boisterous as the gale! 
How they laughed and stamped and pounded,
Till the tavern roof resounded,
And the host looked on astounded
  As they drank the ale!

Never saw the wild North Sea
Such a gallant company
  Sail its billows blue! 
Never, while they cruised and quarrelled,
Old King Gorm, or Blue-Tooth Harald,
Owned a ship so well apparelled,
  Boasted such a crew!

XV

A LITTLE BIRD IN THE AIR

A little bird in the air
Is singing of Thyri the fair,
  The sister of Svend the Dane;
And the song of the garrulous bird
In the streets of the town is heard,
  And repeated again and again. 
    Hoist up your sails of silk,
    And flee away from each other.

To King Burislaf, it is said,
Was the beautiful Thyri wed,
  And a sorrowful bride went she;
And after a week and a day,
She has fled away and away,
  From his town by the stormy sea. 
    Hoist up your sails of silk,
    And flee away from each other.

They say, that through heat and through cold,
Through weald, they say, and through wold,
  By day and by night, they say,
She has fled; and the gossips report
She has come to King Olaf’s court,
  And the town is all in dismay. 
    Hoist up your sails of silk,
    And flee away from each other.

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