Thor (Whilst he surveys the spear). Do
not deceive thyself, this spear
In flames celestial, not in Nastroud’s blazes.
But death has greeted Odin’s son, and Rota,
She who invites the hero-kings to Valhall,
Is here, where never din of arms resounded.
With terror view’d I battle’s haughty daughter:
Dark stood she on a rock, enveiled in vapour;
And on her shoulder, on her steel-cas’d shoulder,
The bird of death, the mournful owl, sat croaking.
Whom seeks she, far from every bloody Champain?
And Surtur’s branch, how soon is that discover’d,
If fate but wish! And think’st thou Loke slumbers?
Ah, Balder fly! forget a foolish passion!
Fly, ere thy fate, which hasteneth, is accomplish’d.
Follow me straight!
Balder. What—fly! and give up
The hope in which I live is far too noble
For me to fly from it.
Thor. O Balder, hear me!
Hear why I come, and if thou wish’st for rescue,
Then heed a friend’s, a father’s last, last warning!
Wondering at thy infatuation, troubled
By threatening, now no longer dark forebodings,
By panic seiz’d, press’d by unwonted sadness,
I left these hills, and thunder-peals announced me
In Asgaard, every eye my trouble notic’d;
Straightway around me stream’d the eldest Aser,
Each first would know, what grief, or rather terror,
Press’d down my eye. But straight Allfather made me
A sign: he blushes, Balder, at thy weakness!
He bade me keep it, whilst we could, a secret,
And question first once more the ancient Mimer.
I question’d him, and murky fate’s explorer
Thus answer’d: “If the sun (ah, hear and tremble,
And save thee, whilst thou canst!) if it to-morrow,
When by its glories yonder hills are brighten’d,
Which oft have echoed back the half-god’s wailings,
Behold him yet in love and yet rejected,
Then likewise it beholds the spear which slays him,
And Odin’s tears and all the Aser’s sorrow!”
Balder. Time presses, then. Excuse
me, Thor; I hasten
With tears to soften Nanna’s noble bosom,
To move her with my prayer, and, lowly kneeling,
My doom demand, be’t life or death; for quickly
Shall Balder’s fate disclose itself. [He goes.
Thor (whilst he looks after him with compassion).
Headlong thou hurriest to meet destruction!
ACT THE THIRD.
It is dark night. The storm howls among the rocks. Sometimes it lightens and thunders, and the bears bellow here and there in the forest.
Hother (sitting upon a rock unarmed and in a dejected attitude).
The rocks are reeling,
When storms are roaring,
And thunders pealing,
I feel no fright!
What I’m enduring
Is wilder, stranger
Than thunder’s anger
Or tempests might.