Good! to king Ring it shall be my glad duty,
Something to teach of a wronged viking’s power;
Fire we the palace at midnight’s still hour,
Scorch the old graybeard and bear off the beauty.
Or, being viking you may think it right
Honor to grant the old man by a duel:
Challenge him out on the ice for a fight,—
Whatever you will, only waiting is cruel.
Speak not of firebrands, to war give no thought,—
Peace would I bear to the king, and not terror;
Ring nor his partner committed the error—
Heavenly vengeance my punishment sought,
Little of hope is now left worth the telling,
Only farewell would I take of my dear,—
Final farewell. When the green buds are swelling,
Sooner it may be, you’ll see Fridthjof here.
Fridthjof, ’tis time for your folly’s
Sigh and lament for a false woman’s loss!
Earth is, alas, but too full of such dross;
One may be lost, still a thousand are waiting.
Say but the word, of such goods I will bring
Quickly a cargo,— the Southland can spare them,
Red as the rose, mild as lambs in the Spring;
Then we’ll cast lots, or as brothers we’ll share them.
Bjorn, you’re as frank and as joyous as Frey,
Bold to wage war and with wisdom advising;
Odin and Thor you ne’er think of despising,—
Freyja, the heavenly, you dare to gainsay.
Let us not question her power supernal,
Rather beware lest we waken her ire;
Once, though now slumbering, the sparkle eternal
Mortals and gods shall enkindle to fire.
Go not alone, lest return be prevented.
Singly I go not, my sword goes with me.
Hagbert, remember, was hanged to a tree.
Who can be taken, to hang has consented.
Fallest thou then, on thy murderer fell
Carve I the blood-eagle, vengeance bestowing.
Needless, fond Bjorn, he’ll not hear the cock
Longer than I do. Farewell, fare thee well.
Fridthjof comes to king ring.
King Ring in state was seated at Yule-time drinking
And with him sat his consort, so white and rosy red;
They seemed like Spring and Autumn. when both together seen,—
The king was chilly Autumn, fresh Spring the fair young queen.
A man, unknown, there entered within the spacious
From head to foot enveloped, a bear-skin covering all;
And though by staff supported, and bent with age and care,
He stood a head the taller than any champion there.
He chose for seat to rest him a bench beside the door,—
’Tis now the poor man’s station, as ’twas in days of yore;
The courtiers all laughed loudly, with many a gibe and jest,
And with the finger pointed to him in bear-skin dressed.