The assembly met, while sounding high
Were arms and shields,
In open thing, ’neath heaven’s sky,
In fair green fields.
Upon the thing-stone Fridthjof stands,
And with him there
A little one with shining bands
Of golden hair.
Then rose the cry on every hand:
“Too small indeed
The king’s son is to rule our land,
Our wars to lead.”
But Fridthjof on his shield raised up
The little boy:
“Ye Norsemen, here behold your hope,
Your king, your joy.
“High Odin’s race embodied here
In image see,
As much at home ’mid shield and spear,
As fish in sea.
“I swear my lance and sword to set
Round land and throne,
And with the father’s coronet
To crown the son.
“The oath I make to Balder’s son*
Of high renown,
And if I fail, may he not shun
To strike me down.”
The boy sat on the shield so high
As ’twere a throne~
Undaunted as the eaglet’s eye
Looks toward the sun.
At last impatient grew his blood,
And to the ground,
The child leaped down and fearless stood ;—
A kingly bound!
Then rose the cry from all the thing:
“We of the North,
We choose but thee, be like king Ring,
Thou shield-borne youth.
“And Fridthjof shall a guardian be,
Thy youth to guide;
His mother, earl, we give to thee,
To be thy bride.”
But Fridthjof frowned: “To-day,”
But not a bridal; leave to me
A bride to take.
“To Balder’s temple I’ll repair,
I go to see
The norns who are already there
“With them a council I have willed,
The shield-maids true,—
Beneath the tree of time they build,
Above it too.
“Against me Balder’s anger sore
Doth still abide;
He took, he only can restore
My cherished bride.”
Saluting then the monarch new,
He kissed his brow.
And o’er the broom-heath passed from view,
Silent and slow.
FRIDTIMOF at his father’s grave.
“How brightly smiles the sun, so friendly seeming.
As swift from branch to branch its soft rays glide!
Allfather’s light within the dew-drop gleaming,
Is clear and pure as in the ocean wide.
See! all the mountain tops with red are streaming,—
From Balder’s altar flows the bloody tide;
In night will shortly sink the world’s commotion,
As sinks the golden shield beneath the ocean.
“Yet let me first behold those well known places,
My childhood friends that I have loved so well;
The same sweet beauty still the valley graces,
The same birds yet alight in wood and dell;
The same blue wave the stable rock embraces,—
Oh, would I ne’er had tried its treacherous swell!
It always speaks of fame and high endeavor,
But far from home it bears thee on forever.