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Glittering lances are the loom,
Where the dusky warp we strain,
Orkney's1 woe, and Randver's bane.
See the grisly texture grow!
('Tis of human entrails made,)
Each a gasping warrior's head.
Shoot the trembling cords along,
Keep the tissue close and strong.
Sangrida, and Hilda,“ see !
'Tis the woof 6 of victory.
Pikes 6 must shiver, javelins sing,
Hauberk 8 crash, and helmet ring.
Let us go, and let us fly,
Where they triumph, where they die.
1 Said to signify in old Gaelic, island of whales.
2 Attached to keep the “strain” or tightness upon the threads. Play - Perform their part.
3 Arrows; A.-S., scafan, to smooth as with a plane. Shuttles-Lite rally that which shoots; A.-8., sceotan, to shoot.
4 Three of the Valkyrmir.
7 French, buuclier, a shield with a projecting bockle or bos in the centre.
8 See note 2 to “The Bard,” p. 16. Helm, wid.
As the paths of fate we tread,
Wading through the ensanguined field,
O'er the youthful king your shield.
Ours to kill, and ours : to spare,
(Weave the crimson web of war.)
Pent 4 within its bleak domain,
O'er the plenty of the plain,
Gored with many a gaping wound :
Soon a king shall bite the ground.7
Ne’er again his likeness see ;
Strains of immortality !
Clouds of carnage blot the sun :
Sisters, cease; the work is done.
1 Two more of the Valkyrmir.
2 “Sigtryg with the silken beard," mentioned in the introductory note.
3 It is ours. The predicative form of the pronoun.
5 Paraphrase. Shortly those pent up in the bleak domain of the Shetland Isles, shall invade and extend their sway over certain of the fruitful plains of the mainland of Britain.
6 Sigard of the introductory note.
Hail the task, and hail the hands !
Songs of joy and triumph sing !
Triumph to the younger king.
Learn the tenour of our song ;
Far and wide the notes prolong.
Each her thundering falchion wield ;
Hurry, hurry to the field.
THE VEGTANIS KIVATHA; OR, THE
DESCENT OF ODIN.
FROM THE NORSE.
[This is a vigorous and powerful ode; but perhaps a little too polished to be considered a very truthful reflex of the Norse Saga. The translation was made in 1769.]
UP rose the King of Men with speed,
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin ; 1 Odin. 2 Sleipner, a horse with eight legs. 3 The goddess who presided over the nine concentric circles of ice which formed Niflheim, the Scandinavian hell.
Managazmar, the Cerberus of the Scandinavian mythology.
And long pursues, with fruitless yell,
Right against the eastern gate,
Odin. A traveller, to thee unknown,
1 Three and nine have ever been cabalistic numbers in matters of demonology and incantation. Runic, belonging to the runes or Scandinavian letters. A.-S., rûn; Norse, runa, meaning mystery.
2 In the original, vallgaldr, from VALR_mortuus, dead, and galdrincantatio, a charm.
3 Spirit. 4 A.-S., drencan, soaking, saturating.
For whom yon glittering board is spread,
Prophetess. Mantling in the goblet see
Odin. Once again my call obey,
Prophetess. In Hoder's hand the Hero's doom ;
leave me to repose.
Prophetess. In the caverns of the west,
Leave me, leave me to repose. 1 Mead (A.-S., meth), a drink prepared from honey, which the warrior shades in the Norse Valhalla, or heaven, are represented as drinking out of the skulls of the foemen they had slain in battle upon earth.
2 Odin's son, who had dreamed of his own impending death. He was slain by Hoder, who afterwards fell by the hand of Vali, the son of Odin and Rhinda, c. 65.