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Low the dauntless earl° is laid,
Soon a king shall bite the ground.
Long his loss shall Eirin weep,
Ne'er again his likeness see; Long her strains in sorrow steep: Strains of immortality!
Horror covers all the heath,
Clouds of carnage blot the sun. Sisters, weave the web of death; Sisters, cease; the work is done.
Hail the task, and hail the hands!
Mortal, thou that hearest the tale,
Sisters, hence with spurs of speed:
Each her thundering falchion wield:
Each bestride her sable steed.
Hurry, hurry to the field!
THE DESCENT OF ODIN°
AN ODE. FROM THE NORSE TONGUE
UPROSE the king of men with speed,
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin;
And long pursues with fruitless yell,
Onward still his way he takes,
(The groaning earth beneath him shakes.) Till full before his fearless eyes
The portals nine of hell arise.
Right against the eastern gate,°
The thrilling verse that wakes the dead:
Till from out the hollow ground
What call unknown, what charms presume
Who is he, with voice unblest,
That calls me from the bed of rest?
A traveller, to thee unknown,
For whom yon glittering board is spread,
Balder's head to death is given.
Once again my call obey,°
What dangers Odin's child await,
In Hoder's hand the hero's doom;
Prophetess, my spell obey,
Once again arise, and say,
Who the avenger of his guilt,
By whom shall Hoder's blood be spilt?
In the caverns of the west,
Nor wash his visage in the stream,
Yet a while my call obey:
What virgins these,° in speechless woe,
No boding maid of skill divine Art thou, nor prophetess of good;
But mother of the giant brood!
Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
That never shall inquirer come