Page images

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!
Songs of joy and triumph sing!
Joy to the victorious bands;

Triumph to the younger King.

Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,
Learn the tenour of our song.
Scotland, thro' each winding vale
Far and wide the notes prolong.

Sisters, hence with spurs of speed:

Each her thundering faulchion wield;

Each bestride her sable steed.
Hurry, hurry to the field.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




[The original is to be found in Bartholinus, de Causis contemnendæ Mortis; Hafniæ, 1689, Quarto.

Upreis Odinn allda gautr, &c.]

UPROSE the King of Men with speed,

And saddled strait his coal-black steed:
Down the yawning steep he rode,
That leads to HELA's drear abode (e).
Him the Dog of Darkness spied [21];
His shaggy throat he open'd wide,
While from his jaws, with carnage fill'd,
Foam and human gore distill'd:

(e) That leads to Hela's drear abode.

Niflheimr, the hell of the Gothic nations, consisted of nine worlds, to which were devoted all such as died of sickness, old age, or by any other means than in battle. Over it presided Hela, the Goddess of Death.

[21] The Edda gives this dog the name of Managarmar; he fed upon the lives of those that were to die.

Hoarse he bays [22] with hideous din,
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin ;
And long pursues, with fruitless yell,
The Father of the powerful spell.
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,
By the moss-grown pile he sate;
Where long of yore to sleep was laid
The dust of the prophetic Maid.
Facing to the northern clime,
Thrice he trac'd the Runic rhyme;
Thrice pronounc'd, in accents dread,

The thrilling verse that wakes the Dead;
Till from out the hollow ground
Slowly breath'd a sullen sound.

[22] Several Editions have it brays. It is not, however, the nature of the dog, but of the ass, to bray. To bay is, according to Johnson, to bark, as a dog at a thief.

« PreviousContinue »