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Oft through the forest dark Followed the were-wolf's bark, Until the soaring lark

Sang from the meadow.

“ But when I older grew,

Joining a corsair's crew,
O'er the dark sea I flew

With the marauders.
Wild was the life we led;
Many the souls that sped,
Many the hearts that bled,

By our stern orders.

“ Many a wassail-bout

Wore the long Winter out;
Often our midnight shout

Set the cocks crowing,
As we the Berserk's tale
Measured in cups of ale,
Draining the oaken pail,

Filled to o’erflowing.

“Once as I told in glee

Tales of the stormy sea,
Soft eyes did gaze on me,

Burning yet tender;
And as the white stars shine
On the dark Norway pine,
On that dark heart of mine

Fell their soft splendour.

“I wooed the blue-eyed maid,

Yielding, yet half afraid,
And in the forest's shade

Our vows were plighted.

Under its loosened vest
Fluttered her little breast,
Like birds within their nest

By the hawk frighted.

“ Bright in her father's hall

Shields gleamed upon the wall,
Loud sang the minstrels all,

Chaunting his glory;

I asked his daughter's hand,
Mute did the minstrels stand

To hear my story.

“ While the brown ale he quaffed, Loud then the champion laughed, And as the wind-gusts waft

The sea-foam brightly, So the loud laugh of scorn, Out of those lips unshorn, From the deep drinking-horn

Blew the foam lightly.

"She was a Prince's child,

I but a Viking wild,
And though she blushed and smiled,

I was discarded !
Should not the dove so white
Follow the sea-mew's flight,
Why did they leave that night

Her nest unguarded?

“ Scarce had I put to sea,

Bearing the maid with me, -
Fairest of all was she

Among the Norsemen 1


When on the white-sea strand,
Waving his armèd hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand,

With twenty horsemen.

“ Then launched they to the blast,

Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,

When the wind failed us;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foe we saw

Laugh as he hailed us.

“And as to catch the gale

Round veered the flapping sail,
Death! was the helmsman's hail,

Death without quarter!
Mid-ships with iron keel
Struck we her ribs of steel ;
Down her black hulk did reel

Through the black water!

" As with his wings aslant,

Sails the fierce cormorant,
Seeking some rocky haunt,

With his prey laden ;
So toward the open main,
Beating to sea again,
Through the wild hurricane,

Bore I the maiden.

“ Three weeks we westward bore,

And when the storm was o'er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore

Stretching to lee-ward;

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“ There lived we many years;

Time dried the maiden's tears; She had forgot her fears,

. She was a mother; Death closed her mild blue eyes, Under that tower she lies; Ne’er shall the sun arise

On such another!


“Still grew my bosom then,

Still as a stagnant fen! Hateful to me were men,

The sun-light hateful! In the vast forest here, Clad in my warlike gear, Fell I upon my spear,

O, death was grateful !

“ Thus, seamed with many scars

Bursting these prison bars,
Up to its native stars

My soul ascended !
There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the warrior's soul,
Skoal! to the Northland ! skoal!*

- Thus the tale ended.

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* In Scandinavia this is the customary salutation when drinking a health. I have slightly changed the orthography of the word, in order to preserve the correct pronunciation.

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It was the schooner Hesperus,

That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.

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