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THE SWORD OF THE TOMB.
A NORTHERN LEGEND.
The idea of this ballad is taken from a scene in “ Starkother,” a tragedy by the Danish Poet Ochlenschlager: The sepulchral fire here alluded to, and supposed to guard the ashes of deceased heroes, is frequently mentioned in the Northern Sagas. Severe sufferings to the departed spirit were supposed by the Scandinavian mythologists to be the consequence of any profanation of the sepulchre.
See Ochlenschlager's Plays,
“ Voice of the gifted elder time!
Voice of the buried past !
66 Voice of the grave ! 'tis the mighty hour,
On the billow and the blast."
Then the torrents of the North,
“ There shines no sun ’midst the hidden dead,
In the shadow of the night.
- There is laid a sword in thy father's tomb,
For the viewless have fearful might!
Then died the solemn lay,
The fir-trees rock'd to the wailing blast,
By the fires of Northern pine.
The fir-trees rock'd, and the frozen ground
Gave warning, with voice and sign.
But the wind strange magic knows
The pines closed o'er him with deeper gloom,
But his road through dimness lay!
He pass'd, in the heart of that ancient wood,
Arose on his midnight way.
Then first a moment's chill
But he cross'd at length, with a deep-drawn breath,
With a strange and solemn light.
Then darkly the words of the boding strain
.“ Soft be thy step through the silence deep, And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
For the viewless have fearful might ! ”
But the gleaming sword and shield
With a faded wreath of oak-leaves bound, They hung o'er the dust of the far-renown'd, Whom the bright Valkyriur's warning voice Had call?d to the banquet where gods rejoice,
And the rich mead flows in light.
With a beating heart his son drew near,
“ Soft be thy step through the silence deep, And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
For the viewless have fearful might !”
And many a Saga's rhyme,