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i'he Angel took the sword again, and swore,

Vnd walks on earth unseen forevermore.

INTERLUDE.

He ended: and a kind of spell
Upon the silent listeners fell.
His solemn manner and his words
Had touched the deep, mysterious
chords,

That vibrate in each human breast
Alike, but not alike confessed.
The spiritual world seemed near;
And close above them, full of fear,
Its awful adumbration passed,
A luminous shadow, vague and vast.
They almost feared to look, lest there,
Embodied from the impalpable air,
They might behold the Angel stand,
Holding the sword in his right hand.

At last, but in a voice subdued,

Not to disturb their dreamy mood,

Said the Sicilian: "While you spoke,

Telling your legend marvellous,

Suddenly in my memory woke

The thought of one, now gone from us, —

An old Abate, meek and mild,

My friend and teacher, when a child,

Who sometimes in those days of old

The legend of an Angel told,

Which ran, as I remember, thus."

THE SICILIAN'S TALE.

KING ROBERT OF SICILY.

Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane

And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine,
Apparelled in magnificent attire,
With retinue of many a knight and
squire,

On St. John's eve, at vespers, proudly sat

And heard the priests chant the Magnificat.

And as he listened, o'er and o'er again
Repeated, like a burden or refrain,
He caught the words, "Deposuit poten-
Us

De sede, et exaltavit humiles";

And slowly lifting up his kingly head

He to a learned clerk beside him said,

"What mean these words?" The clerk

made answer meet, "He has put down the mighty from

their seat, And has exalted them of low degree." Thereat King Robert muttered scornfully. "'T is well that such seditious words are

sung

Only by priests and in the Latin tongue; For unto priests and people be it known, There is no power can push me from my throne!"

And leaning back, he yawned and fell asleep,

Lulled by the chant monotonous and deep.

When he awoke, it was already night; The church was empty, and there was no light,

Save where the lamps, that glimmered

few and faint, Lighted a little space before some saint. He started from his seat and gazed

around,

But saw no living thing and heard no sound.

He groped towards the door, but it was locked;

He cried aloud, and listened, and then knocked,

And uttered awful threatenings and complaints,

And imprecations upon men and saints. The sounds re-echoed from the roof and walls

As if dead priests were laughing in their stalls.

At length the sexton, hearing from without

The tumult of the knocking and the shout,

And thinking thieves were in the house of prayer,

Came with his lantern, asking, "Who is there?"

Half choked with rage, King Robert

fiercely said, "Open: 't is I, the King! Art thou

afraid?"

The frightened sexton, muttering, with a curse,

"This is some drunken vagabond, or worse!"

Turned the great key and flung the portal wide;

A man rushed by him at a single stride, Haggard, half naked, without hat or cloak,

Who neither turned, nor looked at him,

nor spoke, But leaped into the blackness of the

night,

And vanished like a spectre from his sight.

Robert of Sicily, brother of Pope Urbane And Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine, Despoiled of his magnificent attire, Bareheaded, breathless, and besprent

with mire, With sense of wrong and outrage desperate,

Strode on and thundered at the palace gate;

Rushed through the courtyard, thrusting in his rage

To right and left each seneschal and page.

And hurried up the broad and sounding stair,

His white face ghastly in the torches' glare.

From hall to hall he passed with breathless speed;

Voices and cries he heard, but did not heed,

Until at last he reached the banquetroom,

Blazing with light, and breathing with perfume.

There on the dais sat another king, Wearing his robes, his crown, his signetring,

King Robert's self in features, form, and height,

But all transfigured with angelic light! It was an Angel ; and his presence there With a divine effulgence filled the air, An exaltation, piercing the disguise, Though none the hidden Angel recognize.

A moment speechless, motionless, amazed,

The throneless monarch on the Angel gazed,

Who met his look of anger and surprise With the divine compassion of his eyes; Then said, "Who art thou ? and why

com'st thou here?" To which King Robert answered, with a

sneer,

"I am the King, and come to claim my own From an impostor, who usurps m) throne!"

And suddenly, at these audacious words, Up sprang the angry guests, and drew

their swords; The Angel answered, with unruffled brow, '' Nay, not the King, but the King's Jester, thou

Henceforth shall wear the bells and

scalloped cape, And for thy counsellor shalt lead an ape; Thou shalt obey my servants when they call,

And wait upon my henchmen in the hall!"

Deaf to King Robert's threats and cries

and prayers, They thrust him from the hall and down

the stairs; A group of tittering pages ran before, And as they opened wide the foldingdoor,

His heart failed, for he heard, with

strange alarms, The boisterous laughter of the men-atarms,

And all the vaulted chamberroar and ring With the mock plaudits of "Long live the King!"

Next morning, waking with the day s

first beam, He said within himself, "It was a dream!"

But the straw rustled as he turned his head,

There were the cap andbellsbeside his bed, Around him rose the bare, discolored walls, Close by, the steeds were champing in

their stalls, And in the corner, a revolting shape, Shivering and chattering sat the wretched ape.

It was no dream; the world he loved so much

Had turned to dust and ashes at his touch!

Days came and went; and now returned again

To Sicily the old Saturnian reign; Under the Angel's governance benign The happy island danced with corn and wine,

And deep within the mountain's burning breast

Enceladus, the giant, was at rest. I

Meanwhile King Rohert yielded to his fate,

;ullen and silent and disconsolate. Dressed in the motley garb that Jesters wear,

Yith look bewildered and a vacant stare, .'lose shaven above the ears, as monks are shorn,

Jy courtiers mocked, by pages laughed to scorn,

lis only friend the ape, his only food iVhat others left, — he still was unsubdued.

Vnd when the Angel met him on his way, Vnd half in earnest, half in jest, would say.

Sternly, though tenderly, that he might feel

The velvet scabbard held a sword of steel, 'Art thou the King!" the passion of his woe

Burst from him in resistless overflow. And, lifting high his forehead, he would fling

The haughtv answer back, "I am, I am the King!"

Almost three years were ended ; when

there came Ambassadors of great repute and name ^rom Valmond, Emperor of Allemaine, Jnto King Robert, saying that Pope

Urbane

3y letter summoned them forthwith to come

On Holy Thursday to his city of Rome. The Angel with great joy received his guests,

And gave them presents of embroidered vests,

And velvet mantles with rich ermine lined,

And rings and jewels of the rarest kind.
Then he departed with them o'er the sea
Into the lovely land of Italy,
Whose loveliness was more resplendent
made

By the mere passing of that cavalcade,
With plumes, and cloaks, and housings,

and the stir Of jewelled bridle and of golden spur.

And lo! among the menials, in mock state,

Upon a piebald steed, with shambling

gait, _ His cloak of fox-tails flapping in the wind,

The solemn ape demurely perched behind,

King Robert rode, making huge merriment

In all the country towns through which they went.

The Pope received them with great pomp and Ware

Of bannered trumpets, on Saint Peter's square,

Giving his benediction and embrace, Fervent, and full of apostolic grace. While with congratulations and with prayers

He entertained the Angel unawares, Robert, the Jester, bursting through the crowd,

Into their presence rushed, and cried aloud,

"lam the King! Look, and behold in me

Robert, your brother, King of Sicily! This man, who wear s my semblance to

your eyes, Is an impostor in a king's disguise. Do you not know me? does no voice

within

Answer my cry, and say we are akin?" The Pope in silence, but with troubled mien,

Gazed at the Angel's countenance serene; The Emperor, laughing, said, "It is

strange sport To keepamadmanforthyFoolateourt!" And the poor, baffled Jester in disgrace Was hustled back among the populace.

In solemn state the Holy Week went by, And Easter Sunday gleamed upon the sky;

The presence of the Angel, with its light. Before the sun rose, made the city bright, And with new fervor filled the hearts of men,

Who felt that Christ indeed had risen again.

Even the Jester, on his bed of straw. With haggard eyes the unwonted splendor saw,

He felt within a power unfelt before, And, kneeling humbly on his chamber floor,

He heard the rushing garments of the Lord

Sweep through the silent air, ascending heavenward.

And now the visit ending, and once more Valmond returning to the Danube's shore,

Homeward the Angel journeyed, and again

The land was made resplendent with his train,

Flashing along the towns of Italy
Unto Salerno, and from thence by sea.
And when once more within Palermo's
wall,

And, seated on the throne in his great hall,

He heard the Angelus from convent towers,

As if the better world conversed with ours,

He beckoned to King Robert to draw nigher,

And with a gesture bade the rest retire; And when they were alone, the Angel said,

"Art thou the King?" Then, bowing down his head,

King Robert crossed both hands upon his breast,

And meekly answered him: "Thou knowest best!

My sins as scarlet are; let me go hence,

And in some cloister's school of penitence,

Across those stones, that pave the way

to heaven, Walk barefoot, till my guilty soul he

shriven!"

The Angel smiled, and from his radiant

face

A holy light illumined all the place, And through the open window, loud and clear,

They heard the monks chant in fhe

chapel near, Above the stir and tumult of the street: "He has put down the mighty from

their seat, And has exalted them of low degree!" And through the chant a second melody Rose like the throbbing of a single string: "I am an Angel, and thou art the King!"

King Robert, who was standing near the throne,

Lifted his eyes, and lo ! he was alone! But all apparelled as in days of old, With ermined mantle and with cloth of gold;

And when his courtiers came, they foun;'

him there Kneeling upon the floor, absorbed i

silent prayer.

INTERLUDE.

And then the blue-eyed Norseman tolc
A Saga of the days of old.
"There is," said he, "a wondrousbool
Of Legends in the old Norse tongue,
Of the dead kings of Norroway, —
Legends that once were told or sung
In many a smoky fireside nook
Of Iceland, in the ancient day,
By wandering Saga-man or Scald;
Heimskringla is the volume called;
And he who looks may find therein
The story that 1 now begin."

And in each pause the story made

Upon his violin he played,

As an appropriate interlude,

Fragments of old Norwegian tunes

That bound in one the separate runes,

And held the mind in perfect mood,

Entwining and encircling all

The strange and antiquated rhymes

With melodies of olden times;

As over some half-ruined wall,

Disjointed and about to fall,

Fresh woodbines climb and interlace,

And keep the loosened stones in place.

THE MUSICIAN'S TALE.

THE SAGA OF KING OLAF. I.

THE CHALLENGE OF THOE.

I AM the Ood Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!

Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miolner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

THE SAGA OF KING OLAF.

These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever l brace it,
Strength is redoubled 1

The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations I

Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor's-Day!

Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus single-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!

II.

KING OLAF'S RETURN.

And King Olaf heard the cry,
Saw the red light in the sky,

Laid his hand upon his sword,
As he leaned upon the railing,
And his ships went sailing, sailing

Northward into Drontheim fiord.

There he stood as one who dreamed; And the red light glanced and gleamed

On the armor that he wore; And he shouted, as the rifted Streamers o'er him shook and shifted,

"I accept thy challenge, Thor!"

To avenge his father slain,
And reconquer realm and reign,
Came the youthful Olaf home,
Through the midnight sailing, sailing,

Listening to the wild wind's wailing,
And the dashing of the foam.

To his thoughts the sacred name
Of his mother Astrid came,

And the tale she oft had told
Of her flight by secret passes
Through the mountains and morasses,
To the home of Hakon old.

Then strange memories crowded back
Of Queen Gunhild's wrath and wrack,

And a hurried flight by sea;
Of grim Vikings, and the rapture
Of the sea-fight, and the capture,
And the life of slavery.

How a stranger watched his face
In the Esthonian market-place,

Scanned his features one by one,
Saying, " We should know each other;
I am Sigurd, Astrid's brother,
Thou art Olaf, Astrid's son!"

Then as Queen Allogia's page,
Old in honors, young in age,

Chief of all her men-at-arms;
Till vague whispers, and mysterious,
Reached King Valdemar, the imperious,
Filling him with strange alarms.

Then his cruisings o'er the seas,
Westward to the Hebrides,

And to Scilly's rocky shore;
And the hermit's cavern dismal,
Christ's great name and rites baptismal
In the ocean's rush and roar.

All these thoughts of love and strife
Glimmered through his lurid life,

As the stars' intenser light
Through the red flames o'er him trailing,
As his ships went sailing, sailing,
Northward in the summer night.

Trained for either camp or court,
Skilful in each manly sport,

Young and beautiful and tall;
Art of warfare, craft of chases.
Swimming, skating, snow-shoe races,
Excellent alike in all.

When at sea, with all his rowers,
He along the bending oars

Outside of his ship could run.
He the Smalsor Horn ascended,
And his shining shield suspended
On its summit, like a sun.

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