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We the reins to Slaughter give,
Ours to kill, and ours to spare : Spite of danger he shall live :
(Weave the crimson web of war.) They, whom once the desert-beach
Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch
O'er the plenty of the plain.
Low the dauntless Earl is laid,
Gor'd with many a gaping wound : Fate demands a nobler head;
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 !
Horrour 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, through each winding vale
Far and wide the notes prolong.
Sisters, hence, with spurs of speed ;
Each her thundering falchion wield;
Hurry, hurry to the field.
THE DESCENT OF ODIN
[From the same.
IN BARTHOLINUS, DE CAUSIS CONTEMNENDÆ MORTIS;
HAFNIÆ, 1689, QUARTO.
Upreis Odinn allda gauir, &c.
* Nifheimr, 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.
Onward still his way he takes,
Right against the eastern gate,
Pr. What call unknown, what charms preTo break the quiet of the tomb ? Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite, And drags me from the realms of night? Long on these mouldering bones have beat The winter's snow, the summer's heat, The drenching dews, and driving rain ! Let me, let me sleep again. Who is he, with voice unblest, That calls me from the bed of rest ?
0. A traveller, to thee unknown, · Is he that calls, a Thou the deeds of light shalt know; Tell me what is done below, For whom yon glittering board is spread, Drest for whom yon golden bed ?
Pr. Mantling in the goblet see The pure beverage of the bee,
O'er it hangs the shield of gold;
0. Once again my call obey,
Pr. In Hoder's hand the hero's doom;
0. Prophetess, my spell obey :
Pr. In the caverns of the west,
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That their flaxen tresses tear,
Pr. Ha! no traveller art thou,
0. No boding maid of skill divine
Pr. Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
Lok is the evil being, who continues in chains till the twilight of the gods approaches, when he shall break his bonds; the human race, the stars, and Sun, shall disappear; the earth sink in the seas, and fire consume the skies ; even Odin himself and his kindred deities shall perish. For a further explanation of this mythology, see Mallet's Introduction to the History of Denmark, 1755, quarto.