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We the reins to Slaughter give,
They, whom once the desert-beach
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,
Horrour covers all the heath,
Clouds of carnage blot the Sun.
Hail the task, and hail the hands!
Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,
Sisters, hence, with spurs of speed;
Each her thundering falchion wield;
Each bestride her sable steed:
THE DESCENT OF ODIN
[From the same.]
IN BARTHOLINUS, DE CAUSIS CONTEMNENDE MORTIS; HAFNIÆ, 1689, QUARTO.
Upreis Odinn allda gauir, &c.
UPROSE the King of Men with speed,
Hoarse he bays with hideous din,
* 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.
Onward still his way he takes,
(The groaning Earth beneath him shakes,,
The thrilling verse that wakes the dead;
Slowly breath'd a sullen sound.
Pr. What call unknown, what charms pre
To break the quiet of the tomb?
Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite,
And drags me from the realms of night?
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 warrior's son.
For whom yon glittering board is spread,
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, Prophetess, arise, and say,
What dangers Odin's child await,
Pr. In Hoder's hand the hero's doom;
His brother sends him to the tomb.
Now my weary lips I close:
Leave me, leave me, to repose.
0. Prophetess, my spell obey:
Once again arise, and say,
Who th' avenger of his guilt,
By whom shall Hoder's blood be spilt?
Now my weary lips I close :
Leave me, leave
me, to repose.
0. Yet awhile my call obey,
Prophetess, awake, and say,
What virgins these, in speechless woe,
That bend to earth their solemn brow,
That their flaxen tresses tear,
And snowy veils, that float in air.
Pr. Ha! no traveller art thou,
0. No boding maid of skill divine Art thou, nor prophetess of good; But mother of the giant-brood!
Pr. Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
That never shall inquirer come
To break my iron-sleep again;
Till Lok has burst his ten-fold chain.
Never, till substantial Night
Has re-assum'd her ancient right;
* 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.