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There may have end like everything
Full little most men think of this,
A man would say "Would I were dead!" Alas! full little likelyhead
That he should live forever there.
So folk within that country fair
The long'd-for things they could not get,
IN the white-flower'd hawthorn brake,
Nay, the garlanded gold hair
Shall we weep for a dead day, Or set Sorrow in our way?
Then upright by the bed of the Niblungs for a moment doth she stand,
And the blade flasheth bright in the chamber, but no more they hinder her hand
Than if a God were smiting to rend the world in two:
Then dull'd are the glittering edges, and the bitter point cleaves through The breast of the all-wise Brynhild, and her feet from the pavement fail, And the sigh of her heart is hearken'd mid the hush of the maidens' wail. Chill, deep is the fear upon them, but they bring her aback to the bed, And her hand is yet on the hilt, and sidelong droopeth her head.
Ye have hung the shields about it, and the Southland hangings spread,
There lay me adown by Sigurd and my head beside his head:
But ere you leave us sleeping, draw his Wrath from out the sheath,
And lay that Light of the Branstock, and the blade that frighted death Betwixt my side and Sigurd's, as it lay that while agone,
When once in one bed together we twain were laid alone :
How then when the flames flare upward may I be left behind?
How then may the road he wendeth be hard
for my feet to find?
How then in the gates of Valhall may the door of the gleaming ring Clash to on the heel of Sigurd, as I follow on my king?"
Then she rais'd herself on her elbow, but again her eyelids sank,
And the wound by the sword-edge whisper'd, as her heart from the iron shrank, And she moan'd: "O lives of man-folk, for unrest all overlong
By the Father were ye fashion'd; and what hope amendeth wrong? Now at last, O my beloved, all is gone; none else is near,
Through the ages of all ages, never sunder'd, shall we wear.
Scarce more than a sigh was the word, as back on the bed she fell,
Nor was there need in the chamber of the passing of Brynhild to tell ; And no more their lamentation might the maidens hold aback,
But the sound of their bitter mourning was as if red-handed wrack
Ran wild in the Burg of the Niblungs, and the fire were master of all.
Then the voice of Gunnar the war-king
cried out o'er the weeping hall: "Wail on, O women forsaken, for the mightiest woman born!
Now the hearth is cold and joyless, and the waste bed lieth forlorn,
Wail on, but amid your weeping lay hand to the glorious dead,
That not alone for an hour may lie Queen Brynhild's head:
For here have been heavy tidings, and the Mightiest under shield
Is laid on the bale high-builded in the Niblungs' hallow'd field.
Fare forth for he abideth, and we do Allfather wrong,
If the shining Valhall's pavement await their feet o'erlong."
Then they took the body of Brynhild in the raiment that she wore,
And out through the gate of the Niblungs the holy corpse they bore, And thence forth to the mead of the people, and the high-built shielded bale; Then afresh in the open meadows breaks forth the women's wail
When they see the bed of Sigurd, and the glittering of his gear;
And fresh is the wail of the people as Brynhild draweth anear,
And the tidings go before her that for twain the bale is built,
That for twain is the oak-wood shielded and the pleasant odors spilt.
There is peace on the bale of Sigurd, and the Gods look down from on high, And they see the lids of the Volsung close shut against the sky,
As he lies with his shield beside him in the Hauberk all of gold,
That has not its like in the heavens, nor has earth of its fellow told;
And forth from the Helm of Aweing are the sunbeams flashing wide, And the sheathed Wrath of Sigurd lies still by his mighty side.
Then cometh an elder of days, a man of the ancient times,
Who is long past sorrow and joy, and the steep of the bale he climbs ; And he kneeleth down by Sigurd, and bareth the Wrath to the sun That the beams are gather'd about it, and from hilt to blood-point run,
And wide o'er the plain of the Niblungs doth the Light of the Branstock glare,
Till the wondering mountain-shepherds on that star of noontide stare,
And fear for many an evil; but the ancient man stands still
With the war-flame on his shoulder, nor thinks of good or of ill,
The shadows of the fruitéd close
There lie our dogs and dream and doze,
Down from the minster tower to-day
Amidst the chattering jackdaws' play :
But underneath the streets are still;
What merchant to our gates shall come?
Now we return no more?
What mayor shall rule the hall we built? Whose scarlet sweep the floor?
What judge shall doom the robber's guilt,
New houses in the streets shall rise
Of other stone wrought otherwise;
And crops shall cover field and hill,
And all be done without our will,
Look up! the arrows streak the sky,
The long spears lower and draw nigh,
Remember how, beside the wain,
And sow'd this harvest of the plain,
Lay spears about the Ruddy Fox!
Heave sword about the Running Ox!
A DEATH SONG
WHAT cometh here from west to east a-wending?
And who are these, the marchers stern and
We bear the message that the rich are sending
Aback to those who bade them wake and know.
Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay,
But one and all if they would dusk the day.
We ask'd them for a life of toilsome earning,
They bade us bide their leisure for our bread;
We crav'd to speak to tell our woeful learning:
We come back speechless, bearing back our dead.
They will not learn; they have no ears to hearken;
They turn their faces from the eyes of fate;
Their gay-lit halls shut out the skies that darken.
But, lo! this dead man knocking at the gate.
Here lies the sign that we shall break our prison;
Amidst the storm he won a prisoner's rest; But in the cloudy dawn the sun arisen Brings us our day of work to win the best. Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay,
But one and all if they would dusk the day.
Lord De Tablep
(JOHN LEICESTER WARREN)
A WOODLAND GRAVE
BRING no jarring lute this way
We, who read her epitaph,
Light, our light, what dusty night
Numbs the golden drowsy head?
From whose amber shoulders flow
Woods are dreaming, and she dreams :
Cedars there in outspread palls
That aërial song of his,
Sweet, might come from thee in bliss.
There the posies o'er her sleep
Spring on spring renew the show Of their frail memorial woe.
Wreaths of intertwisted yew
Let the squirrel sleek its fur,
Winds arise and winds depart,
We have seen with fiery tongue
Thrice the infant crocus born:
This can rear its silken crest :
We have eaten, we have earn'd
We have wept ah God! not so:
But we yearn and make our moan For the step we us'd to know :
Through the years ah! through the Gentle hand and tender tone,
Laughter in a silver flow :