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THOR'S FISHING, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Heavy sky and heavy sea, / running cloud and wind-blown crests
Last Line: So was lost the midgard snake.
Subject(s): Animals; Fish & Fishing; Monsters; Mythology; Snakes; Anglers; Serpents; Vipers


HEAVY sky and heavy sea,
Running cloud and wind-blown crests,
Raging foam and sea-green froth;
Who is abroad? who may it be?
Is it a god? what god is he?
Baldur in bright Asgard rests:
Home is Odin the Goth.

Dark is ocean, heavy foam
Swirls about the oars,
Wet is the rower's seat;
Who are these that dare to come
On the seas abroad from home
With the wind across the shores
And a storm beneath their feet?

Breaks the foam across the bow:
Who may well these fishers be
Labouring with heavy oar,
Who and whither going now?
Hymir rowing at the prow
Out across the furthest sea,—
Hymir and his guest-friend Thor.

Sweeps the wind across the storm:
Now they check their toil and pause
Over deepest, darkest sea;
Under-wave, strange monsters swarm,
Creatures with misshapen form,
Horrible with teeth and claws,
Never seen of thee or me.

Laughed the giant-killing Thor,
'Here we'll drop our lines and bide
What our fisher's luck shall bring.'
Shuddered Hymir, yet forbore,
Though he wished him well ashore.
Tossed the shallop in the tide,
Came the storm with raven wing.

'Ha!' cried Thor, 'the hook goes home!
Bent and braced against the seat,
Pulled with all his strength of arm;
Out of sea the slow line clomb.—
Sudden broke the sea to foam,
And a struggle fierce and fleet
Filled all heaven with alarm;

Out of ocean, slimy, hoar,
Came the fearful Midgard Snake,
Lashing with sea-yellow teeth.
Strained against the line the more
In his Aesir-might great Thor,
Strained until the shallop brake
And all ocean yawned beneath.

Brake the thunder overhead;
Flared the lightning on the sea;
Shook the earth through all her length;
Howled the storm and raging sped;
Rolled the waves sun-high and spread
Ruinous their revelry:
Asgard trembled in its strength.

Then had perished earth and sky
In this struggle of the Snake
Writhing with colossal Thor
Where, sea-wetted to the thigh,
Stood the god; but with a cry
Lest the firmament should break
And the world should be no more,

Hymir leapt with knife set wide,
Striking once and once again
At the line until it brake.
Terribly great Thor outcried,
Saw the world-old monster glide
Under-wave in writhing pain,—
So was lost the Midgard Snake.





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