Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VALKYRIUR SONG, by FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS



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VALKYRIUR SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sea-king woke from the troubled sleep
Last Line: Lay cold on a pile of dead!
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, Felicia Dorothea
Subject(s): Mythology - Norse


THE Sea-king woke from the troubled sleep
Of a vision-haunted night,
And he looked from his bark o'er the gloomy deep,
And counted the streaks of light;
For the red sun's earliest ray
Was to rouse his bands that day
To the stormy joy of fight!
But the dreams of rest were still on earth,
And the silent stars on high,
And there waved not the smoke of one cabin hearth
'Midst the quiet of the sky;
And along the twilight bay,
In their sleep the hamlets lay,
For they knew not the Norse were nigh!
The Sea-king looked o'er the brooding wave,
He turned to the dusky shore,
And there seem'd, through the arch of a tide-worn cave,
A gleam, as of snow, to pour;
And forth in watery light,
Moved phantoms, dimly white,
Which the garb of woman bore.

Slowly they moved to the billow-side;
And the forms, as they grew more clear,
Seemed each on a tall pale steed to ride,
And a shadowy crest to rear,
And to beckon with faint hand
From the dark and rocky strand,
And to point a gleaming spear.

Then a stillness on his spirit fell,
Before the unearthly train,
For he knew Valhalla's daughters well --
The Choosers of the slain!
And a sudden rising breeze
Bore, across the moaning seas,
To his ear their thrilling strain.

"There are songs in Odin's Hall
For the brave ere night to fall!
Doth the great sun hide its ray?
He must bring a wrathful day!
Sleeps the falchion in its sheath?
Swords must do the work of death!
Regner! -- Sea-king! -- thee we call! --
There is joy in Odin's Hall.
"At the feast, and in the song,
Thou shalt be remembered long!
By the green isles of the flood,
Thou hast left thy track in blood!
On the earth and on the sea,
There are those will speak of thee!
'Tis enough, -- the war-gods call, --
There is mead in Odin's Hall!

"Regner! tell thy fair-haired bride
She must slumber at thy side!
Tell the brother of thy breast
Even for him thy grave hath rest!
Tell the raven steed which bore thee,
When the wild wolf fled before thee,
We too with his lord must fall, --
There is room in Odin's Hall!

"Lo! the mighty sun looks forth --
Arm! thou leader of the North!
Lo! the mists of twilight fly --
We must vanish, thou must die!
By the sword and by the spear,
By the hand that knows no fear,
Sea-king! nobly thou shalt fall! --
There is joy in Odin's Hall!

There was arming heard on land and wave,
When afar the sunlight spread,
And the phantom forms of the tide-worn cave
With the mists of morning fled;
But at eve, the kingly hand
Of the battle-axe and brand
Lay cold on a pile of dead!





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