« PrécédentContinuer »
« The laureate wreath that Cecil wore (a) she
sway, “ While Spirits blest above and Men below “ Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay.
“ Thro' the wild waves as they roar
Thy steady course of honour keep,
“ And gilds the horrors of the deep."
(a) The laureate wreathe that Cecil wore. Lord Treasurer Burleigh was Chancellor of the University in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
THE FATAL SISTERS.
FROM THE NORSE-TONGUE .
[To be found in the Orcades of Thormodus Torfæus ; Hafniæ, 1697, folio: and also in Bartholinus.
Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c. In the Eleventh Century Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney Islands, went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of Dublin: the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in the action. On Christmas-day (the day of the battle) a native of Caithness in Scotland saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling women: they were all employed about a loom ; and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful Song; which, when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped Six to the North and as many to the South. These were the Valkyriur, female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic Mythology. Their name signifies Chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.]
 Even Dr. Johnson allows that Mr. Gray's “ translations of “ Northern and Welsh Poetry deserve praise. The imagery (says he) is “ preserved, perhaps often improved."
Now the Storm begins to lower,
(Haste, the loom of Hell prepare,) Iron-sleet of arrowy shower (b)
Hurtles in the darken'd air (c).
Glittring lances are the loom
Where the dusky warp we strain, Weaving many a soldier's doom,
Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane.
See the grisly texture grow!
('Tis of human entrails made) And the weights, that play below,
Each a gasping Warrior's head.
(b) Iron sleet of arrowy shower.
How quick they wheel'd, and, flying, behind them shot
Milton's Paradise Regained,
(c) Hurtles in the darken'd air.
Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar.
Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore,
Shoot the trembling cords along. Sword, that once a Monarch bore,
Keep the tissue close and strong.
Mista, black terrific Maid,
Sangrida, and Hilda, see! Join the wayward work to aid:
'Tis the woof of victory.
Ere the ruddy sun be set,
Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clatt'ring buckler meet,
Hauberk crash, and helmet ring.
(Weave the crimson web of war)
Let us go, and let us fly, Where our Friends the conflict share,
Where they triumph, where they die.
As the paths of Fate we tread,
Wading thro' th' ensanguin'd field,
Gondula, and Geira, spread
O'er the youthful King your shield.
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 (d),
Ne'er again his likeness see ;
(d) Long his loss shall Eirin weep.