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must die some time or other ! Fri- At this comparatively polished court, thioff, though he avails himself of the (that of Orkney,) the hero is courproposal, is too much of a gentleman teously invited to pass the winteractually to decapitate such a conscien- and complies. tious antagonist-so they shake hands The first breath of Spring, howamicably, and go to court together, ever, wakes thoughts of home in FriAganthyr receives him graciously, and thioff's breast. He thanks his host, with a refinement of diplomacy, which
The west wind sighs might do honour to more civilized in the sails like nightingales," and times, while he declines paying any“ Ægia's daughters, the waves, leap tribute to Frithioff's master, gives invitingly before the rudder.”—Here him, as the son of his old friend follow a few beautiful lines, descripThorsten, a costly purse, full of gold, tive of a wanderer's return to his nato be disposed of as he thinks proper. tive scenes.
How sweet to the rover, from distant land,
Frithioff first reaches the land at While standing thus “ shelterless,' Baldur's grove, but the falcon alone beside his paternal hearth, he sees flies to meet him on the silent shore. coming towards him his foster father, It perches on his shoulder, from which Hilding. He hails him, amid the no caresses can lure it,-flaps its white ruins of Framnäs, bitterly remarking, wings in restless anxiety, and seems that thus, in the absence of the noble to whisper in his ear, some fondly- eagle, base hands invade his lofty treasured message ; but its language, nest. He guesses the author of this alas ! is unintelligible. Frithioff next desolation, the cowardly Helga, who, steers for his rich inheritance of cruel as cowardly, had consoled himFramnäs; but what a prospect awaits self, when flying as a fugitive before him there! He “ rubs his eyes, and his conquering invader Ring, by comshades them as one blinded by the mitting to the flames the whole worldsun,” for all before them is havoc and ly goods of his absent ambassador. devastation. In vain he seeks the More painful tidings still, however, hearth of his fathers, or the cradle of await poor Frithioff! his infancy. His home is a shapeless The conqueror, having allowed Helheap of ashes !
ga the option of atoning for his former His faithful dog Bran, and his contempt, by giving him his sister in milk-white steed, with the golden marriage, or forfeiting his kingdom, mane, "whose hoof is the rein-deer's, Ingeborg had been, as a matter of and its neck the swan’s,” come run- course, sacrificed, and had followed her ning up to him, and (familiar, but ancient bridegroom to Norway. The delightful idea!' difficult to be ren- first emotions of the forsaken lover are dered into English,) search his hands too natural to be charged with infor the accustomed" bread, which the justice wretched Frithioff, amid this scene of former plenty, has not the means of bestowing.
“ Oh! woman!” he cried, with bitter smile,
With the fleeting smile of an April morn,
He continues his passionate invectives against the sex, and resolutions of a roving and desperate course of vengeance on the species, when good old Hilding places the matter in a new light, by an affecting account of poor Ingeborg's forced nuptials. He describes beautifully her silent dignified grief, confided to his parental bosom alone ; " as the sea-bird, mortally wounded, sceks its kindred element to dye with its heart's blood.”
“ A victim am I,” she calmly sigh'd,
He then describes her riding to her in his unhallowed mood, to attack him splendid bridal on a black steed,“pale in it during the ceremony. as a ghost on a dark cloud.” While The burning of the temple is a grand she prayed long and fervently to Bal- picture of the simultaneous fury of dur, all around wept—she alone was human passion and a devastating elecalm. The cruel Helga, seeing her ment. “The blood-red sun of midnight bracelet, the parting gift of Frithioff, tarries behind the hill,” and solemn snatched it from her arm, and hung twilight reigns around. The holy pile it on the statue of Baldur. The old (Baldur's symbol) blazes high on the foster-father had drawn his sword to consecrated hearth. The priests, aged avenge the insult to his nursling, even men, with snow-white beards, stand on his sovereign, when Ingeborg, pray- gazing on the flame, brandishing their ing to be spared this additional pang, stone knives in their ruthless hands. had committed her cause to the Father The king, his crown laid aside, keeps of all, who would sooner or later watch beside the altar, when the clang avenge her.
of arms is heard in the grove, and the “ Vengeance !” exclaims Frithioff, avenging voice of Frithioff—surroundtransported with fury ; “I, too, will ing the temple with his companions, taste its pleasures ;” and recollecting and dooming its inmates to inevitable that Helga will soon preside at a fes destruction. He thus defies the pusiltival, in Baldur's temple, he resolves, lanimous and shrinking Helga.
Here is the tribute at thy behest,
Our battle shall be without helm or shield,
Eye not the door with look of despair,
On the once bright cheek of my youthful bride !
bidding from Aganthyr. He disdains to pollute his sword with the blood of such a recreant, but perceiving on the sacred image the well-known bracelet, he flies with sacrilegious eagerness to resume possession of it. The gold and the arm seem inseparable—they long resist his efforts—at length they give way, but, in the struggle, the image of the God itself falls on the burning pile. All is instantly in a blaze.
Hark! how it crackles ! the flame mounts high,
“Open! open ! let all come out,
In vain does Frithioff, heedless of adopting the sea henceforth for his danger, sit amid his own wild work, troubled dwelling and early grave. directing undismayed the efforts of Helga pursues him with his ships, his companions. The devouring ele- but no sooner does the fight become ment conquers—the red gold drops serious, than the recreant king swims in the burning sand, and the silver ashore, and bends his bow, which, vessels melt away. The consecrated long rusted by disuse, fortunately grove shares the common devastation breaks. Frithioff stands waving a
--the sun sinks red in a glowing lance, which he could easily aim at sea--all is at length reduced to ashes the King ; but his shaft, like his sword, -and Frithioff weeps, in the grey
disdains to become a craven's execudawn, over his already repented sacri- tioner, and he leaves the caitiff to lege.
merited infamy. He then pursues his Morning sees him a conscience- course, addressing a simple and beaustricken and sad fugitive ; taking an tiful adieu to all the objects familiar eternal leave of his native land, and to him from infancy.
Renowned North ! Earth's brightest star !
Eve's radiant eye! thou Moon so bright,
Ye bowers so dear, where I loved to stray,
With a blighted fame, o'er the wide, wide sea,
Next comes the Code of the Sea-Kings, a curious document, probably strictly founded on tradition, and full of mingled heroism, rude honor, and doubtful morality, mixed up with no little worldly, or rather watery wisdom. A specimen will suffice.
“Stretch no awning over thy vessel, nor build thee an house on shore, lest thine enemy surround thee unawares. The Sea-King sleeps on his shield, and the sky is his blue tent. When the storm is mightiest spread thy sail highest let go, let go! He is a coward who furlsdo thou rather sink in the whirlpool ! Cherish woman on land, but banish Freya herself from on board; for her dimple is the most perilous of graves, and her flowing hair the worst of nets.” Or thus in verse
If a trader thou hail, unharm'd let him sail,
When the feeble his ransom has told,
And thy steel is well worthy his gold.
But the foe, if thou board, when fighting's the word,
And blood in good earnest is spilt-
Thou must quit us--so do as thou wilt!
Implore thy compassion in vain-
Whom a tyrant alone would disdain.
In the practice of this gentleman- Ingeborg his sole object in life. Biorn, like, though piratical code, the cham- in undisguised astonishment that he pions" sail and sail,” (as the old bal- should abjure war and glory for a lads have it,) till at length they reach woman, offers to bring him such prethe soft shores of Greece—and here cious articles in any number to choose poor Frithioff is painfully reminded from-remarking somewhat uncourof the happiness which he had in teously, that the world, God wot, "is these distant isles endeavoured to in. but too full of them !" duce Ingeborg to share. With these Frithioff answers, that Biorn, wise ideas all his love revives, and he can as he is in council, faithful in friendno longer resist his desire, after three ship, and brave in peril, a true woryears' exile, to know whether her me- shipper of Thor and Odin, is destinmory is equally faithful, and how she ed, sooner or later, to be a votary of lives with her old monarch. He is Freya also ; and advises him, not, by weary of renown, and loaded with idle jests, to exasperate the goddess to despised gold; he pines for a sight of exercise her irresistible power upon his father's grave, and of the tree he him. He determines, perhaps from planted over it. The flag at his mast- well-founded distrust of Biorn's forhead points due north, and his heart bearance, to go alone with his good hails the omen.
sword on his pacific enterprise ; and Winter overtakes the mariners, and, bidding adieu to his friend, who urged by necessity as well as incli- swears to avenge any injury that may nation, Frithioff resolves to pass it at befall him, departs. the Court of Ring; to see once more Frithioff finds his aged rival and his bis betrothed, and hear the music Queen celebrating the festival, which, of her voice. Biorn, (whose ruder among the Pagans of the North, preand more downright character is fine- ceded that of Christmas,—“ sitting ly contrasted throughout with his side by side, like Spring and Aufriend's), concludes it can only be tumn. He enters the ball disguised with hostile intentions towards his in a huge bear-skin, and leaning on rival; and offers his services either, his staff, like some ancient beggarmore piratico, to set fire to the old yet “taller, even thus bent, than King's palace, and carry off his bride; those around him.”—He takes the or, to do the thing more genteelly, poor man's place near the door, till, defy him and all his peers to single being mocked and pointed at by some combat on the ice, and defeat them, of the young lords, he inflicts on one of course. “It's a' ane to honest of them a chastisement, which draws Dandie Biorn !"
the old King's attention. On being Frithioff, on the contrary, depre- closely interrogated, he gives an enig. cates the very thought of conflict, and matical account of himself, which so shudders at the ominous word “fire.” pleases the King, that he invites him Peace, peace, is now all his earthly to his table, and requests him to be ambition, and a solemn farewell to more communicative.
this casts his slough, and stands con- Northern warriors! And what does fest “in his blue velvet mantle and Ingeborg think? How feels the poor silver girdle a hand broad,” one of the sacrificed bride ? best dressed, as well as best looking of
Then mantled the blood in her cheek of snow,
The trumpet now commands si- ing his sword on the oaken-table, lence, and the pious old monarch while the hall resounds with the blow, (little knowing who his new and high- swears, aided by it alone, to defend ly favoured guest is) vows over the his cousin, if need be. The King, head of the dedicated victim, a gal rather pleased than offended by his lant and gaily adorned steer—with the guest's plain speaking, only bids his assistance of the Gods—to vanquish fair wife “fill him a horn of her best Frithioff, their common enemy. Fri- wine,” and invite the stranger to pass thioff, upon this, declares himself re- the winter. She fulfils her task in lated to the threatened Lero, and fling- beautiful confusion.
And as with eye averted, the horn she trembling pass'd,
Frithioff, to her secret joy, drinks the faithful guest skating beside the off at a draught a horo which no two sledge, averts the danger, by lifting degenerate men of the poet's day could sledge, rein-deer, and all
, backward manage. The songs of bards, and from the edge of a fearful chasm, into a deep carouse, conclude this ancient which they were fast hastening. The festival.
King laconically, but expressively, The feast is succeeded by a sledge praises the deed, by exclaiming that party on the ice, during which the is the mighty Frithioff himself could old King, notwithstanding Frithioff's not have done it better!” He returns warnings, exposes himself and his to court ashamed, and winter passes consort in a very boyish manner ; but without farther disclosure.
Spring returns, the birds are twittering,
Green leaves glitter in the sun,
Now enfranchised, gaily run.
Roses red their prison break,
Hope, and joy, and vigour wake.
The old King will go a-hunting,
And the Queen must with him wend.
All the rich-clad court attend.
Palfreys throng the dusty way,
Screaming, hails the coming prey.
Yonder comes the pageant's wonder !
Wretched Frithioff, shun the sight;
Sits the Queen on palfrey white.