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Till Eric Thurlson kept his Yule-tide

feast : And thither came he, called


the rest, Silent, lone-niiuded, a church-door to

mirth : But, ere deep draughts forbade such

serious song

he sat,

Once young as he, now ancient like the

gods, And safe as stars in all men's memories. Strange sagas read he in their sea-blue

eyes Cold as the sea, grandly compassion

less; Like life, they made him eager and

then mocked. Nay, broad awake, they would not let

him be; They shaped themselves gigantic in the

mist, They rose far-beckoning in the lamps

of heaven, They whispered invitation in the winds, And breath came from them, mightier

than the wind, To strain the lagging sails of his resolve, Till that grew passion which before was

wish, And youth seemed all too costly to be

staked On the soiled cards wherewith men

played their game, Letting. Time pocket up the larger life, Lost with base gain of raiment, food,

nd roof. “What helpeth lightness of the feet?"

they said, “ Oblivion runs with swifter foot than

they ; Or strength of sinew? New men come

as strong, And those sleep nameless; or renown

in war? Swords grave no name on the long

memoried rock But moss shall hide it; they alone who

wring Some secret purpose from the unwilling

gods Survive in song for ye; a ittle while To vex, like us, the dreams of later men, Ourselves a dream, and dreamlike all

we did.”


As the grave Skald might chant, nor

aiter blush, Then Eric looked at Thorwald, where Mute as a cloud amid the stormy hall, And said: “O Skald, sing now an

olden song, Such as our fathers heard who led great

lives; And, as the bravest on a shield is borne Along the waving host that shouts hiin

king, So rode their thrones upon the throng

ing seas!” Then the old man arose ; white-haired

he stood, White-bearded, and with eyes that

looked afar From their still region of perpetual

snow, Beyond the little smokes and stirs of His head was bowed with gathered

flakes of years, As winter bends the sea-foreboding

pine, But something triumphed in his brow Which whoso saw it could not see and

crouch: Loud rang the emptied beakers as he

mused, Brooding his eyried thoughts; then, as

an eagle Circles smooth-winged above the wind

vexed woods, So wheeled his soul into the air of song High o'er the stormy hall; and thus he

sang: “The fletcher for his arrow-shaft picks

out Wood closest-grained, long-seasoned,

straight as light; And from a quiver full of such as these The wary bowman, matched against his


and eye,


THORWALD'S LAY. So Biörn went comfortless but for his

thought, And by his thought the more discom


Long doubting, singles yet once more

the best. Who is it needs such flawless shafts as

Fate? What archer of his arrows is so choice, Or hits the white so surely? They are

men, The chosen of her quiver; nor for her Will every reed suffice, or cross-grained

stick At random from life's vulgar fagot

plucked : Such answer household ends ; but she

will have Souls straight and clear, of toughest

fibre, sound Down to the heart of heart; from these

; she strips All needless stuff, all sapwood, seasons

them, From circumstance untoward feathers

plucks Crumpled and cheap, and barbs with

iron will: The hour that passes is her quiver-boy: When she draws bow, 't is not across

the wind, Nor 'gainst the sun her haste-spatched

arrow sings, For sun and wind have plighted faith to

her : Ere men have heard the sinew twang,

behold In the butt's heart her trembling mes

senger! "The song is old and simple that I

sing: But old and simple are despised as

cheap, Though hardest to achieve of human

things : Good were the days of yore, when men

were tried By ring of shields, as now by ring of

words; But while the gods are left, and hearts

of men, And unlocked ocean, still the days are

good. Still o'er the earth hastes Opportunity, Seeking the hardy soul that seeks for

her. Be not abroad, nor deaf with household

That chatter loudest as they mean the

least; Swift-willed is thrice-willed ; late means

nevermore ; Impatient is her foot, nor turns again." He ceased; upon his bosom sank his

beard Sadly, as one who oft had seen her pass Nor stayed her: and forthwith the

frothy tide Of interrupted wassail roared along; But Biörn, the son of Heriulf, sat apart Musing, and, with his eyes upon the fire, Saw shapes of arrows, lost as soon as “A ship,” he muttered, “is a wingëd

bridge That leadeth every way to man's desire, And ocean the wide gate to manful

luck"; And then with that resolve his heart

was bent, Which, like a humming shaft, through

many a stripe Of day and night, across the unpath

wayed seas Shot the brave prow that cut on Vinland

sands The first rune in the Saga of the West.


III. GUDRIDA'S PROPHECY. Four weeks they sailed, a speck in sky

shut seas, Life, where was never life that knew

itself, But tumbled lubber-like in blowing

whales; Thought, where the like had never been

before Since Thought primeval brooded the

abyss; Alone as men were never in the world. They saw the icy foundlings of the sea, White cliffs of silence, beautiful by day, Or looming, sudden-perilous, at night In monstrous hush ; or sometimes in

the dark The waves broke ominous with paly

gleams Crushed by the prow in sparkles of


cold fire.

Them waits the New Land;
They shail subdue it,
Leaving their sons' sons
Space for the body,
Space for the soul.

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Leaving their sons' sons All things save song-craft, Plant long in growing, Thrusting its tap-root Deep in the Gone.

Then can'e green stripes of sea that

proinised land Rat brought it not, and on the thirtieth

day Low in the West were wooded shores

like cloud. They shouted as men shout with sud

den hope; But Biörn was silent, such strange loss

there is Between the dream's fulfilment and the

dream, Such sad abatement in the goal attained. Then Gudrida, that was a prophetess, Rapt with strange influence from At

lantis sang : Her words: the vision was the dream

ing shore's.
Looms there the New Land :
Locked in the shadow
Long the gods shut it,
Niggards of newness
They, the o'er-old.

Here men shall grow up Strong from self-helping ; Eyes for the present Bring they as eagles', Blind to the Past.

They shall make over Creed, law, and custom; Driving-men, doughty Builders of empire, Builders of men.

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Pick of all kindreds,
King's blood shall theirs be,
Shoots of the eldest
Stock upon Midgard,
Sons of the


Doubt not, my Northmen ; Fate loves the fearless ; Fools, when their roof-tree Falls, 'hink it doomsday; Firm stands the sky.

Over the ruin
See I the promise ;
Crisp waves the cornfield,
Peace-walled, the homestead
Waits open-doored.

There lies the New Land;
Yours to behold it,
Not to possess it;
Slowly Fate's perfect
Fulness shall come.

Here shall a realm rise
Mighty in manhood;
Justice and Mercy
Here set a stronghold
Safe without spear.
Weak was the Old World,
Wearily war-fenced ;
Out of its ashes,
Strong as the morning,
Springeth the New.
Beauty of promise,
Promise of beauty,
Safe in the silence
Sleep thou, till cometh
Light to thy lids!
Thee shall awaken
Flame from the furnace,
Bath of all brave ones,
Cleanser of conscience,
Welder of will.

Then from your strong loins
Seed shall be scattered,
Men to the marrow,
Wilderness tamers,
Walkers of waves.

Jealous, the old gods. Shut it in shadow, Wisely they ward it, Egg of the serpent, Bane to them all.

Stronger and sweeter New gods shall seek it Fill it with man-folk Wise for the future. Wise from the past.

Lowly shall love thee,
Thee, open-handed !
Stalwart shall shield thee,
Thee, worth their best blood,
Waif of the West !

Then shall come singers,
Singing no swan-song,
Birth-carols, rather,
Meet for the man child
Mighty of bone.

Here all is all men's,
Save only Wisdom;
King he that wins her;
Him hail they helmsman,
Highest of heart.
Might makes no master
Here any longer;
Sword is not swayer ;
Here e'en the gods are
Selfish no more.
Walking the New Earth,
Lo, a divine One
Greets all men godlike,
Calls them his kindred,
He, the Divine.


BREAKER. Old events have modern meanings:

only that survives Of past history which finds kindred in

all hearts and lives. Mahmood once,

the idol-breaker, spreader of the Faith, Was at Sumnat tempted sorely, as the

legend saith. In the great pagoda's centre, monstrous

and abhorred, Granite on a throne of granite, sat the

temple's lord.

Is it Thor's hammer Rays in his right hand ? Weaponless walks he ; It is the White Christ, Stronger than Thor.

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power suck

Mahmood paused a moment, silenced

by the silent face That, with eyes of stone unwavering,

awed the ancient place. Then the Brahmins knelt before him,

by his doubt made bold, Pledging for their idol's ransom count

less gems and gold. | Gold was yellow dirt to Mahmood, but

of precious use,
Since from it the roots of

a potent juice.
“Were yon stone alone in question,

this would please me well, Mahinood said; "but, with the block

there, I my truth must sell. “Wealth and rule slip down with For

tune, as her wheel turns round; H: who keeps his faith, he only cannot

be discrowned. “ Little were a change of station, loss

of life or crown, But the wreck were past retrieving if

the Man fell down." So his iron mace he lifted, smote with

might and main, And the idol, on the pavement tum

bling, burst in twain. Luck obeys the downright striker ;

from the hollow core, Fifty times the Brahmins' offer deluged

all the floor.

The summer day he spent in questful

round, And many a reed he marred, but never

found A conjuring-spell to free the imprisoned

sound; At last his vainly wearied limbs he laid Beneath a sacied laurel's flickering

shade, And sleep about his brain her cobweb

wound. Then strode the mighty Mother through

his dreams, Saying: “The reeds along a thousand

streams Are mine, and who is he that plots and

schemes To snare the melodies wherewith my

breath Sounds through the double pipes of Life

and Death, Atoning what to men mad discord

seems? He seeks not me, but I seek oft in

vain For him who shall my voiceful reeds

constrain, And make them utter their melodious

pain ; He flies the immortal gift, for well he

knows His life of life must with its overflows Flood the unthankful pipe, nor come

again. “Thou fool, who dost my harmless

subjects wrong, 'T is not the singer's wish that makes

the song; The rhythmic beauty wanders dumb,

how long,



The Bardling came where by a river

grew The pennoned reeds, that, as the west

wind blew, Gleamed and sighed plaintively, as if

they knew What music slept enchanted in each

stem, Till Pan should choose some happy one

of them, And with wise lips enlife it through and


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