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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, and roof.
"What helpeth lightness of the feet?" they said,
"Oblivion runs with swifter foot than they;
Or strength of sinew? New men come
Till Eric Thurlson kept his Yule-tide feast:
And thither came he, called among the rest,
Silent, lone-minded, a church-door to mirth:
But, ere deep draughts forbade such serious song
As the grave Skald might chant, nor after blush,
Then Eric looked at Thorwald, where he sat,
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 hin king,
So rode their thrones upon the thronging seas!"
Then the old man arose; white-haired he stood,
White-bearded, and with eyes that looked afar
From their still region of perpetual
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.
Pick of all kindreds,
King's blood shall theirs be,
Stock upon Midgard,
Them waits the New Land;
Leaving their sons' sons All things save song-craft, Plant long in growing, Thrusting its tap-root Deep in the Gone.
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.
Here are no singers;
Loathsome is change.
Those the old gods hate,
These hate the old gods,
Here the wolf Fenrir
Here the gods' Twilight
Doubt not, my Northmen ;
Over the ruin
See I the promise;
There lies the New Land;
Then from your strong loins
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.
Here all is all men's,
Might makes no master
Walking the New Earth,
Is it Thor's hammer Rays in his right hand? Weaponless walks he; It is the White Christ, Stronger than Thor.
Here shall a realm rise
Weak was the Old World,
Beauty of promise,
Thee shall awaken
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 countless gems and gold.
Gold was yellow dirt to Mahmood, but
of precious use, Since from it the roots of power suck a potent juice.
"Were yon stone alone in question,
this would please me well, Mahmood said; "but, with the block
there, I my truth must sell.
"Wealth and rule slip down with For
tune, as her wheel turns round; He 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 tumbling, burst in twain.
Luck obeys the downright striker; from the hollow core, Fifty times the Brahmins' offer deluged all the floor.
THE Bardling came where by a river grew
The pennoned reeds, that, as the westwind blew,
Gleamed and sighed plaintively, as if they knew
What music slept enchanted in each
Till Pan should choose some happy one of them,
And with wise lips enlife it through and through.