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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Runic Verses

O the force of Runic verses,
   O the mighty strength of song
Cannot baffle all the curses
   Which to mortal state belong.

Slaughter’d chiefs, that buried under
   Heaps of marble, long have lain,
Song can rend your tomb asunder,
   Give ye life and strength again.

When around his dying capture,
   Fierce, the serpent draws his fold,
Song can make him, wild with rapture,
   Straight uncoil, and bite the mould.

When from keep and battled tower,
   Flames to heaven upward strain,
Song has o’er them greater power,
   Than the vapours dropping rain.

It can quench the conflagration
   Striding o’er the works of art;
But nor song nor incantation
   Can appease love’s cruel smart.

O the force of Runic verses,
   O the mighty strength of song
Cannot baffle all the curses
   Which to mortal state belong.

George Henry Borrow (1803–1881), writer and traveller
From: "Romantic Ballads translated from the Danish; and Miscellaneous Pieces"

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