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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

The Giant

Dwell in mountain caverns,
Deep-hid from daylight.
Where never Odin's eye can
Pierce through the darkness.
I hate the white-skinned strangers,
The sons of Askur,
Who bow the knee to gods that
My heart despises.

My joy it is to ride on
The storm at midnight.
I trample down the harvest,
The ships I shatter.
I lead astray the wand'rer
Who seeks his cabin.
And I exult to see him
Quake at my laughter.

But I can bear the day too.
Though ne'er so dazzling,
If the Valkyries wave their
Blood-stained pinions.
How fine! when bow-sped swallows
Flit o'er the army,
And broadswords chill full many
A heart hot-beating.

"What wouldst thou with innocence,
Daughter of Embla?"
See! in the troll's embraces
The bloom is withered.
"Why shouldst thou fight for country,
youthful Norseman?"
He sold his father's grave for
A golden pittance.

A sage sat in a valley
And spoke such wisdom
As Odin might have heard from
The head of Mimer.
1 flung a mist around him
As there he pondered.
How fine! The fool denies now
The great All-Father.

I hate the dreams of poets,
Those Valhall fancies
Of fatherland and honor,
Of gods and virtue.
I can't entice the fool in
His cloudland roaming;
Yet there's no need: on earth he
Is disregarded.

Thor comes now with his hammer,
I smile to see him;
I set a mountain peak on
My head for helmet.
Let heroes come to fight me,
Let shine the sunlight!
For Evil is immortal
Even as Good is.

Esaias Tegner, Swedish poet (1782-1846)

From: "Anthology of Swedish lyrics from 1750 to 1915",
publ. 1917, New York, The American-Scandinavian foundation

Translated by

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