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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Original: Denish ballad (41 stanzas).

Translation from: Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer: A Faroëse Ballad-Cycle, E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934.

Transkription by courtesy of Jack Hart, read his annotations at Meadhall.

Grimild´s Revenge

It was proud Dame Grimild,
Bade blend the foaming mead,
& she's sent to the knights of every land,
& bidden them come with speed.
She's bidden them come, & tarry not
For truce nor yet for strife;
& therefore young Hero Hogen
Must needs lay down his life.
It was Hero Hogen
Fared forth along the strand,
& there he met the Ferryman
All on the snow-white strand.
‘ All hail to thee, thou Ferryman!
Now row me o'er the sound,
& I will give thee this golden ring,
Weigheth full fifteen pound. ’
‘ I will not ferry thee o'er the sound
For all thy gold so red,
For, an thou come to Hvenild's land,
Shalt thou be stricken dead. ’
It was Hero Hogen
That drew his sword amain,
It was the caitiff Ferryman
Whose neck he hewed in twain.
The golden ring from his arm he's given
Unto the weeping wife:
‘ Now take in friendship this gift from me
All for thy husband's life. ’
It was Hero Hogen
Fared forth along the strand,
& there he met a Mermaiden
All on the snow-white sand.
‘ All hail, thou merry Mermaiden,
Well-learned in secret lore!
An I go forth to Hvenild' s land,
Shall I return once more? ’
‘ Full many a castle fair hast thou,
& store of gold so red,
But, an thou go to Hvenild's land,
Shalt thou be stricken dead! ’
It was Hero Hogen
That drew his sword amain,
It was the beldame Mermaid
Whose neck he hewed in twain.
The bloody head he's taken,
& hurled forth into the sound;
The corse he cast thereafter,
& both sank down to ground.
Sir Grimmer & Sir Germer
They push away from shore;
Wild the storm-wind waxes,
& loud the billows roar.
Wild the storm-wind waxes,
& loud the billows thunder;
The oars of iron in Hogen's hand
Were reft & riven asunder.
The oars were riven asunder
In Hero Hogen's hand,
But with their gilded shield-rims
They steered the ship to land.
Now when to shore 'they came once more
They scoured their brands so bright;
& there stood a stately maiden
That looked upon the sight.
O slim and small her body
As lily-wand to see,
And ever the gait of her going
Was a maiden's fair and free.
And when they came to Nørberg
They stood the hold before:
'Where is the courteous porter
Should ope for us the door? ’
‘ Now here am I, the porter
Keeps watch & ward so true;
Fain would I do thine errand
An I thine errand knew. ’
Oh we are come hither from Tyde-Iand
(Soothly I speak with thee),
Dame Grimild is our sister dear,
& brethren twain are we. ’
In went that courteous porter
& stood beside the board;
Both swift & free of tongue was he,
& well could choose his word.
‘ Hither are come to the castle
Two well-born knights & bold;
The one doth bear a viol,
And one a helm of gold.
‘ Yet he beareth not the viol
To win him gold & fee;
What realm so e'er they come from,
They are of high degree. ’
It was proud Dame Grimild
Wrapped her in cloak of vair
& went into the castle-garth
To greet her brethren there.
‘ Come in, come in, my brethren,
& drink the wine so red!
& silken sheets, an ye would rest,
My maidens all shall spread. ’
It was proud Dame Grimild
Wrapped her in cloak of pall,
& went to the stone-built fortress
To seek her kempës all.
‘ So here ye sit, my kempës,
& drink the blood-red wine!
Now who will Hero Hogen slay,
Brother most dear o' mine?
‘ Whoso slays Hero Hogen
Rich guerdon he shall gain,
For he shall spend my ruddy gold,
& o'er my castles reign. ’
Up & spake a warrior,
Chief in his own countrie:
‘ Behold the hand shall wield the brand,
& win this prize of thee!
‘ Mine own right hand shall wield the brand
That strikes the Hero dead;
Then will I rule thy castles,
& spend thy gold so red.'
Up spake Folkvor Fiddleman,
And shook his iron-shod spear:
‘ Be sure that I will mark thee well
Or ever thou go from here! ’
The first stroke Folkvor struck in fight
Laid fifteen warriors low:
‘ Ha, ha, thou Folkvor Fiddleman,
Well wags thy fiddle-bow! ’
And now, so Hogen willed it,
The hides they spread in hall,
And who but Hero Hogen
Was first thereon to fall?
It was Hero Hogen
That fain would stand and fight:
‘ Forget not, Hero Hogen,
The pledge that thou didst plight!
‘ Bethink thee, Hero Hogen,
Nor let thy vow be vain,
If thou shouldst fall to field in fight,
Thou wouldst not rise again. ’
So true was Hero Hogen,
Forsworn that ne'er would be,
That there he got his death-wound,
Kneeling upon his knee.
Three champions keen he slew, I ween,
Or ever his arm did tire;
Then 'neath the sea-girt rock he sought
The Treasure of his sire.
& even in his dying hour,
That maiden fair he won
Whom men called haughty Hvenild,
& gat with her a son.
Rancke so hight that warrior,
Avenged his father bold,
For Grimild pined for lack of bread
Beside the Niflungs' gold.
In Bern, a town of Lombardy,
Long time did Rancke dwell
With many another Danish knight,
& proved his manhood well.
But his mother abode in the wave-beat isle
That beareth for aye her name;
And long will knights & nobles all
Discourse of Hvenild's fame.