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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~


Close crowded, side by side,
Cold Helheim’s shadowy folk,
Aghast, the strangers eyed,
With glazed and fearful look:
And still, as Thor drew near,
Shuddering, his path they fled,
Their shivering forms were bare,
Snakes o’er them venom shed.

Between two rocks enclosed,
At th’ end stood Hela’s throne:
Of heap’d up skulls composed,
And many a mouldering bone:
There sate the spectre queen,
A monster, dire to view,
Her body wither’d, lean,
Distort, half white, half blue.

A naked bone she held
In her lank, clammy hand,
Tore which the pale ghosts quail’d;
On the lone ocean strand,
In the moon’s magic light,
Long, bleaching, it had lain;
Now serves the queen of night
T’ assert her silent reign.
Save hollow, deep-drawn sighs
No sound the cavern gave;
All round damp fogs arise,
Th’ air smelt as fresh-stirr’d grave.
For light of cheerful sun,
Three funeral tapers glared,
By each a skeleton
Its fleshless form uprear’d.

Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger
(1779-1850)      Short Biography of Adam Oehlenschläger

Translation by Grenville Pigott, in "A Manual of Scandinavian Mythology, Containing a
Popular Account of the Two Eddas and of the Religion of Odin" (London, 1839)