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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts

Part Seventh

Thor and the Daughters of Aegir

On their azure pillows lying,
O'er them distant murmurs dying,
Ocean caves beneath replying
From mermaid's horn
To echoes borne
On winged breeze
O'er land and seas
From Asgard, Midgard, Jötunheim.
Gently rocking to and fro,
Aegir's daughters ceaseless go ;
Mantles blue the maidens wear,
Snow-white bosoms gleaming bare,
Sea-grass green their floating hair,
Still onward rolling, keeping time.

Who so fair as the waves,
Aegir's daughters.
Dancing waters !
Lapping lightly on the land,
Sporting softly on the strand,
Chasing one another.
Then the breeze, their brother,
Ruffles their crests,
Scatters their spray,
While their billowy breasts.
Heaving high in their play,
Swell and throb ! In coral caves
Reigns King Aegir,
Feasts the Aesir,
Feasts he, too, the drownéd Ones
Hither brought by Ran, his queen,
Swathed in shrouds of sea-weed green,
Fringed with shells ; while still the sheen
Of pallid limbs and whit'ning bones.
E'er ghastly through the meshes comes
Of the net, in which each day
Unwary sailors catches she,
Grim Sea King's guests below to be.

Who so fierce as the waves,
When, from deep ocean caves,
Aegir shall call,
Shall summon all
To bear his fury on high !
Madly raging, roaring, lashing,
'Gainst steep crags in wild wrath crashing,
Up to Heav'n their spray-clouds dashing,
Mingling sea and sky !

Hither comes Thor,
The Thunderer,
To sport with those maids at rest.
Sleepily lies each maiden calm,
Gently drifting, with snow-white arm
Folded on billowy breast ;
Foam-wreaths over the floating hair,
Swelling surges murmuring e'er
Lullaby songs that soothe to rest.

But fierce Thor,
The Thunderer,
Loves no calm !
Peace has no charm
To lull his soul to rest.
Comes he hither to sport an hour.
In Jötun's land,
With mighty hand,
His Aesir power
Rang in the rock
In tempest shock,
And raised dread fear in giant's breast.
What Odin sought,
That strong Thor wrought ;
And, now returned.
For sport he burned
E'er yet he reached Bilskirnir's bower.

From their rest the maids are waking,
Dimpling smiles o'er soft cheeks breaking,
Sparkling showers from fingers shaking, —
Foamy fingers, light and fair ;
While bright Day from car of gold
Scatters gems of price untold
To bedeck each virgin rare.
Clinging, clasping in caresses.
To his breast the great God presses
Each soft maid, while floating tresses
Wrap him in embraces cold.

Burning Thor, with kisses fierce,
Will their frozen bosoms pierce,
Seizes in enfolding arms ;
Filled with passion, strong desire,
Lustful flames e'er mounting higher,
Presses wildly yielding forms,
Riots on their sparkling charms.
Lightly still the maids caress him.
Closer to their bosoms press him ;
Strange regrets and vague alarms
Wake too late ! now, filled with storms
Of wild wrath, they vainly try
From his mighty arms to fly.
More gently does their lover Thor,
To lie at peace the maids implore ;
But struggling, rising in their rage.
While all the ocean powers engage
To free them from the Thunderer,
At length his wrath they rouse ;
Then ends in strife the rude carouse.
Fiercely the billows strive,
Madly they toss and writhe,
'Neath towers of froth they hide ;
While all the ocean wide
Is lashed in boiling surge.
Aegir sits trembling on his throne,
For power to match with Thor is none.
Now, from their towers the maids emerge,
Now, driven back by tempest scourge.
Rough, wild waters !
True Jötun daughters !
Roaring, wrestling, battling, writhing,
Evil powers 'gainst Aesir striving ;
Now, lost 'neath walls of foaming froth,.
Now, darting swift high billows forth !
Blinded by the spray they pour.
Deafened by their sullen roar.
Mighty Thor,
The Thunderer,
Flashes lightnings, rolls his thunder.
Tears their billowy arms asunder.
Undoes their fiercely clinging clasp.
Upholds them firmly in his grasp.
Upholds them high
'Neath lowering sky,
Rampant raging, shrieking shrill,
Holds them powerless at his will ;
Still the maidens higher lifts.
Dashes 'gainst the frowning cliffs, —
Dashes with his gathered strength !
His wrath appeased, he turns at length.
And muttering in his red beard low,
While glaring still from bended brow.
Home to Bilskirnir wends he slow ;
With mocking laughter doth he go.

Julia Clinton Jones, 1878