The Northern Way


date uncertain

A ballad of the Shetland Islands

It was the Earl from Orkney,
And counsel of his kin sought he,
Whether he should the maiden
Free from her misery.

"If thou free the maid from her gleaming hall,
O kinsman dear of mine,
Ever while the world shall last
Thy glory still shall shine."

Home came the King,
Home from the ship's levy
The lady Hildina she was gone,
And only her stepmother there found he.

"Be he in whatever land,
This will I prove true,
He shall be hanged from the highest tree
That ever upward grew."

"If the Earl but come to Orkney,
Saint Magnus will be his aid,
And in Orkney ever he will remain -
Haste after him with speed."

The King he stood before his lady,
And a box on her ear gave he,
And all adown her lily white cheeks
The tears did flow truly.

The Earl he stood before Hildina,
And a pat on her cheek gave he, -
"O which of us two would thou have lie dead,
Thy father dear or me?"

"I would rather see my father doomed,
And all his company,
If so my own true lord and I
May long rule in Orkney.

"Now do thou take in hand thy steed,
and ride thou down to the strand;
And do thou greet my sire full blithely,
And gladly will he clasp thy hand."

The King he now made answer -
So sore displeased was he -
"In payment for my daughter
What wilt thou give to me?"

"Thirty marks of the red gold,
This to thee will I give,
And never shalt thou lack a son
As long as I may live."

Now long stood the King,
And long on the Earl gazed he : -
"O thou art worth a host of sons;
Thy boon is granted thee."

© 2000 Hringari Oðinssen

Index  |  Previous page  |  Next page