Tegnér's Fridthjof's Saga
“Rest not here, O king! the
ground too hard and cold
a couch would be;
Heavy sleep would follow; rise, regain thy halls, led back
“Sleep,” said Ring, “like the other gods, when least
expected, comes; my guest
Surely will not grudge hsi host one balmy hour’s un-
Fridthjof now his rich-wrought mantle, lossing, on the
green turf laid,
And upon this knees secure, his head the white-haired
Heroes so, on war-shield pillowed — hushed the battle’s
wild alarm, —
Peaceful slumber; so rests the infant, cradled on its
Calm he sleeps. But hark! a bird, all coal-black, sings
from yonder bough:
“Haste thee, Fridthjof, slay the dotard! end at once
your quarrel now!
Take his queen; she’s thine; her sacred kiss of plighted
troth she gave.
Here no human eye can see thee; silent is the dark,
Fridthjof listens. Hark! a snow-white bird then sings
from yonder bough:
“Though no human eye should see thee, Odin’s eye
would see it. How!
Wouldst thou, scoundrel, murder sleep! shall helpless
age thy bright sword stain?
Know, whate’er thou winnest, hero-fame at least thou
wilt not gain.”
Thus contending, sang the birds: but Fridthjof seized his
And with horror threw it from him, far into the gloom-
Down to Nastrand flies the coal-black tempter; but, light
wings his stay,
Like a harp-tone warbling, hieth the other sunward quick
Straight awakes then the aged sleeper. “Sweet, indeed,
my rest hath been;
Well they slumber in the shade whom warrior guards
with war-blade keen.
But where is they war-blade, stranger? lightnings’s brother’s
left thy side;
Who has parted friends that never from each other should
“Little boots it,” answered Fridthjof; “ne’er the North
I brandless knew;
Sharp, O king, the sword’s tongue is. Yes! words of
peace it speaks but few.
Imps of darkness haunt the steel, — hell-spirits sprung
Sleep itself they spare not, — and e’en silver locks but
“Youth I slept not! only would I thus thy hero-soul
Fools may th; untried man or sword all fondly trust; so
will not I!
Thou art Fridthjof! I have known thee since thou first
my halls didst find;
Ring, though old, has long preceiv’d his clever guest’s
most secret mind.
“Wherefore to my palace creptst thou! — nameless and in
Wherefore, but to make an aged chieftain’s bride thy
Never, Fridthjof, ‘mid glad guests her station honor
Sun-bright is her shield, — her open face would spurn
“Fame a Fridthjof’s exploits rumored, terror both to gods
Desp’rate, careless which, that viking shields would cleave
or temple bren!
Soon, methought, this chief will march with upborne
shield against my land;
Soon he came, — but hid in tatters, and a beggar’s staff