The Northern Way

The Norse King's Bridal


The King sits up in Ribe,
        Drinking red wine;
He's sent to all his Danish knights
        Of noble line.

(So daintily danced he, Hagen!)

"Stand up now, all my meinè,
        And knights so bold!
Tread ye for me a merry dance
        All on the windy wold."

Listed him there to dance,
        The Danish King;
With them went haughty Hagen,
        The round to sing.

The Queen awoke from slumber,
        And laughed so low---
"Which one of all my maidens
        Strikes the harp so?"

"Nay, none of thy merry maidens
        Strikes the harp-strings;
That is haughty Hagen,
        So sweet that sings."

"Stand up now, all my ladies!
        Wreathe the red rose!
We will fare forth, to see
        How the dance goes."

Forth rode the Queen o' Danes,
        In scarlet clad---
With her went many a dainty dame,
        And damsel glad.

Withersins rode the Queen
        Around the wold;
There she saw haughty Hagen,
        That knight so bold.
It was haughty Hagen
        Spake up so free;
"Listeth thee now, my gracious dame,
        To dance with me?"

Up stands he, haughty Hagen,
        All with the Queen to dance---
Good sooth, they there made merry
        With Gay pastance.

Up and spake the little maid
        In kirtle blue;
"Beware, beware! for traitors' eyes
        Watch all ye do!"

"I heed them not, those traitors---
        God grant them dule and pine!---
Would God that haughty Hagen
        Might e'er be mine!

"Dearer to me is Hagen,
        In tunic old,
Than e'er is he, the King o' Danes,
        In crown of gold!

"Dearer to me is Hagen,
        Poor and alone,
Than e'er is he, the King o' Danes,
        Upon his throne!"

It was the King o' Danes
        Did speak and say:
"What listeth thus the queen
        To dance and play?

Better to sit in the ladies' bower
        With harp of gold
Than thus to stand by Hagen's side
        On the green wold."

Up and spake the little maid
        In kirtle red;
"Hast heard, hast heard, my gracious dame,
        What the King said?"

"So newly have I here begun
        The merry dance to trace,
The King right well may tarry
        A little space!"

Up and spake the little lad
        In purple weed;
"The King o' Danes is riding home---
        Take head, take head!"

Shame fell on haughty Hagen
        And all his lore!
The Queen sits in the ladies' bower,
        And sighs so sore.

(So daintily danced he, Hagen!)

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