The Northern Way

The Norse King's Bridal


Seven long years as a lowly squire
        I served mine own liege-lord;
But of his daughter fair to see
        They told me never a word.
(And is she glad, then rejoice.)

Ne'er did I hear a word of her,
        Nor see the lovely lass,
Till Easter-day in the morning
        When she should go to Mass.

Thus it went from Easter
        All unto Whitsuntide;
The maiden donned her fairest weed
        Unto the kirk to ride.

The maiden donned her fairest weed
        Unto the kirk to ride;
I set my saddle on my steed
        And went at the maiden's side

There, as I rode by the maiden's side,
        Like red gold shone her hair;
And every man right well might mark
        My heart was full of care.

We rode across the lee-land
        To the good greenwood amain,
And never did my hand loose hold
        Of the maiden's bridle-rein.

"Hold off, hold off, thou fair young squre,
        And do not ride so near!
Well can I see thy foolish heart
        Doth hold me all too dear."

"I may not eat, I may not drink,
        I dwell in dule and pine---
And all the night and every night,
        I dream that thou art mine.

"Good sooth, I am but a poor young squire---
        God make me rich and great!
God, give me land, as I have love,
        To be thy worthy mate!"

"Now dress thee in thy fairest weed,
        Speak not to living wight---
For I will pray my father dear,
        And he will dub thee knight.

"Then come into the laidies' bower,
        And stand thou not too near,
That never a living wight may know
        How thou dost hold me dear."

I went into the ladies bower,
        Right sore afraid was I!
I looked not at my own true love
        Lest the serving-maid should spy.

She smiled, the lovely lady,
        Beneath her veil so thin;
"Now who is he, the stranger squire,
        That comes so boldly in?"

Now thanks be to the kindly Count,
        So leal a lord was he!
He gave away his daughter dear
        My beauteous bride to be.
(And is she glad, then I rejoice.)

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