The Northern Way

The Norse King's Bridal


Of two true-lovers this tale I tell,
That loved each other long and well.
(We tread the dance so featly.)

Their love it flourished as fair and free
As the branch grows green on the linden-

The knight to other lands must roam---
The lady, she must bide at home.

"I'll plant a linden by thy bower,
Leaves that beareth, and many a flower.

"And when the linden sheds its leaves,
Then shalt thou know thy true-love grieves.

"And when the tree its flowers hath shed,
Then shalt thou know thy love is dead."

When night was done and dawn was grey
The lady looked upon the brae.

"God bless the tree, so green it grows!
Well fares my love, where'er he goes!"

That heard the wily serving-maid;
Those lovers true hath she betrayed.

The serving-made, she up and spake:
"I'll spill your loves ere dawn shall break!"

The serving-maid, so false was she,
She tore the leaves from the linden-tree.

When night was done and dawn was grey
The lady looked upon the brae.

"The linden-tree hath shed its leaves---
"Full well I wot my true-love grieves.

"The linden-tree its flowers hath shed---
I wot full well my love is dead.

"And is he dead, my heart's desire,
My bower and all I'll burn with fire."

She's laid a brand her bower unto---
She's choked herself with the bolster blue.

When all the bower in a bale did stand
Her love came a-sailing back to land.

When all the bower was ashes and dust
Her love put in to the selfsame coast.

Unto his page he spake, the knight---
"Whose bower is this that burns so bright?

"If my true-love is dead, I say,
God wot, I'll die the self-same day."

Against a stone he set his hilt,
And there his heart's blood hath he spilt.
(We tread the dance so featly.)

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