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* Doctor Hicks' literal prose Translation in his Thesaurus Septentrionalis, of this ancient Norse Poem, is here given to gratify the reader's curiosity; also to show that it is used only as an outline, and that the following Poem is a bold Paraphrase, not a Translation. The expressions in Dr. Hicks' prose, have a vulgar familiarity, injurious to the sublimity of the original conception. A close translation, in English verse, will be found in a valuable collection of Runic Odes, by the ingenious and learned Mr. Mathias. After his example, some slight changes have been made in the names, for their better accommodation to the verse.


[] Hervor. "Awake, Argantyr! Hervor, the Daughter of thee and Sauserlama, doth awaken thee! Give me out of the tomb the hardened sword which the Dwarfs made for Sauserlama."
1 ARGANTYR, wake! to thee I call,
2 Hear from thy dark sepulchral hall!
3 'Mid the Forest's inmost gloom,
4 Thy Daughter, circling thrice thy tomb,
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5 With mystic rites of thrilling power
6 Disturbs thee at this midnight hour!
7 I, thy Sauserlama's child,
8 Of my filial right beguil'd,
9 Now adjure thee to resign
10 The CHARMED SWORD, by birth-right mine!
11 When the Dwarf, on Eyvor's plain,
12 Dim glided by thy marriage-train,
13 In jewel'd belt of gorgeous pride,
14 To thy pale and trembling Bride,
15 Gave he not, in whisper deep,
16 That dread companion of thy sleep?
17 Fall'n before its edge thy foes,
18 Idly does it now repose
19 In the dark tomb with thee? awake!
20 Spells thy sullen slumber break!
21 Now their stern command fulfill!
22 Warrior, art thou silent still?
23 Or are my gross senses found
24 Deaf to the low sepulchral sound?
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[] "Hervardur, Hiarvardur, Hrani, with helmet and coat of mail, and a sharp sword, with shield and accoutrements, and a bloody spear, I awaken vou all under the roots of Trees. "Are the Sons of Andgrym, who delighted in mischief, now become dust and ashes? Can none of Eyvor's Sons speak to me out of the habitations of the dead?"
26 HRANI, mid thy slumber drear!
27 Spirits of a dauntless Race,
28 In armor clad, your tombs I trace.
29 Now, with sharp and blood-stain'd spear,
30 Accent shrill, and spell severe,
31 I wake you all from slumber mute,
32 Beneath the dark Oak's twisted root!
33 Are Andgrym's hated Sons no more
34 That sleeps the SWORD, that drank their gore?
35 Living, why, to MAGIC RHYME,
36 Speaks no voice of former time,
37 Low as o'er your tombs I bend
38 To hear th' expected sounds ascend,
39 Murmuring from your darksome hall,
40 At a Virgin's solemn call?
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[] "Hervardur, Hiarvardur, Hrani! so may you all be within your ribs, as a thing that is hanged up to putrify among insects, unless you cause Argantyr to deliver up to me the sword which the Dwarfs made, and the glorious belt!"
42 HRANI, mark my spell severe!
43 Henceforth may the semblance
* According to the Gothic Mythology, the spirits of Heros slept in their bodies, which did not decay. Putrefaction, therefore, was the heaviest curse that could be denounced.
"Never shall Enquirer come
" To break my iron-sleep again,
"Till Lok has burst his ten-fold chain."
GRAY'S Descent of Odin, from the Norse Poetry.
44 That did each Warrior's spirit hold,
45 Parch, as Corse unblest, that lies
46 Withering in the sultry skies!
47 Ghastly may your forms decay,
48 Hence the noisome reptile's prey,
49 If ye force not, thus adjur'd,
50 My Sire to yield the CHARMED SWORD!
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[] "Argantyr. Daughter Hervor, full of spells to raise the dead, why dost thou call so? wilt thou run on to thine own mischief? Thou art mad, and out of thy senses, who art desperately resolved to awaken dead men! " "I was not buried either by Father or other Friends Two which lived after me, got Turfing, one of whom is now possessor thereof."
51 Arm'd amid this starless gloom,
52 Thou, whose steps adventurous roam;
53 Thou, that wav'st a magic spear
54 Thrice before our mansions drear,
55 Devoted Virgin, know in time
56 The mischiefs of the RUNIC RHYME,
57 Forcing accents, mutter'd deep,
58 From the cold reluctant lip!
59 Me no tender Father laid
60 Entomb'd beneath an hallow'd shade;
61 It was no friendly voice that gave
62 The Oak, that screen'd a Warrior's grave,
63 Gave it, in malignant tone,
64 To the blasting thunderstone.
65 Timeless now these bones decay,
66 Pervious to the baleful ray
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67 Of the swart star. 'Mid Battle's yell
68 The charm'd, the fatal Weapon fell
69 From my unwary grasp. A Knight
70 Seiz'd the SWORD of magic might.
71 Virgin, of thy spells demand
72 His name, and from his victor hand,
73 Try if thy intrepid zeal
74 May win the all-subduing Steel.
[] "Hervor. Thou dost not tell the truth so let Odin hide thee in the tomb, as thou hast got Turfing by thee. Art thou unwilling, Argantyr, to give an inheritance to thy only child? "
75 Warrior, thus, with falsehood wild,
76 Seek'st thou to deceive thy child?
77 Sure as Odin doom'd thy fall,
78 And hides thee in this silent hall,
79 Here sleeps the SWORD Pale Chief, resign
80 That, which is by birthright mine!
81 Fear'st thou, Spirit of my Sire,
82 At thy only Child's desire,
83 Glorious heritage to yield,
84 Conquest in the deathful field?
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[] "Argantyr. I will tell thee, Hervor, what is to come to pass. This Turfing will, if thou dost believe me, destroy almost all thy offspring. Thou shalt have a Son, and many think that he will be called Hydrec by the People. "
85 Daring HERVA, listen yet,
86 Spare thy heart its long regret!
87 Why trembling shrunk thy Mother's frame
88 When the FATAL PRESENT came?
89 Virgin, mark the boding word,
90 Sullen whisper'd o'er the SWORD!
91 It prophecied Argantyr's Foes
92 Shou'd rue its prowess; yet that woes
93 Greater far his RACE shou'd feel,
94 Victims of the CRUEL STEEL,
95 When, in blood of millions dyed,
96 It arms an ireful Fratricide
97 MAID, no erring accents warn;
98 Of Sons to thee, hereafter born,
99 One thy Chiefs shall HYDRECK name,
100 Dark spirited! but dear to fame
101 Shall blooming HIARALMO live.
102 Maid, his doom thy mandates give!
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103 Renounce, renounce the dire demand,
104 Or to thy Sons; in HYDRECK'S hand,
105 Fatal proves, some future day,
106 The CHARMED SWORD. Disturb it not! away!
[] "Hervor. I do, by Enchantments, make that the Dead shall never know peace, or rest, unless thou deliver up to me Turfing. "
107 ARGANTYR, hear thy Daughter's voice,
108 Spells decree an only choice!
109 Or, in perturbed tomb unblest,
110 The silence of sepulchral rest
111 Shall no more thy sunk eye steep,
112 Close no more thy pallid lip,
113 Or, ere this night's shadows melt,
114 Mine the SWORD, and gorgeous belt.
[] "Argantyr. Young Maid, I say thou art of manlike courage, who dost roam about by night to tombs, with spear engraven by magical spells, with helmet and coat of mail, before the door of our Hall. "
115 Young Maid, who as of warrior might,
116 Roamest thus to tombs by night,
117 In coat of mail, with voice austere,
118 Waving the Corse-awakening SPEAR
119 O'er thy dead Ancestors; offence,
120 And danger threaten! hie thee hence!
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[] "Hervor. I took thee for a brave man before I found out your halls. Give me out of the tomb the workmanship of the Dwarfs, which hates all coats of mail. It is not good for thee to hide it. "
121 Obey, obey, or sleep no more!
122 Now my sacred right restore!
123 The SWORD, that joys when Foes assail,
124 Sword, that scorns the ribbed mail,
125 Scorns the car, in swift career,
126 Scorns the helmet, scorns the spear;
127 Scorns the nerv'd experienc'd arm;
128 ARGANTYR, yield it to my charm!
129 'Tis not well the Victor's pride,
130 With thee in silent tombs to hide;
131 Thy Child, thy only Child, demands,
132 Reach it with thy wither'd hands!
[] "Argantyr. The death of Hialmor lies beneath my shoulders. It is all wrapt up in fire. I know no Maid of any Country that dares take this Sword in hand. "
133 The death of HIARALMO lies
134 Beneath this mouldering arm! and rise
135 Round its edge, the lurid fires,
136 Hostile to unaw'd desires.
137 Hie thee hence, nor madly dare
138 The death-denouncing grasp; beware!
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[] "Hervor. I shall take and keep it in my hand, if I may obtain it. I do not think the fires will burn that play about the sight of deceased men. "
139 Not if thousand fires invade
140 Streaming from its angry blade.
141 Innoxious are the fires that play
142 Round the Corse, with meteor ray,
143 And in these waste hours of night
144 Silent death-halls dimly light;
145 Yet, gliding with consuming force,
146 Undaunted wou'd I meet their course.
[] "Argantyr. O, conceited Hervor, thou art mad! Rather than thou shouldest in an instant fall into the fire, I will give thee the Sword, O, young Maid, and not hide it from thee. "
147 Thou, whose awless voice proclaims
148 Scorn of the sepulchral flames,
149 Lest their force around thee swell,
150 Punishing thy daring spell,
151 And thy mortal form consume,
152 HERVA, see! thy Father's tomb
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153 Opens! mark, to thee restor'd,
154 Rising slow, the baneful SWORD!
155 See, it meets thy rash desire
"And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
" Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire. "
MILTON'S Par. Lost. B. vi. line 765.
Bickering with funereal fire!
[] "Hervor. Thou dost well, Offspring of Heroes, that thou dost give me the Sword out of the Tomb. I am now better pleased, O Prince, to have it, than if I had got all Norway. "
157 Warrior, now dost thou reclaim
158 The lustre of thy former fame;
159 Lo, the SWORD, a seeming brand,
160 Blazes in thy Daughter's hand!
161 Nor perishes that hand beneath
162 Vaporous flames, that round it wreathe,
163 Gleam along the midnight air,
164 Illume the forest wide, and glare
165 On the scath'd Oak! Sepulchral wood,
166 Thee I quit for fields of blood!
167 Nor would I, on its fateful range,
168 This SWORD, with all its meteors, change
169 For the Norweyan sceptre. Lo,
170 Death, and conquest, wait me now!
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[] "Argantyr. False Woman! thou dost not understand that thou speakest foolishly of that in which thou dost rejoice. Turfing shall, if thou wilt believe me, destroy all thy offspring. "
171 HIARALMO'S future bane,
172 Grasp'd with exultation vain,
173 Fatal, fatal shall be found
174 To thee, and thine, in cureless wound!
175 By that wound 'tis now decreed
176 HYDREK'S self at length shall bleed!
177 Herva, less thy long regret
178 Had thy Chiefs in combat met
179 Andgrym's sons, with warlike zeal,
180 Met them in uncharmed steel.
[] "Hervor. I must go to my Seamen here I have no mind to stay any longer. Little do I care, O royal Friend, what my Sons hereafter quarrel about. "
181 Sleep, Argantyr, Chief of might,
182 Thro' the long, the dreary night;
183 Nor let strife, and bitter scorn,
184 'Mid Herva's offspring, yet unborn,
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185 Disturb thee in the tomb! and mark,
186 The SPEAR, that broke thy slumber dark,
187 Round the blasted Oak I wave,
188 That ill protects a Warrior's grave!
189 Soon shall its scath'd trunk be seen
190 Cloth'd in shielding bark, and green
191 As before the vengeful time,
192 When, by force of baleful RHYME,
193 It shrunk amid the forest's groan,
194 Smote by the red thunderstone.
195 Thro' the renovated boughs,
196 Guardians of thy deep repose,
197 Shall the hail no longer pour,
198 The livid Dog-star look no more!
199 Spirits of the elder Dead,
200 Spell-awak'd from slumber dread,
201 Not to your spears, in martial pride,
202 Resting by each Hero's side,
203 Not to your gore-spotted mail,
204 Steely shroud of Warrior pale,
205 Shall, thro' thousand Winters, drain
206 Driving snow, or drenching rain;
207 Nor, while countless Summers beam
208 On arid plain, or shrinking stream,
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209 Thro' the widening chink be known
210 Reptile vile of sultry Noon,
211 To wind the slimy track abhorr'd!
212 Fate is mine, since mine the SWORD!
[] "Argantyr. Take and keep Hialmor's bane, which thou shalt long have and enjoy. Touch not the edges, there is poison on both of them! It is a most cruel Devourer of Men! " "Farewell Daughter. I do quickly give thee the twelve men's deaths, if thou canst believe with might and courage, and all the goods that Andgrym's Sons have left behind them."
213 Herva, thine the source of woes,
214 Direful long to all thy foes,
215 Ere against thy peace it turn,
216 And thou thy bleeding Race shalt mourn.
217 When extinct the tomb's blue fires,
218 Whose light now gleams, and now retires,
219 Quivering o'er its edge, forbear
220 To touch the VENOM'D BLADE; beware!
221 Venom, for the blood prepar'd
222 Of twelve brave Chiefs, their dread reward.
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223 Herva, now thy Father's tomb.
224 Slowly closes! Ne'er presume
225 Again to breathe, in Odin's hall,
226 Shrill, the Corse-disturbing call!
[] "Hervor. Dwell, all of you safe in the Tombs! I must be gone and hasten hence, for I seem to be in a place where fire burns about me. "
227 I go, for these blue fires infest
228 The troubled tomb's presumptuous Guest;
229 As of step profane aware,
230 Round me, more and more, they glare.
231 Hervardor, Hiarvardor, keep
232 Lasting slumber! Hrani sleep!
233 And sleep ARGANTYR! Chiefs of might,
234 Quiet be your mornless night!


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About this text

Author: Anna Seward
Genres: dialogue

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Source edition

Llangollen Vale, with Other Poems. London: Printed for G. Sael, No. 192, Strand, 1796, pp. 22-36.  (ESTC T96723)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.