List of Morris's Poems, Fragments and Drafts

Translations by William Morris

The following is a working checklist, with unpublished material transcribed.

Contents

Poetry

1 . “Hafbur and Signy: Translated from the Danish” ( King Hafbur & King Siward / They needs must stir up strife, )

See Poems By The Way, /poemsbyway1891portal.html. Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 213-24. HM 6427, ff. 151-77, 2 copies in Morris’ hand; the first copy, ff. 151-64, is signed "translated from the Danish (by poor little me) Feb. 3rd 1870)." F. 177 is a fair copy in pen on white ruled paper, with "red" accompanied by a bracket in the margin in pencil by "O wilt thou win me then,/ Or as fair a maid as I be[.]" This is signed "(that's all: Feb 4th. 1870 WM)."

[f. 151]

King Hafbur & King Siward
They needs must stir up strife,
All about the sweetling Signy
Who was so fair a wife.
O wilt thou win me then,
or as fair a maid as I be?

It was the King's son Hafbur
Woke up amid the night,
And 'gan to tell of a wondrous dream
In swift words nowise light.

"Me-dreamed I was in Heaven
Amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud."

As there they sat, the dames and maids,
Of his words they took no keep,
Only his mother well-beloved
Heeded his dreamful sleep.

"Go get thee gone to the mountain,
And make no long delay;
To the elve's eldest daughter
For thy dream's areding pray."

So the King's son, even Hafbur,
Took his sword in his left hand,

[f.152]
And he's away to the mountain
To get speech of that Lily-wand.

He beat thereon with hand all bare,
With fingers small and fine,
And there she lay, the elve's daughter,
And well wotted of that sign.

"Bide hail, Elve's sweetest daughter,
As on skins thou liest fair,
I pray thee by the God of Heaven
My dream arede thou clear.

"Me-dreamed I was in heaven,
Yea amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud."

"Whereas thou dreamed'st thou wert in heaven,
So shalt thou win that may;
Dreamed'st thou of falling through the clouds,
So falls for her thy life away."

"And if it lieth in my luck
To win to me that may,
In no sorrow's stead it standeth me
For her to cast my life away."

Lord Hafbur lets his hair wax long,
And will have the gear of mays,
And he rideth to King Siward's house
And will well learn weaving ways.

Lord Hafbur all his clothes let shape

[f. 153]
In such wise as maidens do,
And thus he rideth over the land
King Siward's daughter to woo.

Now out amid the castle-garth
He cast his cloak aside,
And goeth forth to the high-bower
Where the dames and damsels abide.

Hail, sit ye there, dames and damsels,
Maids and queens kind and fair,
And chiefest of all to the Dane-King's daughter
If she abideth here!

"Hail, sittest thou, sweet King's daughter,
A-spinning the silken twine,
It is King Hafbur sends me hither
To learn the sewing fine."

Hath Hafbur sent thee here to me?
Then art thou a welcome guest,
And all the sewing that I can
Shall I learn thee at my best.

"And all the sewing that I can
I shall learn thee lovingly,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me,
And by my nurse shalt thou lie."

King's children have I eaten with,
And lain down by their side:
Must I lie abed now with a very nurse?
Then woe may I be this tide. [pub. version: woe is me this tide!"]

[f. 154]

"Nay, let it pass, fair maiden!
Of me gettest thou no harm,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me
And sleep soft upon mine arm."

There sat they, all the damsels,
And sewed full craftily;
But ever the King's son Hafbur
With nail in mouth sat he.

They sewed the hart, they sewed the hind,
As they run through the wild-wood green,
Never gat Hafbur so big a bowl
But the bottom soon was seen.

In there came the evil nurse
In the worst tide that might be:
"Never saw I fair maiden
Who could sew less craftily.

"Never saw I fair maiden
Seam worse the linen fine,
Never saw I noble maiden
Who better drank the wine."

This withal spake the evil nurse,
The nighest that she durst:
"Never saw I yet fair maiden
Of drink so sore athirst.

"So little a seam as ever she sews
Goes the needle into her mouth,
As big a bowl as ever she gets
Out is it drunk forsooth.

[f. 155]

"Ne'er saw I yet in maiden's head
Two eyes so bright and bold,
And those two hands of her withal
Are hard as the iron cold."

"Hearken, sweet nurse, whereso thou art,
Why wilt thou mock me still?
Never cast I one word at thee,
Went thy sewing well or ill.

"Still wilt thou mock, still wilt thou spy;
Nought such thou hast of me,
Whether mine eyes look out or look in
Nought do they deal with thee."

O it was Hafbur the King's son
Began to sew at last;
He sewed the hart, and he sewed the hind,
As they flee from the hound so fast.

He sewed the lily, and he sewed the rose,
And the little fowls of the air;
Then fell the damsels a-marvelling,
For nought had they missed him there.

Day long they sewed till the evening,
And till the long night was deep,
Then up stood dames and maidens
And were fain in their beds to sleep.

So fell on them the evening-tide,
O'er the meads the dew drave down,
And fain was Signy, that sweet thing,
With her folk to bed to be gone.

[f. 156]

Therewith asked the King's son Hafbur,
"And whatten a bed for me?"
"O thou shalt sleep in the bower aloft
And blue shall thy bolster be."

She went before, sweet Signy,
O'er the high bower's bridge aright,
And after her went Hafbur
Laughing from heart grown light.

Then kindled folk the waxlights,
That were so closely twined,
And after them the ill nurse went
With an ill thought in her mind.

The lights were quenched, the nurse went forth,
They deemed they were alone:
Lord Hafbur drew off his kirtle red,
Then first his sword outshone.

Lord Hafbur mid his longing sore
Down on the bed he sat:
I tell you of my soothfastness,
His byrny clashed thereat.

Then spake the darling Signy,
Out of her heart she said,
"Never saw I so rough a shirt
Upon so fair a maid."

She laid her hand on Hafbur's breast
With the red gold all a-blaze:
"Why wax thy breasts in no such wise
As they wax in other mays?"

[f. 157]

"The wont it is in my father's land
For maids to ride to the Thing,
Therefore my breasts are little of growth
Beneath the byrny-ring."

And there they lay through the night so long,
The King's son and the may,
In talk full sweet, but little of sleep,
So much on their minds there lay.

"Hearken, sweet maiden Signy,
As here alone we lie,
Who is thy dearest in the world,
And lieth thine heart most nigh?"

"O there is none in all the world
Who lieth so near to my heart
As doth the bold King Hafbur:
Ne'er in him shall I have a part.

"As doth the bold King Hafbur
That mine eyes shall never know:
Nought but the sound of his gold-wrought horn
As he rides to the Thing and fro."

"O, is it Hafbur the King's son
That thy loved heart holdeth dear?
Turn hither, O my well-beloved,
To thy side I lie so near."

"If thou art the King's son Hafbur,
Why wilt thou shame me love,
Why ridest thou not to my father's garth
With hound, and with hawk upon glove?"

[f. 158]

"Once was I in thy father's garth,
With hound and hawk and all;
And with many mocks he said me nay,
In such wise did our meeting fall."

All the while they talked together
They deemed alone they were,
But the false nurse ever stood close without,
And nought thereof she failed to hear.

O shame befall that evil nurse,
Ill tidings down she drew,
She stole away his goodly sword,
But and his byrny new.

She took to her his goodly sword,
His byrny blue she had away,
And she went her ways to the high bower
Whereas King Siward lay.

"Wake up, wake up, King Siward!
Over long thou sleepest there,
The while the King's son Hafbur
Lies abed by Signy the fair."

"No Hafbur is here, and no King's son.
That thou shouldst speak this word;
He is far away in the east-countries,
Warring with knight and lord.

"Hold thou thy peace, thou evil nurse,
And lay on her no lie,
Or else tomorn ere the sun is up
In the bale-fire shall thou die." [pub. version: "ye"]

[f. 159]

"O hearken to this, my lord and king,
And trow me nought but true;
Look here upon his bright white sword,
But and his byrny blue!"

Then mad of mind waxed Siward,
Over all the house 'gan he cry,
"Rise up, O mighty men of mine,
For a hardy knight is anigh:

"Take ye sword and shield in hand,
And look that they be true;
For Hafbur the King hath guested with us;
Stiffnecked he is, great deeds to do."

So there anigh the high-bower door
They stood with spear and glaive;
"Rise up, rise up, Young Hafbur,
Out here we would thee have!"

That heard the goodly Signy
And she wrang her hands full sore:
"Hearken and heed, O Hafbur,
Who stand without by the door!"

Thank and praise to the King's son Hafbur,
Manly he played and stout!
None might lay hand upon him
While the bed-post yet held out.

But they took him, the King's son Hafbur,
And set him in bolts new wrought;
Then lightly he rent them asunder,
As though they were leaden and nought.

[f. 160]

Out and spake the ancient nurse,
And she gave a rede of ill:
"Bind ye him but in Signy's hair,
So shall hand and foot lie still.

"Take ye but one of Signy's hairs
Hafbur's hands to bind,
Ne'er shall he rend them asunder
His heart to her is so kind."

Then took they two of Signy's hairs
Bonds for his hands to be,
Nor might he rive them asunder
So dear to his heart was she.

Then spake the sweetling Signy
As the tears fast down her cheek did fall:
"O rend it asunder, Hafbur,
That gift to thee I give withal."

Now sat the King's son Hafbur
Amidst the castle-hall,
And thronged to behold him man and maid,
But the damsels chiefest of all.

They took him, the King's son Hafbur,
Laid bolts upon him in that place,
And ever went Signy to and fro,
The weary tears fell down apace.

She speaketh to him in sorrowful mood:
"This will I, Hafbur, for thee,
Piteous prayer for thee shall make
My mother's sisters three.

[f. 161]

"For my father's mind stands fast in this,
To do thee to hang upon the bough
On the topmost oak in the morning-tide
While the sun is yet but low."

But answered thereto young Hafbur
Out of a wrathful mind:
"Of all heeds I heeded, this was the last,
To be prayed for by womankind.

"But hearken, true-love Signy,
Good heart to my asking turn,
When thou seest me swing on oaken-bough
Then let thy high-bower burn."

Then answered the noble Signy,
So sore as she must moan,
"God to aid, King's son Hafbur,
Well will I grant thy boon."

They followed him, King Hafbur,
Thick thronging from the castle-bent:
And all who saw him needs must greet
And in full piteous wise they went.

But when they came to the fair green mead
Where Hafbur was to die,
He prayed them hold a little while:
For his true-love would he try.

"O hang me up my cloak of red,
That sight or my ending let me see.
Perchance yet may King Siward rue
My hanging on the gallows tree."

[f. 162]

Now of the cloak was Signy ware
And sorely sorrow her heart did rive,
She thought: "The ill tale all is told,
No longer is there need to live."

Straightway her damsels did she call
As weary as she was of mind:
"Come, let us go to the bower aloft
Game and glee for a while to find."

Yea and withal spake Signy,
She spake a word of price:
"To-day shall I do myself to death
And meet Hafbur in Paradise.

"And whoso there be in this our house
Lord Hafbur's death that wrought,
Good reward I give them now
To red embers to be brought.

"So many there are in the King's garth
Of Hafbur's death shall be glad;
Good reward for them to lose
The trothplight mays they had."

She set alight to the bower-aloft
And it burned up speedily,
And her good love and her great heart
Might all with eyen see.

It was the King's son Hafbur
O'er his shoulder cast his eye,
And beheld how Signy's house of maids
On a red low stood on high.

[f. 163]

"Now take ye down my cloak of red,
Let it lie on the earth a-cold;
Had I ten lives of the world for one,
Nought of them all would I hold."

King Siward looked out of his window fair,
In fearful mood enow,
For he saw Hafbur hanging on oak
And Signy's bower on a low.

Out then spake a little page
Was clad in kirtle red:
"Sweet Signy burns in her bower aloft,
With all her mays unwed."

Therewithal spake King Siward
From rueful heart unfain:
"Ne'er saw I two King's children erst
Such piteous ending gain.

"But had I wist or heard it told
That love so strong should be,
Ne'er had I held those twain apart
For all Denmark given me.

O hasten and run to Signy's bower
For the life of that sweet thing;
Hasten and run to the gallows high,
No thief is Hafbur the King."

But when they came to Signy's bower
Low it lay in embers red;
And when they came to the gallows tree,
Hafbur was stark and dead.

[f. 164]

They took him the King's son Hafbur,
Swathed him in linen white,
And laid him in the earth of Christ
By Signy his delight.
O wilt thou win me then,

or as fair a maid as I be?

fair copy, ff. 165-177:

King Hafbur & King Siward
They needs must stir up strife,
All about the sweetling Signy
Who was so fair a wife.
O wilt thou win me then,
or as fair a maid as I be?

It was the King's son Hafbur
Woke up amid the night,
And 'gan to tell of a wondrous dream
In swift words nowise light.

"Me-dreamed I was in Heaven
Amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud."

As there they sat, the dames and maids,
Of his words they took no keep,
Only his mother well-beloved
Heeded his dreamful sleep.

"Go get thee gone to the mountain,
And make no long delay;
To the elve's eldest daughter
For thy dream's areding pray."

So the King's son, even Hafbur,
Took his sword in his left hand,
And he's away to the mountain
To get speech of that Lily-wand.

[f. 166]

He beat thereon with hand all bare,
With fingers small and fine,
And there she lay, the elve's daughter,
And well wotted of that sign.

"Bide hail, Elve's sweetest daughter,
As on skins thou liest fair,
I pray thee by the God of Heaven
My dream arede thou clear.

"Me-dreamed I was in heaven,
Yea amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud."

"Whereas thou dreamed'st thou wert in heaven,
So shalt thou win that may;
Dreamed'st thou of falling through the clouds,
So falls for her thy life away."

"And if it lieth in my luck
To win to me that may,
In no sorrow's stead it standeth me
For her to cast my life away."

Lord Hafbur lets his hair wax long,
And will have the gear of mays,
And he rideth to King Siward's house
And will well learn weaving ways.

Lord Hafbur all his clothes let shape
In such wise as maidens do,
And thus he rideth over the land
King Siward's daughter to woo.

[f. 167]

Now out amid the castle-garth
He cast his cloak aside,
And goeth forth to the high-bower
Where the dames and damsels abide.

Hail, sit ye there, dames and damsels,
Maids and queens kind and fair,
And chiefest of all to the Dane-King's daughter
If she abideth here!

"Hail, sittest thou, sweet King's daughter,
A-spinning the silken twine,
It is King Hafbur sends me hither
To learn the sewing fine."

Hath Hafbur sent thee here to me?
Then art thou a welcome guest,
And all the sewing that I can
Shall I learn thee at my best.

"And all the sewing that I can
I shall learn thee lovingly,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me,
And by my nurse shalt thou lie."

King's children have I eaten with,
And lain down by their side:
Must I lie abed now with a very nurse?
Then woe is me this tide!"

"Nay, let it pass, fair maiden!
Of me gettest thou no harm,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me
And sleep soft upon mine arm."

[f. 168]

There sat they, all the damsels,
And sewed full craftily;
But ever the King's son Hafbur
With nail in mouth sat he.

They sewed the hart, they sewed the hind,
As they run through the wild-wood green,
Never gat Hafbur so big a bowl
But the bottom soon was seen.

In there came the evil nurse
In the worst tide that might be:
"Never saw I fair maiden
Who could sew less craftily.

"Never saw I fair maiden
Seam worse the linen fine,
Never saw I noble maiden
Who better drank the wine."

This withal spake the evil nurse,
The nighest that she durst:
"Never saw I yet fair maiden
Of drink so sore athirst.

"So little a seam as ever she sews
Goes the needle into her mouth,
As big a bowl as ever she gets
Out is it drunk forsooth.

"Ne'er saw I yet in maiden's head
Two eyes so bright and bold,
And those two hands of her withal
Are hard as the iron cold."

"Hearken, sweet nurse, whereso thou art,
Why wilt thou mock me still?
Never cast I one word at thee,
Went thy sewing well or ill.

"Still wilt thou mock, still wilt thou spy;
Nought such thou hast of me,
Whether mine eyes look out or look in
Nought do they deal with thee."

O it was Hafbur the King's son
Began to sew at last;
He sewed the hart, and he sewed the hind,
As they flee from the hound so fast.

He sewed the lily, and he sewed the rose,
And the little fowls of the air;
Then fell the damsels a-marvelling,
For nought had they missed him there.

Day long they sewed till the evening,
And till the long night was deep,
Then up stood dames and maidens
And were fain in their beds to sleep.

So fell on them the evening-tide,
O'er the meads the dew drave down,
And fain was Signy, that sweet thing,
With her folk to bed to be gone.

Therewith asked the King's son Hafbur,
"And whatten a bed for me?"
"O thou shalt sleep in the bower aloft
And blue shall thy bolster be."

[f. 170]

She went before, sweet Signy,
O'er the high bower's bridge aright,
And after her went Hafbur
Laughing from heart grown light.

Then kindled folk the waxlights,
That were so closely twined,
And after them the ill nurse went
With an ill thought in her mind.

The lights were quenched, the nurse went forth,
They deemed they were alone:
Lord Hafbur drew off his kirtle red,
Then first his sword outshone.

Lord Hafbur mid his longing sore
Down on the bed he sat:
I tell you of my soothfastness,
His byrny clashed thereat.

Then spake the darling Signy,
Out of her heart she said,
"Never saw I so rough a shirt
Upon so fair a maid."

She laid her hand on Hafbur's breast
With the red gold all a-blaze:
"Why wax thy breasts in no such wise
As they wax in other mays?"

"The wont it is in my father's land
For maids to ride to the Thing,
Therefore my breasts are little of growth
Beneath the byrny-ring."

[f. 171]

And there they lay through the night so long,
The King's son and the may,
In talk full sweet, but little of sleep,
So much on their minds there lay.

"Hearken, sweet maiden Signy,
As here alone we lie,
Who is thy dearest in the world,
And lieth thine heart most nigh?"

"O there is none in all the world
Who lieth so near to my heart
As doth the bold King Hafbur:
Ne'er in him shall I have a part.

"As doth the bold King Hafbur
That mine eyes shall never know:
Nought but the sound of his gold-wrought horn
As he rides to the Thing and fro."

"O, is it Hafbur the King's son
That thy loved heart holdeth dear?
Turn hither, O my well-beloved,
To thy side I lie so near."

"If thou art the King's son Hafbur,
Why wilt thou shame me love,
Why ridest thou not to my father's garth
With hound, and with hawk upon glove?"

"Once was I in thy father's garth,
With hound and hawk and all;
And with many mocks he said me nay,
In such wise did our meeting fall."

[f. 172]

All the while they talked together
They deemed alone they were,
But the false nurse ever stood close without,
And nought thereof she failed to hear.

O shame befall that evil nurse,
Ill tidings down she drew,
She stole away his goodly sword,
But and his byrny new.

She took to her his goodly sword,
His byrny blue she had away,
And she went her ways to the high bower
Whereas King Siward lay.

"Wake up, wake up, King Siward!
Over long thou sleepest there,
The while the King's son Hafbur
Lies abed by Signy the fair."

"No Hafbur is here, and no King's son.
That thou shouldst speak this word;
He is far away in the east-countries,
Warring with knight and lord.

"Hold thou thy peace, thou evil nurse,
And lay on her no lie,
Or else tomorn ere the sun is up
In the bale-fire shall ye die."

"O hearken to this, my lord and king,
And trow me nought but true;
Look here upon his bright white sword,
But and his byrny blue!"

[f. 173]

Then mad of mind waxed Siward,
Over all the house 'gan he cry,
"Rise up, O mighty men of mine,
For a hardy knight is anigh:

"Take ye sword and shield in hand,
And look that they be true;
For Hafbur the King hath guested with us;
Stiffnecked he is, great deeds to do."

So there anigh the high-bower door
They stood with spear and glaive;
"Rise up, rise up, Young Hafbur,
Out here we would thee have!"

That heard the goodly Signy
And she wrang her hands full sore:
"Hearken and heed, O Hafbur,
Who stand without by the door!"

Thank and praise to the King's son Hafbur,
Manly he played and stout!
None might lay hand upon him
While the bed-post yet held out.

But they took him, the King's son Hafbur,
And set him in bolts new wrought;
Then lightly he rent them asunder,
As though they were leaden and nought.

Out and spake the ancient nurse,
And she gave a rede of ill:
"Bind ye him but in Signy's hair,
So shall hand and foot lie still.

[f. 174]

"Take ye but one of Signy's hairs
Hafbur's hands to bind,
Ne'er shall he rend them asunder
His heart to her is so kind."

Then took they two of Signy's hairs
Bonds for his hands to be,
Nor might he rive them asunder
So dear to his heart was she.

Then spake the sweetling Signy
As the tears fast down her cheek did fall:
"O rend it asunder, Hafbur,
That gift to thee I give withal."

Now sat the King's son Hafbur
Amidst the castle-hall,
And thronged to behold him man and maid,
But the damsels chiefest of all.

They took him, the King's son Hafbur,
Laid bolts upon him in that place,
And ever went Signy to and fro,
The weary tears fell down apace.

She speaketh to him in sorrowful mood:
"This will I, Hafbur, for thee,
Piteous prayer for thee shall make
My mother's sisters three.

"For my father's mind stands fast in this,
To do thee to hang upon the bough
On the topmost oak in the morning-tide
While the sun is yet but low."

[f. 175]

But answered thereto young Hafbur
Out of a wrathful mind:
"Of all heeds I heeded, this was the last,
To be prayed for by womankind.

"But hearken, true-love Signy,
Good heart to my asking turn,
When thou seest me swing on oaken-bough
Then let thy high-bower burn."

Then answered the noble Signy,
So sore as she must moan,
"God to aid, King's son Hafbur,
Well will I grant thy boon."

They followed him, King Hafbur,
Thick thronging from the castle-bent:
And all who saw him needs must greet
And in full piteous wise they went.

But when they came to the fair green mead
Where Hafbur was to die,
He prayed them hold a little while:
For his true-love would he try.

"O hang me up my cloak of red,
That sight or my ending let me see.
Perchance yet may King Siward rue
My hanging on the gallows tree."

Now of the cloak was Signy ware
And sorely sorrow her heart did rive,
She thought: "The ill tale all is told,
No longer is there need to live."

[f. 176]

Straightway her damsels did she call
As weary as she was of mind:
"Come, let us go to the bower aloft
Game and glee for a while to find."

Yea and withal spake Signy,
She spake a word of price:
"To-day shall I do myself to death
And meet Hafbur in Paradise.

"And whoso there be in this our house
Lord Hafbur's death that wrought,
Good reward I give them now
To red embers to be brought.

"So many there are in the King's garth
Of Hafbur's death shall be glad;
Good reward for them to lose
The trothplight mays they had."

She set alight to the bower-aloft
And it burned up speedily,
And her good love and her great heart
Might all with eyen see.

It was the King's son Hafbur
O'er his shoulder cast his eye,
And beheld how Signy's house of maids
On a red low stood on high.

"Now take ye down my cloak of red,
Let it lie on the earth a-cold;
Had I ten lives of the world for one,
Nought of them all would I hold."

[f. 177]

King Siward looked out of his window fair,
In fearful mood enow,
For he saw Hafbur hanging on oak
And Signy's bower on a low.

Out then spake a little page
Was clad in kirtle red:
"Sweet Signy burns in her bower aloft,
With all her mays unwed."

Therewithal spake King Siward
From rueful heart unfain:
"Ne'er saw I two King's children erst
Such piteous ending gain.

"But had I wist or heard it told
That love so strong should be,
Ne'er had I held those twain apart
For all Denmark given me.

O hasten and run to Signy's bower
For the life of that sweet thing;
Hasten and run to the gallows high,
No thief is Hafbur the King."

But when they came to Signy's bower
Low it lay in embers red;
And when they came to the gallows tree,
Hafbur was stark and dead.

They took him the King's son Hafbur,
Swathed him in linen white,
And laid him in the earth of Christ
By Signy his delight.

[f. 178]
O wilt thou win me then,
or as fair a maid as I be?

2. “The Lay of Christine: Translated from the Icelandic” ( Of silk my gear was shapen, / Scarlet they did on me, )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbyway1891portal.html. Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 33-35, and published in Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 201-202. HM 6427, ff. 142-42v; Morris autograph on blue ruled paper. The bottom of f. 142 is torn off, but it is otherwise a reasonably clear copy with corrections. The title has been changed from "The Song of Christine" to "The Lay of Christine," and the draft refrain, "O well would I from the world depart!" has been changed to "O well were I from the world away[.]"

Fair copy at McGill University Library. According to May Morris, all the Northern translations in Poems by the Way were written in the early 1870’s.

[f. 142]
Of silk my gear was shapen,
     Scarlet they did on me
Then to the sea-strand was I borne
     And laid in a bark of the sea.
O well were I from the World away

Befell it there I might not drown
     For God to me was good;
The billows bare me up a-land
     Where grew the fair green-wood.
O well & extend red

There came a Knight a riding
     With three swains along the way
And he took me up, the little-one,
     On the sea-sand as I lay.
O well & extend red—

He took me up, and bare me home
     To the house that was his own,
And there bode I so long with him
     That I was his love alone.
O well (extend) red

But the very first night we lay abed
     Befell this sorrow and harm,
That thither came the Kings ill men
     And slew him on mine arm.
O well (extend)--red

There slew they Adalright the King
     Two of his swains slew they,
But the third sailed swiftly from the land
     Sithence I saw him never a day
O well (extend) red

[f. 142v]
O wavering hope of this world’s bliss,
     How shall men trow in thee?
My Grove of Gems is gone away
     For mine eyes no more to see!
O well (extend) red

Each hour the while my life shall last
     Remembereth him alone
Such heavy sorrow have I got
     From our meeting long agone—
O well (extend) red

O, early in the morning-tide
     Men cry, Christine the Fair
Art thou well content with that true love
     Thou sittest loving there?
O well (extend) red

“Ah yea, so will I love him
     So dear my love shall be,
That the very God of Heaven aloft
     Worshippeth him and me.
O well (extend) red

“Ah, all the red gold I have got
     Well would I give today,
Only for this and nothing else
     From the world to win away.”
O [etc.]

“Nay midst folk upon the earth
     Keep thou thy ruddy gold
And love withal the mighty lord
     That wedded thee of old.”
red—O, well were I from the world depart [failed to correct depart to away]

A Book of Verse

[p. 33]

The Ballad of Christine.

Of silk my gown was shapen,
Scarlet they did on me
Then to the sea-strand was I borne
And laid in a bark of the sea.
O well would I from the world away

But on the sea I might not drown,
To me was God so good,
The billows bore me up aland
Where grew the fair green-wood

There came a knight a-riding by
With three swains along the way
And took me up, the little-one
On the sea-strand as I lay

He took me up, and bore me home
To the house that was his own,
And there so long I bode with him
That I was his love alone.

But the very first night we lay abed
Befell this sorrow and harm,
That thither came the king’s ill men,

[p. 34]
And slew him on mine arm.

There slew they the King Ethelbert
Two of his swains slew they
But the third sailed swiftly from the land
For ever to bide away.

O wavering hope of this world’s bliss,
How shall men trow in thee?
My grove of gems is gone away
For mine eyen no more to see!

Each hour that this my life shall last
Remembereth him alone
Such heavy sorry lies on me
For our meeting time agone. –

Ah, early of a morning-tide
Men cry, Christine the Fair,
Art thou well content with that true-love
Thou sittest loving there?

O yea, so well I love him,
So dear to my heart is he,

[p. 35]
That the very God of Heaven aloft
Worshippeth him and me.

All the red gold that I have
Well would I give today,
Only for this and nothing else,
From the World to win away

Ah, of all folk upon the earth
Keep thou thy ruddy gold,
And love withal the mighty lord
Who wedded thee of old.
O well would I from the World away

Poems by the Way, 1891

[p. 135]
THE LAY OF CHRISTINE.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ICELANDIC.

Of silk my gear was shapen,
Scarlet they did on me,
Then to the sea-strand was I borne
And laid in a bark of the sea.
O well were I from the World away.

Befell it there I might not drown,
For God to me was good;
The billows bare me up a-land
Where grew the fair green-wood.
O well were I from the World away.

There came a Knight a-riding
With three swains along the way
And he took me up, the little-one,
On the sea-sand as I lay.
O well were I from the World away.

He took me up, and bare me home
To the house that was his own,
And there bode I so long with him
That I was his love alone.
O well were I from the World away.

But the very first night we lay abed
Befell his sorrow and harm,

[p. 136]
That thither came the King's ill men,
And slew him on mine arm.
O well were I from the World away.

There slew they Adalbright the King,
Two of his swains slew they,
But the third sailed swiftly from the land
Sithence I saw him never a day.
O well were I from the World away.

O wavering hope of this world's bliss,
How shall men trow in thee?
My Grove of Gems is gone away
For mine eyes no more to see!
O well were I from the World away.

Each hour the while my life shall last
Remembereth him alone,
Such heavy sorrow have I got
From our meeting long agone.
O well were I from the World away.

O, early in the morning-tide
Men cry: "Christine the fair,
Art thou well content with that true love
Thou sittest loving there?"
O well were I from the World away.

Ah, yea, so well I love him,
And so dear my love shall be,

[p. 137]
That the very God of Heaven aloft
Worshippeth him and me.
O well were I from the World away.

"Ah, all the red gold I have got
Well would I give to-day,
Only for this and nothing else
From the world to win away."
O well were I from the World away.

"Nay, midst all folk upon the earth
Keep thou thy ruddy gold,
And love withal the mighty lord
That wedded thee of old."
O well were I from the World away.

3. “Hildebrand and Hellelil: Translated from the Danish” ( Hellelil sitteth in bower there, / None knows my grief but God alone, )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbytheway1891portal.html. Published in CW, IX, Poems By the Way, 203-205.

Manuscripts in HM 6427, 2 versions in Morris's autograph, ff. 143-44v and ff. 145-46v; pen with pencil ocrrections on blue paper. The second Morris autograph signed “Wednes. March 1 1871" seems a correct copy for the printer, with stanza numbers crossed out.

According to May Morris, all the Northern translations in Poems By the Way were written in the early 1870’s.

[f. 143]
                              1
Hillelil sitteth in bower there
      None knoweth my [sorrow crossed out] but God alone
And seweth at the seem so fair
      I will never wail of my sorrow to any other one.

                              2
[refrain as above]
But there whereas the gold should be
With silk upon the cloth sewed she

                              3
Where she should sew with silken thread
The gold upon the cloth she laid

                              4
So to the Queen the word came in
That Hellelil wild work doth win.

                              5
Then did the Queen do furs on her
And went to Hellelil the Fair

                              6
O swiftly swiftly seweth thou Hellelil
Nought but [wild crossed out] work is thy sewing still.

                              7
Well may my sewing be but mad
Such evil hap as I have had

                              8
My father was good king & lord
Fifteen Knights would serve at his board

                              9
He taught me sewing royally
Twelve Knights had watch and ward of me.

                              10
Eleven men served well day by day
With guile the 12th did me bewray.

                              11
He who bewrayed was Hildebrand
The Kin[g]’s son of the English land

[f. 143v]

                              12
In bower were we no sooner laid
Than the truth thereof to my father was said

                              13
My father cried oer garth & hall
Stand up my men, and arm ye all.

                              14
Yea arm ye all and loiter not
For hard neck Hildebrand hath got.

                              15
They stood by the door with glaive and spear
Hildebrand rise & hasten here.

                              16
Lord Hildebrand stroked my white, white cheek
O love forebear my name to speak

                              17
Yea even if my blood thou see
Name me not lest my death thou be

                              18
Out from the door lord Hildebrand lept
And round about his good sword swept.

                              19
The first of all that he slew there
Were my seven bretheren with golden hair

                              20
Then before him stood the youngest one
And dear he was in days agone.

                              21
The must I O Hildebrand
In the Lord Gods name hold thou thine hand

                              22
O let my youngest brother live
Tidings hereof to my mother to give

                              23
No sooner was the word gone forth
Than with eight wounds fell my love to earth

[f. 144]
                              24
My gold hair took my brother now
And bound me to the saddle bow

                              25
No littlest rod there springs from root
But it tore off somewhat from my foot

                              26
No littlest brake the wild-wood hare
But somewhat from my foot it tore

                              27
No deepest dam we came unto
But my brother’s horse he swam it through!

                              28
But when we came to the castle gate
There stood my mother in woeful estate

                              29
My brother let raise a tower high
Bestrewn with sharp thorns inwardly—

                              30
He took me in my silk-shirt bare
And cast me into the tower there

                              31
Then where soe’er my leg I laid
Torment of the thorns I had

                              32
Wheresoeer my feet I set
The prickles sharp my blood must get.

                              33
My youngest brother would me slay
But my Mother would have me sold away

                              34
A great new bell my price did buy
For Mary’s Church to Hang on high

[f. 144v]
                              35
But the first stroke the bell struck plain
Then brake my mothers heart a-twain

                              36
So soon as her sorrow and woe and [was said omitted?]
In the arm of the Queens she sat there dead

Poems by the Way, 1891

[p. 137]

HILDEBRAND AND HELLELIL.

TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

Hellelil sitteth in bower there,
None knows my grief but God alone,
And seweth at the seam so fair,
I never wail my sorrow to any other one.

But there whereas the gold should be
With silk upon the cloth sewed she.

Where she should sew with silken thread
The gold upon the cloth she laid.

So to the Queen the word came in
That Hellelil wild work doth win.

[p. 138]

Then did the Queen do furs on her
And went to Hellelil the fair.

"O swiftly sewest thou, Hellelil,
Yet nought but mad is thy sewing still!"

"Well may my sewing be but mad
Such evil hap as I have had.

My father was good king and lord,
Knights fifteen served before his board.

He taught me sewing royally,
Twelve knights had watch and ward of me.

Well served eleven day by day,
To folly the twelfth did me bewray.

And this same was hight Hildebrand,
The King's son of the English Land.

But in bower were we no sooner laid
Than the truth thereof to my father was said.

Then loud he cried o'er garth and hall:
'Stand up, my men, and arm ye all!

'Yea draw on mail and dally not,
Hard neck lord Hildebrand hath got!'

They stood by the door with glaive and spear;
'Hildebrand rise and hasten here!'

[p. 139]

Lord Hildebrand stroked my white white cheek:
'O love, forbear my name to speak.

'Yea even if my blood thou see,
Name me not, lest my death thou be.'

Out from the door lord Hildebrand leapt,
And round about his good sword swept.

The first of all that he slew there
Were my seven brethren with golden hair.

Then before him stood the youngest one,
And dear he was in the days agone.

Then I cried out: 'O Hildebrand,
In the name of God now stay thine hand.

'O let my youngest brother live
Tidings hereof to my mother to give!'

No sooner was the word gone forth
Than with eight wounds fell my love to earth.

My brother took me by the golden hair,
And bound me to the saddle there.

There met me then no littlest root,
But it tore off somewhat of my foot.

No littlest brake the wild-wood bore,
But somewhat from my legs it tore.

[p.140]

No deepest dam we came unto
But my brother's horse he swam it through.

But when to the castle gate we came,
There stood my mother in sorrow and shame.

My brother let raise a tower high,
Bestrewn with sharp thorns inwardly.

He took me in my silk shirt bare
And cast me into that tower there.

And wheresoe'er my legs I laid
Torment of the thorns I had.

Wheresoe'er on feet I stood
The prickles sharp drew forth my blood.

My youngest brother me would slay
But my mother would have me sold away.

A great new bell my price did buy
In Mary's Church to hang on high.

But the first stroke that ever it strake
My mother's heart asunder brake."

So soon as her sorrow and woe was said,
None knows my grief but God alone,
In the arm of the Queen she sat there dead,
I never tell my sorrow to any other one.

4. “Knight Aagen and Maiden Else: Translated From the Danish” ( It was the fair knight Aagen / To an isle he went his way, / And plighted troth to Else, / Who was so fair a may. )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbyway1891/portal.html. Published Poems By the Way, CW, IX, 210-12. HM 6427, ff. 149 and 150, "Aagen and Else," fair copy marked for printer. F. 148v. contains part of an earlier version crossed out.

HM 6427 [f. 149]

KNIGHT AAGEN AND MAIDEN ELSE.

TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

It was the fair knight Aagen
To an isle he went his way,
And plighted troth to Else,
Who was so fair a may.

He plighted troth to Else
All with the ruddy gold,
But or ere that day's moon came again
Low he lay in the black, black mould.

It was the maiden Else,
She was fulfilled of woe
When she heard how the fair knight Aagen
In the black mould lay alow.

Uprose the fair knight Aagen,
Coffin on back took he,
And he's away to her bower,
Sore hard as the work might be.

With that same chest on door he smote,
For the lack of flesh and skin;
"O hearken, maiden Else,
And let thy true-love in!"

Then answered maiden Else,
"Never open I my door,
But and if thou namest Jesu's name
As thou hadst might before."

"O hearken, maiden Else,
And open thou thy door,
For Jesu's name I well may name
As I had might before!"

Then uprose maiden Else,
O'er her cheek the salt tears ran,
Nor spared she into her very bower
[f. 150]
To welcome that dead man.

O, she's taken up her comb of gold
And combed adown her hair,
And for every hair she combed adown
There fell a weary tear.

"Hearken thou, knight Aagen,
Hearken, true-love, and tell,
If down-adown in the black, black earth
Thou farest ever well?"

"O whenso thou art joyous,
And the heart is glad in thee,
Then fares it with my coffin
That red roses are with me.

"But whenso thou art sorrowful
And weary is thy mood,
Then all within my coffin
Is it dreadful with dark blood.

"Now is the red cock a-crowing,
To the earth adown must I;
Down to the earth wend all dead folk,
And I wend in company.

"Now is the black cock a-crowing,
To the earth must I adown,
For the gates of Heaven are opening now,
Thereto must I begone."

Uprose the fair knight Aagen,
Coffin on back took he,
And he's away to the churchyard now,
Sore hard as the work might be.

But so wrought maiden Else,
Because of her weary mood,
That she followed after own true love
All through the mirk wild wood.

But when the wood was well passed through,
And in the churchyard they were,
Then was the fair knight Aagen
Waxen wan of his golden hair.

And when therefrom they wended
And were the church within,
Then was the fair knight Aagen
Waxen wan of cheek and chin.

"Hearken thou, maiden Else,
Hearken, true-love, to me,
Weep no more for thine own troth-plight,
However it shall be!

"Look thou up to the heavens aloft,
To the little stars and bright,
And thou shalt see how sweetly
It fareth with the night!"

She looked up to the heavens aloft,
To the little stars bright above
The dead man sank into his grave,
Ne'er again she saw her love.

Home then went maiden Else,
[f. 150v] Mid sorrow manifold,
And ere that night's moon came again
She lay alow in the mould.

CW, IX, [p. 210]

KNIGHT AAGEN AND MAIDEN ELSE.

TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

It was the fair knight Aagen
To an isle he went his way,
And plighted troth to Else,
Who was so fair a may.

He plighted troth to Else
All with the ruddy gold,
But or ere that day's moon came again
Low he lay in the black, black mould.

It was the maiden Else,
She was fulfilled of woe
When she heard how the fair knight Aagen
In the black mould lay alow.

Uprose the fair knight Aagen,
Coffin on back took he,
And he's away to her bower,
Sore hard as the work might be.

With that same chest on door he smote,
For the lack of flesh and skin;
"O hearken, maiden Else,
And let thy true-love in!"

Then answered maiden Else,
"Never open I my door,
But and if thou namest Jesu's name
As thou hadst might before."

"O hearken, maiden Else,
And open thou thy door,
For Jesu's name I well may name
As I had might before!"

[p. 211] Then uprose maiden Else,
O'er her cheek the salt tears ran,
Nor spared she into her very bower
To welcome that dead man.

O, she's taken up her comb of gold
And combed adown her hair,
And for every hair she combed adown
There fell a weary tear.

"Hearken thou, knight Aagen,
Hearken, true-love, and tell,
If down-adown in the black, black earth
Thou farest ever well?"

"O whenso thou art joyous,
And the heart is glad in thee,
Then fares it with my coffin
That red roses are with me.

"But whenso thou art sorrowful
And weary is thy mood,
Then all within my coffin
Is it dreadful with dark blood.

"Now is the red cock a-crowing,
To the earth adown must I;
Down to the earth wend all dead folk,
And I wend in company.

"Now is the black cock a-crowing,
To the earth must I adown,
For the gates of Heaven are opening now,
Thereto must I begone."

Uprose the fair knight Aagen,
Coffin on back took he,
And he's away to the churchyard now,
Sore hard as the work might be.

[212] But so wrought maiden Else,
Because of her weary mood,
That she followed after own true love
All through the mirk wild wood.

But when the wood was well passed through,
And in the churchyard they were,
Then was the fair knight Aagen
Waxen wan of his golden hair.

And when therefrom they wended
And were the church within,
Then was the fair knight Aagen
Waxen wan of cheek and chin.

"Hearken thou, maiden Else,
Hearken, true-love, to me,
Weep no more for thine own troth-plight,
However it shall be!

"Look thou up to the heavens aloft,
To the little stars and bright,
And thou shalt see how sweetly
It fareth with the night!"

She looked up to the heavens aloft,
To the little stars bright above
The dead man sank into his grave,
Ne'er again she saw her love.

Home then went maiden Else,
Mid sorrow manifold,
And ere that night's moon came again
She lay alow in the mould.

5. “The Son’s Sorrow: From the Icelandic” ( The King has asked of his son so good, / “Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood? )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbyway1891portal.html. Included in A Book of Verse, 1870, 37-39; published CW, IX, Poems By the Way, 206-207. Morris autograph in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 88 and 88v with corrections; another Morris autograph is in HM 6427, f. 147. This is an autograph prepared for the printer, but there are several variants from the printed version.

According to May Morris, all the Northern translations in Poems By the Way were written in the early 1870’s.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 88

The king has asked of his son so good[—]
Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood
O fair it is a riding[.]

Thou playest not, and thou laughest not[,]
All thy good game is clean forgot[—]

Sit thou beside me, father dear[,]
And the tale of my sorrow shalt thou hear.

Thou baddest go to a far off land
And gavest me into a good earl’s hand

Now had this count daughters seven
The fairest of maidens under the heaven[.]

One brought me my meat when I should dine
One cut and sewed my raiment fine[.]

The third it was who washed my hair
The fourth I fell to loving there[.]

Befell it on so fair a day
That through the meads must we ride away[.]

Down in a dale my horse bound I
My saddle bound I speedily

Brighter she was than any flame
When to my saddlebow she came.

Beside my saddlebow she stood [–]
To flee with thee sweet knight were good[!]

Kind was my horse and good to aid[,]
My love upon his back I laid.

[f. 88v]

Then from the garth we rode away
And none was ware of us that day[,]

But as we rode along the sand
There lay a barge beside the land.

So in that barge did we depart
And rowed by the land right glad at heart[.]

When we came to the dark wood and [the] shade
To raise the tent my true-love bade.

Three sons my true-love bore me there[,]
And syne she died that was so dear[.]

Then with my sword a grave I made
And softly therein my love I laid.

First in the mould I laid my love
Then all my sons her breast above

And I alone without must lie,
So homeward thenceforth must I hie[—]

There shall no man rise on his feet
No wife shall he love[,] no maiden find sweet.

Book of Verse, [p. 37]

The Son’s Sorrow

The king has asked of his son so good—
Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood
O fair and sweet to ride abroad!

Thou playest not, and thou laughest not,
All thy good game is clean forgot—

Sit thou beside me, father dear,
And the tale of my sorrow shalt thou hear.

Thou sentest me into a far off land
Thou gavest me into a good earl’s hand
Now this good earl had daughters seven
The fairest of maidens under the heaven.

One brought me my meat when I should dine
One shaped and sewed my raiment fine.

One washed and combed my yellow hair
And one I fell to loving there

Befell it on so fair a day
That folk must win them sport and play

[p. 38]
Down in a dale my horse bound I
My saddle bound right speedily

Bright was her face as the flickering flame
When to my saddlebow she came

Beside my saddlebow she stood –
O knight, to flee with thee were good!

Kind was my horse, and good to aid,
My love upon his back I laid.

Then from the garth I rode away
And none were ware of us that day

But as we rode along the sand
There lay a barge beside the land.

So in that barge did we depart
And rowed away right glad of heart.

When we came to the dark wood and the shade
To raise the tent my true-love bade.

[p. 39]
Three sons my true-love bore me there,
And syne she died, who was so dear

A grave I made her with my sword
And with my shield the mould I poured.

First in the mould I laid my love
Then all my sons her breast above

And I without must lie alone,
So homeward thenceforth gat I gone—

No man any more shall rise on his feet
To love that Love, to woo that sweet.

Five leagues away the mould below
She trembled with his weary woe.
O fair and sweet to ride abroad!

Poems by the Way, 1891

[p. 141]

THE SON'S SORROW.

FROM THE ICELANDIC.

The King has asked of his son so good,
"Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood?
O fair it is to ride abroad.
Thou playest not, and thou laughest not;
All thy good game is clean forgot."

"Sit thou beside me, father dear,
And the tale of my sorrow shalt thou hear.

Thou sendedst me unto a far-off land,
And gavest me into a good Earl's hand.

Now had this good Earl daughters seven,
The fairest of maidens under heaven.

One brought me my meat when I should dine,
One cut and sewed my raiment fine.

One washed and combed my yellow hair,
And one I fell to loving there.

Befell it on so fair a day,
We minded us to sport and play.

Down in a dale my horse bound I,
Bound on my saddle speedily.

Bright red she was as the flickering flame
When to my saddle-bow she came.

[p. 142]

Beside my saddle-bow she stood,
'To flee with thee to my heart were good.'

Kind was my horse and good to aid,
My love upon his back I laid.

We gat us from the garth away,
And none was ware of us that day.

But as we rode along the sand
Behold a barge lay by the land.

So in that boat did we depart,
And rowed away right glad at heart.

When we came to the dark wood and the shade
To raise the tent my true-love bade.

Three sons my true-love bore me there,
And syne she died who was so dear.

A grave I wrought her with my sword,
With my fair shield the mould I poured.

First in the mould I laid my love,
Then all my sons her breast above.

And I without must lie alone;
So from the place I gat me gone."

No man now shall stand on his feet
To love that love, to woo that sweet:
O fair it is to ride abroad.

HM 6427, f. 147.

The King has asked of his son so good,
"Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood?
      O fair it is to ride abroad.
"Thou playest not, and thou laughest not;
All thy good game is clean forgot."

"Sit thou beside me, father dear,
And the tale of my sorrow shalt thou hear.

Thou sendedst me unto a far-off land,
And gavest me into a good Earls hand

Now had this good Earl daughters seven,
The fairest of maidens under heaven.

One brought me my meat when I should dine,
One cut and sewed my raiment fine.

One washed and combed my yellow hair,
And one I fell to loving there.

Befell it on so fair a day,
We minded us to sport and play.

Down in a dale my horse bound I,
Bound on my saddle speedily.

Bright red she was as flickering flame
When to my saddle-bow she came

[f. 147v]

Beside my saddle-bow she stood,
To flee with thee to my heart were good.

Kind was my horse and good to aid,
My love upon his back I laid.

We gat us from the garth away
And none was ware of us that day.

But as we rode along the sand
Behold a barge lay by the land.

So in that boat did we depart
And rowed away right glad at heart.

When we came to the dark wood and the shade
To raise the tent my true-love bade.

Three sons my true-love bore me there,
And syne she died who was so dear.

A grave I wrought her with my sword
With my fair shield the mould I poured.

First in the mould I laid my love,
Then all my sons her breast above.

And I without must lie alone;
So from the place I gat me gone."

No man now shall stand on his feet
To love that love, to woo that sweet.
O fair it is to ride abroad. (red)

6. “The Mother Under the Mold” ( Svend Dyring rode on the island-way / Yea have not I myself been young )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbyway1891portal.html. Published CW, XXIV, 352-55. Morris autograph with corrections, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 89-90v. Copyist’s version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,298B, ff. 18-22. Also in checklist, "Poems from the The Earthly Paradise Period," C23.

[f. 89]
The Mother Under the Mold.
                              1
Swend Dyring rode on the island way
Yea, have I not myself been young.
And there he’s wedded so fair a may
Fair words give joy to many a heart

                              2
Seven years the twain together sat
And children six between them gat

                              3
Then came a death into the land
And died that lovely lily-wand.

                              4
Then Swend he rode on the island-way
And there he’s wedded another may.

                              5
He’s wedded a may and home is she
As grim & evil as may be.

                              6
When she came a driving to the door
There the six babes weeping sore

                              7
There stood they weeping many a tear
With her foot she thrust them forth from her.

                              8
She gave them neither ale nor meat
O ye shall have both hunger and hate

                              9
She took from them the bolster blue,
Said [in] the bare straw lie alow.

                              10
She’s taken from the great Waxlights
In murk house shall ye lie anights

[f. 89v]

                              11
Late in the eve [the] bairnes they grat
The Mother under the Mould heard that.

                              12

That heard she under earth as she lay[:]
O now must I to my babes away[.]

                              13
Then did she stand the Lord before[:]
O may I go seek my babes once more[?]

                              14
So long there did she stand & pray
That the lord let her go her way.

                              15
But come thou back at cock crow-tide[,]
No longer away must thou abide.

                              16
Then forth her weary feet put she
To meet both wall and imagery.

                              17
But when she came unto the stead
Under the sky the hounds they bayed[,]

                              18
And when to the door she drew near[-]hand[,]
There did her eldest daughter stand.

                              19
O daughter mine[,] why standest thou [ms. thou repeated][,],
How do thy little brethren fare[?]

                              20
Thou art never Mother of mine[,]
For ever was she fair & fine.

                              21
My mother was white with cheeks full red[,]
But thou art pale & like the dead.

                              22
O how should I be fine and fair[,]
For dead folk all pale cheeks must bear[.]

[f. 90]

                              23
O how should I be white & red
So long as I have been cold & dead.

                              24
But when she came to the chamber door[,]
There were [the] bairns & grat right sore.

                              25
The first she brushed[,] the second she plaited[,]
The third she dandled[,] the fourth she patted.

                              26
The fifth upon her breast she set
As though sweet food it thence should get.

                              27
Then to her eldest daughter said she[,]
Go bid Svend Dyring come to me[.]

                              28
So when within the hall he stood[,]
She spake to him in wrathful mood.

                              29
I left behind me ale & bread
Yet must my babes [of both] have need.

                              30
Boldsters blue did I leave enow[,]
In the bare straw lie my babes alow[.]

                              31
I left behind me waxlights high[,]
But in chamber dark must my little ones lie.

                              32
Look to it that if I come once more
Ill fate for you there lieth in store.

                              33
But now is the red red cock a crowing[,]
And unto earth must the dead be a going.

                              34
Now croweth the black cock on high
And heaven’s gate openeth presently[.]

[f. 90v]

                              35
And now the white cock croweth clear[,]
No longer is there biding here.

                              36
So every time the hounds they bayed[,]
They gave the children ale & bread.

                              37
No sooner did they hear them bay
But they thought the dead was on the way[.]

                              38
The hound’s voice did they no sooner hear
Than sure they thought the dead was there[.]
[seems unfinished]

7. “Agnes and the Hill Man: Translated from the Danish” ( Agnes went through the meadows a-weeping, / Fowl are a-singing. / There stood the hill-man heed thereof keeping. / Agnes, fair Agnes! )

See Poems by the Way, /poemsbyway1891portal.html. Published CW, IX, Poems By the Way, 208-209. HM 6427, ff. 148-148v; Morris autograph. According to May Morris, all the Northern translations in Poems By the Way were written in the early 1870’s. HM 6427, ff. 148v-50v contains part of an earlier version crossed out.

HM 6427 [f. 148]

AGNES AND THE HILL-MAN.

TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

Agnes went through the meadows a-weeping,
Fowl are a-singing.
There stood the hill-man heed thereof keeping.
Agnes, fair Agnes!
"Come to the hill, fair Agnes, with me,
The reddest of gold will I give unto thee!"

Twice went Agnes the hill round about,
Then wended within, left the fair world without.

In the hillside bode Agnes, three years thrice told o'er,
For the green earth sithence fell she longing full sore.

There she sat, and lullaby sang in her singing,
And she heard how the bells of England were ringing.

Agnes before her true-love did stand:
"May I wend to the church of the English Land?"

"To England's Church well mayst thou be gone,
So that no hand thou lay the red gold upon.

"So that when thou art come the churchyard anear
Thou cast not abroad thy golden hair.

"So that when thou standest the church within
To thy mother on bench thou never win.

"So that when thou hearest the high God's name,

[f. 149]
No knee unto earth thou bow to the same."

Hand she laid on all gold that was there,
And cast abroad her golden hair.

And when the church she stood within
To her mother on bench straight did she win.

And when she heard the high God's name,
Knee unto earth she bowed to the same.

When all the mass was sung to its end
Home with her mother dear did she wend.

"Come, Agnes, into the hillside to me,
For thy seven small sons greet sorely for thee!"

"Let them greet, let them greet, as they have will to do;
For never again will I hearken thereto!"

Weird laid he on her, sore sickness he wrought,
Fowl are a-singing.
That self-same hour to death was she brought.
Agnes, fair Agnes!

Poems by the Way, 1891 [p. 143]

AGNES AND THE HILL-MAN.

TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

Agnes went through the meadows a-weeping,
Fowl are a-singing.
There stood the hill-man heed thereof keeping.
Agnes, fair Agnes!
"Come to the hill, fair Agnes, with me,
The reddest of gold will I give unto thee!"

Twice went Agnes the hill round about,
Then wended within, left the fair world without.

In the hillside bode Agnes, three years thrice told o'er,
For the green earth sithence fell she longing full sore.

There she sat, and lullaby sang in her singing,
And she heard how the bells of England were ringing.

Agnes before her true-love did stand:
"May I wend to the church of the English Land?"

"To England's Church well mayst thou be gone,
So that no hand thou lay the red gold upon.

"So that when thou art come the churchyard anear
Thou cast not abroad thy golden hair.

"So that when thou standest the church within
To thy mother on bench thou never win.

"So that when thou hearest the high God's name,
No knee unto earth thou bow to the same."

[p. 144]

Hand she laid on all gold that was there,
And cast abroad her golden hair.

And when the church she stood within
To her mother on bench straight did she win.

And when she heard the high God's name,
Knee unto earth she bowed to the same.

When all the mass was sung to its end
Home with her mother dear did she wend.

"Come, Agnes, into the hillside to me,
For thy seven small sons greet sorely for thee!"

"Let them greet, let them greet, as they have will to do;
For never again will I hearken thereto!"

Weird laid he on her, sore sickness he wrought,
Fowl are a-singing.
That self-same hour to death was she brought.
Agnes, fair Agnes!

8. “The Prophecy of the Vala” ( Heath-Dame they called her / At each home she came to, )

Published AWS, I, 543-63. British Library Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 32-41; Morris autograph.

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 32

The Prophecy of the Vala

Unrevised translation.

                        1
Heath-Dame they called her
At each home that she came to,
The well-spaeing Vala;
O[’]er wolves cast she witch-work
And sang where she could sing
The song that her heart loved;
Sweet savour beloved
To the dread brides was she.

                        2
By the door sat she lonely,
When the Ancient of days,
The dread God came thither;
She gazed into his eyes;
‘What wouldst thou of me?
Why wilt thou try me?
Well wot I Odin
Where thou thine eye hiddedst.”

                        3
Then gave her War-father
Gems and bright rings
For the spells of her wisdom
And her witch-craft far-seeing;
Wide she saw, wide and wide
Through every world.

                        4
‘I bid all be hushed
Of the holy kindred,
Both the more and the less,
Erst born of Heimdall!
Wilt thou, Valfather
That I tell well and duly
Old wisdom of men,
As far forth as I may?

[f. 32v]

                        5
‘I mind the giants
Yore agone gotten,
Who in the days bygone
Brought me to birth.
Of nine worlds I mind me,
Of nine trees wide-spreading,
And the noble life-tree
Down neath the mould.

                        6
‘In the days of old
Whereas Ymir dwelt
Neitehr sand nor sea was there
Or the cold waves swallow;
No place earth had then
Or the Heavens up aloft,
No grass was there, nought
But the Gap of the Welter;

                        7
Before Bur’s sons
Bare up the Heavens,
E’en they who made
Mid-earth the noble:
Then the southering sun
Shone on their hall-stones
And the ground was grown ‘oer
With green herb waxing mighty.

                        8
From the South turned the Sun,
From the side of the Moon,
And stretched her right hand
Oer the edge of the heaven;
Nought the sun wotted
Where her abode was;
Nought the Moon wotted
[f. 33] What might was his;
Nought the stars wotted
Where their stead might be.

   9

Then went all things of might
To the seat of all counsel,
And the most holy Gods
Gave heed unto this;
To the night and the moon's wane
Gave they a name;
Morning they named,
And they named the midday,
Undern and evening,
For every year's telling.

10

They met, the Aesir
On the plains of Ida,
Altar and house
Aloft they reared there,
Put forth their might,
All matters proved,
Built them forges,
And fair things smithied;
Tongs they shaped
And made them tools.

11

Glad, at tables
In gardens played they,
No whit they wanted
Gold for their need;
Until there came
Three mays of the giants
Mighty indeed
From the giant-dwelling.

[f. 34]

12

Then went all things of might
To the seat of counsel;
The most holy Gods
Gave heed unto this,
How should be wrought
The race of the dwarf-kind
From the blood of the brine,
And the bones of the Blue-one.

13

Then was Modsognir
Made the mightiest
Of all the dwards,
And Durin the second;
Many shapes of men
These made on the earth,
As Durin told,
These Dwarfs aforesaid.

14

Nyi, Nidi
Nordri, Sudri,
Austri, Westri,
Althiofr, Dwalin,
Nar and Nainn
Nipingr, Dainn,
Bifur, Bafur,
Bombur, Nori,
Ann, and Anarr,
Oinn, Miödvitnir.

15

Vegg and Gandalf,
Windelf, Thorin,
Thrár and Thráinn
Thekkr, Litr, and Vitr,
Nyr, and Nyradr;
Now of all the dwards
[f. 34] With Regin and Radsvid
Aright is the tale told.

                        16
Fili, Kili,
Fundinn, Nali,
Hepti, Vili,
Hannar, Sviur,
Billingr, Bruni,
Bildr and Buri,
Frar, Hornbori,
Foregr and Loni,
Aurvangr, Jari,
And Eikinskialdi.

                        17
Time to tell of the Dwarfs
Of Dwalin’s folk
Unto mankind
E’en up to Lofar;
Those who set out
From the stony halls,
Aurvangi’s home
To the meads of Jara.

                        18
There was Draupner,
And Dolgthrasir,
Har, Haugspori,
Hlevanger, Gloin,
Dori, Ori,
Dufr, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir,
Skafidr, Ai.

                       19
Elf and Yngvi,
Eikinskialdi,
[f. 34v] Fialar and Frosti,
Finn and Ginnar:
Great to be told of
That tale of the Kin
Of Lofar shall be
While men folk are a-living.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        20
Three Aesir came forth
On a time from their folk,
Mighty, well-loving
To man’s abode:
They found on the land
Little of might,
Ask and Embla,
Aimless and fateless.

                        21
Breath of life lacked they,
Lacked they all speech,
Blood, might to go,
And goodly colour;
Breath of life gave Odin,
Speech gave Hoenir,
Blood gave Lodur,
And goodly colour
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        22
I know an ash standing
Yggdrasil hight,
High-waving, besprinkled
With water’s white sand;
Thence come the dews
[f. 35] That fall into the dales;
Green it stands ever, over
The spring of the Bygone.

                       23
Thence come three maidens,
Many things wise in,
From the hall that is set
Neath the high-standing bole;
Gone-by is the first named
Going-by is the second,
On the staves there they scored;
Shall-come-yet is the third;
Laws there they lay down
And the lives of men choose
For the children of men,
And the fate of mankind.

                      24
She wotteth of Odin,
Where his eye is hidden,
In the pure bright
*Brook of Mimir; [should be “well”; Ice., “brunnr,” AWS]
Mead drinketh Mimir
Every morning
From Valfather’s pledge:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        25
She wotteth of Heimdall,
Where his great cry is hidden
Neath the holy tree
Bright high up in heaven;
And she sees a stream flow down
In sandy falls
[f. 35v] From Valfather’s Pledge:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        26
The slaying of folk
Minds she first in the world,
When on the glaives
*Gullveig they raised, [meaning the discovery of gold. W. M.]
And her burnt up
In the hall of the High One;
Thrice they burned her
Born thrice over,
Oft o’er again,
Ever she liveth.

                        27
Then went all things of might
To the seat of all counsel,
The most holy Gods
Gave heed unto this,
Whether the Aesir
Should pay atonement,
Or all the Gods
Weregild should have.

                        28
Odin cast forth then,
Short forth o’er the people;
And then first amid folk
Fell death in the world,
And the barrier was broken
Of the burgh of the Aesir,
And the Vanir must spurn
The meads death-laden.

[f. 36]

                        29
Then went all things of might
To the seat of all counsel,
The most holy Gods
Gave heed unto this,
Who had blended with ill
The blue heaven up aloft,
Giving Od’s may
To the kin of the giants.

 

                        30
Thor smote there alone,
With anger more laden,
For seldom he sits
When of such things he heareth.
A part went all oaths,
All words, all swearing,
All speech of might,
That midst them had been.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        31
The Dead-choosers saw she
Come from afar
Arrayed to ride forth
To the folk of the Gods:
Skuld held shield there,
Skoful rode second,
Gunn, Hild, Gondul,
Geirskogul were there.
So is the tale made
Of Herian’s* maidens, [Herjan: one of Odin’s names: War-lord]
Dead-choosers arrayed
To ride through the world.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

[f. 36v]

                        32
I saw of Baldur,
The bloodstained God,
Born of Odin,
The fated bane hidden.
There it stood growing
High oer the green mead,
Slender, most fair,
The mistletoe.

                        33
Ah from that stem
So slender-seeming
A woeful flight
Forth shall Hod shoot;
Baldur’s own brother
Was born oer-early,
One day old to slaying
Shall fall Odin’s son.* [Hod was ‘one night old’ when he slew Baldur.]

                        34
Yet he washeth not hand
Nor head he combeth,
Ere Baldur’s foe
To bale is borne;
Frigg falls agreeting
In the Fenhalls
O’er Valhall’s woe:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        35
Then might the Vala
Make bonds of battle
Exceeding hard-wrought,
Wrought all of inwards.

                        36
Bound there she saw lie
Laid in grove of the fire*
[f. 37] An evil thing like
To the likeness of Loki;
There sitteth Signy,
Full of all sorrow
Over her husband:
Know ye yet or what know ye?

                        37
Garm bayeth high
By the cave of Gnipa,
The bonds are rent
And the wolf runneth free;
Further forth may I see,
Many things may I tell
Of the Gods’ darkening,
The happy Gods’ strife.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        38
Falls a stream from the East
Through the dales full of venom,
Stream of knives and of swords,
Slid is it called.

                        39
To the north is there standing
In the alley of night
A hall all of gold
For the high kin of Sindri;
And another there standeth
In the stead called Uncold,
The beer-hall of the Giants,
Brimir they call it.

                        40
A hall she sees standing
Afar from the sun
[f. 37v] On the strand of the dead,
All doors turned to the north,
And the venom-drops rain down
Through luffer, through roof;
Its walls are wattled
With nought but worms’ backs.

                        41
She seems a-wading
The heavy streams there
Mansworn men
And murderous monsters,
And the undoer
Of another’s soft speech-friend:
Falls Nidhogg to sucking
The foredone corpses;
The wolf tears the dead:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        42
Garm bayeth on high
By the cave of Gnipa,
The bonds are rent
And the wolf runneth free;
Further forth may I see,
Many things may I tell
Of the Gods’ darkening
The happy Gods’ strife.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        43
East bode the old crone
In the wood of iron,
And there brought forth
Fenris’ offspring;
[f. 38] Amidst all these
A certain one is there,
The moon’s swallower
In troll’s semblance.

                        44
Fulfilled with the life-breath
Of fey men is he,
With red blood the Gods’ seat
This same shall redden:
Black shall the sunlight be
All summers after,
All weather woeful:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        45
There on mound was a-setting
Smiting the harp-strings
The guard gainst the witch-wives,
Egdir the glad,
And over him crowed
Up aloft in the fowl-wood
The fair red cock
That Fialar is hight.

                        46
Yea Golden-comb
Croweth over the Aesir
Who waketh the heroes
In Warfather’s house:
But another there croweth
Down alow neath the earth,
Soot-red is he
In the halls of Hel.

                        47
Garm bayeth on high
By the cave of Gnipa,
[f. 38v] The bonds are rent
An the wolf runneth free;
Further forth may I see
Mighty lore I wot of
Of the Gods’ Darkening,
Of the happy Gods’ strife.

                        48
Brethren shall fight
And be bane of each other,
Cousins moreover
Kinship shall spill:
A hard while in the world,
A while of great whoredom;
An axe-age, a spear-age;
Shields shall be cloven;
A wind-age, a wolf-age
Ere the world sinketh.

                        49
Earth is a-groaning,
Grewsome things fly abroad,
Neither shall any man
Spare another.

                        50
Mimir’s kin fall a-dancing
And the world-tree is kindled
At the screaming
Of the horn of screaming;
High Heimdall blows
And his horn is aloft,
With Mimir’s head
Holds Odin converse.

                        51
Shaketh Yggdrasil’s
Ash yet standing,
[f. 39] Groans the tree of old time,
And the giant is loosened;
All are heavy with dread
On the ways of Hell,
Or ever Surt’s son
Swalloweth all up.

                       52
How afre the Aesir?
How fare the elves now?
All Giant-home rumbles,
And the Gods are assembled,
And the dwarfs are whining
Before their stone doors,
The wise of the rock-walls:
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        53
Garm bayeth on high
By the cave of Gnipa,
The bonds are rent
And the wolf runneth free;
Further forth may I see,
Many things may I tell
Of the Gods’ darkening
The happy Gods’ strife.

                        54
Hrym drives from the East
With shield held before him,
The World’s worm is writhing
With the wrath of a giant;
The worm breaks through the billows,
Wails out the eagle,
Corpses the Night-pale tears;
*Naglfar is loosened. [Nagl-far is the ship made of dead men’s nails. W. M.]

[f. 39v]

                        55
From the East that keel cometh,
Come forth Muspell’s folk
From afar oer the sea,
And Loki is streering:
All the monster’s kin wendeth
Along with the wolf,
Yea in their fellowship
Fare Byleist’s brother.

                        56
From the South fareth Surt
With the flickering flame;
Shines from his sword
The sun of the fight-Gods:
Stony hills grind together,
The giant-wives totter,
All men tread Hel’s ways,
And the Heavens are cloven.

                        57
Then will arise
*Hlin’s second woe [Hlin: synonym for Frigg, Odin’s wife. W. M.]
When Odin fareth
To fight with the Wolf
And *Beli’s bright bane [Beli’s bane is Freyr, the son of Odin. W. M.]
Battleth with Surt,* [Surt is the fire giant who destroys the earth. W. M.]
There Frigg’s dear one
Falleth to earth.

                        58
Garm bayeth on high
By the cave of Gnipa,
The bonds are rent
And the wolf runneth free;
Further forth may I see,
Many things may I tell
Of the Gods’ Darkening
Of the happy Gods’ strife.

[f. 40]

                        59
Then comes in the great son
Of the sire Victorious
Even Vidar, to fight
With the *Beast of the Fallen; [Valdyr, i. e. the Fenris Wolf who kills Odin. W. M.]
His hand shall drive through
To the heart of the giant
The glittering sword
For his sire’s avenging.

 

                        60
[-------? unclear]

                        61
Then the noble kin
Of Holdyn in cometh,
The Mid-earth’s holy God [Thor, MM]
Amidst wrath the worm slayeth,
Nine feet then goes
The *son of Fiörgyn [Fiörgyn, Mother-earth]
And falls, felled by the adder
Who feared no foe:
Now wend all men
From the place of the world.

                        62
Blackeneth the sun now,
Earth sinketh in sea;
From the heavens fall down
The stars fair-twinkling,
The fire is a-raging,
The life-giver flameth,
And the flame playeth high
Gainst the very heavens.

                        63
Garm bayeth on high
By the cave of Gnipa,
The bonds are rent
And the Wolf runneth free:
Further forth may I see,
Many things may I tell
Of the Gods’ Darkening
The happy Gods’ strife.

[f. 40v]

                        64
She sees arise
Now once again
Green, fair exceeding,
The earth from the sea;
Flow adown the rivers
The erne flies thereover,
He who in fells
Hath fish for his catching.

                        65
Then meet the Aesir
On the meads of Ida:
Speech make they there
Of the mighty world-circler;* [Mid-earth Worm dead & done with. W. M.]
Memory they have
Of the mighty doings,
And the lore of the great God
Of yore agone.

                        65
And there thereafter
Those things of wonder,
The golden tables,
In the grass they find,
Those that in old days
Once they had.                  

66
All unsown
Shall the acres wax there;
All bale be bettered
And Baldur come back;
Dwell *Hod and Baldur, [Hod had killed Baldur unwittingly. W. M.]
Dear Gods of Heaven,
*In Hropt’s walls of glory: [Hropt’s (Odin) home of victory=`Valhalla’ is nearer the text. MM]
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

[f. 41]                     

67

Then may Hoenir* [Hoenir was sent as hostage by the Aesir to the Vanir. W. M. ]
Have choice of his own lot
And the songs of two brethren
May have abiding
In the wide Wind-home
Know ye yet, or what know ye?

                        68
A hall she seeth
Than the sun far fairer
Bedight with gold
On Gimill standing;
There shall the host
Of the trusty have dwelling
For time evermore
All bliss to enjoy.

                        69
Then down from above
To the doom of the mighty
The mighty one cometh
Who ruleth oer all things:
Dooms shall he give
Guilt and strife allay,
And set up holy peace
That shall be evermore.
.         .         .         .
.         .         .         .

                        70
Then dusky comes in
The drake a-flying
From the nether world
And the fells of night:
Oer the fields flyeth Nidhogg
In his wing-feathers bearesth
Corpses of men. --
Now must she sink adown.

end--

9. “The Song of Atli” ( In days long gone / Sent Atli to Gunnar / A crafty one riding, / Knefrud men called him; )

Published CW, VII, 446-57, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda, Which Deal With the Story of the Volsungs.” According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

10. “The Whetting of Gudrun” ( Words of strife heard I, / Huger than any, / Woeful words spoken, / Sprung from all sorrow, )

Published CW, VII, 458-63, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda...”. According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870. May wrote to Dame Bertha Phillpotts, a specialist in Scandinavian studies at Cambridge, that they were written in the 70s.

11. “The Lay of Hamdir” ( Great deeds of bale / In the garth began, / At the sad dawning / The tide of Elves’ sorrow )

Published CW, VII, 464-71, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda...”. According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

12. “The Lament of Oddrun” ( I have heard tell / In ancient tales / How a may there came / To Morna-land, )

Published CW, VII, 472-80, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda...”According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

CW, VII [472]

The Lament of Oddrun

There was a man hight Heifreck, and his daughter was called Borgny, and the name of her lover was Vilmund. Now she might nowise be made lighter of a child she travailed with, before Oddrun, Atli’s sister, came to her,--she who had been the lover of Gunnar, Giuki’s son. But of their speech together has this been sung:

I have heard tell
In ancient tales
How a may there came
To Morna-land,
Because no man
On mould abiding
For Heidrek’s daughter
Might win healing.

All that heard Oddrun,
Atli’s sister,
How that the damsel
Had heavy sickness,
So she led from stall
Her bridled steed,
And on the swart one
Laid the saddle.

She made her horse wend
Oer smooth ways of earth,
Until to a high-built
Hall she came;’
Then the saddle she had
From the hungry horse,
And her ways wended
In along the wide hall,
And this word first
Spake forth therewith:
[473] “What is most famed,
Afield in Hunland,
Or what may be
Blithest in Hunland?”

QUOTH THE HANDMAID:
“Here lieth Borgny,
Borne down by trouble,
Thy sweet friend, O Oddrun,
See to her helping!”

ODDRUN SAID
“Who of the Lords
Hath laid this grief on her,
Why is the anguish
Of Borgny so weary?”

THE HANDMAID SAID
He is hight Vilmund,
Friend of hawk-bearers,
He wrapped the damsel
In the warm bed-gear
Five winters long
Without her father’s wotting.”

No more than this
They spake methinks;
Kind sat she down
By the damsel’s knee;
Mightily sang Oddrun,
Eagerly sang Oddrun,
Sharp piercing songs
By Borgny’s side:

“Till a maid and a boy
Might tread on the world’s ways,
Blithe babes and sweet
[474] Of Hogni’s bane.”
Then the damsel forewearied
The word took up,
The first word of all
That had won from her:

“So may help thee
All helpful things,
Frey and Freyia,
And all the fair Gods,
As thou hast thrust
This torment from me!”

ODDRUN SAID
“Yet no heart had I
For thy helping,
Since never wert thou
Worthy of helping,
But my word I held to,
That of old was spoken
When the high lords
Dealt out the heritage,
That every soul
I would ever help.”

BORGNY SAID
“Right mad art thou, Oddrun,
And reft of thy wits,
Whereas thou speakest
Hard words to me
Thy fellow ever
Upon the earth,
As of brothers twain
We had been born.”

ODDRUN SAID
“Well I mind me yet,
[475] What thou saidst that evening,
Whenas I bore forth
Fair drink for Gunnar;
Such a thing, saidst thou,
Should fall out never,
For any may
Save for me alone.”

Mind had the damsel
Of the weary day
Whenas the high lords
Dealt out the heritage,
And she sat her down,
The sorrowful woman,
To tell of the bale,
And the heavy trouble.

“Nourished was I
In the hall of kings—
Most folk were glad—
‘Mid the council of great ones:
In fair life lived I,
And the wealth of my father
For five winters only,
While yet he had life.

“Such were the last words
That ever he spake,
The king forewearied,
Ere his ways he went;
For he bade folk give me
The gold red-gleaming,
And give me in Southlands
To the son of Grimhild.

“But Brynhild he bade
To the helm to betake her,
[476] And said that Death-chooser
She should become;
And that no better
Might ever be born
Into the world,
If fate would not spoil it.

“Brynhild in bower
Sewed at her broidery,
Folk she had
And fair lands about her;
Earth lay a-sleeping,
Slept the heavens aloft
When Fafnir’s-bane
The burg first saw.

”Then was war waged
With the Welsh-wrought sword
And the burg all broken
That Brynhild owned;
Nor wore long space,
E’en as well might be,
Ere all those wile
Full well she knew.

“Hard and dreadful
Was the vengeance she drew down,
So that all we
Have woe enow.
Through all lands of the world
Shall that story fare forth
How she did her to death
For the death of Sigurd.

“But therewithal Gunnar
The gold-scatterer
Did I fall to loving
[477] As she should have loved him.
Rings of red gold
Would they give to Atli,
Would give to my borther
Tings goodly and great.

“Yea, fifteen steads
Would they give for me,
And the load of Grani
To have as a gift;
But then spake Atli,
That such was his will,
Never gift to take
From the sons of Giuki.

“But we in nowise
Might love withstand,
And mine head must I lay
On my love, the ring-breaker;
And many there were
Among my kind,
Who said that they
Had seen us together.

“Then Atli said
That I surely never
Would fall to crime
Or shameful folly:
But now let no one
For any other
That shame deny,
Where love has dealing.

“For Atli sent
His serving-folk
Wide through the murkwood
Proof to win of me,
[478] And thither they came
Where they ne’er should have come,
Where one bed we twain
Had dight betwixt us.

“To those men had we given
Rings of red gold,
Nought to tell
Thereof to Atli,
But straight they hastened
Home to the house,
And all the tale
To Atli told.

“Whereas from Gudrun
Well they hid it,
Though better by half
Had she had known it.

. . . .
. . . .

“Din was there to hear
Of the hoofs gold-shod
When into the garth
Rode the sons of Giuki.

“There from Hogni
The heart they cut,
But into the worm-close
Cast the other.
There the king, the wise-hearted,
Swept his harp-strings,
For the mighty kind
Had ever mind
That I to his helping
Soon should come.

CW, VII [472]

The Lament of Oddrun

There was a man hight Heifreck, and his daughter was called Borgny, and the name of her lover was Vilmund. Now she might nowise be made lighter of a child she travailed with, before Oddrun, Atli’s sister, came to her,--she who had been the lover of Gunnar, Giuki’s son. But of their speech together has this been sung:

I have heard tell
In ancient tales
How a may there came
To Morna-land,
Because no man
On mould abiding
For Heidrek’s daughter
Might win healing.

All that heard Oddrun,
Atli’s sister,
How that the damsel
Had heavy sickness,
So she led from stall
Her bridled steed,
And on the swart one
Laid the saddle.

She made her horse wend
Oer smooth ways of earth,
Until to a high-built
Hall she came;
Then the saddle she had
From the hungry horse,
And her ways wended
In along the wide hall,
And this word first
Spake forth therewith:
“What is most famed,
Afield in Hunland,
Or what may be
Blithest in Hunland?”

QUOTH THE HANDMAID:
“Here lieth Borgny,
Borne down by trouble,
Thy sweet friend, O Oddrun,
See to her helping!”

ODDRUN SAID
“Who of the Lords
Hath laid this grief on her,
Why is the anguish
Of Borgny so weary?”

THE HANDMAID SAID
He is hight Vilmund,
Friend of hawk-bearers,
He wrapped the damsel
In the warm bed-gear
Five winters long
Without her father’s wotting.”

No more than this
They spake methinks;
Kind sat she down
By the damsel’s knee;
Mightily sang Oddrun,
Eagerly sang Oddrun,
Sharp piercing songs
By Borgny’s side:

“Till a maid and a boy
Might tread on the world’s ways,
Blithe babes and sweet
Of Hogni’s bane.”
Then the damsel forewearied
The word took up,
The first word of all
That had won from her:

“So may help thee
All helpful things,
Frey and Freyia,
And all the fair Gods,
As thou hast thrust
This torment from me!”

ODDRUN SAID
“Yet no heart had I
For thy helping,
Since never wert thou
Worthy of helping,
But my word I held to,
That of old was spoken
When the high lords
Dealt out the heritage,
That every soul
I would ever help.”

BORGNY SAID
“Right mad art thou, Oddrun,
And reft of thy wits,
Whereas thou speakest
Hard words to me
Thy fellow ever
Upon the earth,
As of brothers twain
We had been born.”

ODDRUN SAID
“Well I mind me yet,
What thou saidst that evening,
Whenas I bore forth
Fair drink for Gunnar;
Such a thing, saidst thou,
Should fall out never,
For any may
Save for me alone.”

Mind had the damsel
Of the weary day
Whenas the high lords
Dealt out the heritage,
And she sat her down,
The sorrowful woman,
To tell of the bale,
And the heavy trouble.

“Nourished was I
In the hall of kings—
Most folk were glad—
‘Mid the council of great ones:
In fair life lived I,
And the wealth of my father
For five winters only,
While yet he had life.

“Such were the last words
That ever he spake,
The king forewearied,
Ere his ways he went;
For he bade folk give me
The gold red-gleaming,
And give me in Southlands
To the son of Grimhild.

“But Brynhild he bade
To the helm to betake her,
And said that Death-chooser
She should become;
And that no better
Might ever be born
Into the world,
If fate would not spoil it.

“Brynhild in bower
Sewed at her broidery,
Folk she had
And fair lands about her;
Earth lay a-sleeping,
Slept the heavens aloft
When Fafnir’s-bane
The burg first saw.

”Then was war waged
With the Welsh-wrought sword
And the burg all broken
That Brynhild owned;
Nor wore long space,
E’en as well might be,
Ere all those wile
Full well she knew.

“Hard and dreadful
Was the vengeance she drew down,
So that all we
Have woe enow.
Through all lands of the world
Shall that story fare forth
How she did her to death
For the death of Sigurd.

“But therewithal Gunnar
The gold-scatterer
Did I fall to loving
As she should have loved him.
Rings of red gold
Would they give to Atli,
Would give to my brother
Tings goodly and great.

“Yea, fifteen steads
Would they give for me,
And the load of Grani
To have as a gift;
But then spake Atli,
That such was his will,
Never gift to take
From the sons of Giuki.

“But we in nowise
Might love withstand,
And mine head must I lay
On my love, the ring-breaker;
And many there were
Among my kind,
Who said that they
Had seen us together.

“Then Atli said
That I surely never
Would fall to crime
Or shameful folly:
But now let no one
For any other
That shame deny,
Where love has dealing.

“For Atli sent
His serving-folk
Wide through the murkwood
Proof to win of me,
And thither they came
Where they ne’er should have come,
Where one bed we twain
Had dight betwixt us.

“To those men had we given
Rings of red gold,
Nought to tell
Thereof to Atli,
But straight they hastened
Home to the house,
And all the tale
To Atli told.

“Whereas from Gudrun
Well they hid it,
Though better by half
Had she have known it.

. . . .
. . . .

“Din was there to hear
Of the hoofs gold-shod
When into the garth
Rode the sons of G\iuki.

“There from Hogni
The heart they cut,
But into the worm-close
Cast the other.
There the king, the wise-hearted,
Swept his harp-strings,
For the mighty kind
Had ever mind
That I to his helping
Soon should come.

[479] “But now was I gone
Yet once again
Unto Geirmund,
Good feast to make;
Yet had I hearing,
E’en out from Hlesey,
How of sore trouble
The harp-strings sang.

“So I bade the bondmaids
Be ready swiftly,
For I listed to save
The life of the king,
And we let out ship
Swim over the sound,
Till Atli’s dwelling
We saw all clearly.

“Then came the wretch
Crawling out,
E’en Atli’s mother,
All sorrow upon her!
A grave gat her sting
In the heart of Gunner,
So that no helping
Was left for my hero.

“O gold-clad woman,
Full oft I wonder
How I my life
Still hold thereafter,
For methought I loved
That light in battle,
[480] The swift with the sword,
As my very self.

“Thou hast sat and hearkened
As I have told thee
Of many an ill-fate,
Mine and theirs—
Each man liveth
E’en as he may live—
Now hath gone forth
The greeting of Oddrun.”

13. “Lay of Thrym”

Published CW, VII, xxiv-xxxii. British Library Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 24-25, rough draft (f. 24, blue ruled paper; f. 25, white paper); 26-30 fair copy in May Morris's hand. Magnússon felt this was finished about 1870 (CW, VII, xx).

B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 24

   1

Wrath Thor was waxen
Then when he woke up
And waking missed
[H]is mighty hammer[.]
Bristled his beard thereat[,]
Broad about tossed his hair
As the great Earth-born
Groped round about him.

                       2
And this word he spake
Of all words the first word[:]
["]Hearken thou, Loki[,]
To that which I speak now
For the like none hath heard
In the heaven above
Or the earth—of the God
Whose hammer got stolen.["]

                       3
Forth then they went
To the fair house of Freyia
And this word he spake[,]
Of all words the first word[:]
["]Lend to me[,] Freyia,
Thy feather[-]wrought shape
That that hammer of mine
I might get me again.[”]

                       4
[“]I would give it to thee
Though of gold it were wrought[,]
Were it of silver["]
Forth then flew Loki,
Whistled the Feather[-]shape
Until from the garth
Of the Gods he was gotten
And withinwards was come
To the world of the giants.

                       5
On mound was Thrym sitting[,]
Mighty lord of the giants[,]
For his bitches he twisted
The bright gold leashes,
And his mares[’] manes
Made equal duly.

                       6
["]How fare the Æsir,
How fare the Elf-folk,
Why comest thou hither
To the home of the Giants?["]
[“]Ill fare the Æsir[,]
Ill fare the Elf-folk;
Hast thou not hidden
The hot-rider’s hammer.[”]

7
[“]Yea, I have hidden
The Hotnder's hammer[;]
Eight miles it lieth
Under the earth.
No man there is
Who ever may to [sic] fetch it
But if he shall bring me
Freyia for bride--[”]

                       8
Forth then flew Loki,
Whistled the Feather-shape,
Until from the world
Of the giants he was gotten
And withinwards was come
To the garth of the Gods.

                      9

And Thor there he met
Midmost the garth.
And this &tc. [word he spake
Of all words the first word]

                    10*             [*CW 9; henceforth all in CW are one no. lower than in m. s.]
[“]Speedeth thine errand
After thy labour
[f. 24v] Up there aloft?
Tell me long tidings[;]
Oft from the sitting one
Faileth the story[,]
Oft from the lying one
Lies bubble forth.”

                       11
“Eeen [sic] after my labour
So has mine errand been[;]
Thrym has gotten thine hammer[;]
High lord of the giants[,]
No man there is
Who ever may fetch it
But if he shall bring me
Freyia for bride.--[”]

                       12
Forth then they went
Fair Freyia to meet,
And this word he spake[,]
Of all words the first word[:]
[“]Bind on, O Freyia,
The linen of brides[;]
To the dwelling of giants
We twain shall drive thee.[”]

                       13
Wroth then waxed Freyia,
Fiercely she snorted[,]
The abode of the Æsir
All trmebled beneath her,
The gem of the Brisings
Was bursten asunder[.]
[“]Me methinks deem ye
Mad with love longing
That I should fare with you
To the world of the giants.[”]

                  14
The Gods on a time
At the Thing were all gathered,
And the Goddesses there
Were gathered together:
And this thing the great Gods
Had to talk over there:
How they might lay hand
On Hot rider[’]s hammer[.]

                       15
Then spake Heimdall,
Whitest of high Gods[,]
Wise in what should be
As any God was[.]
[“]Bind we on Thor then
Linen that brides bear[,]
Let him have the great gem
Of the Brisings hung on him.

                         16
[“]Let us hand to him
Tinkle of keys
Let women[’]s weed
Fall wide o[’]er his knee,
Set on his breast
Broad stones & bright[,]
Tire his head
Trimly and fair.[”]

                       17
Then spake Thor,
God of the Thunder
[“]Craven the Æsir
Should call me certes
If the linen of brides
I should let bind upon me.

                       18
Then spake Loki,
Son of Laufey[:]
[“]Hold thy peace, Thor[,]
Of such words as these[;]
Doubtless the giants
Asgard shall dwell [in],
But if thou shalt have
Thine hammer unto thee.[”]

[f. 25]

                       19
Bound they on Thor then
Linen that brides bear[,]
Bound they upon him
The gem of the Brisings[,]
Hung they unto him
Tinkle of keys[,]
Let women’s weed
Fall wide o[’]er his knee[,]
Set on his breast
Broad stones and bright[,]
Tire his head
Trimly and fair.

                     20
Then spake Loki
Laufey[']s wise son
[“]I will go with thee[,]
In guise of a handmaid Thy waiting woman[;]
We two shall drive
To the dwelling of giants[.”]

                       21
Then were the he-goats
Straight driven homewards[,]
Swift in the yoke,
Strong to run well[.]
Hills brake asunder,
Earth burned aflaming
And Odin’s son wended
To the world of the giants[.]

                       22
Then loud spake Thrym
Lord of the giants[:]
[“]Stand up[,] ye giant folk
Strew ye the benches[,]
For now wendeth hither
Freyia to wed me
The daughter of Niord
Noatown[’]s dweller.

23

[“]Here in my garth
Go the kin gold-horned[,]
Oxen all black
Bring the giants disport[,]
Many good things
Many gems [I] have,
Freyia alone
Was all I thought lacking.[”]

                       24
In the evening betimes
Were they brought thither
And in to the giant folk
Now was the ale brought[;]
Sif[’]s husband alone
Ate up an ox there
Eight salmon therewith
And all the sweet things
That the women’s due were,
And drank out three meand-tuns--

                     25
Loud spake Thrym
Lord of the giants[:]
[“]Who e[’]er saw brides
Bite any keener[?]
Ne[’]er saw I brides
[B]roader mouthed bite,
Nor more mead than that
Drunk by a maid.[”]

                     26
There sat the wily
Waiting-maid by him
And found out a word
For the giant’s word ready[:]
[“]Naught at all Freyia
For eight nights hath eaten[,]
Such longing had she
For the home of the giants.[”]

[f. 25v]

                     27
He stooped 'neath the linen
Sore longing to kiss her,
But backward he leaped
Endlong the hall.
[“]Why are Freyia’s eyes
So fierce unto me[?]
Methinks from those eyes
Fire flamed forth.[”]

                     28
There sat the wily
Waiting-maid by him
And found a word
[xxxi] For the giant’s word ready[:]
[“]Nought at all Freyia
For eight nights hath slept
Such longing had she
For the home of the giants.[”]

                     29
In slunk the wretch,
The giant’s sister[,]
And dared to bid
For the bride-fee there:
[“]Give from thine hands
The gold rings ruddy
If thou wouldst win
Good will of me
Good will of me,
And my loving kindness.[”]

                     30
Then loud spake Thrym,
Lord of the giants[:]
[“]Bear in the hammer
The bride to hallow[,]
Lay ye Mioldnir[,]
On the knees of the maiden,
And hallow us both
To the hands of Varar.[”]

                     31
Laughed then Hot rider[’]s
Heart in the breast of him[,]
When hardly [sic] of heart
His hammer he caught up:
Thrym got he first slain,
Lord of the giants,
Then all the kin
He crushed of the giant folk.

                     32
Slew he the old crone
The giant’s sister[,]
She who had bidden
Give forth the bride-fee[;]
Smiting her lot was
Instead of silver[,]
And the hammer’s stoke
For store of gold rings.

So came Odin[’]s son
In the end by his hammer[.]

CW, VII, [pp. xxiv-xxxii]

The Lay of Thrym

                     1
Wrath Thor was waxen
Then when he woke up
And waking missed
His mighty hammer.
Bristled his beard thereat,
Broad about tossed his hair
As the great Earth-born
Groped round about him.

                     2
And this word he spake
Of all words the first word:
“Hearken thou, Loki,
[xxv] To that which I speak now
For the like none hath heard
In the heaven above
Or the earth—of the God
Whose hammer got stolen.”

                     3
Forth then they went
To the fair house of Freyia
And this word he spake,
Of all words the first word:
“Lend to me, Freyia,
Thy feather-wrought shape
That that hammer of mine
I might get me again.”

                     4
“I would give it to thee
Though of gold it were wrought,
Were it of silver
Yet shouldst thou have it.”
Forth then flew Loki,
Whistled the Feather-shape
Until from the garth
Of the Gods he was gotten
And withinwards was come
To the world of the giants.

                     5
On mound was Thrym sitting,
Mighty lord of the giants,
For his bitches he twisted
The bright gold leashes,
And his mares’ manes
Made equal duly.

                     6
“How fare the Æsir,
How fare the Elf-folk?
Why comest thou hither
To the home of the Giants?”
[xxv] “Ill fare the Æsir,
Ill fare the Elf-folk;
Hast thou not hidden
The Hot-rider’s hammer?”

                     7
“Yea, I have hidden
The Hot-rider’s hammer;
Eight miles it lieth
Under the earth.
No man there is
Who ever may fetch it
But if he shall bring me
Freyia for bride.”

                     8
Forth then flew Loki,
Whistled the Feather-shape,
Until from the world
Of the giants he was gotten
And withinwards was come
To the garth of the Gods.

                     9
“Speedeth thine errand
After thy labour
Up there aloft?
Tell me long tidings;
Oft from the sitting one
Faileth the story,
Oft from the lying one
Lies bubble forth.”

                    10
“E’en after my labour
So has mine errand been;
Thrym has gotten thin hammer,
High lord of the giants.
No man there is
Who ever may fetch it
But if he shall bring him
Freyia for bride.”

                     11
[xxvii] Forth then they went
Fair Freyia to meet,
And this word he spake,
Of all words the first word:
“Bind on, O Freyia,
The linen of brides;
To the dwelling of giants
We twain shall drive thee.”

                     12
Wroth then waxed Freyia,
Fiercely she snorted,
The abode of the Æsir
All trembled beneath her,
The gem of the Brisings
Was bursten asunder.
“Me methinks dem ye
Made with love-longing
That I should fare with you
To the world of the giants.”

                     13
The Gods on a time
At the Thing were all gathered,
And the Goddesses there
Were gathered together,
And this thing the great Gods
Had to talk over there:
How they might lay hand
On Hot-rider’s hammer.

                     14
Then spake Heimdall,
Whitest of high Gods,
Wise in what should be
As any God was:
“Bind we on Thor then
Linen that brides bear,
Let him have the great gem
Of the Brisings hung on him.

[xxviii]

                     15
“Let us hand to him
Tinkle of keys
Let women’s weed
Fall wide o’er his knee,
Set on his breast
Broad stones and bright,
Tire his head
Trimly and fair.”

                     16
Then spake Thor,
God of the Thunder
“Craven the Æsir
Should call me certes
If the linen of brides
I should let bind upon me.

                     17
Then spake Loki,
Son of Laufey:
“Hold thy peace, Thor,
Of such words as these;
Doubtless the giants
Asgard shall dwell [in]
But if thou shalt have
Thine hammer to thee.”

                     18
Bound they on Thor then
Linen that brides bear,
Bound they upon him
The gem of the Brisings,
Hung they unto him
Tinkle of keys,
Let women’s weed
Fall wide o’er his knee,
Set on his breast
Broad stones and bright,
Tire his head
Trimly and fair.

[xxix]

                     19
Then spake Loki
Wise son of Laufey
“I will go with thee,
Thy waiting woman;
We two shall drive
To the dwelling of giants.”

                     20
Then were the he-goats
Straight driven homewards
Swift in the yoke,
Strong to run well.
Hills brake asunder,
Earth burned aflaming
And Odin’s son wended
To the world of the giants.

                     21
Then loud spake Thrym
Lord of the giants:
“Stand up, ye giant folk
Strew ye the benches,
For now wendeth hither
Freyia to wed me
The daughter of Niord
Noatown’s dweller.

                     22
“Here in my garth
Go the kind gold-horned,
Oxen all black
Bring the giants disport,
Many good things
Many gems have,
Freyia alone
Was all I thought lacking.”

                     23
In the evening betimes
Were they brought thither
And in to the giant folk
[xxx] Now was the ale brought;
Sif’s husband alone
Ate up an ox there
Eight salmon therewith
And all the sweet things
That the women’s due were,
And drank out three meand-tuns.

                     24
Loud spake Thrym
Lord of the giants:
“Who e’er saw brides
Bit any keener?
Ne’er saw I brides
Broader mouthed bite,
Nor more mead than that
Drunk by a maid.”

                     25
There sat the wily
Waiting-maid by him
And found out a word
For the giant’s word ready:
“Naught at all Freyia
For eight nights hath eaten,
Such longing had she
For the home of the giants.”

                     26
He stooped ‘neath the linen
Sore longing to kiss her,
But backward he leaped
Endlong the hall:
“Why are Freyia’s eyes
So fierce unto me?
Me thinks from those eyes
Fire flamed forth.”

                     27
There sat the wily
Waiting-maid by him
And found a word
[xxxi] For the giant’s word ready:
“Nought at all Freyia
For eight nights hath slept
Such longing had she
For the home of the giants.”

                     28
In slunk the wretch,
The giant’s sister,
And dared to bid
For the bride-fee there:
“Give from thy hands
The gold rings ruddy
If thou wouldst win
Goodwill of me
Goodwill of me,
And my loving kindness.”

                     29
Then loud spake Thrym,
Lord of the giants:
“Bear in the hammer
The bride to hallow,
Lay ye Miolnir,
On the knees of the maiden,
And hallow us both
To the hands of Varar.”

                     30
Laughed then Hot-rider’s
Heart in the breast of him,
When hardy of heart [ms. hardly]
His hammer he caught up[:]
Thrym got he first slain,
Lord of the giants,
Then all the kin
He crushed of the giant folk.

                     31
Slew he the old crone
The giant’s sister[,]
She who had bidden
[xxxi] Give forth the bride-fee[;]
Smiting her lot was
Instead of silver[,]
And the hammer’s stroke
For store of gold rings.

So came Odin[’]s son
In the end by his hammer[.]

*14. “Baldur’s Doom” [Also "The Lay of Way-wearer" (Vegtamsgruđa)]

Published CW, VII, 185-88 under title “Baldur’s Dream.” The autograph manuscript is in British Library Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 19-23; 19 and 19v are a first draft, and a second copy redone mostly in Morris's fair hand with a few autograph gaps and pencil corrections, appears on ff. 20-23. Magnússon felt this was finished about 1870 (CW, VII, xx), but Morris's autograph of the draft is signed f. 19v., "W. M. / Sunday Feb: 19th 1871."

B. L. Ms. 45,318, [f. 19, first copy]

1

The Gods on a time
At the Thing were all gathered,
And the Goddesses there
Were gathered together:
And this things the great Gods
Had to talk over there,
Why dreams of bale
Had come on Baldur.

                       2
Then up rose Odin,
Lord of the ages,
And he on Sleipnir
Laid the saddle,
And thence he rode down
To Niflhel's deeps,
And the hound he met
That cometh from Hell.

                       3
All bloody was he
On his breast’s forefront,
Long while he bayed
On the Father of wisdom.
But forth still rode Odin
Mid the din of the field-ways
Till he came to the high-built
House of Hell.

                       4
The rode Odin
To the door looking eastward,
Where he wotted the mound was
Wherein lay the Vala[.]
Then to the witch-wife
Then wise words he sang,
Witch-work for dead folk,
Till unwilling she rose
With dead words in her mouth.

                       5
“What man is this
A man that I know not?
Who bringeth me hither
The burden his mind bears[:]
I was snowed on with snow,
And swept over with rain,
And dripped down on with dew;
Dead was I a long while?”

  6

He

Way-wearer they call me[,]
The son of Deaths-wise-one:
Tell me tidings of Hell
And of Earth will I tell thee:
For whom are these benches
Strewn with the red rings,
And the goodly bed
With gold done over?

7

For Baldur standeth
The mead brewed ready,
And this shimmering drink
That the shield lieth over.
From the songs of the Gods
Is all hope gone away--
--To speak was I driven
Now will I hold silence.

[f. 19v]

8

Hold not silence, O witchwife,
Thee yet will I question[,]
Till all things the wise know
I wot in the end.
Wise shall be
The bane of Baldur,
And steal the life
From Odin’s son?

                        9

She

High beareth Hod
The staff held famous:
He shall be &c [in pencil, "4 lines"]
The bane of Baldur,
And steal the life
From Odin’s son--
To speech was I driven,
Now I will hold silence.

                         10

He

Hold not silence[,] O witch[-]wife[,]
Thee yet will I question,
Till all things the wise know
I wot in the end.
Who upon Hod
Will wreak heavy vengeance
Or bring due bale
On Baldur’s bane[?]

                       11

She

Kind beareth Vali
In the Western halls;
That son of Odin
One night old makes slaughter;
Nor washeth he hand
Nor combeth head
Ere bale he bringeth
On Baldur’s foeman.
To speech was I driven[,]
Now will I hold silence.

                       12

He

Hold not silence[,] O witch[-]wife,
Thee yet will I question
Till all things the wise know
I wot in the end.
Who are the maidens
Shall wail out wide-mouthed,
And over their heads
Cast the shirts of the heavens.

                       13

[She]


Way-wearer art thou not
E’en as I wotted;
But Odin rather,
Lord of the ages.

He

No witch[-]wife art thou;
And no wise woman;
But of these giant folk
Art thou the mother.

                       14

[She]

Ride thou home[,] Odin,
And be thou all joyous
That thou mayst behold
Men folk again!
Till time when Loki
From his bonds is loosened,
And that great day
Of the Gods’ death is come.

B. L. Ms. 45,318, [f. 20, second copy]

  1

The Gods on a time
At the Thing were all gathered
And the Goddesses there
Were gathered together,
And this things the great Gods
Had to talk over there,
Why baleful dreams
Had come to Baldur.

                       2
Up rose Odin,
Lord of the ages,
And he on Sleipnir
Laid the saddle,
And thence he rode down
To the deeps of Niflhel,
Till he met the hounds
That came out of hel.

                       3
All bloody was he
On his breast’s forefront[,]
Long while he bayed
On the father of wisdom[,]
But forward rode Odin
Mid the din of the field way
Till he came to the high-built
House of Hell.

                       4
The rode Odin
To the door looking eastward
Where he wotted the mound was
[f. 21] Wherein lay the Vala[.]
Then to the witch-wife
Wise words he sang,
Witch-work for dead folk,
Till unwilling she rose
With dead words in her mouth:

                       5
“What man is that
A man that I know not
Who has brought unto me
The burden his mind bears[?]
I was snowed on with snow,
And swept over with rain
And dripped down on with dew,
Dead, dead for a long while?”

                            6
“Way-wearer they call me,
The son of the death-wise.
Tell me tidings of hel
And of earth will I tell thee[.]
For whom are these benches
Strewn with red rings
And the goodly bed
With gold done over?[”]

                    7

For Baldur standeth
The mead brewed ready
And this shimmering drink
That the shield lieth over.
From the songs of the Gods
Is all hope gone away.
To speech was I driven
And now will hold silence.

8

“Hold not silence[,] O witchwife
[f. 22] Thee yet will I question
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
Wise shall be
The bane of Baldur
And snatch the life
From Odin’s son?[”]

                        9
[“]High beareth Hod
The staff made famous,
He shall be &c [in pencil, "4 lines"]
The bane of Baldur
And snatch the life
From Odin’s son.[”]

                         10
“Hold not silence[,] O witch[-]wife,
Thee yet will I question
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
Who upon Hod
Will wreak heavy vengeance
Or bring bale
On Baldur’s ban[e]?

                       11
“Kind beareth Vali
In the Western halls[;]
One night old shall slay folk[;]
Nor washeth hand[,]
Nor combeth head[,]
Ere bale he bringeth
On Baldur’s foemen.[”]

                       12
[“]Hold not silence[,] O witch[-]wife,
Thee yet will I question
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
Who are the mays
Who shall wail heavy[-]hearted
And on their heads
Cast heaven’s skirts?”

                       13
[“]Way-wearer art thou not
E’en as I wotten
But rather Odin
Lord of the ages.”
“Thou art no witch[-]wife
No wise woman[,]
[f. 23] But of three giants
Art thou the mother.[”]                    

14

“Ride thou home, Odin,
And be thou all joyous
That thou mayst behold
Menfolk once more,
Till the last day when Loki
Slips loose from his bonds [ms. bounds]
And that great day
Of the Gods’ death is come.”

CW, VII, xxi-xxiv

Baldur's Dream

                     1
The Gods on a time
At the Thing were all gathered
And the Goddesses there
Were gathered together,
And this things the great Gods
Had to talk over there,
Why baleful dreams
Had come to Baldur.

                       2
Up rose Odin,
Lord of the ages,
And her on Sleipnir
Laid the saddle,
And thence he rode down
To the deeps of Niflhel,
Till he met the hound
That came out of Hel.

                       3
All bloody was he
On his breast’s forefront,
Long while he bayed
On the Father of wisdom,
But forward rode Odin
Mid the din of the field-way
Till he came to the high-built
House of Hell.

                       4
The rode Odin
To the door looking eastward
Where he wotted the mound was
Wherein lay the Vala.
[xxii] Then to the witch-wife
Wise words he sang,
Witch-work for dead folk,
Till unwilling she rose
With dead words in her mouth:

                       5
“What man is that
A man that I know not
Who has brought unto me
The burden his mind bears?
I was snowed on with snow
And swept over with rain
And dripped down on with dew,
Dead, dead for a long while.”

                            6
“Way-wearer they call me,
The son of the death-wise;
Tell me tidings of Hel
And of earth will I tell thee.
For whom are these benches
Strewn with red rings
And the goodly bed
With gold done over?”

                       7

“For Baldur standeth
The mead brewed ready
And this shimmering drink
That the shield lieth over.
From the songs of the Gods
Is all hope gone away.
To speech was I driven
And now will hold silence.”

                       8
“Hold not silence, O witch-wife
Thee yet will I question
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
[xxiii] Wise shall be
The bane of Baldur
And snatch the life
From Odin’s son?”

                        9
“High beareth Hod
The staff made famous,
He shall be
The bane of Baldur
And snatch the life
From Odin’s son.”

                         10
“Hold not silence, O witch-wife,
Thee yet will I question,
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
Who upon Hod
Will wreak heavy vengeance
Or bring bale
On Baldur’s bane?"

                      

11
“Kind beareth Vali
In the Western halls;
One night old shall slay folk; [In the halls of the West, Rind shall bear a son, Vali, that shall avenge Odin's son when but one night old. Corp. Poet. Bor. I, 182. MM]
Nor washeth hand
Nor combeth head
Ere bale he bringeth
On Baldur’s foeman.”            

           12

“Hold not silence, O witch-wife,
Thee yet will I question
Until all wisdom
Well I wot.
[xxiv] Who are the mays
Who shall wait heavy-hearted
And on their heads
Cast heaven’s skirts?”

                       13
“Way-wearer art thou not
E’en as I wotten
But rather Odin
Lord of the ages.”
“Thou art no witch-wife
No wise woman,
[f. 23] But of three giants
Art thou the mother.”

                       14
“Ride thou home, Odin,
And be thou all joyous
That thou mayst behold
Menfolk once more,
Till the last day when Loki
Slips loose from his bounds
And that great day
Of the Gods’ death is come.”

                

15. Part of the Lay of Sigrdrifa” ( Now this is my first counsel, / That thou with thy kin / Be guiltless, guileless ever, / Nor hasty of wrath, )

Published CW, VII, 405-407, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda . . . .” According to Magnusson (CW, VII, xx), these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

* 16. “Iliad,” translation. ( Singer of the wrath O Goddess of Achilles Peleus seek/ Baleful that laid on Achaeans ten thousand folded need )

Unfinished. Copyist's version in B. L. Add. Ms. 45, 320, ff. 1-11. Stops at Book I, line 212. The autograph of I., ll. 141-62 is at the Humanities Research Center Library at the University of Texas. Edited by William Whitla, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies 13 (Fall 2004): 75-121.

17. The Aeneids of Virgil

See Aeneids, /aeneid.html. Published 1875, Ellis and White. Also CW, XI. HM 6439, A. MS., Morris autograph fair copy for printer, ink on white ruled paper, ff. 1-320.

This ends:

“ And shalt thou, clad in my beloved one’s prey,
Be snatched from me?—Tis Pallas yet, tis Pallas thus doth slay,
And taketh of thy guilty blood atonement for his death!”

950. Deep in that breast he driveth sword even as the word he saith
But I --- waxen cold and spent the body of ---  lies
And with a groan through dusk & dark the scornful spririt flies 

Also draft fragment, B. L. Add. Ms.45,318, f. . Also a draft pencil autograph fragment, “Tell me muse of the man wide wandering to and fro,” B. L. Add. Ms. 45,319c, back sheet, f. vii

Tell me muse of the man wide wandering to and fro
Long tossed since when he laid the holy troytown low
Many towns of men he knew, and of minds of men had still
And many sea born griefs endured against his will
In the striving for his life and his fellows home to bear
Whom yet he might not hold however fain he were
For they by the mad heat of their folly were undone
Fools who ate up the beasts of the overriding sun
That the day of their return from these he cut away
Whereof O daughter of Zeus a word from thee we pray

Twenty-nine drawings for the Aeneid are in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, bought from Lawrence Hodson at a sale at Christie’s, June 15th, 1906 by J. R. Holliday and given by him to the FM, 1927.
[These are listed in HM 6339.]

Other drawings for the Aeneid, formerly in the Doheny collection, were sold at Christie’s at the end of 1989 and are now in an English private collection.

18. Part of the Second Lay of Helgi Hundings-bane” (Dag: Loth am I, sister / Of sorrow to tell thee, / For by hard need driven / Have I drawn on the greeting;)

Published CW, VII, 397-404, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda.…” According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

19. “The Short Lay of Sigurd” (Sigurd of yore, / Sought the dwelling of Guiki, / As he fared, the young Volsung, / After fight won;)

Published CW, VII, 408-425, “Certain Songs from the Elder Edda...”. According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

20. “The Hell-Ride of Brynhild” (THE GIANT WOMAN “Nay, with my goodwill / Never goest thou / Through this stone-pillared / Stead of mine!")

Published CW, VII, 426-34, “Certain Songs of the Elder Edda...”. According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

21. “Fragments of The Lay of Brynhild” (HOGNI SAID: “What hath wrought Sigurd / Of any wrong-doing / That the life of the famed one / Thou art fain of taking?”)

22. “The Second or Ancient Lay of Gudrun” (A may of all mays / My mother reared me / Bright in bower; / Well loved I my brethren,)

Published CW, VII, 435-445, “Certain Songs of the Elder Edda...”. According to Magnússon (CW, VII, xx) these were finished about midwinter, 1870.

* 23. “Nibelungenlied” (In the words of the ancient stories Are many wonders told)

216 quatrains, unfinished. Unpublished. British Library Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 1-16. Dated 1869.

f. 2
1 In the words of the ancient stories      Are many wonders told
Of the heroes well-bepraised     And their eager hearts & bold.
Of joyances and high-tides      Of weeping and of bale
Of the strife of the hardy barons Many a wonder tells the tale [.]

2  An exceeding lovely maiden     There waxed in Burgundy
Sure in all the wide world      No fairer might there be
Kriemehilt the story names her     And calls her wondrous fair
And tells of thegns and champions     That died because of her[.]

3  Now this lovesome maiden     Seemed a goodly thing enow
To the great-hearted barons,     To none was she a woe;
Measurelessly beauteous,     Was her glorious body made
The goodlines[s] within her     Brought all women joy and aid[.]

4  By three kings was she tended,     Mighty men they were,
King Gunther and King Gernot, Renowned everywhere,
And Giselher the youngling, A chosen thegn & great;
For the lady was their sister, well these guarded her estate.

5 Mild were these lordly brethren, Of a noble root and stem
Unmeasured was their prouess Few folk might match with them.
The country-side of Burgundy Their land is named herein
Sithence in Etzel’s country Deeds of wonder did they win.

6 At Worms down by Rhine river, They dwelt in all their might,
And the land had for their service Store of proud lord & knight,
So that with lordly honour Life long did they abide
And through the hate of women, At the end of all they died[.]

7 A rich queen was their mother, And she dame Ute hight
Dancrat was hight their father Who left for their delight
Great wealth when he departed life An exceeding mighty man
Who even yet a youngling great fame & honour wan[.]

f. 2

8 So passed their lifedays over, as I afore have told
In the highest might & majesty     And beneath them did they hold
The best of lords moreover     Of whom men have spoken or thought
Strong and exceeding eager     Not to be feard of aught.

9 Such as were Hagen [of] Tronege, and the brother of the same
Danwart the keen and eager, Ortvin, from Metz who came
The Markgraves well renowned Gere and Eckewart
And Volker of Alzeige Right stout of hands & heart[.]

10 Rumolt the Kitchen master, a thegne chosen out of all,
Sindolt and Hunolt; These lords in field & hall
The King’s court and courtesy Must serve in all the may
With many another baron Whose names have passed away[.]

11 Danwart was the Marshall, But the Metz man Ortwin
Who was the Marshall[‘]s nephew Bore the service in;
Sindolt bare the beaker, A good thane was he deemed
Hunolt was the  chamberlain Well they knew what well beseemed

12 Of their fair land[‘]s courtesy and their wide-reaching might
Of their worth beyond all worthiness Of the faith of lord & knight[,]
Wherewith these kings were honoured Through the joyance of their lives
No man may know the measure No tongue the full tale gives[.]

                                    1st Adventure.

1 Now Chriemhilt fell a dreaming As her fair life slipped away.
That a certain wild-bred falcon She nourished many a day
But two ernes must tear & slay it Yea neath her very eyes
Nor knew she in the wide world, Of aught happed in loathier wise[.]

2 Unto her mother Ute This dream then must she tell
Who could in nought arede it So that the thing seemed well[.]
The falcon that thou sawest A noble man it is
But if God help him better Short end to all his bliss[.]

f. 3
3 What hast thou to do Mother Of men to talk to me
Without the love of champions For ever will I be
For such wise ever sweetly Will I live to my life[’]s end
That no man[‘]s hand or folly Hard need to me shall send[.]

4 No such such [sic] word lay upon thee Spake her mother to her there
If thy heart[‘]s root ere is gladded, If thy life seem ever dear
From a man’s love shall it happen. If to thy lonely life
God aught of worthy, He shall make thee [a] good knight’s wife[.]

5 Ah let that word lie quiet Fair Mother for I know
That oft to many a woman, The days must even show
How that love gains loathing for all reward at last
Yea[,] I will bide a maiden, nor be utterly overcast[.]

6 So in the sweet goodliness That she held her in alway
Abode the noble maiden For many a live-long day
In such a wise that no one Wrapped love around her life
Sithence was she with honour A good knight’s loved wife[.]

7 That was e’en that falcon That dreaming erst she saw
The dream so ill areded How through ill days did she draw
Wrath on her nighest kinship Through whom he was foredone
And through that one man[’]s woeful death Died many a mother’s son[.]

[numbering shifts] 20 [pencil] [T]here waxed in the low countries The child of a King of might[,] [/pencil]
Sigemund hight his father His mother Sigelind hight
They dwelt in a fair castle Exceeding wide of fame
Down by the Rhine river Xanten it had to name[.]

21 Hearken to my telling what a goodly thane he was[.]
No breath of shame & slander Oer his life might pass
Strong sithence & glorious became this eager man
Ah what abundant honour Through the wide world he wan[.]

f. 4

22 Siegfried hight in story This thane so utterly good
On high deeds proven, Through the great might of his sword[,]
Through his life[‘]s great valour through many a land [he] rode,
Ah[,] what an eager champion he came to Burgundy.

23 In the days best of all The fair days of his youth
Of Siegfried, many wonders This story telleth the sooth
Of what glory still he waxed in How his lovely life went passed
Until a seemly maiden Held him in love at last[.]

24 With great care wasshe nourished As such an one should be
And of his own great heart withal What good lives gained he.
Making his land famous Far & wide around
For all things man may think Most worthy was he found[.]

25 And now was he so waxen that to court he took his way,
Gladly folk beheld him; many a dame & many a may
Were fain that it might please it [sic], never thenceforth to depart
Kindly folk turned toward him, and he knew it in his heart[.]

26 Without steel hood full seldom they let the youngling ride
Sigemund and Sigelind let make array of pride
And the elders also served him Whom honour was beknown
Whereby he well might win to him Folk & land to be his own[.]

27 Now was his strength so waxen That all weapons he wielded well
Whatso of these he needed No lack to him befell
And now unto fair woman He began his heart to turn
And they with love and worship Toward his lovely life did yearn.

28 In those days King Sigemund unto his good men told
That a high-tide he was minded with his loving friends to hold
And so through other countries did folk the tidings bear
And to outlanders & home gave he horse & goodly gear[.]

f. 5

29 So did they as the wont was, that whoso knight should be
Because of stem and kindred, they bade such presently
Betake them to their country, and be guests and that high tide
And by the king the younglings sithence with sword were to ride[.]

30 Of this glorious high tide wonders may many be told
Sigemund & Sigelind gained honour manifold
From the gold & goods they scattered wide abroad with open hand
Many a man beheld it who came riding to their land[.]

31 Four hundred sword thanes were there who bare een such array
As bore the youngling Siegfried right many a lovely may
Of work was never weary in such love they did him hold
Many a noble stone of price sewed the women into gold,

32 That they on hem & border wrought of the array
Of the glorious knightly youngling; there was none to say them fair
For many a man the master bade them make the seats aright
When as Sigfried on a solstice the name of knight should take.

33 Then went they to the minster many a worthy knight
And many a noble baron; seemly it was and right
That the old should serve the younglings as to them was done of yore
Much of joyance had they and yet looked to gather more.

34 The high God there they honoured with a holy mass
Till a great throng of the people drawn together was
So after Knightly custom Knight was he made that day
With all the mighty honor that never shall pass away[.]

35 Then ran they to the place whereas the good steed saddled stood
In the court of Sigemund waxed the play so stark & rude
That folk heard the clatter & rumble through palace & through hall
From the high hearted champions mighty tumult did befall[.]

f. 6

36 From the young men & the elders clang of great thrusts might folk bear
As the clash of the shafts meeting went up to the heavens clear
Then saw the truncheons flying before the palace then
From the hands of many a champion. Well wrought those eager men.

37 Then bade the lord leave jousting and they led the steeds away
And many a strong wrought back men saw broken on that day
Many a far-fetched jewel lay fallow on the grass
From the gleaming shields['] bright-borders, through dirt befallen it was[.]

38 Then went the guests to table, and in due order set
[S]weet & noble victual, for their weariness did they get
And wine that might not be better drank they plenteously
And outlanders and homefolk gat all honour that might be[.]

39 So in such like joyance did these wear through the day
And the band of the wayfarers cast all rest away
And then came the gift-giving, that rich to all men seemed
Whereby the land of Sigmund worthy of praise was deemed[.]

40 Then did the lord King let enfeoff [i. e., enfief] his noble son
With tower & land and lord, as erst to him was done
[G]ood gifts to his sword bearers he gave with open hand
Well content were those wayfarers of their coming to his land[.]

41 So endured the high-tide until the 7th day
And the rich queen Sigelind as in time passed away
Dealt round about the red gold the people[']s love to gain
To gain love for her son Sifrit [i. e., Siegfried] & nowise wrought in vain[.]

42 Then of the wayfarers no poor man might be found
Horse and gold & raiment rained upon the ground
As if of all their lives was left but that one day alone
Such a blithesome company sure was never none[.]

f. 7

43 And so with glory and honour to an end did the nightide wear
And of the mighty barons, this tale did all folk hear
That they would have the youngling their only lord to be
But nought therewith dealt Sifrit [i. e., Siegfried] so worthy a man was he[.]

44 [W]hile of Sigemund & Sigelind the earthly lives wore on
The crown he would not carry for he was the well loved son
Yet needs must he be mighty through the prowess manifold
That in the land was worshipped by the eager thanes & bold.

45 Full seldom on this lordly man sorrow of heart they lay
Till to the tale he hearkened of how a lovely May
Abode as then in Burgundy fair wrought beyond wish of man
For whom sithence great joyance great toil and woe he wan[.]

46 Of her measured beauty went the word both far and wide
Yet withal would folk be telling of her high mind & her pride
Of this desired damsel Many a good Knight found it drew
Yet abundant were the wayfarers that to Gunther's land she drew[.]

47 But who so of these wooers tale of love unto her brought
Still in the heart of Kriemhilt was never any thought
Of taking one among them trothe-plight with her to be
Her heart[']s lord her well beloved not yet her eyes might see[.]

48 Natheless the child of Sigelind his heart on high love laid
All love of the other wooers was as wind as his love weighed
Surely was he well worthy to win a fair maid’s life
So came this day when Chriemhild was even Sigfrid’s wife[.]

49 Now oft would talk his kindred and other folk of his
That he upon love abiding should set his hope of earthly bliss
If unto some one seemly his will herein were led
Then said the noble Sigfried Yea Chriemhilt will I wed[.]

f. 8

50 Chriemhilt the lovely lady Who abides in Burgundy
And whose unmeasured fairness is so well known to me
No mighty Kaiser wooing in all the word there is
But must deem this glorious lady[’]s love had nielt{?, i. e., nothing] to match his bliss.

51 And now this selfsame story King Sigemund hearkened to
As aright he ruled his people, And when withal he knew
The will of this his youngling loath on his heart it lay
That he must go a wooing this hearted and glorious may.

52 Thereofwithal heard Sigelint the noble Sigemund’s wife
And sorrow weighed upon her For thought of her son’s life
Whereas she knew the inmost of Gunther and his men
So to make this wooing loathly fell all folk about him then.

53 Then spake the eager Siegfried Father well were I free
From love of noble ladies but and if it happed to me
That in the inmost of my heart exceeding love their [sic] lay.
And so despite all talking, All went the selfsame way.

54 Well if nought will turn thee said the King, O noble son
From this thy heart’s desire, well may thy will be done
To help thee to an ending in the best wise that I can.
Yet bethink thee that King Gunther hath many an overproud man[.]

55 Yea if there were no other / that the thane Hagen is
Who in utter pride of mood finds his daily bliss
And now I fear me sorely he may work us evil day
If we shall go a wooing this fair lordly lovely may[.]

56 And how then shall he worsen our fair lives Siegfried said
If in friendly fashion he be not of him afraid
Then shall I deal with him by the mere might of my hand
And trow to draw from out himthus His lordship folk and land[.]

f. 9

57 Therewithal spake Sigemund – loath is my talk to me
If a long Rhine river this story runneth free
Never in Gunther’s country ridest thou long alone
Gunther and Gernot know I from time agone.

58 Never with their good will, shall we gain for us the may,
Speaketh the King Sigmund So hear I from day to day,
But if with Knight & baron In that laud thou need must ride
All we have that may befriend us Gather we from far & wide[.]

59 Nay my heart nowise bids me, Spake Sigfried father mine
With fellowship of barons To ride into the Rhine
And fare with wrack & battle an evil thing it were
If it in such like fashion Should win the maiden fair.

60 Nay rather will I win myself with mine own hand
And with clever fellows ride to Gunther’s land
In such wise shalt thou help me O father mine said he
Graycloth & weed adorned then got he plenteously.

61 But his mother Siglind when she was ware of this
Must needs begin bemoaning/
Fell a weeping a wailing at thought of her son’s bliss
For now she feared to loose him Mid Gunther’s fellows stout
Wherefore the queenly woman went weeping all about[.]

62 Then the fair lord Sigfried when he knew thereof
Went unto his mother & spake from his heart of love
Mother for this will of mine why shoulds’t thou bewail
All my foes together shall never bring me bale[.]

63 But help me for my journey that I make to Burgundy
That I and my fair fellows nobly clad may be
In such weed as proud barons are wont to wear on the way
Then surely will I thank thee in the bestwise that I may[.]

f. 10

64 Since nought here from will turn thee Lady Siglind spake
Well will I help thy journey O son for my love’s sake
With the best of all fair raiment / that good knight ever wore
For thee and for thy fellows, ye shall surely have good store[.]

65 Then to his queenly mother bowed the youngling lovingly
And said with no more fellows, upon my way wile I
Then twelve good lords and hardy, and these thy laced shall wear
How my heart is yearning / to see how my love doth fare[.]

66 Then fair women fell to sewing Both by night and day
All night it went with them that all rest they cast away
Until the weed of Sigfried They had wrought in manner due
For he would hold his journey Whoso said him nay thereto[.]

67 His father let adorn his knightly fair array
Wherewith from Sigmund[']s country he should ride upon his way
And for them the glittering byrnies were set in order right
And for them the strong helms hammered and fair shining shield & bright[.]

68 Now drew nigh the time of faring to the land of Burgundy
Whereof both man & maiden were as woe & well might be
For sorely they misdoubted if he ever should ride back there.
As now let trie [sic?] heroes['] weapons & goodly gear[.]

69 Fair were the heroes['] horses all arrayed in ruddy gold,
How shall tale tell of any as blithesome & as bold
As were Sigfried and his good men when leave they came to pray
That to the land of Burgundy they might go upon their way[.]

70 That granted amid mourning King Sigmund & his wife
But Sigfried bade them lovingly take Comfort of his life
And said make no moaning] about my will [wife?] & me
For surely without sorrow my life shall ever be[.]

f. 11

71 Ill content were the barons, Many a may must greet withal
I ween that in their inmost hearts they knew what shall befal[l]
That the death of friends & kindred should come of this same deed
Not for nought they made this moaning, but for heavy coming need.

72 So on the 7th morning Unto worms upon the sand
Rode the company of champions, all the raiment of that band
Shone with red gold all over, Neath the well wrought riding gear
Well their horses went together as they rode on free from fear[.]

73 Their shields were new & goodly shining against the sun
And their helms were wrought most fairly as in joy of heart they got them on
As rode to the land of Gunther Sigfriedthe hardy thane
No knights arrayed so lordly shall folk ever see again.

74 The points of the bright brands clanging unto their spears hung down
Sharp bill & spear they carried these best of all knights known
That one in the hand of Sigfried, Full four spans broad it was
Whose horns were sharp & dreadful through flesh & bone to pass

75 Fair gloves with seams gold covered they bore upon the hand
Silken waistbands had their horses as they rode to that near land
And there the people everywhere to gape & stare began,
And a company of Gunther’s to meet the farers ran[.]

76 The high minded champions[,] man at arms & Knight
Came thronging to the barons even as was right
And welcomed the wayfarers unto the King’s land
And would take the steeds from neath them & the shields from out their hand.

77 Yea then all their horses they would to stable lead
But sharp and eagerly outspoke Sigfried good at need
Nay nay let the horses of me & mine bide still
But a short space do we dwell here If I may have my will[.]

78 Come whoso thereof waiteth let him not hide from me
Where I may find the king for him gladly will I see
Gunther I mean the mighty the great Burgundian lord
Then one who well could tell him straightway took up the word[.]

f. 12

79 The finding of King Gunther may well befal to thee
In a wide hall well builded that good lord mayst thou see
His heroes round about him if thou wendest to the same
There shalt thou find full surely by many a man of lordly name[.]

80 And now of this same tidings was the King made ware
That knights exceeding seemly that tide were new come there
Arrayed in right rich byrnies and knightly weed withal
Unto the land of Burgundy, And clean unknown of all[.]

81 Then fell the king to wonder forthwith from whence away
Were come those lordly barons, clad in such bright array
With shields so exceeding goodly so fair new & so bright
That none might tell him of them his heart was in little light[.]

82 Then answered to King Gunther the man of Metz hight Ortwin
Right well the story names him A good knight & a keen
Since we can teach thee nought hereof Let bring here presently
My uncle thegn Hagen these newcomers to see[.]

83 For to him are known all kingdoms & all the outlands well
And if he wots of these barons The thing straight he [sic, for shall] he tell
Then bade the King go fetch him And his good men withal
And soon did folk behold him Fair riding to the hall.

84 Then what what was the King’s pleasure asked Hagen when he came
Unto thine house are come quoth he Thegns all unknown of name
And none can tell me of them But if thou did ever see
These outlanders O Hagen tell the sooth to me.

85 Yea that will I quoth Hagen And to the window hied
And cast his eyes about whereas the newcome guests did bide
And their faring gear well pleased him & the rest of their array
But never yet in Burgundy had he seen them ere that day[.]

f. 13

86 He said when so came riding unto the Rhine these lords
Either themselves are princes or they carry prince[']s words
Their horses are most goodly their raiment is right good
From whence of lands they come to us, they are heroes high of mood[.]

87 And yet again spake Hagen; Now so much will I say
That though mine eyes have never seen Siegfried on this day
Yet may I well believe how ever things may fare
That none but he is the champion that goeth so lordly there[.]

88 Sure shall he bring new tidings withal unto this land –
Know ye that the keen Niblungs he slew with his right hand
Sat Schilbung and Niblung they saw of the a mighty King
Whereas by his great prowess he worked many a wondrous thing[.]

89 For when as the Knight was riding all lonely of any aid
He found by a great hillside, as the tale is said
Round about the Niblung treasure fell many a hardy man
All unknown unto him till the sight of them then he wan.

90 Now the hord of the Niblungs was gathered together there
From out the hollow hill wonders hearken & hear
For the Niblungs there were sharing it betwixt man & man
Thane Siegfried looked upon them and to marvel he began[.]

91 He drew so nigh unto them that he the Knights did see
And they the thegn moreover some spake out presently
Here cometh the strong Siegfrid lord of the low lying ground
A thing full seldom told of [how] he the Niblungs['] land he found[.]

92 Schilbung & Niblung worthy greeting gave
Unto the noble youngling e[']en as the folk would have
And prayed him twixt them all to share the treasure there
And great praise of them he won for therein he wrought with care[.]

f. 13v

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f. 14

93 He beheld so many gems thereof as I heard tell on a day
That scarce a hundred wains had drawned [sic] them all away
Yet more was the gold of measure In the Niblungs land
All this must share and portion the hardy Sigfried[’]s hand[.]

94 In reward for what he wrought there they gave him the Niblung[']s blade
Yet being there therewith were evilly afraid.
The service that he yielded then Sigfried the hero good
Nor might he bring the end about, angry they were of mood[.]

95 Then called they unto their kindred 12 folk of hardy mood
Who were giants stark and dreadful, but of him they gat no good
For the death of these in battle was the mighty Siegfried[’]s hand
And 7 hundred knights withal he drove from the Niblungs land[.]

96 With that same noble sword that the sword Balmung hight
Now because of the great dread that many a noble knight
Had of his sharp sword & the man who bore the same
All that land and every castle there in to his power came[.]

97 Both those knights that were so mighty did he slay withal
But afterwards from Alberich Great need on him did fall
Who to avenge his barons was fair until he found
What strength beyond all measure in Sigfried did abound[.]

98 But the dwarf with his power with him might nothing strive
Een as the wild-wood lions through the mountains did they drive
And there the cloak of darkness from Alberich he wan
And was lord of all the treasure Sigfried the fearful man[.]

99 For such as gave him battle all slain & dead they lay
And there withal the treasure he bade fetch & bear away
[?] the hord that the Niblungs had taken from him before
And Alberich the mighty name of Chamberlain he bore[.]

f. 15

100 He must swear himself to serve & be his man henceforth
And in all things nought failed he to be of might & worth
Yea said Hagen of Troneg All these deeds hath he done
Such great might & prowess sure had never none[.]

101 Yea and this moreover concerning him is known
That a dragon of the wilderness by him was smitten down
Then in his blood he bathed him, horny his hide did grow
So that on it bites no weapon, as hath oft been proved ere now[.]

102 Therefore this lordly youngling let us welcome all we may
That the less we may draw upon us his wrath from this same day
His life is so fair & goodly men may well hold him dear
For the wonders of his prowess are told of far & near[.]

103 Then spake the king of the land welcome to us is he
For he is noble and hardy as hath well been shown to me
And in the land of Burgundy shall bestead him much thing
Then went to meet lord Sigfried Gunther the noble King[.]

104 The good lord and his barons welcomed the guests so well
That in all they offered them no lack there was to tell
And unto them made reverence that more of worth & might
Because they did him greeting in every wise aright[.]

105 Much I wonder at this story said whence ye are come
From far away O Siegfried to see me in mine house
Or what ye hope shall avail you at Worms beside the Rhine
That spake the guest to the lord King hearken this word of mine[.]

106 For have I heard folk telling in my father’s land
That by men who were abiding (oft cometh the tale to hand
And well now have I learned) that the best of all knights were
That ever King had to serve him And therefore came there[.]

f. 16

107 And I heard tell moreover that thou lived in such wise
That a King more Knightly might never be seen of eyes
And thereof talk the people wide through this country side
Till I learn the certainty never backward will I ride[.]

108 For I withal am a baron, yea and the crown should wear
For this much may I tell thee that folk talk everywhere
How that lands and lordship is surely mine of right
Thereof I pledge unto thee my honour and my might[.]

109 Now if thou be as hardy as the tale to me is told
I reck not whether any lief or loathe the thing may hold
But whatsoever thing thou hast that will I win from thee
Lordship land and castles all shall be under me.

110 Then fell the king to wonder and his good men that were there
That even such a story as this their ears must hear
That the man[']s will was nothing but to take from him his land
And they gan grow wrathful who stood on either hand[.]

111 Yea how am I afraid of what thing spake Gunther the thegn
That whereas the King may father great honour erst did gain
For of ones man[']s overbearing should let it fall away
Then eviller should our knighthood be shown on such a day[.]

112 In my word I will not waver spake the hardy man & bold
If by thy might thy country in peace thou mayst not hold
Of all will I be master and mine over land withal
But if by thy strength thou winnest them to thee shall both lands fall[.]

113 Thine heritage and mine shall lie beneath the sway
Of which so ever of us or the other gaineth the day

f. 17

114 It comes not into our bargain outspake Gernot then
That we win land from thee in such a wise that men
Lie slain by the hands of heroes for a rich realm have we
Ever it it [sic] serves us duly No better may there be --

115 Now round about his fellows were standing in stern mood
And therewithal amid them Ortwin the Metzer good
And he spake, of such a bargain My heart is loath enow
Unworthily great Siegfried doth his word against us throw.

116 But if ye and thy brothers stood alone beside me here
And a royal-host of might against us he should bear
Yet somewhat would I strive no less that this man of might
Of overbearing should leave our shoulders bight[.]

117 Then grew exceeding wrathful the Knight of the nether land
And spake ne[']er will I measure my hand against thy hand
For here I am a King of might and thou but a King's Son
And twelve of them methinketh small might against me can[.]

118 Therewith the Metzer Ortwin loud for a sword 'gan call
The sisters son of Hagen well might he seem to all
But now that new King Gernot that so long he thought he stood
And he thrust in among them[,] the hero keen & good.

119 And unto Ortwin spake he Let all thy wrath alone
Nought hath the lordly Siegfried of ill against us done
Yet may we deal together in peace as runneth thy rede
And hold him in all friendship, and win more glorious meed.

f. 18

138 From the outlands now came tidings to the Land of Gunther the King
Of far away were those who thither journeying
Sent by outland lords, who owned him nought of love
Loath were they of their words when so they heard thereof[.]

139 To name these lords unto you of Ludiger I tell
Who in the Saxon land a mighty prince did dwell
And therewith King Ludegast of the Denmark countryside
With many a lordly they guest ever these twain did dwell.

140 And now were come the messengers into King Gunther’s land
Who from his foes afar brought messages to hand
Then did folk ask the tidings of those whom none did know
And therewith soon caused them before the King to go.

141 The King gave them goodly greeting and spake be welcome ye
Who so has sent you hither, a King unknown to me.
There of now let us hearken spake the King fair & good
But right sore gan to dread of the grim Gunther[’]s mood.

142 Give us leave and license King to tell our story out
Which hither we bear with us, nor shall ye be in doubt
And concerning those who sent us bearing this tale in hand
They are Ludiger and Ludegast who will come to look upon your land[.]

143 Ye have gotten to you their anger, as the tale goes early & late
In such wise that both the twain hold thee in a mighty hate
So to Worms upon Rhine river a warring will they fare
With many a thane to aid them thereof be well aware[.]

144 Ere twelve weeks are passed over this faring shall [be]
If ye have a goodly fellowship delay not these to call
If that they may gain you peace for Castle & land & folk
Many a helm shall be asunder many a shield-boss shall be broke.

f. 19

145 But if ye will deal peacefully Straightway the same declare
And go you nigh unto them But with no great host fare
Lest your folk for all their might from their hearts the tide shall me
And many a seemly knight to death that deed shall do.

146 Now bide ye here a little, for so goeth my mood
Till I council me the better, spake the King fair & good
To whom so I have of worthy all now shall I make plain
Of these great & mighty tidings to my friends shall I complain[.]

147 Now to the mighty Gunther loathe enow was the tale
But in his heart all silently he bare about the bale.
And he bade draw to him Hagen and his [his] other men withal
And bade folk go speedily Gernot from out his hall[.]

148 Then came there straight to him the best men that might be found
And he spake there are folk coming Ere here to our own ground
With the might of war and weapons woe worth the while to you
Then answered and spake Gernot a good knight & a true[.]

149 With swords let us stand to it, Gernot spake & said
Only the doomed shall die therein and let them e'en lie dead
Nor for that forget I honour whatever befall to me
Surely these ourfoemen right welcome here shall be.

150 Then spake the Troneger Hagen I deem they doom nought good
Liniger & Lindgast bear about a mighty mood
Nor may we draw together on such an early day
So let us go tell Sigfried, So did the stout knight say.

151 In the town the messengers got good stead wherein to dwell
However folk might hate them they were bidden serve well
Gunther the mighty a good deed was that to do
Till should stand by him Of his friend & folk he knew[.]

f. 20

152 The king amid his sorrow with heavy heart did abide
Till there looked upon this morning a good knight at that tide
He who knew nought of the tidings of late befallen there
And he straightly prayed King Gunther all the story to declare[.]

153 With wonder am I taken spake Sigfried this fair Knight
For what cause ye have cast aside your joyance & delight
That ye so long have holden in your dealings twixt us twain
Therewith gave answer Gunther the great & glorious thane[.]

154 To all folk I may not babble, of the sore grief & dismay
That in mine heart I carry In silence day by day
Yet to a friend well known Hearts need one may well show.
Then waxed the hue of Sigfried now red now pale enow[.]

155 And to the King he answered I have said you nay in nought
By me shall your life[']s loathing unto good avail be brought
And whereas for friends ye seek my friend I fain would [be]
And abide the same with honour, till my last day cometh to me[.]

156 God pay you back Lord Sigfried for your word is good to hear
And though to your help exceeding no health to me may bear
Yet joyful it is to hearken to this story of thy love
And if I live awhile thou shalt yet rejoice thereof[.]

157 And lo now I will tell thee why I stand in woeful stead
From my my foes['] messengers such message has been said
That they are minded to seek me in all array of war
And in such as my country thanes have never done before[.]

158 Therefore account ye little spake Sigfried to the King
For soft of mind & mood Do by my counselling
And suffer that I win your honour & bliss and all
And for your ward & help King your thanes unto you call.

f. 21

159 And if your mighty foemen had help unto their hand
Of thirty thousand thegns Yet against them would I stand
If mine were short of a thousand; lay even that load on me.
There to King Gunther answered sure all good I owe to thee[.]

160 Give thy word for me to gather a thousand men of thine
Because that in this land all that are here of mine
Are but twelve stout knights. And this will I ward thy land
And good service get ye ever from the child of Sigfried[']s hand[.]

161 [Yea] thereto shall Hagen help us and Ortwin withal
Danewart and Sindolt that thy lead men thou dost call
And with us shall be so riding Volker the man of might
He shall bear the banner, I may get no better knight[.]

162 And let the messengers ride home each to the land of his lord
That we shall go see them shortly shall even be their word
That in such wise or good to us in all peace shall abide
Then let the King go send to seek his good men far & wide.

163  Then the messengers of Lindyer to his own court took their way [spelling of name Lindyer inconsistent throughout]
That they should see their land so soon full of joy were they
And rich gifts gave unto them Gunther the King be praised
And safe conduct for their journey so aloft their hearts were raised[.]

164 Now go and say spake Gunther unto my mighty foes
That well may they their journey let be and at home sit close
But and if they must needs go seek me here in mine own land
If my friends fare out to battle cometh labour unto their hand.

165 Then were great gifts borne out for the messengers to have
And good store yet had Gunther Whatsoever he gave
And little scorn thereof had the men of Lindeger
And their leave they took therewith and in joyance thence did fare[.]

f. 22
166 And so now when the messengers come to Denmark were
And their lord King Lindegast was of all made well aware
And how they were from the Rhine and of all things he was told
His [sic] fell unto loathing of his foes['] hearts overbold[.]

167 For they told how to these there were full many a champion keen.
And how one standing there amidst them they had seen
And the same they heard called Sigfried lord of the lower land
And ill content was Lindegast when they brought this tale to hand.

168 So when they of Denmark had hearkened to this tale
[All the] More they strove to gather good friends to their avail
Until at last had Lindiger of hardy men & true
Twenty thousand thanes this journey of theirs to do.

169 Then drew to a head the Saxon, Lindiger the brave
Until that forty thousand Yea or more did he have
Wherewith to ariding to the realm of Burgundy
Meanwhile King Gunther gathered all to him him busily[.]

170 With his kin and his alliance and his brother’s men also
With whom unto field foughten he would not spare to go
And there to the knights of Hagen Great did the heroes gain
And the lot of death thereafter befel to many a thane.

171 [Now] they fall now to array them for the journey they would fare
Volker the hardy man the banner he must bear
When from Worms upon the Rhine they are ready for to ride
And Hagen he of Troneg must be marshal that same tide.

172 And therewithal rides Sindolt & Hunolt eager & bold.
Fain to do good service for King Gunther[']s gold
Danewart Hagen[']s brother and the man of Metz Ortwin
May well have heart with honour to this warfaring to win[.]

f. 23

173 Fair lord & King spake Sigfried at home now shall ye be
Since your barons are well willing to follow after me
Abide with the dames & the damsels, nor let thine heart fall low
For surely thy wealth and thine honour to guard full well I trow[.]

174 They who would go seek you at Worms on the Rhine this [tide]
I shall have care in such wise that they at home shall bide
For we shall go ariding so nigh unto their land
That for all overbearing shall sorrow come to hand[.]

175 From the Rhine and right-through Hessen ride the heroes on their way
Unto the land of the Saxons, and there befel the fray
With the Strong & the sword they laid that land alow
Whereof both the princes must hear with sorrow enow[.]

176 But when they came to the Mark there met them knight & man
Whereat the mighty Siegfried to question these began
Who of all this fellowship is leader this same day?
Never rode the Saxons upon a worser way.

177 Folk said now let the younglings of the right way take heed
For with these men of Lindeyr the better shall we speed
If Danewart the hardy an eager thane and brave
And Ortwin therewithal the after ward shall have.

178 Then outspake the thane Siegfried then leave I will to ride
And in the forefront of the battle these foes of mine to bide
Until I find aright whatso these lords may be
Then was the child of Sigelind in arms clad merrily[.]

179 Then his folk unto Hagen[']s warding as farther on he wan
He gave and unto Gernot – the exceeding mighty man
Then all alone he rode onto the Saxon land
Many a helm he smote asunder ere the ending of that day[.]

f. 24

180 Then saw he there a mighty host that lay wide over the fields
Against the which were nought all the might that he might [wield]
For there were thirty thousand or more folk verily
But high rose the heart of Sigfried and with joy that sight did see.

181 But then withal a good knight among the foemen there
Rose from his watch & warding arrayed in all his gear
The lord Sigfried looked upon him and him the keen knight saw
And each noted other to their hearts gan wrath gan [sice] to draw.

182 Now shall I tell of him who wrought in warding there
Before his hand there lay a gold shield bight & fair
And it was e’en King Lindeyr heading his host right well
But the former ones in warlike wise right nobly on him fell[.]

183 And now withal has Lindeyr deemed him his foe aright
And either taketh his horse and the spurs in their side they smite
Down toward the shield goeth shaft with all the might they may
And about the mighty King a full great sorrow there lay.

184 The king[‘]s two might[y] children forth the steeds by goading sent[,]
Bore each against the others as though a wind there went[,]
Then with the reins they turned about in knightly wise & well
And the two grim hearted champions to the sword play then they fell.

185 In such a wise smote Siegfried that loud the whole field rang
And from the helm hard smitten as from a great brand sprang
The sparks['] fire red & gleaming before the heroes hand[,]
And each found that the other in a man’s stead did stand.

186 And none the less lord Lindegast smote grimly in the play
And either in their might swift strokes on shield did lay
But there stood by beholding full thirty of the men
Ere they durst fall to aiding but the day was Siegfried[‘]s then[.]

f. 25

187. Because with thrice wide wounds was the King smitten through
Yea through a bright-white byrnie, though that was good enow
That sword with grinded edges let out the Kings life blood
Whereof must the King Lindegast abide in sorry mood.

188. He prayed him let him live, and he rendered up his land
And he told him how that Lindegast lay beneath his hand
But his knights came up therewith who had beheld right well
What things afore that warding betwixt the twain befell[.]

189 And so when he would bear him thence there fell on him straightway
Thirty of his foemen but the hero[']s hand did play
In the guarding that good hostage with measureless blows & great
And yet more harm he wrought them that thane of great estate[.]

190 Now verily these thirty he slew them all but one
And to him his life he gave & swiftly gat he gone
And told them all the story of what had come to pass
And the sooth they well might see for red with blood his good helmet was[.]

191 But for those of Denmark Great loathing on them fell
For their lord was led away as the true tale was to tell[.]
Then folk told it to his brother Who fell raging forthwithal
With most unmeasured wrath, that such grief on him did fall[.]

192
So the King Lindgast was thenceforth led away
By the hands of Sigfried was delivered that same day[,]
And he gave to Hagen and when he knew of him
That he was the king verily nowise his joy waxed dim.

193 Now where the Burgundians to bind their banners on
Ah ha cried Sigfried more yet there is to be won[.]
E[']en when this day is ended still shall I have my life
And that shall grieve in the Saxon land full many a worthy wife.

f. 26

194 O heroes from the Rhineland take heed to what I say
To the midst of Lindger[']s host well can I lead the way
So look for hewing of helms at the noble heroes['] hand
And to know toil and trouble as wide we wend through the land[.]

195 Then Gernot & his good men unto the horses rand
And the heeding of the banner had the keen minstrel man
Even the high Lord Volker in the van of the host rode he
And well arrayed] for battle was all that company[.]

196 [And] now no more rode together But just a thousand men
And twelve Knights lords there uprose to heaven then
The dust from all the highways as they rode over the land
And men might see a shining fair shields on every hand[.]

197 And now were come the Saxons with all their company
With swords that were well shapen, have ye the truth of me.
Swords that the hands of heroes would smite exceeding hard
For from the new come guests land and castle well would ward.

198 The lord leader of their host, forth he led his good folk then,
For there was come Lord Sigfried, he and his hardy men
Een those he had brought with him from out of the lower land.
Amid that dread day[']s storm was reddened many a hand.

199 Sindolt and Hunolt and Gernot there unto
In the stormful strife full many a man they slew
Yea ere aright they wotted, how hardy was their life.
Thereover must bewail, Full many a worthy wife[.]

200 Volker and Hagen and Ortwin striving there
Right well the gleam abated of the helms a shining fair
With the red blood outspringing strong mid the storm did they play
And the hands withal of Dankwart many a wonder wrought that day.

201 Therewithal those of Denmark wrought with hand well enow
Many a shield might men hear crashing beneath the dint of blow
And with their swords sharp grinded wherewith these smote still well
Well played the hardy Saxons, enough of skathe befell.

202 But when the men of Burgundy Into the strife gan ride
Then fell they unto hewing, many a wound full deep & wide
And then might folk behold the saddles swim with blood
As they won their name & honour[,] those heroes hardy good[.]

203 A loud mighty clashing from sharp weapons in their hands
Of the heroes now all men heard of the folk of the Netherlands
Drave following up their captains through the midmost of the fight
As along with the lord Sigfried they came on in order right[.]

f. 27

204 No man from the Rhine land followed after him
But there men might behold the ruddy river dim[.]
The light of gleaming helms, beneath lord Siegfred[']s hands
Or ever before Lindeyr & his fellow he might stand--

205 And now needs must he take three times the backward way
Yea to the hosts outermost till came Hagen into the play
Fain to help in the fullfilling mid the stories of all his mood
Whereof before him was fordone many a knight full good.

206. And now when the strong Lindeyr Sigfried beheld anigh
And how within his hand he raised so bright and high
Balmung the good sword and smote so many withal
Unto grim mood & wrathful straight did the lord king fall.

207. Mighty the thronging was great the clash of sword & glaive
As either against other, the hosts together drave
And the good knights now must prove them unto their most might
This way & that did both hosts sway grisly wrath rose from the fight.

208. To the leader of the Saxons now was told the verity
Of his brothers taking And full loth thereof was he
And he knew that the son of Sigelind that deed to him had wrought
Though some laid it upon Gernot but their tale soon came to nought[.]

209. The strokes that Lindeyr struck strong they were at need
That underneath his saddle stumbled his goodly steed.
But therewith rose again – e[']en as Siegfried the good knight
In fearful mood to look on wan through the storm of the fight[.]

210 Hagen gave good help to him yea and Gernot withal
Danewart and folker fast before them folk did fall
Sindolt & Hunolt and Ortwin well did know
How best amid the battle many folk to lay alow[.]

211 These lords in the storm of the battle never departed were
As folk saw over the helms forth flying many a spear
Piercing the shields throughout from the hands of heroes good
And many a lordly shield folk saw made red with blood.

212. In that storm & the fury low lay many a man
Down amid the horses – but against each other ran
Sigfried the mighty and the high King Lindeyr
And the shafts men saw a flying and many a sharpened spear[.]

213. Away then flew the shield brim from out of Siegfried[']s hands
Because full well was willing the knight of the Netheland
To vanquish the keen Saxons, now men gan wonder sore
At how the bright rings of the byrnies asunder Danmark tore[.]

214 Now was the Lord King Lindeyr of a certain shield aware
Bepainted with a crown that Siegfried[']s hand did bear
And he wotted well that there was come that mighty man
And to him withal the knight to cry aloud began.

f. 28

215 O cease ye from the fight all ye men of mine
For now the son of Sigemund have I beheld with eyne
Yea even the strong Siegfried, I know his semblance well
Sent unto the Saxons by the devil out of hell.

216 Now he bade let the banners amid the storm lay low
And fell to praying for peace which he gained in fair time enow
Yet must he go a hostage unto King Gunther’s land
For so much wrang from out him the might of Siegfried’s hand[.]

[breaks off mid-page]

* 24. Axel Thordson and Fair Walborg

Unpublished? B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, ff. 45-56v Morris autograph; ff. 57-77 typescript, stops at stanza 167. Pencil note: “There is a rough literal translation (done for W. M.) of the rest of the ballad i. e. v.v. 169-200.” Magnússon’s rough literal translation of stanzas 169-200 is in ff. 78-81.

[f. 57, typescript page no. 1]

Axel Thordson and Fair Walborg

They set the gold tables on the board
    Two women great of kin
And there in glee and joy of heart
    A fair play did begin.

So fast the dice fell round about
    Een as such things are wont.
And ever as fast goes Fortune’s Wheel
    That no man her ways may count.

Dame Julli & Queen Malfred
    Played at the tables fair;
But about the floor the little one
    Played with apple and with pear.

On the floor the fair little maiden
    With flower and apple plays
When in cometh Axel Thordson
    And to Rome will he wend his ways.

He greeted the dames and the maidens fair
    Neither lore nor good mien lacked he;
He loved in his heart the noble child
    And fortune’s toys they both shall be.

He took in arms the sweetling small
    And her fair white cheek he stroked adown,
“God give that thou wert waxed now
    Then swifly shoulst thou be mine own.

Then answered his youngest sister
    Her gear with gold was sewn full wide,
“If she waxen this same night
    Yet ne’er together should ye abide.”

The maiden’s mother spake aright
    The very sooth she needs must tell
“And ye were not so nigh akin
    Me would ye mate each other well.”

[f. 58]
He took a gold ring from his hand
    And bade the maiden therewith play
Full oft it made her cheeks grow pale
    When she had reached her latter day.

Keep in thy heart, my little bride
    That here today I troth-plight thee --
But now from the land must I away
    The guest of outland lords to be.”

Lord Axel getteth him from the land
    Honour and good ways well he knew;
In cloister they set his little bride
    That she might learn to sew.

They learned her well in silk to sew.
    To read they learned her well.
Honour and good ways well she knew
    Of her virtues all would tell.

For the noble life wherein she lived
    Mid all she bore the prize
Well furnished was her mind of wit,
    Was counted mid the wise.

Eleven years in cloister she bode
    Till God her mother away did call,
Then the Queen took her to her house
    And chose her out amidst of all.

Lord Axel bode in the Kaiser’s court
    With gold his spurs o’er-gilded were,
He girt his good sword to his side
    And rode in knightly gear.

Lord Axel lay abed sweetly
    As doth a lord beseem,
Yet on a night nought might he sleep
    Because of his weary dream.

In the high bower lay lord Axel,
    Full soft on silk he lay.
[f. 59, typescript no. 3]
But nowise might he rest in sleep
    For dreams of his troth-plight may.

He dreamed that the maiden Valborg
    In velvet fine was clad,
And Hakon the King’s son sat beside
    And a boon of her he bade.

In the morning tide at break of day
    When the larks gan sing on high,
From his bed rose Axel Thordson
    And clad him speedily.

Swift saddled he his good grey steed
    And would ride the woods along,
His dreamful thoughts from his head to thrust
    And hearken the blithe birds’ song.

So thus did Axel Thordson
    Amid the rose-wood ride;
There met him a holy prilgrim
    E’en in that very tide.

“Well met, good May, thou pilgrim good,
    Whither wilt thou away?
From mine own land art thou certes
    As I wot by thine array.

“Yea Norway is my Fatherland
    Of the Gildish kin I come
And with mind to look upon the Pope
    Have I sworn myself to Rome.”

“O art thou come of the Gildish stock
    Then of my kin art thou;
Hath Valborg the Fair forgotten me
    Or aught of her dost thou know?”

“Valborg is a maiden fair
    And sooth I know her well,
And many a knight’s son is there
    Great praise of her can tell.

[f. 60, typescript no. 4]
Right well I know the maiden
    She weareth grise and pall.
She beareth the prize from all the maids
    That serve in the high King’s hall.

Waxen is Valborg Immer’s daughter
    As the fairest lily on bough,
Mid all the maidens of the land,
    She is the fairest men may know.

Dame Julli lies under the marble-stone
    Her noble lord beside,
Queen Malfrid took fair Valborg home
    In honour and love to bide.

Gold weareth she on her milk-white hand
    And with pearls she plaits her hair,
Lord Axel’s bride of every man
    Is she called & everywhere.

They call her the Lord Axel’s fair troth-plight,
    But her kin deem she shall be
The bride of the King’s son Hakon
    And thereof have game & glee.

O it is Axel Thordson
    He wrapped himself in fur
And gets him gone to the goodly hall
    To see the Kaiser there.

“Bide hail O Kaiser Henry
    So blithe a lord as thou art:
Leave do I pray of thee today
    To my own land to depart.

My father is dead & my mother is dead
    And my goods are in jeopardy,
And another would my true love win
    And strongest that draweth me.”

“Leave will I give thee with good will
    Straightway I give it thee,
[f. 61, typescript no. 5]
And till thou comest back again
     Thy place shall open be.”

Lord Axel rides from the Kaiser’s garth
     With a lordly company,
And all the folk of the Kaiser’s house
     A good farewell on him did cry.

Both brisk and sharp his journey was,
     Thirty good fellows followed him on;
But when he came to his mother’s castle
     He went therein alone.

But when Lord Axel Thordson
     Came forth to the castle gate, [ms. state]
Without stood Helfred his fair sister
     In restful fair estate.

“There standest thou, Helfred sister sweet,
     Nought wotting that I should come.
How liveth Valborg mine own troth-plight
     A rose among all things that bloom?”

“Fair Valborg liveth wondrous well
     The fairest maid of all,
And she serveth now the very queen
     And the queen’s best love on her doth fall.”

“Give me reed, fair sister Helfred,
     Give me reed good enow
How I may talk with my own troth-plight
     And no man thereof may know.”

“Go clad thyself in gear of silk
     And cast thou rags thereon,
Say thou art sent from me privily
     To talk with her alone.”

O it was Axel Thordson
     Went the high-bower[']s bridge along,
And he met the queen’s fair maidens
     As they came from evensong.

[f. 62, typescript no. 6]
He reached his white hand to Valborg
    Mildly he spake & well,
O I am dame Helfred’s soothfast man
    And I have a word to tell."

He spread a privy letter abroad
    And she read it through & through
And there was a word of love therein
    Writ as well as man might do.

And therein were there gold rings five
    With lily & rose wrought oer;
“Axel Thordson giveth thee these
    Who loved thee in the days of yore.

Thou promisdst to be my own troth-plight;
    Hold to thy troth I pray thee now.
I shall never forsake but love thee my sweet
    While the isle of the world through the sky doth go.”

O’er the high bower's bridge together they went
    As God gave them council to,
And their troth again to each other they gave
    And swore their oath anew.

They swore by Dorothy the bright
    By the holy maid on high,
In truth of that love ever to live
    In truth of that love to die.

Lord Axel from the King’s garth rode
    And O but he was gay,
By the bower door stood his troth-plight
    And might but laugh and play.

And so fared things for five months space
    And till nine months wore away,
And eleven sons of high earls stood forth,
    And to win the maid did pray.

Eleven were the knights full fair
    That were fain to win the maid,
[f. 63, typescript no. 7]
The twelfth was the King’s son Hakon
    And early and late he prayed.

“O hearken thou fair Valborg
    And wilt thou be my dear?
For I will take thee for my queen
    And the gold crown shalt thou bear.”

“Nay hearken King’s son Hakon
    For never thus the thing may go,
To Lord Axel privily am I plight
    And never therefrom will I go.”

Then wroth waxed the King’s son Hakon
    And cast on him the skin,
And he’s away to the goodly hall,
    His mother sat within.

“Bide hail O mother well beloved!
    What wilt thou me arede,
I have prayed for Valborg the maiden fair
    And she giveth me mock and hate for meed.

“Honour and might would I give unto her
    My realm thereto and lands so wide,
But she saith she hath lord Axel so dear
    That in that troth will she still abide.”

“Hath Valborg given her troth away,
    Then shall she hold it faithfully
There is many a maid of earl’s blood come
    As rich and as great as she.”

“Yes many there are of the earls’ daughters
    That as rich & great may be,
But none as fair as Valborg is
    Or so sweet of life as she.”

“With wrack and wrong that mayst win her not
    For that were a shame to hear,
But with weapons mayst thou win the way [error for may?]
    If sword against thee Axel bear.” [f. 64, typescript no. 8]

Then wrath waxed Hakon the King’s son, [error for wroth?]
    And wroth he gat him out.
And there he met his shrift-father
    Was called Black-brother Knut.

“Why goest thou, my lord, so woefully,
    And whereto turns thine heart?
Is there any sorrow befallen thee
    I may hearken for my part?”

“Yea, a sorrow is there befallen
    That stingest grievously,
For Valborg the fair I may not get
    But Axel’s bride she needs must be.”

“Is Valborg plight to lord Axel
    Yet her shall he never get,
For the tale of her kin it lieth
    In the Black monk’s cloister yet.

“For sister’s children of nigh-kin folk are they,
    Born of good kin & high
And one dame held them at the font
    At Highburg did she die.

“So lo ye, godsib are the twain
    Before the Church in verity,
And thereto ye may well behold
    That they are sib in the third degree.

“My lord, let write throughout the land
    The chapter shall they hearken unto,
Lord Axel gets not that lilywand
    For we be they shall say him no.”

O that was Hagen the King’s son
    His man he biddeth straight;
“Bid the maiden’s [?come] all privily
    In my chamber me to await.”

[f. 65, typescript no. 9]
The earls they stood before the broad board
    In honour and in pride;
“My lord thou hast bidden us hither
    What would thy heart this tide?”

“Your sister’s daughter would I have
    In honour with me to live,
For soothly shall she be my queen
    If ye the maiden to me will give.”

The answered her mother’s brethren twain
    And glad were they of mood;
“In a good hour was fair Valborg born
    That a King’s son hath her wooed.”

And O it was the noble earls
    They cast on them the skin,
To the bower aloft straight must they go
    Where sat Dame Malfred the Queen.

First greeted they Queen Malfred fair,
    In all honour and courtesy,
And then they greeted Valborg the bright
    The fairest that might be.

“Well be thou dear sister’s daughter,
    Well be thou while thou dost live,
Hagan the King’s son wooeth thee
    And unto him we will thee give.”

“O have ye given away my faith & troth?
    Then so much will I say to you,
That lord Axel is my well beloved
    No guile to him will I ever do.”

Then answered her mother’s brethren twain
    Mighty earls and bold,
“Nay soothly it shall never be
    That thou thy troth to him shalt hold.”

[f. 66, typescript no. 10]
O it was Hagen the King’s son
    He wrote a letter then
And summoned to him the Archbishop
    And his clerks that were seven times ten.

Out spake master Erland,
    When he read the King’s letter out,
“Shame fall the man who meddle made
    And first & last was it brother Knut.”

The archbishop stood before the board
    And spake to the King in courtesy,
“Fair lord thou hast bidden me hither
    Speak out then what thy will may be.”

“To a maiden have I plighted myself
    Thou shalt wed me unto her aright;
Lord Axel lyeth near to her heart
    Yet shall he forego the maiden bright.”

Therewith they wrote the summoning
    And at the [T]hing let read it clear,
And so to meet the Archbishop proud
    Must both those noble children fare.

So early on a morning-tide
    When matins were sung to an end,
Unto the church must lord Axel ride
    And with him did his troth-plight wend.

On his high horse that lord he leapt
    And from his very heart he sighed.
In wain the maiden followed next
   And in her heart her woe did hide.

On his high horse the knight he rode
    His weary thoughts went to and fro.
In wain the maiden followed next
    To hide her sorrow she well did know.

[f. 67, typescript no. 11]
Out spake the maiden Valborg
    As through the roses did she go.
Seldom with sorrow a glad heart sigheth
    But a sorrowful mouth laughs oft enow.

So by the garth of our Lady’s church
    The lords they leapt to earth,
And into the church they wended
    With noble kin & knights of worth.

Amid the church nave did they stay
    And met there both bishop & clerk;
How heavy of heart those children were
    Lightly with eyen might all men [ms. man] mark.

There the archbishop was withal,
    His silver staff did he upbear;
And all the brothers of the house
    That love & troth atwain to tear.

Then forth there strode Black-brother Knut
    The book of kin in hand had he;
He read from the same and showed it forth
    That they were akin, Lord Axel & she.

He read out there the table of kin
    As the monks had given him rede to do,
And none could say but of sister-kin
    They were the noble children two.

Yea of sister-kind goodsooth they were
    Of the best blood that might be,
In the fourth degree were they akin,
    The priests should part them speedily.

And they were come of the Gildish stock,
    Fair children nigh of birth,
Lord Axel & fair Valborg
    Might meet no more on earth.

[f. 68, typescript no. 12]

And one dame held them at the font
    When the priest the font’s gift gave,
Lord Asbion was their godfather,
    No more each other may they have.

For they are kin of birth & blood
    Of the noble Gildish stem.
And godsib are they therewithal
    No life together is for them.

They brought them to the altar now
    And bade them hold a handcloth fair;
They loosed that bond and loitered not
    Because the knight was sib to her.

They tore the cloth atwixt them twain
    And each a share thereof they had;
No man there live[s] in all the world
    Perforce may make his fortune glad.

“Now is the handcloth torn atwain
    Wherewith ye part our bodies here
But while life lasts no man hath might
    Our loving kindness so to tear.”

She took the gold rings from her hand
    From off her arm she drew the gold;
She gave the knight his gifts again
    So sundered is the troth of old.

That gold on the altar Axel cast
    To holy Olaf that gift he gave;
And swore all days that he might live
    Fair Valborg yet his love should have.

Then wroth waxed the king’s son Hagen
    All under the silk so red
“Since from thy heart she may not go
    I wot no maid she is” he said.

[f. 69, typescript no. 13]

Then spake the archdeacon Erland
    The wisest of all clerks I wot.
“I count him for a very fool
    The might of love that knoweth not.

A roaring fire all men may quench,
    A brand burns not in water wan,
But the burning of lover o’erpasses these
    For it may not be quenched of any man.

The sun’s heat falleth so strong adown
    And slake it no man may,
But a mightier work is the bond of love
    That neer shall be broken clean away.”

Lord Axel answered Prince Hagen
    As he stood in silk anigh;
“Thy word shall I put away from me
    Or else tomorrow shall I die.”

Then wroth waxed Hagen the King’s son,
    Strode over the stone so broad,
“Tomorrow shalt thou swear an oath
    And nought of guile be in thy word.

Thou shalt swear to me tomorrow morn
    By sword and scripture soothfastly,
If Valborg is a maid for thee
    Or if thou hast lain her by.

Yea I will take the law to wit
    As I have full great right,
Or else in fain field will I stand
    So long as I have might.”

In bower sleeps Elskelin Hagen’s wife
    And she waketh suddenly;
“Saint Brigit counsel now my heart
    For the dream that has come to me.

[f. 70, typescript no. 14]

Medreamed of the fair dame Julli
    That lies adown neath the mould
And she bade me in all wise that I might
    Her daughter in love to hold.

Seven sons thou hast of me, fair lord
    Thirty swains each one has
Let them bind on sword and risk their lives
    In that fair maiden’s case.

And thou, my lord, let saddle then steeds
    And like a lord ride away
And go with them to stand by the maid
    Thou shalt never repent that day.

Seven sons have we gotten together
    Seven young lords frank and bold
That are our only game and glee,
    In knightly wise they can them hold.

Children akin thou knowest we were
    We twain, Dame Julli and I
Wherefore her daughter to forsake
    An ill deed were it verily.”

On a fair morning early
    When the sun shone o’er the heath
From Castle were knights ariding
    To swear with honour and faith. 

There stood Axel Thordsen ready
    And stretched abroad his hand:
“Come forth, Ye Earls, from the Gildish house,
    In law with me to stand.”

Then forth strode eleven knights of price
    Were clad in sable & pall
By lord Axel will we stand today
    God give that well the thing befall.

[f. 71, typescript 15]
But the tears ran down the maiden’s cheek
    As the rain when it raineth most.
“O where shall I find a borrow for me? [for burrow?]
    A wretched thing I am and lost.”

Then answered her mother’s brothers twain,
    Such word they gave her both:
“Thou wert alone in this counsel erst
    Alone then swear thine oath.”

Then spake Archdeacon Erland
    The word he took up now:
“Of kin hast thou right many, maid,
    But of friends but few enow.

Of kin hast thou a many
    But scarce mayst find a friend;
God help out of this thy need
    That thy sorrow may have an end.”

“My Father and Mother are dead & gone
    That sorrow to God may I tell,
The God who helpeth all at need
    He knoweth my heart full well.

Dame Julli sleeps under the marble stone
    Lord Immer in the black, black mould,
But were they alive as they are dead
    My kin were as kind as now are cold.”

But there as she sat in pain and grief
    And the strongest sorrow on earth,
Lord Hagen now might all men see
    Forth riding to the garth.

Straight strode he forth so hastily
    And let all men hear him cry,
“I give myself to thee, maiden,
    In law to stand thee by.

[f. 72, typescript no. 16]
Dame Elsekelin is kind & good
    That lieth my side anear.
Of one stem came thy mother & she
    And therefore am I here.

Stand forth my fair sons seven by tale
    Into the case come ye;
Lord Carl his sons of Southern dale
    Beside us shall they be.”

Eleven dukes’ sons stood forth therewith
    In sable & pall were clad,
In good wise was their raiment wrought,
    Fair crisped locks they had.

Eleven earls came in company
    Dauntless were they of mood,
And crisped were their golden locks
    Their swords were gilt with gold.

With the maiden will we swear an oath
    And stand by her today
Ye noble children draw anigh
    That all may hear the words ye say.”

On the mass book Axel laid his hand
    His sword by the hilts held he.
His mighty kin stood him beside
    The noblest and best that might be.

He held the hilts within his hand,
    Set the point down on the floor,
And there straightway his oath he made,
    Clean without fraud he swore.

"Fair Valborg have I held right dear
    My highest rest and bliss,
But never to her I drew so nigh
    That her fair lips I should kiss."

[f. 73, typescript no. 17]

On the mass-book laid the maiden her hand
    And swore by our Lady’s grace;
“O never were my eyen so bold
    As to look my love in the face.”

Then the heaven they raised o’er her head
    Bare over her cloth of pride
And brought her home unto the hall
    And called her the lord king’s bride.

In there came the King’s son Hagen
    He spake a word outright;
“Now let no swain or worthy knight
    Depart hencefro tonight.”

He said, “I plight me sweet Valborg,
    For my own heart’s love to hold
And she shall be my very queen
    And bear the crown of gold.”

They spread the cloth & sat them down
    And mead and wine they poured
Lord Axel sat beside his love
    And spake a weary word.

"O tell me Valborg[,] my heart's own love
    While yet we twain sit here,
What is the best rede thou mayest give
    Through our weary sorrow to wear."

[f. 74, typescript no. 18]

Never she rests in the wild-wood green
    With untired wing she wendeth;
Never she drinks of the water wan
    But her meat with her drink she blendeth.

Thou lord and love ride merrily
    And hunt the wild-wood roe,
And all the thought thou hast of me
    Full speedily let them go.

O lord and love, ride merrily
    To hunt the wild-wood hare,
And every thought thou hast of me
    Swift from thee let it fare.

“O if I ride through the rosy grove
    And through the greenwood deep,
What shall I do in the tide of night
    When as I may not sleep?

My father's lands now will I sell
    For silver and gold so red,
And get me forth to foreign lands
    And sorrow till I be dead.

"Nay lord, sell not thy father's land,
    For sore shalt thou miss it yet,
But send thou word to lord Asbiorn
    And pray his daughter to get.

Yea wed his daughter Adelaide
    Fair life beside her gain,
In a mother's stead will I be to you both
    And sorrow for us twain."

"Nay[,] nay, no maiden may I have,
    No true love is for me,
If the Kaiser's dauther I might wed
    Still should I think of thee."

[f. 75, typescript no. 19]
Then came the Archdeacon Erland there,
    And laid hand on them lovingly;
Say each to each the last good night
    No otherwise now must it be.”

Then the Archbishop cried aloud,
    His tongue he might not still:
“O shame befall Black-brother Knut
    Who wrought this parting ill!”

Lord Axel he bade the maiden goodnight
    Sore gainst his will he bade,
So was his heart with sorrow laden
    As the captive in irons laid.

Fair Valborg went to her bower aloft
    To bed with her maids she came,
And her heart it burnt with sorrow & woe
    As the brand in the roaring flame.

    O early of a morning tide
When the sun shone over all,
    Began the queen in many a wise
On her maidens fair to call.

Queen Malfred bade her maidens
    To work the gold so red,
But still stood maiden Valborg
    And her heart for sorrow bled.

"O hearken maiden Valborg,
    Why sittest thou so drearily,
When thou maystt well be glad to heart
    A great King's bride to be."

Far rather would I lord Axel have
    My days with him to wear
Than I would have such mighty luck
    The Northland crown to bear.

[f. 76, typescript no. 20]

So wore the days a certain while
    Two months away they wore,
Lord Axel and the maiden sweet
    They played and laughed no more.

Then fell a trouble on the land,
    And the fows so strong did grow,
That Hagen the King’s son forthwithal
    His might in field must show.

King Hagen let bid out all his men
    Both lewd & learned he bade,
And the noble child lord Axel,
    Nought would he be delayed.

O it was Hagen the King’s son
    He rode in warlike gear,
And bade to him both small & great
    E’en such as sword could bear.

As many as might bear the sword
    From all the land he bade,
Lord Axel the high & mighty man
    Chief captain there he made.

His shield it was both white & blue
    Wide through the field well known to sight,
And two red hearts therein were set
    So for his honour would he fight.

But when they come out into the field
    Whereas the foemen flit & glance,
Then manhood & heart is it time to prove
    No more with maidens fair to dance.

[f. 77, typescript no. 21]
Great deeds of fame lord Axel did
    For his Fatherland sweet & dear,
Before him fell the doughty Knights
    And many a saddle did he clear.

He smote right many a noble man
    Beneath his horse he trod them down,
On no man did he lay his hand
    But the greatest & best men of renown.

The lord of the Uplands there he slew

[in pencil 166]

As thick the arrows flew about
    As the hay in the field doth lie,
And Hagan the King is sorely hurt
    And to death is come anigh.

[unfinished translation]

[f. 45]

Axel Thordson and Fair Walborg

They set the gold tables on the board
    Two women great of kin
And there in glee & joy of heart
    A fair play did begin[.]

So fast the dice fell round about
    Een as such things are wont.
And ever as fast goes Fortune’s Wheel
    That no man her ways may count.

Dame Julli & Queen Malfred
    Played at the tables fair;
But about the floor the little one
    Played with apple and with pear.

On the floor the fair little maiden
    With flower and apple plays
When in cometh Axel Thordson
    And to Rome will he wend his ways.

He greeted the dames & the maidens fair
    Neither lore nor good mien lacked he;
He loved in his heart the noble child
    And fortune’s toys they both shall be.

He took in arms the sweetling small
    And her fair white cheek he stroked adown,
“God give that thou wert waxed now
    Then swifly shoulst thou be mine own."

Then answered his youngest sister
    Her gear with gold was sewn full wide,
“If she waxen this same night
    Yet ne’er together should ye abide.”

The maiden’s mother spake aright
    The very sooth she needs must tell
“And ye were not so nigh akin
    Me-would ye mate each other well.”

He took a gold ring from his hand
    And bade the maiden therewith play,
Full oft it made her cheeks grow pale
    When she had reached her latter day.

Keep in thy heart, my little bride
    That here today I troth-plight thee --
But now from the land must I away
    The guest of outland lords to be.”

Lord Axel getteth him from the land
    Honour and good ways well he knew;
In cloister they set his little bride
    That she might learn to sew.

They learned her well in silk to sew.
    To read they learned her well,
Honour and good ways well she knew,
    Of her virtues all would tell.

For the noble life wherein she lived
    Mid all she bore the prize
Well furnished was her mind of wit,
    Was counted mid the wise.

Eleven years in cloister she bode
    Till God her mother away did call,
Then the Queen took her to her house
    And chose her out amidst of all.

Lord Axel bode in the Kaiser’s court
    With gold his spurs o’er-gilded were,
He girt his good sword to his side
    And rode in knightly gear.

Lord Axel lay abed sweetly
    As doth a lord beseem,
Yet on a night nought might he sleep
    Because of his weary dream.

In the high bower lay lord Axel,
    Full soft on silk he lay.
But nowise might he rest in sleep
    For dreams of his troth-plight may.

He dreamed that the maiden Valborg
    In velvet fine was clad,
And Hakon the King’s son sat beside
    And a boon of her he bade.

In the morning tide at break of day
    When the larks gan sing on high,
From his bed rose Axel Thordson
    And clad him speedily.

Swift saddled he his good grey steed
    And would ride the woods along,
His dreamful thoughts from his head to thrust
    And hearken the blithe birds’ song.

So thus did Axel Thordson
    Amid the rose-wood ride;
There met him a holy prilgrim
    E’en in that very tide.

“Well met, good May, thou pilgrim good,
    Whither wilt thou away?
From mine own land art thou certes
    As I wot by thine array.

“Yea Norway is my Fatherland
    Of the Gildish kin I come
And with mind to look upon the Pope
    Have I sworn myself to Rome.”

“O art thou come of the Gildish stock
    Then of my kin art thou;
Hath Valborg the Fair forgotten me
    Or aught of her dost thou know?”

“Valborg is a maiden fair
And sooth I know her well,
And many a knight’s son is there
Great praise of her can tell.

Right well I know the maiden
    She weareth grise and pall.
She beareth the prize from all the maids
    That serve in the high King’s hall.

Waxen is Valborg Immer’s daughter
    As the fairest lily on bough.
Mid all the maidens of the land,
    She is the fairest men may know.

Dame Julli lies under the marble-stone
    Her noble lord beside,
Queen Malfrid took fair Valborg home
    In honour and love to bide.

Gold weareth she on her milk-white hand
    And with pearls she plaits her hair,
Lord Axel’s bride of every man
    Is she called & everywhere.

They call her the Lord Axel’s fair troth-plight,
    But her kin deem she shall be
The bride of the King’s son Hakon
    And thereof have game & glee.

O it is Axel Thordson
    He wrapped himself in fur
And gets him gone to the goodly hall
    To see the Kaiser there.

“Bide hail O Kaiser Henry
    So blithe a lord as thou art:
Leave do I pray of thee today
    To my own land to depart.

My father is dead & my mother is dead
    And my goods are in jeopardy,
And another would my true love win
    And strongest that draweth me.”

“Leave will I give thee with good will
    Straightway I give it thee,
And till thou comest back again
     Thy place shall open be.”

Lord Axel rides from the Kaiser’s garth
     With a lordly company,
And all the folk of the Kaiser’s house
     A good farewell on him did cry.

Both brisk and sharp his journey was,
     Thirty good fellows followed him on;
But when he came to his mother’s castle
     He went therein alone.

But when Lord Axel Thordson
     Came forth to the castle gate [ms. state],
Without stood Helfred his fair sister
     In restful fair estate.

“There standest thou, Helfred sister sweet,
     Nought wotting that I should come.
How liveth Valborg mine own troth-plight
     A rose among all things that bloom?”

“Fair Valborg liveth wondrous well
     The fairest maid of all,
And she serveth now the very queen
     And the queen’s best love on her doth fall.”

“Give me reed, fair sister Helfred,
     Give me reed good enow
How I may talk with my own troth-plight
     And no man thereof may know.”

“Go clad thyself in gear of silk
     And cast thou rags thereon,
Say thou art sent from me privily
     To talk with her alone.”

O it was Axel Thordson
     Went the high-bower[']s bridge along,
And he met the queen’s fair maidens
     As they came from evensong.

He reached his white hand to Valborg
    Mildly he spake & well,
O I am dame Helfred’s soothfast man
    And I have a word to tell."

He spread a privy letter abroad
    And she read it through & through
And there was a word of love therein
    Writ as well as man might do.

And therein were there gold rings five
    With lily & rose wrought oer;
“Axel Thordson giveth thee these
    Who loved thee in the days of yore.

Thou promisdst to be my own troth-plight;
    Hold to thy troth I pray thee now.
I shall never forsake but love thee my sweet
    While the isle of the world through the sky doth go.”

O’er the high bower[']s bridge together they went
    As God gave them council to,
And their troth again to each other they gave
    And swore their oath anew.

They swore by Dorothy the bright
    By the holy maid on high,
In truth of that love ever to live
    In truth of that love to die.

Lord Axel from the King’s garth rode
    And O but he was gay,
By the bower door stood his troth-plight
    And might but laugh and play.

And so fared things for five months space
    And till nine months wore away,
And eleven sons of high earls stood forth,
    And to win the maid did pray.

Eleven were the knights full fair
    That were fain to win the maid,
The twelfth was the King’s son Hakon
    And early and late he prayed.

“O hearken thou fair Valborg
    And wilt thou be my dear?
For I will take thee for my queen
    And the gold crown shalt thou bear.”

“Nay hearken King’s son Hakon
    For never thus the thing may go,
To Lord Axel privily am I plight
    And never therefrom will I go.”

Then wroth waxed the King’s son Hakon
    And cast on him the skin,
And he’s away to the goodly hall,
    His mother sat within.

“Bide hail O mother well beloved!
    What wilt thou me arede,
I have prayed for Valborg the maiden fair
    And she giveth me mock and hate for meed.

“Honour and might would I give unto her
    My realm thereto and lands so wide,
But she saith she hath lord Axel so dear
    That in that troth will she still abide.”

“Hath Valborg given her troth away,
    Then shall she hold it faithfully
There is many a maid of earl’s blood come
    As rich and as great as she.”

“Yes many there are of the earls’ daughters
    That as rich & great may be,
But none as fair as Valborg is
    Or so sweet of life as she.”

“With wrack and wrong that mayst win her not
    For that were a shame to hear,
But with weapons mayst thou win the may [ms. way]
    If sword against thee Axel bear.”

Then wroth waxed Hakon the King’s son, [ms. wrath]
    And wroth he gat him out.
And there he met his shrift-father
    Was called Black-brother Knut.

“Why goest thou, my lord, so woefully,
    And whereto turns thine heart?
Is there any sorrow befallen thee
    I may hearken for my part?”

“Yea, a sorrow is there befallen
    That stingest grievously,
For Valborg the fair I may not get
    But Axel’s bride she needs must be.”

“Is Valborg plight to lord Axel
    Yet her shall he never get,
For the tale of her kin it lieth
    In the Black monk’s cloister yet.

“For sister’s children of nigh-kin folk are they,
    Born of good kin & high
And one dame held them at the font
    At Highburg did she die.

“So lo ye, godsib are the twain
    Before the Church in verity,
And thereto ye may well behold
    That they are sib in the third degree.

“My lord, let write throughout the land
    The chapter shall they hearken unto,
Lord Axel gets not that lily wand
    For we be they shall say him no.”

O that was Hagen the King’s son
    His man he biddeth straight;
“Bid the maiden’s [?come] all privily
    In my chamber me to await.”

The earls they stood before the broad board
    In honour and in pride;
“My lord thou hast bidden us hither
    What would thy heart this tide?”

“Your sister’s daughter would I have
    In honour with me to live,
For soothly shall she be my queen
    If ye the maiden to me will give.”

The answered her mother’s brethren twain
    And glad were they of mood;
“In a good hour was fair Valborg born
    That a King’s son hath her wooed.”

And O it was the noble earls
    They cast on them the skin,
To the bower aloft straight must they go
    Where sat Dame Malfred the Queen.

First greeted they Queen Malfred fair,
    In all honour and courtesy,
And then they greeted Valborg the bright
    The fairest that might be.

“Well be thou dear sister’s daughter,
    Well be thou while thou dost live,
Hagan the King’s son wooeth thee
    And unto him we will thee give.”

“O have ye given away my faith & troth?
    Then so much will I say to you,
That lord Axel is my well beloved
    No guile to him will I ever do.”

Then answered her mother’s brethren twain
    Mighty earls and bold,
“Nay soothly it shall never be
    That thou thy troth to him shalt hold.”

O it was Hagen the King’s son
    He wrote a letter then
And summoned to him the Archbishop
    And his clerks that were seven times ten.

Out spake master Erland,
    When he read the King’s letter out,
“Shame fall the man who meddle made
    And first & last was it brother Knut.”

The archbishop stood before the board
    And spake to the King in courtesy,
“Fair lord thou hast bidden me hither
    Speak out then what thy will may be.”

“To a maiden have I plighted myself
    Thou shalt wed me unto her aright;
Lord Axel lyeth near to her heart
    Yet shall he forego the maiden bright.”

Therewith they wrote the summoning
    And at the [T]hing let read it clear,
And so to meet the Archbishop proud
    Must both those noble children fare.

So early on a morning-tide
    When matins were sung to an end,
Unto the church must lord Axel ride
    And with him did his troth-plight wend.

On his high horse that lord he leapt
    And from his very heart he sighed.
In wain the maiden followed next
   And in her heart her woe did hide.

On his high horse the knight he rode
    His weary thoughts went to and fro.
In wain the maiden followed next
    To hide her sorrow she well did know.

Out spake the maiden Valborg
    As through the roses did she go.
Seldom with sorrow a glad heart sigheth
    But a sorrowful mouth laughs oft enow.

So by the garth of our Lady’s church
    The lords they leapt to earth,
And into the church they wended
    With noble kin & knights of worth.

Amid the church nave did they stay
    And met there both bishop & clerk;
How heavy of heart those children were
    Lightly with eyen might all man [sic] mark.

There the archbishop was withal,
    His silver staff did he upbear;
And all the brothers of the house
    That love & troth atwain to tear.

Then forth there strode Black-brother Knut
    The book of kin in hand had he;
He read from the same and showed it forth
    That they were akin, Lord Axel & she.

He read out there the table of kin
    As the monks had given him rede to do,
And none could say but of sister-kin
    They were the noble children two.

Yea of sister-kind goodsooth they were
    Of the best blood that might be,
In the fourth degree were they akin,
    The priests should part them speedily.

And they were come of the Gildish stock,
    Fair children nigh of birth,
Lord Axel & fair Valborg
    Might meet no more on earth.

And one dame held them at the font
    When the priest the font’s gift gave,
Lord Asbion was their godfather,
    No more each other may they have.

For they are kin of birth & blood
    Of the noble Gildish stem.
And godsib are they therewithal
    No life together is for them.

They brought them to the altar now
    And bade them hold a handcloth fair;
They loosed that bond and loitered not
    Because the knight was sib to her.

They tore the cloth atwixt them twain
    And each a share thereof they had;
No man there live[s] in all the world
    Perforce may make his fortune glad.

“Now is the handcloth torn atwain
    Wherewith ye part our bodies here
But while life lasts no man hath might
    Our loving kindness so to tear.”

She took the gold rings from her hand
    From off her arm she drew the gold;
She gave the knight his gifts again
    So sundered is the troth of old.

That gold on the altar Axel cast
    To holy Olaf that gift he gave;
And swore all days that he might live
    Fair Valborg yet his love should have.

Then wroth waxed the king’s son Hagen
    All under the silk so red
“Since from thy heart she may not go
    I wot no maid she is” he said.

Then spake the archdeacon Erland
    The wisest of all clerks I wot.
“I count him for a very fool
    The might of love that knoweth not.

A roaring fire all men may quench,
    A brand burns not in water wan,
But the burning of lover o’erpasses these
    For it may not be quenched of any man.

The sun’s heat falleth so strong adown
    And slake it no many may,
But a mightier work is the bond of love
    That neer shall be broken clean away.”

Lord Axel answered Prince Hagen
    As he stood in silk anigh;
“Thy word shall I put away from me
    Or else tomorrow shall I die.”

Then wroth waxed Hagen the King’s son,
    Strode over the stone so broad,
“Tomorrow shalt thou swear an oath
    And nought of guile be in thy word.

Thou shalt swear to me tomorrow morn
    By sword and scripture soothfastly,
If Valborg is a maid for thee
    Or if thou hast lain her by.

Yea I will take the law to wit
    As I have full great right,
Or else in fain field will I stand
    So long as I have might.”

In bower sleeps Elskelin Hagen’s wife
    And she waketh suddenly;
“Saint Brigit counsel now my heart
    For the dream that has come to me.

Medreamed of the fair dame Julli
    That lies adown neath the mould
And she bade me in all wise that I might
    Her daughter in love to hold.

Seven sons thou hast of me, fair lord
    Thirty swains each one has
Let them bind on sword and risk their lives
    In that fair maiden’s case.

And thou, my lord, let saddle then steeds
    And like a lord ride away
And go with them to stand by the maid
    Thou shalt never repent that day.

Seven sons have we gotten together
    Seven young lords frank and bold
That are our only game and glee,
    In knightly wise they can them hold.

Children akin thou knowest we were
    We twain, Dame Julli and I
Wherefore her daughter to forsake
    An ill deed were it verily.”

On a fair morning early
    When the sun shone o’er the heath
From Castle were knights ariding
    To swear with honour and faith. 

There stood Axel Thordsen ready
    And stretched abroad his hand:
“Come forth, Ye Earls, from the Gildish house,
    In law with me to stand.”

Then forth strode eleven knights of price
    Were clad in sable & pall
By lord Axel will we stand today
    God give that well the thing befall.

But the tears ran down the maiden’s cheek
    As the rain when it raineth most.
“O where shall I find a borrow for me? [error for "burrow"?]
    A wretched thing I am and lost.”

Then answered her mother’s brothers twain,
    Such word they gave her both:
“Thou wert alone in this counsel erst
    Alone then swear thine oath.”

Then spake Archdeacon Erland
    The word he took up now:
“Of kin hast thou right many, maid,
    But of friends but few enow.

Of kin hast thou a many
    But scarce mayst find a friend;
God help out of this thy need
    That thy sorrow may have an end.”

“My Father and Mother are dead & gone
    That sorrow to God may I tell,
The God who helpeth all at need
    He knoweth my heart full well.

Dame Julli sleeps under the marble stone
    Lord Immer in the black, black mould,
But were they alive as they are dead
    My kin were as kind as now are cold.”

But there as she sat in pain and grief
    And the strongest sorrow on earth,
Lord Hagen now might all men see
    Forth riding to the garth.

Straight strode he forth so hastily
    And let all men hear him cry,
“I give myself to thee, maiden,
    In law to stand thee by.

Dame Elsekelin is kind & good
    That lieth my side anear.
Of one stem came thy mother & she
    And therefore am I here.

Stand forth my fair sons seven by tale
    Into the case come ye;
Lord Carl his sons of Southern dale
    Beside us shall they be.”

Eleven dukes’ sons stood forth therewith
    In sable & pall were clad,
In good wise was their raiment wrought,
    Fair crisped locks they had.

Eleven earls came in company
    Dauntless were they of mood,
And crisped were their golden locks
    Their swords were gilt with gold.

With the maiden will we swear an oath
    And stand by her today
Ye noble children draw anigh
    That all may hear the words ye say.”

On the mass book Axel laid his hand
    His sword by the hilts held he.
His mighty kin stood him beside
    The noblest and best that might be.

He held the hilts within his hand,
    Set the point down on the floor,
And there straigtway his oath he made,
    Clean without fraud he swore.

"Fair Valborg have I held right dear
    My highest rest and bliss,
But never to her I drew so nigh
    That her fair lips I should kiss."

On the mass-book laid the maiden her hand
    And swore by our Lady’s grace;
“O never were my eyen so bold
    As to look my love in the face.”

Then the heaven they raised o’er her head
    Bare over her cloth of pride
And brought her home unto the hall
    And called her the lord king’s bride.

In there came the King’s son Hagen
    He spake a word outright;
“Now let no swain or worthy knight
    Depart hencefro tonight.”

He said, “I plight me sweet Valborg,
    For my own heart’s love to hold
And she shall be my very queen
    And bear the crown of gold.”

They spread the cloth & sat them down
    And mead and wine they poured
Lord Axel sat beside his love
    And spake a weary word.

"O tell me Valbourg my own heart's love
    While yet we twain sit here,
What is the best rede thou mayest give
    Though our weary sorrow to wear."

Never she rests in the wild-wood green
    With untired wing she wendeth;
Never she drinks of the water wan
    But her meat with her drink she blendeth.

Thou lord and love ride merrily
    And hunt the wild-wood roe,
And all the thought thou hast of me
    Full speedily let them go.

O lord and love, ride merrily
    To hunt the wild-wood hare,
And every thought thou hast of me
    Swift from thee let it fare.

“O if I ride through the rosy grove
    And through the greenwood deep,
What shall I do in the tide of night
    When as I may not sleep.

My father's lands now will I sell
    For silver and gold so red,
And get me forth to foreign lands
    And sorrow till I be dead.

"Nay lord, sell not thy father's land [ms. fathers']
    For sore shalt thou miss it yet,
But send thou word to lord Asbiorn
    And pray his daughter to get.

Yea wed his daugther Adelaide
    Fair life beside her gain,
In a mother's stead will I be to you both
    And sorrow for us twain."

"Nay nay, no maiden may I have,
    No true love is for me,
If the Kaiser's daughter I might wed
    Still should I think of thee."

[f. 75, typescript no. 19]
Then came the Archdeacon Erland there,
    And laid hand on them lovingly;
Say each to each the last good night
    No otherwise now must it be.”

Then the Archbishop cried aloud,
    His tongue he might not still:
“O shame befall Black-brother Knut
    Who wrought this parting ill.”

Lord Axel he bade the maiden goodnight
    Sore gainst his will he bade,
So was his heart with sorrow laden
    As the captive in irons laid.

[f. 76, typescript no. 20]

So wore the days a certain while
    Two months away they wore,
Lord Axel and the maiden sweet
    They played and laughed no more.

Then fell a trouble on the land,
    And the fows so strong did grow,
That Hagen the King’s son forthwithal
    His might in field must show.

King Hagen let bid out all his men
    Both lewd & learned he bade,
And the noble child lord Axel,
    Nought would he be delayed.

O it was Hagen the King’s son
    He rode in warlike gear,
And bade to him both small & great
    E’en such as sword could bear.

As many as might bear the sword
    For all the land he bade,
Lord Axel the high & mighty man
    Chief captain there he made.

His shield it was both white & blue
    Wide through the field well known to sight,
And two red hearts therein were set
    So for his honour would he fight.

But when they come out into the field
    Whereas the foemen flit & glance,
Then manhood & heart is it time to prove
    No more with maidens fair to dance.

The lord Axel did
    For his Fatherland sweet & dear,
Before him fell the doughty Knights
    And many a saddle did he clear.

He smote right many a noble man
    Beneath his horse he trod them down,
On no man did he lay his hand
    But the greatest & best men of renown.

[in pencil, 166]

The lord of the Uplands there he slew

[in pencil, 167]

As thick the arrows flew about
    As the hay in the field doth lie,
And Hagan the King is sorely hurt
    And to death is come anigh.

[in pencil, 168]

[unfinished translation]

25. Beowulf ( What! we of the Spear-Danes of yore days, so was it/ That we lear'd of the fair fame of Kings of the folks )

See Beowulf, /beowulf.html. Published as The Tale of Beowulf Done Out of the Old English Tongue. Trans. By William Morris and A. J. Wyatt. Kelmscott Press, 1895. Published in CW, X, 173-284.
British Library Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 86, title in pencil, "Northern fragments," thick paper, no watermarks. f. 87 autograph pencil fragment of Beowulf (added lightly above), beige faintly lined paper. unrhymed. (Rail & rings & the most made of all mead-rings); partial autograph draft in Pierpont Morgan Library, M. A. 925, fol. 57. [With thanks to Paul Acker for emendations.]

[45,218, f. 87]

Rail & rings & thereto the most-made of all neck-rings
Of them than on earth  there ever heard tell of
Not one under heaven  ever was heard of
Midst hoard gems of heroes since that Hama bore off
To the bright burg and aloft brave the neck gear of the Brosings,
The gem and the gem chest from the foemans guile fled he
Of Eormanric then & chose rede ever lasting
That ring Hygelac had een he of the Geat folk
The grandson of Swerting  the last time of all times
Sithence When he under the banner his treasure was warding defended
And the slaughter prey warded him weird bore away
Sithence he for pride sake the war woe abided
The feud with the Frisings; the fretwork he flitted
The gemstones of much worth all over the waves cup
The King the full might, cringed under shield
Into grasps of the Franks the Kings life was gotten,
With the gear of the breast and the ring altogether
It was worser war wolves then reft gear from the slain
After the war-shearing there the Geats war folk
Held the house of the Dead-men. The hall took the voices
Spake out then Waltheow before the host said she
Have thou this gold ring O Lief Beowulf henceforth,
O Dear youth, with all good hap hail and this rail be thou using
These [gems] of folk treasures and thrive ye well ever
Make clear then thy craft and be to thes[e] lads here
Blithe of lore and save will I look to thy guerdon
Thou hast won by thy faring that far & near henceforth
Throng wide time to come men will give thee the worship
As widely as ever the sea winds about
The windy land walls. Be the while thou art living
An Atheling wealthy and well do I will thee
Of good of the treasure. Be thou to my sons
In deed ever friendly, and do thou be glad
Lo each of the earls here to other is true,
And mild of his mood and to man-lord full faithful
Kind friends all the thanes are the folk ever yare?

26. The Odyssey of Homer ( Tell me, O Muse, of the Shifty, the man who wandered afar, / After the Holy Burg, Troy-town, he had wasted with war; )

See Odyssey, /odyssey.html. Published in CW, XIII, 1-362. Manuscript in HM 6421, ff. 1-411 and 448, Morris's first draft in notebooks with black leather covers, white ruled paper.

preliminary draft, and HM6421, ff. 1-411. The latter is a fair copy in Morris's hand for the printer, with neat corrections throughout, which begins with the argument for book I and ends, "The End."

HM 6448, notebooks 2-6, Morris's autograph draft on white ruled paper in notebooks with black leather covers.

notebook 1 seems missing from this set—apparently this is HM 6421, which was catalogued apart from the others.

notebook 2 begins XI line 145, marked by Morris, and ends XV, line 104, marked in pencil by another hand; pages unnumbered.

notebook 3 begins XV line 105, marked in pencil by another hand, and ends book XXI, line 188, later pencil marking; some corrections.

notebook 4 begins Book 3, line 5, this label in Morris’s hand; pencil and ink first draft in white ruled notebook, corrections throughout. At end, written by another hand, “End of Book V.” This notebook seems a first draft of an earlier stage than notebooks 2 and 3.

notebook 5 begins Bk. XXI, line 209; this label is written in by another hand; no notation is provided for the ending, which reads:
That a while and thrice so many fair gifts shall come to thee
Because of this overbearing: now refrain & hearken me.

notebook 6 white lined paper, rough draft some pencil and the rest ink, begins Book VI, pages unnumbered, and ends Book XI., line 144 later pencilled in.

A letter enclosed in this manuscript from Alexander Denham, export bookseller

                                                                              27, Bloomsbury Square, W. C.
                                                                              175 High Holborn
                                                                              London, W. C.
February 17th, 1897
Mr. S. B. Lempster, [?] Jr.
            New Inn

                                    Dear Sir,

The manuscript of the Odyssey sent you is in the late Mr. Morris’ handwriting. It was purchased by us recently from a personal friend of Mr. Morris’s, who obtained it from the Poet himself in September, 1894. It has been in this gentleman’s possession since that date until we obtained it from him.

                                    Yours truly,

                                    Alexr Denham Jr

[Perhaps the “gentleman” was Thomas Wise?]

On the last page upside down is a pencil draft of poem from The Roots of the Mountains, beginning "We hurry on the iron road"; see "List of Morris's Poems Presumed Written After 1875," no. 36.

HM 6448 also includes clipping of a Theodore Watts-Dunton article in Athenaeum, October 10th, 1896 which praises Morris's Odyssey.

Portions of the translation are at the Humanities Research Center Library, the University of Texas, Ms. file (Morris, W.), Works.

Non-Poetic Translations:

The Saga Library. Translated by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon. 6 vols. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1891-1901.

This included: vol. I, The Story of Howard the Halt, The Story of the Banded Men, The Story of Hen Thorir; vol. II. The Story of the Ere-Dwellers with the Story of the Heath-Slayings; Vol. III, IV, V, King Haralds Saga.

Part of Ms. in Pierpont Morgan Library M. A. 1894. The Story of Howard the Halt, with Eiríkr Magnússon, incomplete.

Sketch of the first 13 chapters in Morris’ hand in marbled notebook with white ruled paper, HM6426, ff. 1-33, to end of chap. XIII.

Morris autograph on white ruled paper, ink with numbers marked for songs, 1-11
begins, “Here begins the story of Howard of Icefirth.”

*Fragment of beginning for Hallbiorn the Strong, B. M. Add. Ms. 45,319b, iv and v., 2 pp., pencil autograph in Morris’ hand, difficult to decipher.

In the eastland rivers
On Whitewater the eastern flood
In days agone a house there stood
Kediaberg had it not for long
And there dwelt Halbiorn the Strong
Now worn was summer many a day

The Story of the Dwellers at Ere

The Tale of Haldor

Ms. Fitzwilliam Museum Library, 25F. calligraphic manuscript at the Bodleian Library, Ms. Eng. Misc. c. 265. Also a calligraphic manuscript at the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 92’20.

A calligraphic manuscript of the Story of the Ynglings from the Heimskringla Saga is in Kelmscott Manor.

King Harald, incomplete calligraphic manuscript is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Bodl. Ms. Eng. misc. d. 265.

The Story of Hen Thorir, calligraphic manuscript at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Bodl. Ms. Eng. misc. d. 266. Also a calligraphic manuscript at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Ms. 270.

The Story of the Banded Men, calligraphic manuscript at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Ms. 270.

The Story of Haward the Halt, calligraphic manuscript at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Ms. 270.

The Story of Harald: Kenneth Goodwin’s Handlist (1983) lists a calligraphic manuscript as in the possession of John M. Crawford, Jr. of NY. Completed around 1871.

Grettis Saga: The Story of Grettir the Strong. Translated from the Icelandic by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnusson. London: F. S. Ellis, 1869

Published in CW, VII, 1-282. See prefatory sonnet for this in A Book of Verse, and two sonnets for Grettir, B. L. Add. Ms. 45,318, f. 91. A. Ms. ready for printer, 1869, 25F.

Völsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with certain Songs from the Elder Edda. Translated by Eiríkir Magnusson and William Morris. London: Ellis, 1870

Published in CW, VII, 283-396. Proof sheets with corrections by Magnússon in B. L. Add. Ms. 45,746.

Three Northern Love Stories, and Other Tales. Translated by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson. London Ellis and White, 1875.

Published in CW, X. These stories were “The Story of Frithiof the Bold and Viglund the Fair,” “The Tale of Hogni and Hedinn,” “The Tale of Roi the Fool,” “The Story of Thorstein Staff-Smitten,” and “The Story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Raven the Skald.”

Publication of “The Story of Frithiof the Bold” [Part I], Dark Blue, 1871; The Story of Frithiof the Bold [Part II] Dark Blue, 1871 Part of Ms. in Pierpont Morgan Library, M. A. 194.

Publication of “The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue and Rafn the Skald,” Fortnightly Review, 1869. Reprinted 1891, Chiswick Press.

Old French Romances: Done into English. Translated by William Morris. London: George Allen, 1896. With an introduction by Joseph Jacobs.

The romances were: “The Tale of King Coustans the Emperor,” “The Friendship of Amis and Amile,” “The Tale of King Florus and the Fair Jehane,” and “The History of Over Sea.”

Of King Florus and the Fair Jehane. Translated by William Morris. Kelmscott Press, 1893.

The Tale of Emperor Coustans and Over Sea. Translated by William Morris, Kelmscott Press, 1894.

The manuscript is preserved in HM 6438, ff. 1-45. Ff. 1-14 is the Emperor Coustans which ends on f. 14:

Herewithal endeth the story of King Constans the Emperor.

The said story was done out of the ancient French into English by William Morris.

Ff. 15-45 are The History of Over Sea which ends:

Here ends the story of Over Sea, done out of ancient French into English by William Morris

This book, the stories of the Emperor Coustans, and of Over Sea was printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press Upper Mall Hammersmith in the County of Middlesex, and finished on the  [ ] day of 1894
Sold by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press

Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair.

Published Kelmscott Press, 1895. Manuscript in HM 6419, ff. 1-151, Morris autograph. This concludes: “Here ends the story of Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair; made by William Morris, and printed by him at the Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall Hammersmith in the County of Middlessex. Finished the day of         1895
Sold by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press"

The first 16 lines of an early metrical version in Morris's hand are in HM 36918; see "List of Morris's Poems Presumed Written After 1875," no. 34.

The Story of Egil Son of Scaldgrim, calligraphic manuscript is at Kelmscott Manor.

The Story of Kormak the Son of Ogmund, translated by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnusson.

Published by the William Morris Society, 1970, with an introduction by Grace Calder and a note on the manuscript work of William Morris by Alfred Fairbank. Ms. in Pierpont Morgan Library, M. A. 1894.

Hafbur and Signy, incomplete

Ms. in Pierpont Morgan Library, M. A. 1894

King Hafbur and King Siward, incomplete calligraphic manuscript; Bodleian Library, Oxford Ms. Eng. misc. e. 233/2

Story of Sigi, incomplete

Calligraphic manuscript at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS. Eng. Misc. g. 59.

The Story of Halfdan the Black.

Kenneth Goodwin’s Handlist (1983) lists a calligraphic manuscript in the possession of John M. Crawford, Jr. of NY. Completed around 1871.

Thorstein and Gunnlaug, incomplete.

A partial calligraphic manuscript is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Bodl. Ms. Engl. Misc. e. 233/1.

* “Tristram” ( For the pricking on and moving of the hearts of noble folk to live gloriously and virtuously . . . . )

Unpublished. B. M. Add. Ms. 45,329, ff. 1-99 (ff. 89-99 in careful handwriting used for illuminated manuscripts) In May Morris's hand, "Manuscript of the date of The Earthly Paradise."

*The Lancelot du Lac, 3 vols., unfinished.

Described in CW, IX, xxxviii, unfinished. Kelmscott Manor, Autograph Ms. of translation from the French, 3 vols.

 

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