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Like a rainy midnight
Sat the Drottning Thyri,
Even the smile of Olaf

Could not cheer her gloom;

Nor the stalks he gave her
With a gracious gesture,
And with words as pleasant

As their own perfume.

In her hands he placed them,
And her jewelled fingers
Through the green leaves glistened

Like the dews of morn;

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“ Richer presents,” said she,
« Gave King Harald Gormson
To the Queen, my mother,

Than such worthless weeds;

• When he ravaged Norway,

Laying waste the kingdom,
Seizing scatt and treasure

For her royal needs.

6 But thou darest not venture Through the Sound to Vendland, My domains to rescue

From King Burislaf;

“ Lest King Svend of Denmark,

Forked Beard, my brother,
Scatter all thy vessels

As the wind the chaff.”

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“ Never yet did Olaf

Fear King Svend of Denmark;
This right hand shall hale him

By his forked chin!”

Then he left the chamber,
Thundering through the doorway,
Loud his steps resounded

Down the outer stair.

Smarting with the insult,
Through the streets of Drontheim
Strode he red and wrathful,

With his stately air.

All his ships he gathered,
Summoned all his forces,
Making his war levy

In the region round.

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Down the coast of Norway,
Like a flock of sea-gulls,
Sailed the fleet of Olaf

Through the Danish Sound.

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With his own hand fearless Steered he the Long Serpent, Strained the creaking cordage,

Bent each boom and gaff ;

Till in Vendland landing,
The domains of Thyri
He redeemed and rescued

From King Burislaf.

Then said Olaf, laughing, “ Not ten yoke of oxen Have the power to draw us

Like a woman's hair !

6 Now will I confess it,

Better things are jewels
Than angelica stalks are

For a queen to wear.'

XVII.

KING SVEND OF THE FORKED BEARD.

Loudly the sailors cheered
Svend of the Forked Beard,
As with his fleet he steered

Southward to Vendland ;
Where with their courses hauled
All were together called,
Under the Isle of Svald

Near to the mainland.

After Queen Gunhild's death, So the old Saga saith, Plighted King Svend his faith

To Sigrid the Haughty ; And to avenge his bride, Soothing her wounded pride, Over the waters wide

King Olaf sought he.

Still on her scornful face,
Blushing with deep disgrace,
Bore she the crimson trace

Of Olaf's gauntlet ;
Like a malignant star,
Blazing in heaven afar,
Red shone the angry scar

Under her frontlet.

Oft to King Svend she spake, 66 For thine own honor's sake Shalt thou swift vengeance take

On the vile coward !”
Until the King at last,
Gusty and overcast,
Like a tempestuous blast

Threatened and lowered.

Soon as the Spring appeared,
Svend of the Forked Beard
High his red standard reared,

Eager for battle;
While every warlike Dane, ,
Seizing his arms again,

Left all unsown the grain,

Unhoused the cattle.

Likewise the Swedish King
Summoned in haste a Thing,
Weapons and men to bring

In aid of Denmark;
Eric the Norseman, too,
As the war-tidings flew,
Sailed with a chosen crew

From Lapland and Finmark.

So upon Easter day
Sailed the three kings away,
Out of the sheltered bay,

In the bright season ;
With them Earl Sigvald came,
Eager for spoil and fame;
Pity that such a name

Stooped to such treason !

Safe under Svald at last,
Now were their anchors cast,
Safe from the sea and blast,

Plotted the three kings ; While, with a base intent, Southward Earl Sigvald went, On a foul errand bent,

Unto the Sea-kings.

Thence to hold on his course
Unto King Olaf's force,
Lying within the hoarse

Mouths of Stet-haven ;

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