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THE FATAL SISTERS.

ẢN ODE.

FROM THE NORSE-TONGUE[20].

['To be found in the orcades of Thormodus Torfæus; Hafniæ, 1697, folio: and also in Bartholinust.

Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c. In the Eleventh Century Sigurd, Earl of the Ork. ney Islands, went with a fleet of ships and a consi. derable body of troops into Ireland, to the assis. tance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of Dublin : the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in the action. On Christmas-day (the day of the battle) a native of Caithness in Scotland saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures resem

[20] Even Dr. Johnson allows that Mr. Gray's « translations of Northern and Welsh Poetry deserve “ praise. The imagery (says he) is preserved, pero “haps often improved.”

bling women : they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful Song; which, when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped Six to the North and as many to the South. These were the Valkyriur, female Di. vinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic Mythology. Their name signifies Chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.]

· NOW the Storm begins to lower,

(Haste, the loom of Hell prepare,) Iron-sleet of arrowy shower d Hurtles in the darken'd air c.

6 Iron-sleet of arrowy shower.
How quick they wheel'd, and, flying, behind them

shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy shower.-

Milton's Paradise Regain'd.

:

Hurtles in the darkend air.
The noise of battle hurtled in the air.

Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar.

Glitt'ring lances are the loom

Where the dusky warp we strain, Weaving many a soldier's doom,

Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane. See the grisly texture grow!

('Tis of human entrails made) And the weights, that play below,

Each a gasping Warrior's head. Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore,

Shoot the trembling cords along. Sword, that once a Monarch bore,

Keep the tissue close and strong.
Mista, black terrific Maid,

Sangrida, and Hilda, see!
Join the wayward work to aid :

'Tis the woof of victory. Ere the ruddy sun be set,

Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clatt’ring buckler meet,

Hauberk crash, and helmet ring, (Weave the crimson web of war)

Let us go, and let us fly,
Where our Friends the conflict share,

Where they triumph, where they die. As the paths of Fate we tread,

Wading thro’th' ensanguin'd field, Gondula, and Geira, spread

O’er the youthful King your shield.
We the reins to slaughter give,

Ours to kill, and ours to spare :
Spite of danger he shall live.

(Weave the crimson web of war.)

They, whom once the desert-beach

Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch

O’er the plenty of the plain. Low the dauntless Earl is laid,

Gor'd with many a gaping wound. Fate demands a nobler head; | Soon a King shall bite the ground. Long his loss shall Eirin weep, d

Ne'er again his likeness see; Long her strains in sorrow steep : Strains of Immortality !

d Long his loss shall Eirin ween.

Ireland.

Horror covers all the heath,

Clouds of carnage blot the sun. Sisters, weave the web of death.

Sisters, cease: The work is done.

FRO

The origin

Hail the task, and hail the hands!

Songs of joy and triumph sing ! Joy to the victorious bands ;

Triumph to the younger King. Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,

Learn the tenour of our song. Scotland, thro' each winding vale

Far and wide the notes prolong.

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Sisters, hence with spurs of speed :

Each her thundering faulchion wield; Each bestride her sable steed.

Hurry, hurry to the field.

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