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"To-morrow great will be the cheer
At the Brothers'-Tongue by Whitewater."
From her folded lap the sunbeam slid;
She combed her hair, and the word she hid.
"Come, love; is the way so long and drear
From Whitewater to Whitewater?"
The sunbeam lay upon the floor;
She combed her hair and spake no more.
He drew her by the lily hand:

"I love thee better than all the land."
He drew her by the shoulders sweet:
"My threshold is but for thy feet."
He drew her by the yellow hair:

"O why wert thou so deadly fair?

O am I wedded to death?" he cried,

"Is the Dead-strand come to Whitewater side?"

And the sun was fading from the room,

But her eyes were bright in the change and the gloom. "Sharp sword," she sang, "and death is sure,

But over all doth love endure."

She stood up shining in her place

And laughed beneath his deadly face.
Instead of the sunbeam gleamed a brand,
The hilts were hard in Hallbiorn's hand:
The bitter point was in Hallgerd's breast
That Snæbiorn's lips of love had pressed.
Morn and noon, and nones passed o'er,
And the sun is far from the bower door.
To-morrow morn shall the sun come back,
So many times over comes summer again,
But Hallgerd's feet the floor shall lack.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now Hallbiorn's house-carles ride full fast,
So many times over comes summer again,

Till many a mile of way is past.

What healing in summer if winter be vain?
But when they came over Oxridges,

'Twas, "Where shall we give our horses ease?"
When Shieldbroad-side was well in sight,
'Twas, "Where shall we lay our heads to-night?"
Hallbiorn turned and raised his head;
"Under the stones of the waste," he said.
Quoth one, "The clatter of hoofs anigh."
Quoth the other, "Spears against the sky!"
"Hither ride men from the Wells apace;
Spur we fast to a kindlier place."
Down from his horse leapt Hallbiorn straight:
"Why should the supper of Odin wait?
Weary and chased I will not come
To the table of my fathers' home.”
With that came Snæbiorn, who but he,
And twelve in all was his company.
Snæbiorn's folk were on their feet;
He spake no word as they did meet.
They fought upon the northern hill:
Five are the howes men see there still.
Three men of Snæbiorn's fell to earth
And Hallbiorn's twain that were of worth.
And never a word did Snæbiorn say,
Till Hallbiorn's foot he smote away.
Then Hallbiorn cried: "Come, fellow of mine,
To the southern bent where the sun doth shine."
Tottering into the sun he went,

And slew two more upon the bent.
And on the bent where dead he lay
Three howes do men behold to-day.
And never a word spake Snæbiorn yet,
Till in his saddle he was set.
Nor was there any heard his voice,
So many times over comes summer again,

Till he came to his ship in Grimsar-oyce.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

On so fair a day they hoisted sail,
So many times over comes summer again,
And for Norway well did the wind avail.
What healing in summer if winter be vain?
But Snæbiorn looked aloft and said:
"I see in the sail a stripe of red:
Murder, meseems, is the name of it,
And ugly things about it flit.
A stripe of blue in the sail I see:
Cold death of men it seems to me.
And next I see a stripe of black,
For a life fulfilled of bitter lack."
Quoth one, "So fair a wind doth blow
That we shall see Norway soon enow."
"Be blithe, O shipmate," Snæbiorn said,
"Tell Hacon the Earl that I be dead.”
About the midst of the Iceland main
Round veered the wind to the east again.
And west they drave, and long they ran
Till they saw a land was white and wan.
"Yea," Snæbiorn said, "my home it is,
Ye bear a man shall have no bliss.
Far off beside the Greekish sea
The maidens pluck the grapes in glee.
Green groweth the wheat in the English land,
And the honey-bee flieth on every hand.
In Norway by the cheaping town
The laden beasts go up and down.
In Iceland many a mead they mow
And Hallgerd's grave grows green enow.
But these are Gunnbiorn's skerries wan,
Meet harbour for a hapless man.

In all lands else is love alive,

But here is nought with grief to strive.
Fail not for a while, O eastern wind,
For nought but grief is left behind.
And before me here a rest I know,"
So many times over comes summer again,
"A grave beneath the Greenland snow.'
What healing in summer if winter be vain?

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["To-Day" 1884; darauf in "Poems by the Way" 1891.]

THERE met three knights on the woodland way,
And the first was clad in silk array:

The second was dight in iron and steel,
But the third was rags from head to heel.
"Lo, now is the year and the day come round
When we must tell what we have found."
The first said: "I have found a king
Who grudgeth no gift of anything.'
The second said: "I have found a knight
Who hath never turned his back in fight."
But the third said: "I have found a love
That Time and the World shall never move."


Whither away to win good cheer? "With me," said the first, "for my king is near." So to the King they went their ways;

But there was a change of times and days. "What men are ye," the great King said, "That ye should eat my children's bread? My waste has fed full many a store,

And mocking and grudge have I gained therefore.

Whatever waneth as days wax old,
Full worthy to win are goods and gold.”

Whither away to win good cheer?
"With me," said the second, "my knight is near.
So to the knight they went their ways,
But there was a change of times and days.
He dwelt in castle sure and strong,
For fear lest aught should do him wrong.
Guards by gate and hall there were,
And folk went in and out in fear.
When he heard the mouse run in the wall,
"Hist!" he said, "what next shall befall?
Draw not near, speak under your breath,
For all new-comers tell of death.
Bring me no song nor minstrelsy,
Round death it babbleth still," said he.

"And what is fame and the praise of men, When lost life cometh not again?"

Whither away to seek good cheer?

"Ah me!" said the third, "that my love were anear! Were the world as little as it is wide,

In a happy house should ye abide.
Were the world as kind as it is hard,
Ye should behold a fair reward.”

So far by high and low have they gone,
They have come to a waste was rock and stone.
But lo, from the waste, a company
Full well bedight came riding by;
And in the midst, a queen, so fair,
That God wrought well in making her.

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