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Child Maidelvold and other ballads   By: (1859-1937)

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Copyright in the United States of America by Houghton , Mifflin & Co. for Clement Shorter .


The fair Sidselil, of all maidens the flower, With her mother the Queen sat at work in her bower.

So hard at the woof the fair Sidselil plies, That out from her bosom, so white, the milk flies.

“Now hear thou, O Sidselil, child of my heart, What causes the milk from thy bosom to start?”

“O that is not milk, my dear mother, I vow, It is but the mead I was drinking just now.”

“Unlike are the two, most unlike to the sight, The one it is brown, and the other is white.”

“I see it is best that the truth be declared, The handsome Child Maidelvold me has ensnared.”

“And if it be truth what thou now hast declared, And handsome Child Maidelvold thee has ensnared,

“Aloft on the gallows I’ll hang him, I trow, And burn thee to ashes the gallows below.”

Proud Sidselil she her blue mantle puts on, And unto Child Maidelvold’s bower she is gone.

With her fingers so tapering she twirled at the pin: “Child Maidelvold rise, and with speed let me in.”

“I’ve summoned no one the tribunal before, And at night to no one will I open my door.”

“Child Maidelvold rise, I beseech, in Christ’s name, I’ve spoke to my mother who knows of my shame.

“Aloft on the gallows she’ll hang thee, I trow, And burn me to ashes the gallows below.”

“O I will not hang, my sweet maiden, for thee And thou shalt not burn, my sweet maiden, for me.

“Collect thou thy gold in the coffer with speed, And I’ll to the stable and saddle my steed.”

He flung round the maiden his mantle so wide, And he lifted her up on his courser of pride.

They came to the wood of the briar and rose, There Sidselil craved for a while to repose.

“Now art thou fatigued by thy journey, sweet love, Or say, does the saddle too close for thee prove?”

“I am not o’ercome by the journey, sweet love, But the saddle too close for my burden doth prove.”

He spread on the cold earth his mantle so wide: “Here rest thee a space and I’ll watch by thy side.”

“O Jesus, that one of my maidens were near, The pains of a mother are on me I fear.”

“Thy maidens are now at a distance from thee, And thou hast no one to assist thee but me.”

“’Twere better to perish again and again, Than thou should’st stand by me and gaze on my pain.”

“Then take off thy kerchief and cover my head, And perhaps I may stand in the wise woman’s stead.”

“One draught of pure water could’st thou bring me now, To cheer up my heart that is sinking so low?”

So faithful to her was the Child, and so true, He fetched her the drink in her gold spangled shoe.

Child Maidelvold sped through the forest so black, He went to the fountain the wearisome track.

And when he arrived at the fount in the vale, Two nightingales sat there and sang him their tale:

“Dead Sidselil lieth beneath the green bough, With two little babes on her bosom of snow.”

He paid little heed to the nightingales’ lay, And traced through the forest his wearisome way.

But, ah! what a spectacle burst on his view, The little birds’ story he found to be true.

A grave broad and deep has Child Maidelvold made, Therein the unfortunate three he has laid.

As o’er them he clamped the mould down with his boot, He thought that the babies screamed under his foot.

Against a grey stone has the Child set his sword, The point of the blade his heart mortally gor’d.

He was true to his Sidselil whilst he had breath, He lies ’neath the earth now beside her in death... Continue reading book >>

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