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Hafbur and Signe a ballad   By: (1859-1937)

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HAFBUR AND SIGNE A BALLAD

BY GEORGE BORROW

LONDON: PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION 1913

HAFBUR AND SIGNE

Young Hafbur King and Sivard King They lived in bitter enmity; ’Twas Signe proud that caused their feud, Of maidens all the fairest she.

It was youthful Hafbur King Awaked at midnight with a bound, And full of dread he straightway said His wondrous dream to all around.

“Methought I was in heaven’s domain, Within that place so fair to view, And held to my breast my loved one prest, When down we fell the cloudlets through.”

And there sat all the Dames and maids And little heeded what he said; But lent an ear his mother dear, ’Twas she alone attention paid.

“My son do thou to the mountain go, And look that thou dost go with speed; The Daughter demand of Elfin land, And she to thee thy dream will rede.”

It was young King Hafbur bold In his left hand he took his blade, And away he hied to the mountain’s side To seek the lovely elfin maid.

With his fingers white he thrice tapped light Upon the mountain’s side so green; The daughter of Elle lay awake, and well Could guess what did that tapping mean.

“Hail, daughter fair of Elfland’s King, Whom here I see in costly wede! I beg for love of the God above That thou to me my dream wilt rede.

“Methought I was in Heaven’s domain, Within that place so fair to view, And held to my breast my loved one prest, When down I sank the cloudlets through.”

“Thy dreaming thou wast in heaven, doth mean That thou shalt win the damsel proud; But that thou shalt die for her is shown By thy falling through the little cloud.”

“And if for me it destined be To win the maid for whom I sigh, I’ll ne’er complain if Fate ordain That afterwards for her I die.”

Sir Hafbur lets his hair grow long, And maiden’s clothes he caused be made; And away he rode to the high abode Of Siward King, to learn to braid.

For himself he clothes has caused be made, All such as high born damsels wear; Then away rode he o’er hill and lea To seek King Siward’s daughter fair.

When he had reached the castle yard In haste he smoothed his array; To the hall of state where ladies wait, And maids, then swift he takes his way.

“Now hail to you, ye lovely dames, And hail ye, maids of high degree! And hail the child that’s Signild styled, The Dane King’s child, if here she be!

“Hail Signild, daughter of the King, Who here art spinning silken thread; Sir Hafbur me has sent to thee That thou mayst teach me how to braid.”

“If thou dost come by Hafbur sent, A welcome guest thou here shalt be; What I can impart of the braiding art I’ll willingly impart to thee.

“Whate’er I know of the braiding art I’ll willingly to thee disclose; And thou thy meat from my dish shalt eat, And with my best loved maid repose.”

“O I have eat with princely maids, And by their sides have often lain; I should pine, I trow, if bid to go To bed with one of the servant train.”

“Well do not grieve my pretty may! We’ll do thee no disgrace nor harm; And thou thy meat from my dish shalt eat, And thou shalt sleep within my arm.”

And there sat all the damsels proud, And with their work dispatch they made, Save Hafbur alone, the King’s good son, Who with his needle often play’d.

They sewed the hart, and they sewed the hind, In good green wood that ran about; Of cup of gold he scarce got hold But Hafbur all the wine drunk out.

In came the wicked servant maid, In evil hour in came she: “Where’er I’ve been I ne’er have seen A maid know less of broidery.

“A damsel fair I ne’er have seen Who understood of stitching less; And ne’er on earth a maid of birth Drink wine with greater eagerness... Continue reading book >>




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