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King Diderik and the fight between the Lion and Dragon and other ballads   By: (1859-1937)

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In Thomas James Wise's collection of ballads, "King Diderik and the fight between the Lion and Dragon and other ballads," readers are treated to a captivating assortment of ancient tales brought vividly to life through the power of verse. Wise's meticulous research and craftsmanship shine through in this anthology, as he takes us on a journey through the rich tapestry of folklore.

One of the standout ballads in this collection is "King Diderik." This narrative poem recounts a legendary battle between a valiant king and a fearsome dragon, pitting the bravery and wit of humanity against the monstrous forces of nature. Wise's verses effortlessly transport us to a time of chivalry and honor, where the lines between myth and reality blur. Through his words, we can almost smell the smoke from the dragon's breath and feel the tremors of the earth as the battle unfolds.

However, what truly sets this anthology apart is not only the quality of the ballads themselves but also Wise's insightful commentary. In each introduction, he provides historical context, highlighting the origins and evolution of these ancient stories. Delving into the deep roots of folklore, Wise's erudition allows readers to appreciate the significance of these ballads within broader cultural and historical contexts.

It is worth noting, however, that Wise's collection is not intended for the casual reader seeking a lighthearted literary escape. The language and syntax of these ballads hark back to a bygone era, demanding the reader's careful attention and patience. It may take a few readings to fully appreciate the intricacies of Wise's poetic choices and the layers of meaning embedded in each line. Nevertheless, those who are willing to immerse themselves in this journey will be rewarded with a profound understanding and appreciation of the balladry genre.

The overarching theme of heroism and the relentless fight against adversities reverberates throughout the collection. Whether it be facing mythical creatures or battling internal demons, these ballads celebrate the timeless virtues of courage, resilience, and honor. In an era where such values often seem lost, Wise's compilation serves as a timely reminder of the enduring power of these age-old tales.

In conclusion, "King Diderik and the fight between the Lion and Dragon and other ballads" by Thomas James Wise stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of ancient folklore and the art of storytelling. Through his expertise as both a poet and a scholar, Wise breathes new life into these centuries-old tales, making them accessible to contemporary readers. Whether you are a lover of poetry, a fan of medieval literature, or simply intrigued by the allure of old legends, this anthology will transport you to the enchanting realms of the past.

First Page:






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


From Bern rode forth King Diderik, A stately warrior form; Engaged in fray he found in the way A lion and laidly worm. {5}

They fought for a day, they fought for two, But ere the third was flown, The worm outfought the beast, and brought To earth the lion down.

Then cried the lion in his need When he the warrior saw: “O aid me quick, King Diderik, To ’scape the Dragon’s claw.

“O aid me quick, King Diderik, For the mighty God thou fearest; A lion save for the lion brave, Which on thy shield thou bearest.

“Come to my rescue, thou noble King, Help, help me for thy name; Upon thy targe I stand at large, Glittering like a flame.”

Long, long stood he, King Diderik, Deep musing thereupon; At length he cried: “Whate’er betide I’ll help thee, noble one... Continue reading book >>

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