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King Hacon's Death and Bran and the Black Dog two ballads   By: (1803-1881)

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Transcribed from the 1913 Thomas J. Wise pamphlet by David Price, email






And now has happened in our day What was in ancient time foretold: Beneath his hand all Norroway’s land Has Hacon brought, the wise and bold.

Full many a warrior summons he From all the country far and near; To Scotland’s realm, with shield and helm, Across the sea the King will steer.

As many as sword and helm can bear With him must sail across the foam; All of fit age must follow their liege, Those who are not may tarry at home.

It was Hacon, Norroway’s King, Survey’d the gallant band with pride: “I’m missing one—my Andfindson, O where does Olaf the stripling bide?”

Then answer’d him the little footboy, Not far that stood from the Monarch’s knee: “Olaf, my Lord, will come on board As soon as weigh’d the anchors be.”

Then out they stood from Bergen town, And out from Bergen’s mole, I trow; Silk is the sail they spread in the gale, Painted with blue is the deck below.

“Now Magnus hear, my son so dear, At home I tell thee thou must stay: Aarhus to ward and Bergen to guard, For the keys of Norroway’s land are they.”

“Listen all dearest father mine, Recall thy word I entreat of thee; To rule rough earls and Norroway churls Too ignorant far and too young I be.”

“Then clothe thee straight and clothe thee well, Since thou wilt follow me, my child: But much I fear thou can’st not bear The toss of the sea and its billows wild.”

So out they stood from Bergen town, And ’twas at fall of evening grey; The folk on the shore they griev’d full sore As that brave armament sail’d away.

And when they came to Lindeness, And the mounting billow the sail bespray’d, In the breeze so fair the ship stood there As though to the bottom it fast were made.

Then said the King as he lean’d upon His trusty faulchion’s hilt of gold: “I’m here in the dark, is there any clerk Or layman here can this thing unfold?”

Then out spoke Nilaus Noderness, As a glance he flung upon the deep: “Doom’d men on board, have we my Lord, The truth from thee I cannot keep.”

It was our Norroway Hacon then Thereat so sorely troubled grew: “I’m missing one, my Andfindson, Why meets not Olaf his father’s view?”

Then answer’d him the little footboy, As apart he stood from the Norway King: “Beneath the deck lies Olaf sick, And much I fear he’s suffering.”

It was Hacon the Norway King To visit Olaf with speed he goes: “What cheer, what cheer, my Olaf dear? Thy state to thy father straight disclose.”

“I feel no rest within my breast, Methinks my very heart will rend: Would God, the King of all, would bring This horrible night to a speedy end.”

They watched o’er Olaf Andfindson, They watched o’er Olaf long nights twain; And Hacon I say, of Norroway, By watching thus his death did gain.

It was Olaf Andfindson, He yielded up his gentle sprite; ’Twas Hacon grey of Norroway Before him held the big wax light.

O then King Hacon distrest he grew, The stripling’s corse he would not leave: He pin’d away and sick he lay, His hoary Counsellors how they grieve.

“Cheer up,” they said. “We’ve fought and bled, And almost won these foreign shores; But if thou now from us should’st go A sad and dreary fate were ours.”

“My time is come, I can’t survive; Write ye my testament, I pray, When I am gone do ye see done What with my dying breath I say:

“My son, King Magnus, I advise Ever the law of God to heed; Justice above all things to love, And well, full well, with him ’twill speed... Continue reading book >>

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