THE WORKS OF GEORGE BORROW, VOL.7


* "Grimhild's Revenge."
* The base texts for three songs are classed as DgF 5 "Grimilds hævn" by Grundtvig:
  • Song the 1st — DgF 5C
    Vedel's I, 7 " Den første Vise om Frue Grimild, oc Heldt Hogen "
  • Song the 2nd — DgF 5Bb
    Vedel's I, 8 " Den anden Vise om Frue Grimild, og hendis Brødre "
  • Song the 3rd — DgF 5Ab
    Vedel's I, 9 " Den Tredje Vise om samme Grimilds Forræderi mod sine "
 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
1.
IT was the proud Dame Grimhild
Prepares the mead and beer,
And unto her the valiant knights
She bids from far and near.

2.
She bade them come and not delay
To tournament and strife ;
It was the Hero Hogen
Who lost his youthful life.

3.
It was the Hero Hogen
Along the shore went he,
And there he found upon the sand
The maiden of the sea.

4.
' Now hail, thou maiden of the sea,
Of wisdom thou art rife;
Say, if I go to Hvenild's land,
Can I retain my life ? '

5.
' Of castles hast thou plenty, knight,
And store of gold so red,
If thou shouldst go to Hvenild's land
Thou wilt be smitten dead.'

51( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
6.
It was the Hero Hogen,
He straight drew forth his blade,
And he struck off at a single blow
The head of the ocean-maid.

7.
Then out amid the Sound he cast
The head all dropping gore ;
The body rolled down after it,
In the deep they joined once more.

8.
It was the Hero Hogen,
He further wandered on,
Until the Ferry-carl he spied
The ocean beach upon.

9.
' Now list to me, good Ferry-carl,
Convey me o'er the Sound
And I'll give thee my good gold ring,
It weighs full fifteen pound.'

10.
' I will not take thee o'er the Sound
For all thy gold so red,
If thou dost go to Hvenild's land
Thou wilt be smitten dead.'

11.
It was the Hero Hogen
His faulchion round did whirl,
And he struck off at a single blow
The head of the Ferry-carl.

12.
He gave the gold ring off his arm
Unto the dead man's wife :
' Take that as an atoning gift
For the Ferryman's young life.'

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AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
13.
Sir Gunter and Sir Gernot 1
The vessel pushed from shore ;
So wrathful was the weather then,
So wild the waters' roar.

14.
So furious then the weather was,
So wild the waters grew,
Asunder soon in Hogen's hand
The oar of iron flew.

15.
The iron oar asunder flew
In Hero Hogen's hand,
Then with their broad and gilded shields
The heroes steered to land.

16.
They 'gan to scour their faulchions
When they to land had won ;
And there so proud a Damsel stood,
And their employ looked on.

17.
O she was slender at the waist,
And just of proper height;
Swelling was her white bosom,
And maidenlike her gait.

18.
They went away to Nörborough,
Where the gate was wont to stand :
' O where is now the porter
Who here should be at hand ? '

19.
' O here am I the porter,
To watch and ward I wait;
Did I but know whence ye were come
I 'd bear your message straight.'

      1 Squires in attendance upon Hogen.

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THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
20.
' O'er many a league of land and sea
We hither have repaired ;
Dame Grimhild is our sister,
The truth is now declared.'

21.
In then went the porter,
His stand by the board he took ;
Quoth he : 'Before our portal wait
Two knights of noble look.

22.
' Two men of birth illustrious
Now wait before our gate ;
The one he bears a fiddle,
And a gilded helm his mate.'

23.
' O he no fiddle bears, I trow,
For any noble's pay ;
And whencesoever they are come
A prince's sons are they.'

24.
It was the proud Dame Grimhild drew
Her mantle o'er her head ;
She hurried to the castle hall,
And in her brothers bade.

25.
' O will ye go to bower now
And drink the mead and wine ?
Or will ye sleep in beds of silk
With two fair maids of mine ? '

26.
It was the proud Dame Grimhild drew
Her mantle o'er her head,
And into the stone chamber
To her warriors all she sped.

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AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
27.
' Here sit ye all my valiant men
And drink the mead and wine ;
Now who will Hero Hogen slay,
Though he be brother mine ?

28.
' Whoe'er will do the doughty deed
Of striking Hogen dead,
Shall master of my castles be,
And of my gold so red.'

29.
Then answered her a warrior,
A baron of that land :
' O I will earn the prize this day,
Forsooth with this good hand.

30.
' O I will do the doughty deed,
Strike Hero Hogen dead ;
Then I will o'er thy castles rule,
And o'er thy gold so red.'

31.
Then answered Folker Spillemand,
With mighty iron spear :
' I'll set my mark upon thee, knave,
Before thou 'scap'st from here.'

32.
And at the first blow he has laid
Full fifteen warriors low :
' Ha, bravely, Folker Spillemand,
You touch your fiddle bow !'

33.
He smote to death the warriors,
A bridge of them he made ;
And broad and long I ween it was,
Full rough with them he play'd.

55( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
34.
Above were laid the oxen hides,
Below the pease so small;
That trick has vanquished Hogen,
He fell down first of all.

35.
It was the Hero Hogen
Would have bounded up with speed :
' No, no, desist, my brother,
Thou know'st what was agreed.

36.
' No, no, desist, my brother,
Prove true to what you swore,
If ever you should fall to earth
You 'd never rise up more.'

37.
So brave was Hero Hogen
To his word he true was found ;
Upon his two knees stood he then,
And got his mortal wound.

38.
But still three warriors slaughtered he,
They were not of the least,
Towards Hammeren went he then to find
His father's treasure-chest.

39.
Fortune was yet to him so kind,
The Damsel proud he won ;
And she was haughty Hvenild,
He begot with her a son.

40.
That gallant son, hight Ranke,
Avenged his father well;
Grimhild entombed by Niflung's gold
Of hunger-pain did yell

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AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
41.
Then soon from out the land to Bern
In Lombardy he strayed ;
And there 'mongst Danish men he was,
And prowess high displayed.

42.
His mother she remained at home,
From her got Hveen its name
'Mongst knights and warriors through the world,
So widely goes its fame.

1.
It was the proud Dame Grimhild
The wine with spices blends ;
And unto many a hero free
She messengers outsends.

2.
' Go bid them come to battle,
Go bid them come to strife ;
I reckon many a hero free
Shall lose his youthful life.'

3.
'Twas Hero Hogen's mother
She has dreamt a wondrous dream,
That the stately courser tumbled
As they rode him o'er the stream.

4.
' That dream, dear son, a meaning has,
I rede thee cautious be ;
Beware thee of thy sister,
She deals in treachery.'

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THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
5.
It was the Hero Hogen
He rode along the strand :
The mermaid there he found at play
Upon the yellow sand.

6.
' Now tell me, pretty mermaid,
The future thou dost know,
Shall I the prize in Hvenland win,
And warriors overthrow ? '

7.
' Now listen, Hero Hogen,
Thou art of kemps the flower,
Enough of land thou dost possess,
Enough of fame and power.

8.
' And thou both gold and silver hast,
And castles fair to see,
If thou dost go to Hvenland,
For thy best it will not be.

9.
' Goods and dominion hast thou, knight,
And store of gold so red,
If thou dost go to Hven this year
Thou wilt be smitten dead.'

10.
It was the Hero Hogen, he
Grew wrathful at her speech ;
He strook the wretched mermaid
That she fell dead on the beach.

11.
' There do thou lie and rest thee now,
Thou foul and wicked fay ;
I know well how to guard me
And my enemies to slay.'

58( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
12.
There rode up to the portal
Of Dame Grimhilda's home,
Two men of noble bearing,
Their steeds were all in foam.

13.
The blow they gave the portal
Rang all the castle through :
' O where art thou, the porter,
Why dost thou not undo ? '

14.
Then up and spoke the porter,
So ready to deceive :
' I dare admit no stranger, Sirs,
Without my Lady's leave.'

15.
He hied him to Dame Grimhild,
To her he said in haste :
' Two knights before our castle wait.
Admittance they request.'

16.
' O that is Folker Spillemand,
' Dame Grimhild she did say ;
' And that is Hero Hogen,
My brothers both are they.'

17.
Down went dames and maidens then
To see the twain alight;
They all were slender in the waist,
And just of proper height.

18.
It was the proud Dame Grimhild
Herself in scarlet clad ;
Then out she hastened to the court,
The heroes in she bade.

59( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
19.
' 'Tis custom of our castle none
A faulchion shall unsheath,
I cannot bear the sight of one
Since good King Sigfred's death.'

20.
' 'Twas I that slew King Sigfred
E'en with my own right hand,
'Twas I that slew King Ottelin,
And him could few withstand.

21.
' 'Twas then I lost my acton good,
And trusty courser gray,
In yonder ice-cold winters
When besieging Troy we lay.'

22.
Then up the hall she led them
To a hundred of her train;
With naked faulchions brandished, they
Confront the heroes twain.

23.
' If any knight among ye be
Who eat here of my bread,
Will dare to slay my brother,
I will give him gold so red.'

24.
When heard that Folker Spillemand
He would no longer wait;
His sword from out the sheath he drew,
Down shivered fell the gate.

25.
When he had bared the mighty blade
He felt at heart so light;
He slew full fifteen warriors
With blows of manly might.

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AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
26.
' Ha, ha,' said Folker Spillemand,
' Right goes my fiddle now ' —
And then the Hero Hogen slew
Full twenty blow by blow.

27.
It was the proud Dame Grimhild
With wrath well-nigh was wode :
' Much better had ye stayed at home
Than come to our abode.

28.
' Here will a hundred widows be
Ere ye this fight have done.'
Then answered Hero Hogen :
' 'Twas by thyself begun.'

29.
It was the Hero Hogen,
His helmet lifted he :
' All under my cuirass of steel
I burn so furiously.

30.
' I 'm weary, weary to the heart,
And weak in verity ;
O would to God in heaven is
A horn of wine had I.'

31.
He lifted up his vizor,
Of human blood a draught
He took — ' In nomine Domini'
The Hero Hogen quaffed.

32.
See, there the knights of Grimhild
Lie slaughtered every one ;
And that has Hero Hogen
And valiant Folker done.

61( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
33.
' God bless thee, Folker Spillemand,
Who here a corse dost lie,
Full well and without treachery
Thy faulchion thou didst ply.

34.
' Full four and twenty fell for one,
Their death from him they found ;
He slew them like a warrior,
Ere sank he on the ground.

35.
' Ah, brother, by my heart beloved,
Thy coming cost me dear ;
How woeful is my destiny
That I should lose thee here.

36.
' And if to me is granted
To live another day,
My sister this shall expiate,
I her will burn or slay.'

37.
The evil fate 's o'ertaken her,
She 's paid for all her ill;
King Hogen's son caused Grimhild
To starve within the hill.

1.
O, where will ye find kempions
So bold and strong of hand,
As Hogen and his brother dear,
Sir Folker Spillemand ?

62( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
2.
Forward stepped she, Bodild,
Hero Hogen's mother, crying :
' Methought the gallant coursers all
Were either dead or dying.

3.
' And I possess full wit enow
That vision to explain ;
If to the Hvenish land ye go,
There'll many a man be slain.'

4.
Out rode the valiant brothers where
The river rolled its tide,
There they the Mermaid found asleep
Beneath a green hill's side.

5.
' Awake, awake, thou Mermaiden,
Thou creature wondrous fair ;
Say, will my life in danger be
If I to Hven repair ? '

6.
' O turn thee, Hero Hogen, back,
Thou art a knight so bold,
Thou dost in thy own land possess
Full many a tower and hold.

7.
' Return, return, to thine own land,
Seek not the warrior joust;
If thou dost to thy sister go,
Thy young life it will cost.'

8.
It was the Hero Hogen then
His sword he straight drew out;
It was the wretched Mermaiden
From whom the head he smote.

63( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
9.
' By thee I now am prophesied,
And dead thou liest there ;
I to the land of Hven will go,
Soon as the wind is fair.'

10.
Then forward went the heroes two,
They found the ferry-house :
' Arise, arise, good ferryman,
And come here out to us.

11.
' Now listen what I say to thee,
Convey us o'er the Sound,
And I will give thee this gold ring,
It weighs full fifteen pound.'

12.
' Thy bright gold ring keep thou thyself,
I it will not possess,
I never to the town should come
But 'twould bring me distress.

13.
' I never should seek the town but I
Should therefore sure be chidden ;
I shall not bear thee o'er to-day,
My Lady 's me forbidden.'

14.
And Hero Hogen grew so wroth,
So wroth grew he in mood ;
The ferryman's head hewed he off,
So widely reeked the blood.

15.
Then straight the bloody head he cast
Mid Öresund's swift water ;
And, bidding them meet in the deep,
He cast the body after.

64( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
16.
Sir Gunter and Sir Gernot, they
Their vessel steered from land ;
But when they reached the middle
Sound The tempest was at hand.

17.
O then the oars asunder snapped
In Folker's hardy hand ;
Hero Hogen guided with his shield
The ship with toil to land.

18.
Then cast they out their anchors,
All on the yellow sand ;
It was the Hero Hogen,
He stepped the first to land.

19.
The others they did not delay,
But each as he could best
Arrayed himself right manfully,
And Folker 'bove the rest.

20.
Abroad the warden standing was,
He on the rampart strode :
' O there are come our country to,
Two Athelings so proud.

21.
' O kemps are come our country to,
And men so bold to see ;
They all yclad in iron are,
Their steeds come springing free.

22.
' The one he bears a hawk in flight,
Gold on his buckler gleams ;
The other bears a fiddle, and
A prince's son he seems.'

65( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
23.
Out came she, Dame Grimhild,
She so fair to speak was able :
' He does not bear a fiddle,
For he serves a noble's table.

24.
' But they two gallant warriors are,
Two sprouts of Dukely tree;
To know them I have cause enough,
They brothers are to me,'

25.
It was the Count Sir Gunselin,
His warriors he bespake :
' O, hither Hero Hogen comes,
A fray with him we'll make.

26.
' O, we will fight with them to-day,
And we will slay them all;
Then his red gold and forest green
Shall in our power fall.'

27.
Then just within the portal
Hero Hogen answer made :
' With you I'll blythely hazard that,
If ye be not afraid.'

28.
Out then went the heroes all,
So sorely fast they hied ;
Then unto old as well as young
Such evil did betide.

29.
In hand of Folker Spillemand
The sword asunder flew;
He seized a big steel spear, above
The door that met his view.

66( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
30.
And seven such gallant warriors
He slew at the first blow :
' In Drotten's holy name,' he said,
' My fiddle be known now.

31.
' Now merrily my fiddle goes,
Ye dance and spring around ;
I sweat with strong exertion
In my acton narrow bound.'

32.
It was the Count Sir Gunselin,
At Grimhild's feet he kneeled :
' O part us from those hardy knights,
Or help against them yield.'

33.
' Fight on, fight on, my good men all,
On whom I bread bestow ;
From fighting ye must not desist
Till Folker lyeth low.'

34.
' Now hear thou, Sister Grimhild,
I am gored with many a wound ;
Thou ne'er to me wert true or good,
And that I now have found.

35.
' Now I 've not closed an eye, an eye
For days and nights full seven ;
I'll avenge my murder certainly
Ere life from me is riven.

36.
' Gone is my sword so trusty,
And my good steel spear 's in twain ;
But all my care I would forget
Could I a weapon gain.'

67( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
30.
Then answered him young Hubba Yern,
He stood by him so near:
' I'll lend to thee the gallant sword
My brother loved so dear.

31.
' Methinks thou art a hero bold,
And mighty strong beside ;
And that may be in verity
On thy fiddle bow espied.'

32.
' Ah, thanks to thee, young Hubba Yern !
A true kemp thee I call:
I'll serve thee faithful in return,
So shall my brothers all.'

33.
Then hewed he, Folker Spillemand,
'Twas heard up to the sky ;
He 'd rather perish like a man
Than basely quit and fly.

68( ⇒ )


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