THE WORKS OF GEORGE BORROW, VOL.7


* "Ribolt's Fight with the Dragon and Aller."
* The base text is a redacted version of DgF 27 Bb "Rigen Rambolt og Aller hin stærke".
* The B-version (DgF 27B,b is Vedel's I, Nr. 26, entitled "Herr Ribolts Kamp med Dragen" available online at Kalliope.
The refrain "Det v.h.r.r.e." stands for "Det vandt han rigen Ribolt ene".

This ballad is sung on the Faroese Islands as "Jeg ser saa mangt et Orlogskib (I see so Many Man-of-Wars)", and an audio-recording of a few strophes being performed is on CD#2 (Track 11) of Traditional Music In the Faroe Islands 1950-1999 (July 2003).

Please check out the section on my Faroese Ballad related links page, for full listing of tracks and other info.
 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
 
RIBOLT'S FIGHT WITH THE DRAGON
AND ALLER
I SEE so many a ship of war
'Neath their gilded mast draw nigh ;
There is Aller the stalwart kemp,
And he to land will hie.

They cast their anchors to the ground,
In the haven rejoic'd they go—
Took he Aller, an oar in hand,
He sprang from the foremost prow.

And when he enter'd the castle yard,
He shoulder'd his cloak of skin ;
Then proudly he strode to the high, high hall,
To the Monarch of Upsal in.

' Hail to thee, Monarch of Upsal,
At thy wide sitting in state !
Wilt thou give me thy youngest daughter ?
Return me an answer straight.'

It was the Monarch of Upsal,
Full speedily answer'd he then :
' We'll draw first out under Vidrik's vold
And prove there our court men.'

79 ( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
How soon from the balk was the hauberk snatch'd
And the helmet on head y-plac'd ;
Then sail'd they out under Vidrik's vold,
Allowing themselves no rest.

Ribolt took his steel-spear on his back,
It lists him the dance to see.
Victory thought he from Aller to win,
On Glory's wreath thought he.

They fought together with all their might,
None would to the other give way.
So many a hero willingly stak'd
His life in his master's fray.

Aller he hew'd and Aller he shot,
He sprang into the King's snek.
The King he palen'd like a corse
All under his gilded deck.

Many thanks to gallant Sir Ribolt,
He was in the hug so strong ;
Down into the sea from the King's high prow,
He has Aller hurl'd headlong.

Aller got into so little a boat,
And away so swiftly he row'd ;
Not one of the arrows could him overtake
Which they after him sent in a cloud.

The King of Upsal turn'd him round,
And he look'd abroad on the sea :
O yonder I spy a raving mad man,
With the speed of a bird sails he.'

80( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
' I am, I am no raving mad man,
I am driving in such hard need,
The Dragon has got my red gold away,
Much better had I been dead.'

' If that be truth that thou tellest us,
Do nought to thy harm conceal,
And tell us of thy fatherland,
With the Dragon we will deal.'

' O how can ye come to my native land
And tread the red Dragon to death ?
Betwixt ye and that such deep water is,
And the wind blows right in your teeth.'

' If betwixt us be the raging flood,
And the wind contrarily blows,
O we'll hew down the green forest,
And a bridge thereout compose.'

' Now hear me, gallant Sir Ribolt!
Do thou the Dragon but kill,
Then Coalbrand I will give to thee,
And all else that's in the hill.'

They spread the sails so high on the mast,
They have gotten a wind so fair,
And they came where the Dragon was,
Ere of that was Aller aware.

Sir Ribolt stamp'd on the hill so hard,
While his steel-spit brandish'd he :
' Give me out Coalbrand the good sword,
Or I'll have a tuzzle with thee.'

81( ⇒ )

 
THE SONGS OF SCANDINAVIA
 
' Thou shalt not get Coalbrand to-day,
The sword so lov'd by me ;
It never shall come into thy hand,
Whilst life in my body be.'

They fought for a day, and for two they fought;
As the third day to evening drew,
Sir Ribolt struck so manfully
That the Dragon he overthrew.

Then out he took of the ruddy gold
As much as he well could bear;
And when he came under Vidrik's vold,
Sad tidings met his ear.

' The King of Upsal slaughter'd is
That causes such mickle woe,
And slain are all thy brothers seven
That fought by him so true.'

Then wroth was he, Sir Ribolt bold,
And his wrath wax'd higher and higher ;
Then Coalbrand went round in his hand
Like burning, burning fire.

'Twas fought for a day, 'twas fought for five
Ere the fight to an end could win.
Sir Ribolt struck at Aller's mail,
That the point to his heart went in.

The King's footmen in the courtyard stood,
And the ball about they flung.
They laugh'd at naked Sir Ribolt,
So rent his garments hung.

82( ⇒ )

 
AND OTHER POEMS AND BALLADS
 
' My clothes are rent, as ye behold,
Of the princess fresh I'll crave.'
' Here's what,' quoth they,' beseems thee well,'
And they him a hemp-shirt gave.

Then up and spoke the fair princess,
For she well Sir Ribolt knew :
' Scorn not, scorn not the stranger man ;
Ye had better him honour shew.

' Straight cast the grey hemp woof aside,
'Tis for him in no ways meet;
Ye had better stretch the silken cloth
On the earth beneath his feet.

' He slew Aller, the stalwart kemp,
To his heart his sword he's driven ;
Thus he aveng'd my father's death,
And his own dear brothers seven.

' No other lives in all the world
My father's land shall hold,
My morning-present it shall be
When I wed the warrior bold.'

83( ⇒ )


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