Tales of a Wayside Inn
Excerpt: ...the Earl. The mariners shout, The ships swing about, The yards are all hoisted, The sails flutter out. 150 The war-horns are played, The anchors are weighed, Like moths in the distance The sails flit and fade. The sea is like lead, The harbor lies dead, As a corse on the sea-shore, Whose spirit has fled! On that fatal day, The histories say, Seventy vessels Sailed out of the bay. But soon scattered wide O'er the billows they ride, While Sigvald and Olaf Sail side by side. 151 Cried the Earl: "Follow me! I your pilot will be, For I know all the channels Where flows the deep sea!" So into the strait Where his foes lie in wait, Gallant King Olaf Sails to his fate! Then the sea-fog veils The ships and their sails; Queen Sigrid the Haughty, Thy vengeance prevails! 152 XIX. KING OLAF'S WAR-HORNS. "Strike the sails!" King Olaf said; "Never shall men of mine take flight; Never away from battle I fled, Never away from my foes! Let God dispose Of my life in the fight!" "Sound the horns!" said Olaf the King; And suddenly through the drifting brume The blare of the horns began to ring, Like the terrible trumpet shock Of Regnarock, On the Day of Doom! 153 Louder and louder the war-horns sang Over the level floor of the flood; All the sails came down with a clang, And there in the mist overhead The sun hung red As a drop of blood. Drifting down on the Danish fleet Three together the ships were lashed, So that neither should turn and retreat; In the midst, but in front of the rest The burnished crest Of the Serpent flashed. King Olaf stood on the quarter-deck, With bow of ash and arrows of oak, His gilded shield was without a fleck, His helmet inlaid with gold, And in many a fold Hung his crimson cloak. 154 On the forecastle Ulf the Red Watched the lashing of the ships; "If the Serpent lie so far ahead, We shall have hard work of it here," Said he with a sneer On his bearded lips. King Olaf laid an arrow on string, "Have I a coward on board?" said he. "Shoot it...
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