~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~
Song the Second
It was the proud Dame Grimhild The wine with spices blends; And unto many a hero free She messengers outsends. “Go bid them come to battle, Go bid them come to strife; I reckon many a hero free Shall lose his youthful life.” ’Twas Hero Hogen’s mother She has dreamt a wondrous dream, That the stately courser tumbled As they rode him o’er the stream. “That dream, dear son, a meaning has, I rede thee cautious be; Beware thee of thy sister, She deals in treachery.” It was the Hero Hogen He rode along the strand: The mermaid there he found at play Upon the yellow sand. “Now tell me, pretty mermaid, The future thou dost know, Shall I the prize in Hvenland win, And warriors overthrow?” “Now listen, Hero Hogen, Thou art of kemps the flower, Enough of land thou dost possess, Enough of fame and power. “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. “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.” It was the Hero Hogen, he Grew wrathful at her speech; He strook the wretched mermaid That she fell dead on the beach. “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.” There rode up to the portal Of Dame Grimhilda’s home, Two men of noble bearing, Their steeds were all in foam. The blow they gave the portal Rang all the castle through: “O where art thou the porter, Why dost thou not undo?” Then up and spoke the porter, So ready to deceive: “I dare admit no stranger, Sirs, Without my Lady’s leave.” He hied him to Dame Grimhild, To her he said in haste: “Two knights before our castle wait, Admittance they request.” “O that is Folker Spillemand,” Dame Grimhild she did say; “And that is Hero Hogen, My brothers both are they.” Down went dames and maidens then To see the twain alight; They all were slender in the waist, And just of proper height. It was the proud Dame Grimhild Herself in scarlet clad; Then out she hastened to the court, The heroes in she bade. “’Tis custom of our castle none A faulchion shall unsheath, I cannot bear the sight of one Since good King Sigfred’s death.” “’Twas I that slew King Sigfred E’en with my own right hand, ’Twas I that slew King Ottelin And him could few withstand. “’Twas then I lost my acton good, And trusty courser grey, In yonder ice-cold winters When besieging Troy we lay.” Then up the hall she led them To a hundred of her train; With naked faulchions brandished, they Confront the heroes twain. “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.” When heard that Folker Spillemand He would no longer wait; His sword from out the sheath he drew, Down shivered fell the gate. When he had bared the mighty blade He felt at heart so light; He slew full fifteen warriors With blows of manly might. “Ha, Ha,” said Folker Spillemand, “Right goes my fiddle now”— And then the Hero Hogen slew Full twenty blow by blow. It was the proud Dame Grimhild With wrath well nigh was wode: “Much better had ye stayed at home Than come to our abode. “Here will a hundred widows be ’Ere ye this fight have done.” Then answered Hero Hogen: “’Twas by thyself begun.” It was the Hero Hogen, His helmet lifted he: “All under my cuirass of steel I burn so furiously. “I’m weary, weary to the heart, And weak in verity; O would to God in heaven is A horn of wine had I.” He lifted up his vizor, Of human blood a draught He took—“_In nomine Domini_” The Hero Hogen quaffed. See, there the knights of Grimhild Lie slaughtered every one; And that has Hero Hogen, And valiant Folker done. “God bless thee, Folker Spillemand, Who here a corse dost lie, Full well and without treachery Thy faulchion thou didst ply. “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. “Ah, brother, by my heart beloved, Thy coming cost me dear; How woeful is my destiny That I should lose thee here. “And if to me is granted To live another day, My sister this shall expiate, I her will burn or slay.” 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.