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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts

Part Second

Valhalla

All is ended! all is done, —
Every thing beneath the sun;
While above, — the stars, the sky,--
Even Valhal, home on high
Of the gods', in Asgard's land, —
Full-perfected now doth stand.

Assemble, ye gods!
In Valhalla's high hall
Odin awaits ye,
Seats stand for ye all.

Valhalla's high hall, 'gainst wild tempest proof,
Spears are its pillars, and shields are its roof !
Battle-axes carve the feast,
Coats of mail for ev'ry guest
Drape the walls, support the board;
Valhalla, home of Odin, God,
On Asgard's height, is the delight
Of Aesir, working deeds of might.

The Eagle of great Igdrasil
High hovers o'er the sacred Hill,
Bird of Life !
While waves of strife
Round the gates of Asgard pour, —
Loud hear Thund, the Death-Stream, roar !
'Thro' the dreadful tumult made.
Fallen heroes hither wade,
Brought to Odin by Valkyr,
Battle-maidens held most dear.
O'er sea and thro' air,
'Mid lightnings' fierce glare,
Bright shields bearing.
Each maid wearing
Gleaming armor, side by side,
Down thro' lurid sky they ride.
When to Asgard back they come,
Tyr and Vidar welcome home ;
Valhal's wide hall
Has room for all !
Odin loves not empty seat;
Fairest maids the victors greet,
Fill full high with mead the bowl, —
Deeply drinks each warrior soul.

High in Valhal sits God Odin ;
By his side, in place of pride,
Decked with falcon plumes is Friga, —
Queen of gods, and Odin's bride ;
Aesir's Mother,
Fjörgyn's daughter!
Future is to her revealed
Useless, for her lips are sealed.

And now, at last
Thro' Heav'n the blast
Rings clear from Heimdal's mighty horn.
O'er earth and air its sound is borne.
Loud summons the Aesir,—
Gods of the earth and air, —
To Valhalla's glorious feast;
Fading faint the sound has ceased.

First, Thor with the bent brow,
In red beard muttering low.
Darting fierce lightnings from eye-balls that glow,
Comes, while each chariot-wheel
Echoes in thunder-peal,
As his dread hammer-shock
Makes Earth and Heaven rock,
Clouds rifting above, while Earth quakes below.

Fairest of all gods, beautiful Baldur!
Bright-browed and pure One, best loved of Aesir !
Light from his shining face
Streams over Asgard's race;
Rising from realms of night,
Bears he in car of light,
Bears he from realms afar,
Brilliantly beaming, joy to Valhalla!

Why trembles Friga on her throne
When comes blind Hoedur, Odin's son?
Lo! strong and silent drawing near,
The Mother shrinks from him in fear,
For of veiled Futurity
Pierces she the mystery;
Baldur's fate to her revealed
Useless, since her lips are sealed.

Now Loki comes, cause of ill!
Men and Aesir curse him still.
Long shall the gods deplore,
Even till Time be o'er,
His base fraud on Asgard's Hill.
While, deep in Jötunheim, most fell,
Are Fenrir, Serpent, and dread Hel, —
Pain, Sin and Death, his children three, —
Brought up and cherished ; thro' them he
Tormentor of the world shall be.

Lovely Gerda, Goddess rare!
Snow white arms and bosom fair
Gleaming soft o'er sea and air!
With her brilliant beaming blush,
Glowing lights thro' cloud-waves rush,
While Auroras from her hair
Quiver 'round the ether dome;
Shooting o'er the Northern skies
Radiant arrows from her eyes,
As to Odin's joyous home.
She, the Bride of Frey, doth come.

Great Frey himself hastens hither,
Lord of warm, life-giving weather !
Soft-dropping rains
O'er smiling plains,
And dew-drops shed
On Nature's bed,
Fall from his chariot, fleet and bright,
As speeds he on to halls of light.

Bright Iduna, Maid immortal !
Standing at Valhalla's portal.
In her casket has rich store
Of rare apples, gilded o'er ;
Those rare apples, not of Earth,
Ageing Aesir give fresh birth.

When e'er the fearful Day be past, —
That Day, of Odin's pow'r the last, —
She, unharmed shall stand the shock,
Rising over Ragnarock,
Defying Surtur, God of Fire,
Conqu'ring Serpent, Hel and Fenrir; 
Then, to Gimli's golden dome,
Lead the purer Aesir home.

Amid the summons loud.
Rising o'er Earth and cloud,
Swelling, then lying faint on ambient air,
In rich melodious strain
The rune-notes' sweet refrain
Falls ling'ring, from the golden harp-strings rare !
Ecstatic notes!
Each, liquid floats
In welcome as the Aesir come ;
Circling round Odin's home,
Up to Valhalla's dome,
Triumphant, exultant, they rise ;
E'er they reel and rebound
In full billows of sound,
Thrilling greetings thro' trembling skies, —
Rare greetings o'er rain-bow arch,
As hither the Aesir march,
Still Bragi doth sing;
Higher and louder,
Clearer and prouder,
Entrancing chords ring!
Seated at Odin's feet.
Pouring forth floods of sweet
Silvery sound,
Bragi, on Idun's breast.
Singing shall ever rest ;
Soft strains from skilled finger-tips.
High themes from wise rune-graved lips
Echo around !
Delighting with his minstrelsy
The gods amid their revelry,
Until Surtur's fiery brand
Ruin flings o'er sea and land ;
Then, passed the Twilight of the gods,
E'er shall he dwell in pure abodes,
And, beyond all reach of sadness,
He shall pour forth notes of gladness.

More triumphant then the rune,
Sweeter far will be the tune
Than now in Valhal
At high festival,
When with Iduna, then shall he
The Aesir greet full joyously,
As the fierce strife on Vigrid's plain
Rolls away,
And Odin's race shall meet again
In brighter day.

Feasting and pleasure,
Joy without measure
In Valhalla hold full sway;
While, throughout the happy day,
To and fro goes Hermodur, —
O'er the Earth, and thro' the air
Swift and sure, as messenger,
Odin's mandates oft doth bear.

For even in the flowing bowl
Shall ne'er forget the god-like soul ;
Aesir great
All await
Until Heimdal sounds his call.

Valhalla's feast
Enchains no guest !
When there is need,
No sparkling mead,
Nor maiden's kiss,
Nor Asgard's bliss
Keeps them in Valhalla's hall.

To their power belongs
To quell evil, right wrongs !
Earth lifts to them her pleading hands.
For them, Air stills his tempest bands.
While Dwarf with Jötun trembling stands ;--
All bow before their high commands,
By purity made strong.

So the gods in glorious state,
Dwell within Valhalla's gate.
Cursed be the woeful hour
When shall creep in Jötun power,
When Good and Ill, in deadly shock
Shall battle in dread Ragnarock.

Julia Clinton Jones, 1878

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