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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Tegner's Drapa

Heard a voice, that cried, 
"Balder the Beautiful 
Is dead, is dead!" 
And through the misty air 
Passed like the mournful cry 
Of sunward sailing cranes.

I saw the pallid corpse 
Of the dead sun 
Borne through the Northern sky. 
Blasts from Niffelheim 
Lifted the sheeted mists 
Around him as he passed.

And the voice forever cried, 
"Balder the Beautiful 
Is dead, is dead!" 
And died away 
Through the dreary night, 
In accents of despair.

Balder the Beautiful,
God of the summer sun, 
Fairest of all the Gods! 
Light from his forehead beamed, 
Runes were upon his tongue, 
As on the warrior's sword.

All things in earth and air 
Bound were by magic spell 
Never to do him harm; 
Even the plants and stones; 
All save the mistletoe, 
The sacred mistletoe!

Hoeder, the blind old God, 
Whose feet are shod with silence,
Pierced through that gentle breast 
With his sharp spear, by fraud,
Made of the mistletoe!
The accursed mistletoe!

They laid him in his ship,
With horse and harness,
As on a funeral pyre. 
Odin placed 
A ring upon his finger, 
And whispered in his ear.

They launched the burning ship!
It floated far away 
Over the misty sea,
Till like the sun it seemed, 
Sinking beneath the waves. 
Balder returned no more!

So perish the old Gods!
But out of the sea of Time
Rises a new land of song,
Fairer than the old.
Over its meadows green
Walk the young bards and sing.

Build it again, 
O ye bards, 
Fairer than before;
Ye fathers of the new race, 
Feed upon morning dew, 
Sing the new Song of Love!

The law of force is dead!
The law of love prevails! 
Thor, the thunderer,
Shall rule the earth no more,
No more, with threats,
Challenge the meek Christ.

Sing no more, 
O ye bards of the North, 
Of Vikings and of Jarls! 
Of the days of Eld
Preserve the freedom only, 
Not the deeds of blood! 

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Added: Jun 9 2005 | Viewed: 178 times | Comments and analysis of Tegner's Drapa by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Comments (4)

Tegner's Drapa - Comments and Information

Poet: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poem: Tegner's Drapa
Volume: The Seaside and the Fireside
Poem of the Day: Jul 26 2009

Comment 4 of 4, added on September 12th, 2013 at 9:33 PM.
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