Fridthjof's Saga, by Esaias Tegnér

XVI.

Fridthjof and Bjorn.

Bjorn, I am weary of riding the sea,

Turbulent traps are the billowy fountains;

Northland’s firm earth and her long cherished mountains,

Wondrous attractions, are calling to me.

Happy is he by his land unrejected,

No one denies him his father’s green grave;

Too long, alas, have I wandered dejected,

Outlawed, afloat on this wilderness wave.

BJORN.

Good is the sea, your complaining you squander,

Freedom and joy on the sea flourish best;

He never knoweth effeminate rest,

Who on the billows delighteth to wander.

When I am old, to the green growing land

I too will cling, with the grass for my pillow;

Now I will drink and will fight with free hand,

Now I’ll enjoy my own sorrow-free billow.

FRIDTHJOF.

Now hath the ice indeed chased us to land,

Close round our keel are the stiffened waves dozing;

Let me not waste the long winter reposing

Here among rocks on this desolate strand.

Let me once more keep the Yule banquet olden,

Guest of king Ring and the bride of my choice;

Let me once more see those waving locks golden,

Hear the sweet tones of that well-beloved voice.

BJORN.

Good! to king Ring it shall be my glad duty,

Something to teach of a wronged viking’s power;

Fire we the palace at midnight’s still hour,

Scorch the old graybeard and bear off the beauty.

Or, being viking you may think it right

Honor to grant the old man by a duel:

Challenge him out on the ice for a fight, —

Whatever you will, only waiting is cruel.

FRIDTHJOF.

Speak not of firebrands, to war give no thought, —

Peace would I bear to the king, and not terror;

Ring nor his partner committed the error —

Heavenly vengeance my punishment sought,

Little of hope is now left worth the telling,

Only farewell would I take of my dear, —

Final farewell. When the green buds are swelling,

Sooner it may be, you’ll see Fridthjof here.

BJORN.

Fridthjof, ’tis time for your folly’s abating;

Sigh and lament for a false woman’s loss!

Earth is, alas, but too full of such dross;

One may be lost, still a thousand are waiting.

Say but the word, of such goods I will bring

Quickly a cargo, — the Southland can spare them,

Red as the rose, mild as lambs in the Spring;

Then we’ll cast lots, or as brothers we’ll share them.

FRIDTHJOF.

Bjorn, you’re as frank and as joyous as Frey,

Bold to wage war and with wisdom advising;

Odin and Thor you ne’er think of despising, —

Freyja, the heavenly, you dare to gainsay.

Let us not question her power supernal,

Rather beware lest we waken her ire;

Once, though now slumbering, the sparkle eternal

Mortals and gods shall enkindle to fire.

BJORN.

Go not alone, lest return be prevented.

FRIDTHJOF.

Singly I go not, my sword goes with me.

BJORN.

Hagbert, remember, was hanged to a tree.

FRIDTHJOF.

Who can be taken, to hang has consented.

BJORN.

Fallest thou then, on thy murderer fell

Carve I the blood-eagle, vengeance bestowing.

FRIDTHJOF.

Needless, fond Bjorn, he’ll not hear the cock crowing

Longer than I do. Farewell, fare thee well.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:12