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All that on Granta's fruitful plain
Rich streams of regal bounty pour'd,
And thus they speak in soft accord
66 What is grandeur, what is power ?
Foremost and leaning from her golden cloud
The venerable Margaret see !
To this, thy kindred train, and me :
Ver. 66. The venerable Margaret see] Countess of Richmond and Derby; the mother of Henry the Seventh, foundress of St. John's and Christ's Colleges.
Ver, 70. A Tudor's fire, a Beaufort's grace] The Countess was a Beaufort, and married to a Tudor : hence the application of this line to the Duke of Grafton, who claims descent from both these families.
Thy liberal heart, thy judging eye,
" Lo! Granta waits to lead her blooming band,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, she
Nor dares with courtly tongue refined
She reveres herself and thee. With modest pride to grace thy youthful brow, The laureate wreath, that Cecil wore, she brings,
And to thy just, thy gentle hand,
Submits the fasces of her sway, While spirits bless'd above and men below Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay.
“ Through the wild waves as they roar,
Thy course of honour keep,
And gilds the horrors of the deep."
THE FATAL SISTERS.
FROM THE NORSE TONGUE,
To be found in the Orcades of Thormodus Torfæus
; Hafniæ, 1697, folio: and also in Bartholinus, p. 617. lib. 3. c. 1. 4to.
Vitt er orpit fyrir valfulli, &c. In the eleventh century Sigurd, earl of the Orkney
islands, went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, king of Dublin : the earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat ; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian, their king, who fell in the action. On Christmas day (the day of the battle), a native of Caithness in Scotland, saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigontic figures resembling women : they were all employed about a loom ; and as they wove they sung the following dreadful song; which when they had finished, they tore the
Keep the tissue close and strong.
Weaving many a soldier's doom,
Orkney's woe and Randver's bane.
Each a gasping warrior's head.
Shoot the trembling cords along.
web into twelve pieces, and (tach taking her portion) galloped six to the north, and as many to the south, These were the Valkyriur, female divinities, servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic mythology. Their name signifies Choosers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands : and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the brave : where they attended the banquet, and served the departed heroes with horns of mead and ale. Now the storm begins to lower,
(Haste, the loom of Hell prepare),
Hurtles in the darken'd air.
Where the dusky warp we strain,
('Tis of human entrails made)
Mista, black terrific maid,
Sangrida, and Hilda, see, Join the wayward work to aid :
'Tis the woof of victory. Ere the ruddy sun be set,
Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clattering buckler meet,
Hauberk crash, and helmet ring. (Weave the crimson web of war)
Let us go, and let us fly,
Where they triumph, where they die. As the paths of Fate we tread,
Wading through the ensanguined field, Gondula, and Geira, spread
O'er the youthful king your shield. We the reigns to slaughter give,
Ours to kill and ours to spare : Spite of danger he shall live.
(Weave the crimson web of war.) They, whom once the desert beach
Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch
O'er the plenty of the plain. Low the dauntless earl is laid,
Gored with many a gaping wound; Fate demands a nobler head;
Soon a king shall bite the ground,