It was Einar Tamberskelver Stood beside the mast; From his yew-bow, tipped with silver, Flew the arrows fast; Aimed at Eric unavailing, As he sat concealed, Half behind the quarter-railing, Half behind his shield. First an arrow struck the tiller, Just above his head; "Sing, O Eyvind Skaldaspiller," Then Earl Eric said. "Sing the song of Hakon dying, Sing his funeral wail!" And another arrow flying Grazed his coat of mail. Turning to a Lapland yeoman, As the arrow passed, Said Earl Eric, "Shoot that bowman Standing by the mast." Sooner than the word was spoken Flew the yeoman's shaft; Einar's bow in twain was broken, Einar only laughed. "What was that?" said Olaf, standing On the quarter-deck. "Something heard I like the stranding Of a shattered wreck." Einar then, the arrow taking From the loosened string, Answered, "That was Norway breaking From thy hand, O King!" "Thou art but a poor diviner," Straightway Olaf said; "Take my bow, and swifter, Einar, Let thy shafts be sped." Of his bows the fairest choosing, Reached he from above; Einar saw the blood-drops oozing Through his iron glove. But the bow was thin and narrow; At the first assay, O'er its head he drew the arrow, Flung the bow away; Said, with hot and angry temper Flushing in his cheek, "Olaf! for so great a Kämper Are thy bows too weak!" Then, with smile of joy defiant On his beardless lip, Scaled he, light and self-reliant, Eric's dragon-ship. Loose his golden locks were flowing, Bright his armor gleamed; Like Saint Michael overthrowing Lucifer he seemed.
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "Einar Tamberskelver", appears in Tales of a Wayside Inn, in The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf, no. 20, first published 1863 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Carl Reinhold Busch (1862 - 1943), "Einar Tamberskelver", published 1925 [men's chorus and piano or orchestra], cantata [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-06-23
Line count: 56
Word count: 263