by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)

Einar Tamberskelver
Language: English 
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.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-06-23
Line count: 56
Word count: 263