"Thora of Rimol! hide me! hide me! Danger and shame and death betide me! For Olaf the King is hunting me down Through field and forest, through thorp and town!" Thus cried Jarl Hakon To Thora, the fairest of women. ?Hakon Jarl! for the love I bear thee Neither shall shame nor death come near thee! But the hiding-place wherein thou must lie Is the cave underneath the swine in the sty." Thus to Jarl Hakon Said Thora, the fairest of women. So Hakon Jarl and his base thrall Karker Crouched in the cave, than a dungeon darker, As Olaf came riding, with men in mail, Through the forest roads into Orkadale, Demanding Jarl Hakon Of Thorn, the fairest of women. "Rich and honored shall be whoever The head of Hakon Jarl shall dissever!" Hakon heard him, and Karker the slave, Through the breathing-holes of the darksome cave. Alone in her chamber Wept Thora, the fairest of women. Said Karker, the crafty, "I will not slay thee! For all the king's gold I will never betray thee!" "Then why dost thou turn so pale, O churl, And then again black as the earth?" said the Earl. More pale and more faithful Was Thora, the fairest of women. From a dream in the night the thrall started, saying, "Round my neck a gold ring King Olaf was laying!" And Hakon answered, "Beware of the king! He will lay round thy neck a blood-red ring." At the ring on her finger Gazed Thora, the fairest of women. At daybreak slept Hakon, with sorrows encumbered, But screamed and drew up his feet as he slumbered; The thrall in the darkness plunged with his knife, And the Earl awakened no more in this life. But wakeful and weeping Sat Thora, the fairest of women. At Nidarholm the priests are all singing, Two ghastly heads on the gibbet are swinging; One is Jarl Hakon's and one is his thrall's, And the people are shouting from windows and walls; While alone in her chamber Swoons Thora, the fairest of women.
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "Thora of Rimol", appears in Tales of a Wayside Inn, in The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf, no. 3, first published 1863 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
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This text was added to the website: 2009-10-02
Line count: 48
Word count: 345