On King Olaf's bridal night Shines the moon with tender light, And across the chamber streams Its tide of dreams. At the fatal midnight hour, When all evil things have power, In the glimmer of the moon Stands Gudrun. Close against her heaving breast Something in her hand is pressed; Like an icicle, its sheen Is cold and keen. On the cairn are fixed her eyes Where her murdered father lies, And a voice remote and drear She seems to hear. What a bridal night is this! Cold will be the dagger's kiss; Laden with the chill of death Is its breath. Like the drifting snow she sweeps To the couch where Olaf sleeps; Suddenly he wakes and stirs, His eyes meet hers. "What is that," [King Olaf said]1, "Gleams so bright above my head? Wherefore standest thou so white In pale moonlight?" "'T is the bodkin that I wear When at night I bind my hair; It woke me falling on the floor; 'T is nothing more." "Forests have ears, and fields have eyes; Often treachery lurking lies Underneath the fairest hair! Gudrun beware!" Ere the earliest peep of morn Blew King Olaf's bugle-horn; And forever sundered ride Bridegroom and bride!
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1 omitted by Elgar.
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "Gudrun", appears in Tales of a Wayside Inn, in The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf, no. 8, 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 Edward Elgar, Sir (1857 - 1934), "Gudrun (Scene)", op. 30 no. 7, published 1896 [STB soli, SATB chorus, and orchestra], from King Olaf, no. 7. [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2009-10-02
Line count: 40
Word count: 202