Loudly the sailors cheered Svend of the Forked Beard, As with his fleet he steered Southward to Vendland; Where with their courses hauled All were together called, Under the Isle of Svald Near to the mainland. After Queen Gunhild's death, So the old Saga saith, Plighted King Svend his faith To Sigrid the Haughty; [And to avenge his bride, Soothing her wounded pride, Over the waters wide King Olaf sought he.]1 Still on her scornful face, Blushing with deep disgrace, Bore she the crimson trace Of Olaf's gauntlet; [Like a malignant star, Blazing in heaven afar, Red shone the angry scar Under her frontlet.]2 Oft to King Svend she spake, "For thine own honor's sake Shalt thou swift vengeance take On the vile coward!" [Until the King at last, Gusty and overcast, Like a tempestuous blast Threatened and lowered.]2 Soon as the Spring appeared, Svend of the Forked Beard High his red standard reared, Eager for battle; While every warlike Dane, Seizing his arms again, Left all unsown the grain, Unhoused the cattle. Likewise the Swedish King Summoned in haste a Thing, Weapons and men to bring In aid of Denmark; Eric the Norseman, too, As the war-tidings flew, Sailed with a chosen crew From Lapland and Finmark. So upon Easter day Sailed the three kings away, Out of the sheltered bay, In the bright season; With them Earl Sigvald came, Eager for spoil and fame; Pity that such a name Stooped to such treason! Safe under Svald at last, Now were their anchors cast, Safe from the sea and blast, Plotted the three kings; While, with a base intent, Southward Earl Sigvald went, On a foul errand bent, Unto the Sea-kings. Thence to hold on his course, Unto King Olaf's force, Lying within the hoarse Mouths of Stet-haven; Him to ensnare and bring, Unto the Danish king, Who his dead corse would fling Forth to the raven!
E. Elgar sets stanzas 2-4
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
1 this part of the stanza is at the end of the movement.
2 omitted by Elgar.
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "King Svend of the Forked Beard", appears in Tales of a Wayside Inn, in The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf, no. 17, 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), "Choral recitative", op. 30 no. 15, published 1896, stanzas 2-4 [SATB chorus and orchestra], from King Olaf, no. 15. [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2009-10-02
Line count: 72
Word count: 318