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Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Einar Tamberskelver

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 yeomans shaft;
Einars 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,
Oer 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,
  Erics dragon-ship.
Loose his golden locks were flowing,
  Bright his armor gleamed;
Like Saint Michael overthrowing	
  Lucifer he seemed.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's other poems:
  1. To the River Yvette
  2. To the River Rhone
  3. Oliver Basselin
  4. A Wraith in the Mist
  5. To the River Charles

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