The Sledge at the Gate
Lapland I WOULD run this arrow straight into my heart Sooner than see what I saw to-night. I harnessed my rein-deer, mounted the sledge, And skimmed the snow by the northern light. The thin ice crackled, the water roared, But I crossed the fiord: I reached the house when the night is late, What's this? A deer and a sledge at the gate! The eyes of Zela are winter springs! But the wealth of summer is in her hair; But she loves me not, she is false again, Or why are the sledge and the rein-deer there? I throw myself down, face-first in the snow: "Let the false one go!" She never shall know my love, or my scorn, For I shall be frozen stiff in the morn. The sharp winds blew, and my limbs grew chill. I knew no more till I felt the fire. They rubbed my breast, and they rubbed my hands, And my life came back like a dark desire. She spake kind words, and smoothed my hair, But the sledge was there! "Ah false, but fair!" It was all I said, I struck her down, and away I fled. I mounted my sledge, and the rein-deer flew, In the wind, in the snow, in the blinding sleet: The wolves were hungry--they scented my track-- But I fought them back! I fear neither wolves, nor the winter's cold, For the faithless woman has made me bold.
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