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Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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 yeoman’s shaft; Einar’s 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, O’er 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, Eric’s dragon-ship. Loose his golden locks were flowing, Bright his armor gleamed; Like Saint Michael overthrowing Lucifer he seemed.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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