American poems, selected and original. Vol. I.
Smith, E. H. (Elihu Hubbard), 1771-1798, ed.
ELLA. A NORWEGIAN TALE.
History says that SIVARD, King of Sweden, entered Norway with a numerous army, and committed the greatest en|ormities, but was at last overthrown, his Army routed, and himself slain by one of those women whom he had brutally abused.
BETWEEN Norwegian hills, wide spreads a plain,
By Nature form'd for sport;
The vet'ran warrior here, and hardy swain,
To annual games resort.
High o'er their heads was hung the hoary brow,
Which cast an ample shade;
From thence these words majestic seem'd to flow—
"Fierce foes your sports invade!"
They upward gaze—a warrior struck their sight;
He bore aloft his lance,
All sheath'd in arms, insufferably bright,
Where beamy splendours dance.
The western sun beam round his helmet flies,
He more than man appears;
And more than mortal seem'd to sound the voice
That rang upon their ears.
"Ye sons of Norway! hearken to my tale,
"Your rural games oh cease;
"Sivard is marching through Dulvellon's vale,
"Break off the sports of peace!
"The bloody Sivard leads his conqu'ring Swedes,
"He riots in our shame;
"The man, the matron, and the infant bleeds—
"Norway is but a name!
"The husband sees—curse on the tyrant's lust—
"He sees his beauteous bride—
"Her virtue, worth and honour in the dust—
"Oh where is Norway's pride!
"Rouse! rouse Norwegians! seize your arms amain,
"Let helms o'ershade the brow;
"Let's meet these Swedish demons on the plain,
"And lay their triumphs low.
"Oh had you seen what these poor eyes have seen!
'Twas Sivard did the deed—
"Our hoary monarch, and our helpless queen,
"I—yes, I saw them bleed.
"Their daughter Ella—no, I will not tell!
"Norwegians ne'er enquire—
"Ne'er hear it—what the royal maid besel;
"I see your souls on fire.
"Oh seize your swords, your spears, your helms and shields!
"Oh vindicate your fame!
"Sivard and Sweden glare on Norway's fields;
"Remember Norway's name."
He said, tears flow apace—fierce glow the swains,
Rage fills each honest breast;
In Swedish blood, to wipe away their stains
Was ev'ry thought address'd.
Then red hair'd Rollo, fierce advancing cried
"Whoe'er thou art, come down!
"We live on hills, to ev'ry toil we're tried,
"And war is all our own.
"Let Sivard come, we'll meet the tyrant here.
"But Stranger come thou down."
He came; old Athold gaz'd with look severe;—
He gaz'd—but ceas'd to frown.
"Or Athold has forgot his monarch's face,
"Or sure thou art his son!
"Eric, of mighty Norway's royal race!"—
Full quick the tidings run.
With shouts they press to see the beauteous chief;
The aged kiss his hand!
On either side fast roll'd the marks of grief,
Then Athold spoke the band—
"Ye sons of Norway, to your homes repair,
"There seize the sword and shield,
"And ere the morning's purple streaks the air,
"Meet Eric in the field.
"Oh Prince! do you with aged Athold go,
"And take refreshing sleep;
"Athold will sing, and sooth the rising woe,
"Or,—break his harp and weep."—
'Twas night—in Athold's hall each took his place;
Of other times he sung;
Fast stream'd the tears adown the hero's face
And groans responsive rung.
Bright came the morn! and bright in batter'd arms
The rustic vet'rans came;
And many a youth, untried in rough alarms,
Now hop'd a patriot's name.
They hear'd from far the hum of Sivard's host;
Young Eric struck his shield;
Then high in air his heavy spear he tost,
And blaz'd along the field.
Next aged Athold follow'd; Rollo strong;
Black Calmar lifts his mace;
Culullin, Marco, Streno, rush along,
And all the rugged race.
Fierce came the Swede, in strength of numbers proud,
She scorn'd his feeble foe;
But soon the voice of battle roar'd aloud,
And many a Swede lay low.
Strong Rollo struck the towering Olaus dead,
Full fifteen bled beside.
Old Athold cleft the brave Adolphus' head,
In all his youthful pride.
But Eric! Eric! rang'd the field around,
On Sivard still he cried:
The gasping Swedes lay heap'd upon the ground—
Sivard! the hills reply'd.
In fury Sivard seiz'd his shining shield,
His mail, his helm and spear;
He mounts his car, he thunders o'er the field;
And Norway knows to fear.
Great Rollo falls beneath his dreadful arm,
His ste•ds are stain'd with blood;
Young Eric smil'd to hear the loud alarm,
And flew to stop the flood.
He rag'd, he foam'd,—fierce flew the thirsty spear,
Down fell the foremost steed:
Astonish'd Sivard felt unusual fear—
"Tyrant, thou'rt doom'd to bleed!"
Up sprung the youth—deep griding fell the sword
Sunk in the Tyrant's brow;
Fast fly the Swedes, and leave their hated lord,
His tow'ring pride laid low.
Now Norway's sons their great deliverer hail,
But lo! he bleeds! he falls!
Old Athold strips the helm and beamy mail,
And on his Gods he calls.
He lifts the helm, and down the snowy neck
Fast falls the silky hair—
"And could those limbs, the conquering Sivard check
Oh Pow'r of great despair!—"
Life ebbs apace—she lifts her languid head,
She strives her hand to wave,
Confess'd to all, the beauteous Ella said—
"Thanks, thanks companions brave."
"Freedom rewards you—naught can Ella give
"Low, low, poor Ella lies;
"Sivard is dead! and Ella would not live."
She bleeds, she faints, she dies.