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{Balder The Beautiful 1877}






SILENT rose Balder, ev’n as one
     Who wakens from a swoon,
Turning his head from side to side
     In the red wintry moon.

Wrapt in his winding-sheet of snow
     He loom’d in the dim light,
And marble-pale his cold cheeks gleam’d
     Under his locks of white.

“Wake, Balder! wake!” the strange voice cried;
     Dead Balder woke and heard,
And turn’d his face to his who spake,
     Shiv’ring, but said no word.

“Wake, Balder! wake!” the strange voice cried;
     And Balder woke and knew,—
And lo! upon his lips and hair                                                             223
     A golden glimmer grew!

“O who art thou with blessed voice,
     Who biddest my heart beat?
And wherefore hast thou waken’d me
     From sleep so heavenly sweet?”

Then answer’d back that tall still form,
     In a clear voice and low,
Stretching his arms and brightening,
     White-robed, and pale as snow.

“I am thine elder Brother
     Come from beyond the sea;
For many a weary night and day
     I have been seeking thee!”

Oh, Balder’s cheeks are shining bright,
     And smiles are on his face—
“I dream’d, and saw one with a lamp
     Passing from place to place.

“And ever, as he wander’d on,                                                          224
     Softly he cried to me—
Art thou mine elder Brother?
     Then shall my lips kiss thee!”

“I am thine elder Brother,
     Come from beyond the sea;
Balder, my brother Balder,
     Kiss thou me!”

Death moans, and crouching on the snow
     Uplooketh with eyes dim,
For Balder on his brother’s breast
     Hath fallen, kissing him.

“Thou art mine elder Brother,”
     The risen Balder cries;
“I know thee by thy gentle voice
     And by thy tearful eyes.

“Thou art mine elder Brother,
     Most heavenly sad and sweet,
Yet wherefore hast thou piercëd hands                                                225
     And naked piercëd feet?

“O wherefore are thy cheeks so chill,
     Thy lips so cold and blue,
And wherefore com’st thou in thy shroud,
     As if arisen too?”

The white Christ smiled in Balder’s face,
     But softly his tears ran—
“Like thee I lived, like thee I loved,
     And died, like thee, for Man.”






THE white Christ cried, and on the air
     His voice like music rang,
And Balder listen’d silently
     As if an angel sang.

“Out of the dark Earth was I born,
     Under the shining blue,
And to a human height I rose,
     And drank the light, and grew.

“The land was beauteous where I dwelt,
     A still and silent land,
Where little pools of heaven fall
     And gleam ’mid wastes of sand.

“I loved the bright beasts of the earth,
     And birds both great and small;
I loved all God made beautiful,
     But mortals most of all.

“For on their faces framed of clay,                                                      227
     And in their eyes divine,
I saw the shadow of the dream
     Which nightly sadden’d mine.

“But when I knew their days were dark,
     And all their spirits sore,
Because of this same silent Death
     Creeping from door to door,

“I raised my hands to heaven and cried
     On him that fashion’d me,
My Father dear who dwells in heaven,
     And suffers Death to be.

“And sweet and low this answer came
     Out of the quiet sky—
All that is beautiful shall abide,
     All that is base shall die!

“Take thou thy cross and bear it well,
     And seek my servant Death:
Thou too shalt wither like a flower
     Before his bitterest breath.

“Yea, thou shalt slumber in his arms                                               228
     Three nights and days, and then,
With that cold kiss upon thy lips,
     Awaken once again!

“And when thou wakenest at last
     Thy work is yet undone,
For thou shalt roam the Earth, and seek
     Thy Brethren one by one!

“Yea, one by one unto thy heart
     Thy kin shall gather’d be,
Each pallid from the kiss of Death
     And beautiful like thee!”

“O Balder, when my dark day came,
     And in despair I died,
The same sad Death sang low to me,
     Who croucheth at thy side!

“And all my living breath was gone
     For three long nights and days,
And by my side the phantom knelt
     Like one that waits and prays.

“But when my Father’s voice again                                                      229
     Came faint and low to me,
I rose out of my grave, and saw
     Earth sleeping silently.

“He who had hush’d me in his arms
     Was busy other-where. . . .
I stood and watch’d my Father’s eyes
     Shine down thro’ azure air.

“Then softly, with a happy smile,
     Along the land I crept,
And found the men that I had loved,
     Who waited, lived, and wept.

“And lo, I blessed them one and all,
     And cried with a human cry,
‘All that is beautiful shall abide,
     All that is base shall die.’

“But when my loving task was done,
     My soul took better cheer,
And wandering thro’ the world unseen
     I sought my Brethren dear.

“All in my robe of snowy white                                                           230
     From realm to realm I trod,
Seeking my Brethren who had died,
     The golden Sons of God!”






“I WANDER’D east, thro’ shining realms
     Of bright and brazen day,
And there, by a great river’s side,
     I saw a Brother pray.

“For past his feet the corpses drave
     Along the yellow tide,
Chased by the emerald water-snakes
     And vultures crimson-eyed.

“And from the banks there rose a wail
     Of women for their dead;
They wept and tore their linen robes,
     And plunged ’neath wheels of dread.

“Upon his brow he wore a crown,
     But his black feet were bare,
And in his bright and brooding eyes                                                    232
     There dwelt a piteous care.

“From his red lips there came a sound
     Like music of a psalm,
And those who listen’d ceased their tears
     And grew divinely calm.

“On his own grave he sat and smiled,
     A spirit dark and sweet,
And there were flowers upon his head
     And fruits around his feet. . . .

“I wander’d west where eagles soar
     Far o’er the realms of rains,
And there, among pale mountain peaks,
     One hung in iron chains.

“His head was hoary as the snow
     Of that serene cold clime,
Yet like a child he smiled, and sang
     The cradle song of Time.

“And as he sang upon his cross,                                                          233
     And in no human tones,
The cruel gods who placed him there
     Were shaken on their thrones.

“I kiss’d him softly on the lips,
     And sighing set him free—
He wanders now in the green world,
     Divine, like thee and me. . . .

“Then faring on with foot of fire
     I cross’d the windy main,
And reach’d a mighty continent
     Wash’d green with dew and rain.

“There swift as lightning in the sun
     Ran beauteous flocks and herds,
And there were forests flashing bright,
     And many-colour’d birds.

“And there the red-skin’d hunters chased
     The deer and wild black kine,—
And lo! another gentle god                                                                 234
     Was sitting in a shrine!

“His skin enwrought, as if he lived,
     With mystic signs, sat he;
Shaven his forehead, and his face
     Was painted terribly.

“Yet was he gentle as the dew,
     And gracious as the rain:
With healing gifts he made men glad
     Upon that mighty plain. . . .

“I wander’d south, where rivers roll’d
     Yellow with slime and sand,
And, black against an orange sky,
     I saw another stand.

“Two cymbals held he as he stood,
     And clash’d them with shrill wail:
The clash was as the thunder’s voice,
     Heard ’mid the drifting gale.

“Black was his skin as blackest night,                                                 235
     Naked as night each limb,
Yet in his eyeballs, on his cheeks,
     The heavenly dew did swim. . . .

“O Balder, these thy Brethren were
     Surely as they were mine.
I wander north, and thee I find
     The best and most divine!

“Yea, each of these was offer’d up
     As thou hast been, and I;
Their blood was drifted ev’n as smoke
     Up to the silent sky.

“All these loved Man and the green Earth
     As thou hast done, and I;
And each of these by stronger gods
     Was smitten down to die.

“Yet ever when I came, and spake
     The word and made the sign,
Their souls grew clothed in gentleness                                                 236
     And rose again with mine!

“Yea, for the love of living men
     They stood renew’d in breath,
And smote the great gods from their thrones
     With looks made strong thro’ Death.

“With faces fair they rose and wrought
     Against the gods with me,
To make the green Earth beautiful
     From shining sea to sea.

“Yea, Balder, these thy Brethren were,
     Surely as they were mine:
My Father’s blessing on thy lips,
     For thou, too, art divine!”





BENEATH his feet the pale Death crouch’d
     Ev’n as a lean white bear,
Watching with dark and dreamful eyes
     That face so strangely fair.

But paler, sadder, wearier,
     Stood Balder in his shroud,
While overhead a star’s still hand
     Parted the drifting cloud;

And from the lattices of heaven
     The star look’d down on him;
But Balder saw not, and his eyes
     With tearful dews were dim.

“O Brother, on my sense still lies
     The burthen of my sleep,
A weight is on me like the weight
     Of winter on the Deep.

“For I remember as I wake                                                                238
     Mine old glad life of dream—
The vision of the bridal Earth,
     The glory and the gleam!

“Oh, beautiful was the bright Earth,
     And round her purple bed
The torches of great rivers burnt
     Amber and blue and red!

“And beautiful were living men,
     Wandering to and fro,
With sun and moon and stars for lights,
     And flowers and leaves below.

“But evermore this phantom Death
     Was darkening the sun,
Seeking the sweetest to destroy,
     Sparing and pitying none.

“And lo, I live, and at my feet
     Death cold and silent lies,—
While in thine own dear Father’s name                                                239
     Thou biddest me arise.

“O wherefore should I rise at all
     Since all is black above,
And trampled ’neath the feet of gods
     Lie all the shapes I love?

“Ay me, the dead are strewn with snows,
     They sleep and cannot see,
With no soft voice to waken them
     As thine has waken’d me!

“And wherefore should my soul forget
     What cruel kin were mine,
Tho’ in another Father’s name
     Thou greetest me divine?”

The white Christ gazed in Balder’s face,
     And held his hand, and cried,
“Divine thou art and beautiful,
     And therefore must abide!

“And in mine own dear Father’s name                                                240
     I greet and bid thee rise,
And we shall stand before his throne
     And look into his eyes.”

But Balder moan’d, “Who made the Earth,
     And all things foul or fair?
Who made the white bear on the berg,
     The eagle in the air?

“Who made the lightning’s forkëd flame,
     Who thunder’s blacken’d brand?
Who fashion’d Death, with fatal eyes,
     Chill breath, and clammy hand?”

Death stirred and clung to Balder’s feet
     And utter’d forth a cry—
A thousand starry hands drew back
     The curtains of the sky!

And countless eyes look’d calmly down
     Thro’ azure clear and cold,
And lo! the round red moon became                                                  241
     A shining lily of gold!

Then on the wilderness of snow
     A lustrous sheen was shed,
And splendour as of starlight grew
     Around the white Christ’s head.

And Christ cried, gazing down on Death,
     Making a mystic sign,
“Now blessings on my servant Death,
     For he too is divine.

“O Balder, he who fashion’d us,
     And bade us live and move,
Shall weave for Death’s sad heavenly hair
     Immortal flowers of love.

“Ah! never fail’d my servant Death,
     Whene’er I named his name,—
But at my bidding he hath flown
     As swift as frost or flame.

“Yea, as a sleuth-hound tracks a man,                                                242
     And finds his form, and springs,
So hath he hunted down the gods
     As well as human things!

“Yet only thro’ the strength of Death
     A god shall fall or rise—
A thousand lie on the cold snows,
     Stone still, with marble eyes.

“But whosoe’er shall conquer Death,
     Tho’ mortal man he be,
Shall in his season rise again,
     And live, with thee, and me!

“And whosoe’er loves mortals most
     Shall conquer Death the best,
Yea, whosoe’er grows beautiful
     Shall grow divinely blest.”

The white Christ raised his shining face
     To that still bright’ning sky.
“Only the beautiful shall abide,
     Only the base shall die!”





BUT Balder moan’d, “O beauteous Earth
     Now lying cold and dead,
Bright flash’d the lamps of flowers and stars
     Around thy golden head!

“And beautiful were beast and bird,
     And lamb and speckled snake,
And beautiful were human things
     Who gladden’d for my sake.

“But lo! on one and all of those
     Blew the cold blighting breath,
Until I died that they might live
     And bought their life with death.

“Behold, I live, and all is dark,
     And wasted is my pain,
For glimmering at my feet I see
     The fatal eyes again.

“Why stays he here upon the Earth?                                                   244
     Why lingers he below?
The empty heavens wait for him,—
     ’Tis ended—let him go!”

Death look’d up with a loving face,
     And smiled from the white ground;—
The stars that sat upon their thrones
     Seem’d singing with low sound.

The white Christ cried, “The green Earth lives!
     She sleeps, but hath not died!
She and all fair things thou hast named
     Shall quicken and abide!

“O Balder, those great gods to whom
     Thy radiant life was given,
Were far too frail to keep their plight
     And summon Death to heaven.

“There is no god of all thy kin
     Dare name that name aloud:
When his cold hand was on thy heart,                                                 245
     Each crouch’d within his cloud.

“Thou couldst not buy the boon of those,
     They were too weak and poor;
Fain would they buy a boon of thee,
     Now thy strange sleep is o’er!

“Yet now for evermore fulfilled
     Is thine ancestral rune,
For thou indeed hast conquer’d Death
     And won thy gentle boon.

“Yea, thou hast died as fair things die
     In earth, and air, and deep,
Yet hast thou risen thrice beautiful
     Out of thy solemn sleep.

“For life thrice seal’d and sanctified
     Is on thy lips and eyes;
And whatsoe’er grows fair like thee
     By love shall also rise.

“Lo! out of beauty cast away                                                             246
     Another beauty grows:
What Death reaps in the fields of life
     In fairer fields he sows.

“And thro’ a thousand gates of gloom,
     With tracts of life between,
The creatures that the Father made
     Creep on, now hid, now seen;

“And duly out of every doom
     A sweeter issue flows,
As out of dreary dooms of gods
     At last thy glory rose!

“So fairer yet, and ever fair,
     Thy soul divine shall gleam,
A spirit springing from a tomb
     And rainbow’d into dream!

“O kiss me, Brother, on the mouth,
     Yea, kiss me thrice again;
For when I feel thy kiss, I feel                                                             247
     The sun, and the wind, and the rain!

“The dead Earth wakens ’neath thy feet,
     Flame kindles thro’ the sod. . . .
O kiss me with thy human lips,
     Thou brightest born of God!”












“BALDER! Balder!”

                 And Balder said,
Turning round his gentle head,
“I hear!”

         “And thou, my servant Death,
Kneeling low with hushëd breath,
While my hand is on thy hair!”

Death made answer, kneeling there,
“I hear!”

         “At last the cold snows cease,
The white world is hush’d in peace,
The sky is clear, the storm has gone,                                                  252
Stars are rising to light us on—
In the north the moon grows gray,—
Take my hand and come away!”

             “Whither O whither?”

“To the City strange wherein
Dwell the mighty gods thy kin;—
O Balder, lead me thither!”

“Across the darkness and the day,
Long and dreary is the way—
O’er chill wastes of misery,
Past the silent Frozen Sea,
Where the white bears lean and old
Run and shiver in the cold—
Where the vast ice-mountains rise
Violet-blue against the skies,
Then across the wondrous Bow
     Only gods and ghosts may tread,—
Beyond the sea, above the snow,
     Where the sunfire fadeth red;
There the night lies and no day—                                                       253
Long and weary is the way—
O Brother, fare not thither!”

“Broken is the wintry night,
Rising yonder is the light;
Half our task is yet to do—
Come! and thou, Death, follow too—
O Balder, lead me thither!”

Far away across the gloom,
Rose-red like a rose in bloom,
Flashing, changing, ray by ray,
Glorious as the ghost of day,
Gleam’d in one vast aureole
Shifting splendours of the pole.
All across the vault of blue
Shooting lights and colours flew,
And the milky way shone there
Like a bosom white and bare,
Throbbing, trembling, softly moved
By some heart that lived and loved.
Night was broken, and grew bright.                                                     254
All the countless lamps of light
Swinging, flashing, near and far,
Cast their glittering rays below,—
While the silvern polar star
Throbb’d close down upon the snow. . . .

“Take my hand, and let us go!”





AND so those twain have passed across the night,
         O’er frozen wilds of white,
With eyes still fixed upon the polar star
         That burneth bright afar;
And Death behind them, creeping like a hound,
         Still follows with no sound.

O wonders of the cold untravell’d Waste
         Whereon their swift feet haste!
The night is troubled; on the black pole’s pyres
         Flash fierce electric fires,
And shadows come and go, phantoms move forth
         Gigantic in the north.
Upon the snow a green light glimmereth,
         With phosphorescent breath
Flashing and fading; and from unseen lairs                                           256
         Creep hoary ghost-like bears,
Crawling across their path without a cry.

         At last against the sky
They see the lonely arctic mountains loom,
         Touch’d with a violet bloom
From peak to base and wearing on their heights
         Strange ever-shifting lights,
Yellow and azure and dark amethyst;
         But westward they are kissed
By the bright beams of a great moon of gold.

         Dead-white and calm and cold
Sleeps the great waste, while ever as they go,
         With shadows on the snow,
Their shapes grow luminous and silvern fair
         And in the hush’d chill air
The stars of heaven cluster with quick breath
         To gaze on them and Death.
Now thro’ the trembling sheen of the still sky
         Blue fires and emerald fly
With wan reflections on the sheeted white                                            257
         Outspread beneath the night,
And passing thro’ them, Christ and Balder seem
         As spectres in a dream,
Until at last their feet come silently
         To the great arctic sea.

Moveless and boundless, stretching blindly forth
         Into the purple north,
Rise mountainous waves and billows frozen all
         As if i’ the act to fall,
And tho’ they stir not, yet they seem to roll
         In silence to the pole.
So, lit by countless stars, that Ocean old
         Wrapt in the vapours cold
Of its own breath, beneath the lamps of night
         Gleams blue and shadowy white!
Then Balder crieth,—and around his brow
         New glory glimmereth now,—
“Ay me, remote from men are the abodes
         Of the immortal gods;
Beyond the ocean of the ice; afar                                                        258
         Under the sleepless star;
And o’er the flood of the wild waters spanned,
         From lonely land to land,
By the great bridge of the eternal Bow.”

         The white Christ answereth low,
“Tho’ it were further than the furthest light
         That glimmereth this night,
Thither our souls are bound, our feet must go!”






THEIR feet have passed the frozen Deep
     Whose waves in silence roll,
And now they reach that ocean black
     Which beats the inmost pole.

Before them, on the northern sky
     Rose-red and far withdrawn,
Mingled with meteors of the night,
     Gleam golden dews of dawn;

And cast across that liquid sea
     Which surges black below,
They see the pathway of the gods,
     A many-colour’d Bow.

[There comes from off its heights a wind
     That blows for endless time,
As swift as light, as keen as frost,                                                       260
     It strikes down souls that climb.]

“O brother, place thy hand in mine,”
     The gentle Balder said;
The rayless waters roar’d beneath,
     The Bridge flash’d overhead.

Then hand in hand against the wind
     They falter’d upward slow,
On stairs of crimson and of gold
     Climbing the wondrous Bow.

Like a great rainbow of the earth
     It rose with faint hues seven,
And thro’ the purple of the arch
     Glimmer’d the lights of heaven.

When they had reach’d the midmost height,
     In air they stood so high,
To one beneath they would have seem’d
     As stars upon the sky.

The white Christ cried, “What lonely light                                             261
     Burns yonder ruby red?”
“The mansion of the sun-god Fryer
     Stands yonder,” Balder said.

“There ranged in rows with cold hands crost
     The slain in silence lie,
The face of each ablaze like brass
     Against the burning sky.”

Far under, as they linger’d there,
     The dark deep waters roll’d;
Beyond, the polar mountains flash’d
     With gleams of fiery gold.

Upon the shores rose hills of ice
     Hewn as in marble white,
Inlaid with opal and with pearl
     And crown’d with chrysolite.

From stair to stair the brethren trod,
     And Death crawl’d close behind,
And ever as they walk’d, the Bridge                                                    262
     Shook wavering in the wind.

And lo! they seem’d as meteor shapes,
     White-robed and shod with flame;
And to them out of the cold north
     A threatening murmur came.

Down in the sullen sea below
     Now ghostly faces clomb,
Uplooking with wild eyes to theirs
     And waving hands of foam!

So o’er the mighty Bow they moved
     Snow-vestured and star-crown’d,
And Death behind them like a shade
     Follow’d without a sound.

But as they reach’d the shores and stood,—
     The bright Bridge at their back,—
The gods gazed out from the cold north
     And shriek’d, and all grew black!

Deep thunders shook the darken’d heaven,                                         263
     Wild lightning flash’d and fled,
The frozen shores of ice and snow
     Trembled beneath their tread.

Round the ice-mountains of the pole
     Dense smokes of tempest rose,
And from their lairs swift whirlwinds leapt
     Wrapt round with drifting snows.

“O Brother, hold me by the hand,
     For lo! the hour is nigh;—
I see the shadows of the gods,
     Yonder upon the sky!”






THEY stood in the snow and they clung together,—
     The air was blacken’d, the snow was driven;
There came a tempest of wintry weather
     Out of the open gates of heaven.
The darkness drifted, the dark snows shifted,
The winnowing fans of the winds were lifted,
     And the realms of the ice were riven;
The white flakes whirl’d like a wingëd cloud
     Round and over and under;
The Earth shriek’d loud from her rending shroud,
     And the black clouds echoed in thunder!

“O Balder! Balder!”

                         And Balder replied,
Feeling not seeing his face who cried,
“I hear!”

         “And thou other who crouchest there,                                       265
Gazing up thro’ thy hoary hair,
     Stir not yet till I bid thee go!”

And Death moan’d answer out of the snow,
“I hear!”

             “At last the hour hath come,
The sky is troubled, the world is shaken,
The sleeping gods on their thrones awaken,
     Altho’ their lips are dumb.
I feel a breath from the frozen north,
For the souls of the slain are faring forth,
And their tramp is heard on the frozen ocean,
     And their tread is swift in the vales of snow.
     They come, and the great deep throbs below
To the sound of their thund’rous motion.
O Balder, Balder!”

                                 “I hearken, I hearken!”

“Thro’ the flakes that fall and the ways that darken,
Over the earth or over the sea,
North is the way that our feet must flee,
Till we find them sitting beyond the pole,                                             266
Gods without pity, gods without soul,
     Fresh from the slaying of thee.
North is the way that our feet must go,
Breasting the blasts from the gates of woe,
Till we find them there in their sacred places,
Gods with their terrible bloodless faces,
Writing red-handed for mortal races
     Black runes on the stainless snow!”

. . . Deeper and darker the night is growing,
Faster and faster the clouds are snowing—
Fleeter and fleeter the Brethren fly
With faces silver’d against the sky,
Till close before them, beyond the pole,
The aurora flashes its fiery scroll,
While the winds of the frozen waste are blowing,
     And the ice is riven asunder!
Lo! ghastly blue with a dreary gleam
The bergs of the pole, like ghosts in a dream,
Standing pallid against the heaven,
Flash with the forks of the fiery levin,
And to and fro in the frozen snow,                                                       267
     Pass manifold shapes of wonder.
Faster, faster, out of the north,
The ghosts of Asgard are hurrying forth,
And their shields of ice and their spears of hail
Clash in the heart of the gathering gale,
     As they come upon feet of thunder.

“O Balder! Balder! cling unto me!”

“Lift up thy lamp, for I cannot see—
I shiver deep to the bitter bone,—
While the chilly seeds of the sleet are sown
     In my flesh, and I feel not thee!”

The lamp is lifted: a dreary light
It sheddeth out on the northern night;
It comes and goes like the lighthouse ray
Lost on the soot-black ocean way.
Nought they see and nought they feel,
Only the frost with fingers of steel
Gripping their throats, so fierce, so fast,
Only the breath of the bitter blast
Bending their bodies as trees are bent,                                                268
Rending their garments as clouds are rent,
While overhead, with a thund’rous tread,
The black heavens frown to trample them down,
     And the vials of storm are spent.

“O Balder! Balder! what shadows white
Stand in the tempest’s shrieking flight?
There in the darkness I discern
Faces that fade and eyes that burn;
They loom in the flash of the thunder-cloud,
And the tramp of their feet is as surges that roar,
Rolling aloud,                                                                             [13:8]
     On some desolate rocky shore.”

Then Balder answer’d with eager cry—
“Cover thy face lest thou droop and die:
’Tis the gods my brethren! I see them plain,
Each sitteth there in a spectral pain;
They search the waste all round for us,
And the light in their eyes is tremulous
     With the wrath that burns the brain!”

. . . Blacker, blacker, the night is growing,                                          269
Thicker, faster, the snow is snowing.
Silent amid those frozen peaks
Sit gods with terrible bloodless cheeks,—
Each like a statue of marble stone,
Each alone on a lonely throne,
With the red aurora upon their hair,
They loom in desolate circles there,
     Silent, with folded wings;
They do not stir though the storm drifts by,
They do not speak though the wild winds cry,
Silent they reign in a starry dream,
While the north star flashes its fiery beam
     And the serpent lightning springs. . . .
Silent they sit,—but who is He
Who broods in the centre awfully?
Like a pale blue berg in the frosty light,
Solemn, speechless, hoary white,
Coldly wrapt from head to feet
In a robe of snow like a winding-sheet,
With a crown of starlight on his hair,
He sitteth dreaming with fatal stare,
     Tho’ his throne is strangely shaken.                                                270
Black is his home, and he sits thereon
Still as a mortal whose breath is gone,
And the waves are frozen around his feet,
And faint, far under, the earthquakes beat,
     Yet he broods, and doth not waken.

“O Balder! Balder! who is he
Who sitteth there so silently?
Who sitteth there so hoary and old,
A god in the midst of gods so cold,
And hears not at all, though the storm winds call,
     And the ghosts of Asgard gather?”

Then Balder answer’d, “The gods creep here,
Weary with seasons of strife and fear—
They come, they go—but for ever and aye
He stirreth not, be it night or day;
Still as a stone, he reigneth alone!”

And Balder raising his hands, made moan,


Alterations in the 1884 edition of The Poetical Works of Robert Buchanan:
v. 13, l. 8: Rolling around, ]



Balder The Beautiful continued

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The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law


The Critical Response
Harriett Jay


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