Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
313. Harold the Valiant
 
By Mary Elizabeth (Hewitt) Stebbins
 
 
I MID the hills was born,
  Where the skilled bowmen
Send with unerring shaft
  Death to the foemen.
But I love to steer my bark,—        5
  To fear a stranger,—
Over the Maelstrom’s edge,
  Daring the danger;
And where the mariner
  Paleth affrighted,        10
Over the sunken rocks
  I dash on delighted.
The far waters know my keel,
  No tide restrains me;
But ah! a Russian maid        15
  Coldly disdains me.
 
Once round Sicilia’s isle
  Sailed I, unfearing:
Conflict was on my prow,
  Glory was steering.        20
Where fled the stranger ship
  Wildly before me,
Down, like the hungry hawk,
  My vessel bore me;
We carved on the craven’s deck        25
  The red runes of slaughter:
When my bird whets her beak
  I give no quarter.
The far waters know my keel,
  No tide restrains me;        30
But ah! a Russian maid
  Coldly disdains me.
 
Countless as spears of grain
  Stood the warriors of Drontheim,
When like the hurricane        35
  I swept down upon them!
Like chaff beneath the flail
  They fell in their numbers:—
Their king with the golden hair
  I sent to his slumbers.        40
I love the combat fierce,
  No fear restrains me;
But ah! a Russian maid
  Coldly disdains me.
 
Once o’er the Baltic Sea        45
  Swift we were dashing;
Bright on our twenty spears
  Sunlight was flashing;
When through the Skager Rack
  The storm-wind was driven,        50
And from our bending mast
  The broad sail was riven:
Then, while the angry brine
  Foamed like a flagon,
Brimful the yesty rime        55
  Filled our brown dragon;
But I, with sinewy hand
  Strengthened in slaughter,
Forth from the straining ship
  Bailed the dun water.        60
The wild waters know my keel,
  No storm restrains me;
But ah! a Russian maid
  Coldly disdains me.
 
Firmly I curb my steed,        65
  As e’er Thracian horseman;
My hand throws the javelin true,
  Pride of the Norseman;
And the bold skater marks,
  While his lips quiver,        70
Where o’er the bending ice
  I skim the river:
Forth to my rapid oar
  The boat swiftly springeth—
Springs like the mettled steed        75
  When the spur stingeth.
Valiant I am in fight,
  No fear restrains me;
But ah! a Russian maid
  Coldly disdains me.        80
 
Saith she, the maiden fair,
  The Norsemen are cravens?
I in the Southland gave
  A feast to the ravens!
Green lay the sward outspread,        85
  The bright sun was o’er us
When the strong fighting men
  Rushed down before us.
Midway to meet the shock
  My courser bore me,        90
And like Thor’s hammer crashed
  My strong hand before me;
Left we their maids in tears,
  Their city in embers:
The sound of the Viking’s spears        95
  The Southland remembers!
I love the combat fierce,
  No fear restrains me;
But ah! a Russian maid
  Coldly disdains me.        100
 

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