Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Shetland Islands (Ultima Thule)
The Lords of Thule
Anonymous
 
Anonymous translation

THE LORDS of Thule it did not please
That Willegis their bishop was;
For he was a wagoner’s son.
And they drew, to do him scorn,
Wheels of chalk upon the wall;        5
He found them in chamber, found them in hall;
But the pious Willegis
Could not be moved to bitterness.
 
Seeing the wheels upon the wall,
He bade his servants a painter call;        10
And said, “My friend, paint now for me,
On every wall, that I may see,
A wheel of white in a field of red;
Underneath, in letters plain to be read,—
‘Willegis, bishop now by name,        15
Forget not whence you came!’”
 
The Lords of Thule were full of shame,—
They wiped away their words of blame;
For they saw that scorn and jeer
Cannot wound the wise man’s ear.        20
And all the bishops that after him came
Quartered the wheel with their arms of fame.
Thus came to pious Willegis
Glory out of bitterness.
 
 
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