Friday, 21 April 2017

Know ye not Ivar Sir Alfsön? - Sigrid Undset

Fair goes the dance at Munkolm
   On silver sand.
There danceth Ivar Sir Alfsön —
   Holds the Queen’s own hand.
      Know ye not Ivar Sir Alfsön?

“Mind you, Queen of the Danemen,
   That summer fair,
They led you out of Sweden,
   To Denmark here?

They led you out out of Sweden,
   To Denmark here,
All with a crown of the red gold
   And many a tear.

All with a crown of the red gold
   And tear-filled eyne—
—Mind you, Queen of the Danemen
   You first were mine?”

“And are you, Ivar Sir Alfson,
   Sworn man to me,
Then shall you hang to-morrow
   On the gallows tree!”

But ’twas Ivar Sir Alfsön,
   All unafraid
He leaped into the gold-bark
   In harness clad.

“God send you, oh Dane-Queen,
   So many a good night,
As in the high heavens
   Are stars alight.

God send you, oh Dane-King,
   So many ill years
As be leaves on the linden—
   Or the hind hath hairs.”
      Know ye not Ivar Sir Alfsön?

Sigrid Undset (1882 - 1949) Norway
Translated by Charles Archer and J.S. Scott
Source: Kristin Lavansdatter, Book 1: The Garland (Part Two, Chapter III)

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