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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Rokeby by Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) wrote some fascinating poetry and novels (Ivanhoe, and my personal favourite The Pirate). Here are two extracts from Canto 2 and 4  from a beautiful poem, Rokeby (1813) concerning  Teesdale and its Germanic heathen inheritance:

 " And Balder, named from Odin's son;
    And Greta, to whose banks ere long
    We lead the lovers of the song;
    And silver Lune, from Stanmore wild,
    And fairy Thorsgill's murmuring child,
    And last and least, but loveliest still,"
 

"When Denmark's raven soar'd on high,
Triumphant through Northumbrian sky,
Till, hovering near, her fatal croak
Bade Reged's Britons dread the yoke,
And the broad shadow of her wing
Blacken'd each cataract and spring,
Where Tees in tumult leaves his source,
Thundering o'er Caldron and High-Force;
Beneath the shade the Northmen came,
Fix'd on each vale a Runic name,
Rear'd high their altar's rugged stone,
And gave their Gods the land they won.
Then, Balder, one bleak garth was thine,
And one sweet brooklet's silver line,
And Woden's Croft did title gain
From the stern Father of the Slain;
But to the Monarch of the Mace,
That held in fight the foremost place,
To Odin's son, and Sifia's spouse,
Near Stratforth high they paid their vows,
Remember'd Thor's victorious fame,
And gave the dell the Thunderer's name."