By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies

by Bliss Carman


 

A NORSE CHILD'S REQUIEM


 

SLEEP soundly, little Thorlak,
Where all thy peers have lain,
A hero of no battle,
A saint without a stain!

Thy courage be upon thee,

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Unblemished by regret,
For that adventure whither
Thy tiny march was set.

The sunshine be above thee,
With birds and winds and trees.

10

Thy way-fellows inherit
No better things than these.

And silence be about thee,
Turned back from this our war
To front alone the valley

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Of night without a star.

The soul of love and valor,
Indifferent to fame,
Be with thee, heart of vikings,
Beyond the breath of blame.

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Thy moiety of manhood
Unspent and fair, go down,
And, unabashed, encounter
Thy brothers of renown.

So modest in thy freehold

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And tenure of the earth,
Thy needs, for all our meddling,
Are few and little worth.

Content thee, not with pity;
Be solaced, not with tears;

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But when the whitethroats waken
Through the revolving years,

Hereafter be that peerless
And dirging cadence, child,
Thy threnody unsullied,

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Melodious, and wild.

Then winter be thy housing,
Thy lullaby the rain,
Thou hero of no battle,
Thou saint without a stain.

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