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King Volmer And Elsie
by [?]


WHERE, over heathen doom-rings and gray stones
of the Horg,
In its little Christian city stands the church of
In merry mood King Volmer sat, forgetful of his
As idle as the Goose of Gold that brooded on his

Out spake the King to Henrik, his young and faithful
“Dar’st trust thy little Elsie, the maid of thy
“Of all the men in Denmark she loveth only me
As true to me is Elsie as thy Lily is to thee.”

Loud laughed the king: “To-morrow shall bring
another day, [18]
When I myself will test her; she will not say me
Thereat the lords and gallants, that round about
him stood,
Wagged all their heads in concert and smiled as
courtiers should.

The gray lark sings o’er Vordingborg, and on the
ancient town
From the tall tower of Valdemar the Golden Goose
looks down;
The yellow grain is waving in the pleasant wind of
The wood resounds with cry of hounds and blare
of hunter’s horn.

In the garden of her father little Elsie sits and
And, singing with the early birds, her daily task,
Gay tulips bloom and sweet mint curls around her
But she is sweeter than the mint and fairer than
the flower.

About her form her kirtle blue clings lovingly, and,
As snow, her loose sleeves only leave her small,
round wrists in sight;
Below, the modest petticoat can only half conceal
The motion of the lightest foot that ever turned a

The cat sits purring at her side, bees hum in
sunshine warm;
But, look! she starts, she lifts her face, she shades
it with her arm.
And, hark! a train of horsemen, with sound of
dog and horn,
Come leaping o’er the ditches, come trampling
down the corn!

Merrily rang the bridle-reins, and scarf and plume
streamed gay,
As fast beside her father’s gate the riders held
their way;
And one was brave in scarlet cloak, with golden
spur on heel,
And, as he checked his foaming steed, the maiden
checked her wheel.

“All hail among thy roses, the fairest rose to me!
For weary months in secret my heart has longed for
What noble knight was this? What words for
modest maiden’s ear?
She dropped a lowly courtesy of bashfulness and

She lifted up her spinning-wheel; she fain would
seek the door,
Trembling in every limb, her cheek with blushes
crimsoned o’er.
“Nay, fear me not,” the rider said, “I offer heart
and hand,
Bear witness these good Danish knights who round
about me stand.

“I grant you time to think of this, to answer as
you may,
For to-morrow, little Elsie, shall bring another day.”
He spake the old phrase slyly as, glancing round
his train,
He saw his merry followers seek to hide their
smiles in vain.

“The snow of pearls I’ll scatter in your curls of
golden hair,
I’ll line with furs the velvet of the kirtle that you
All precious gems shall twine your neck; and in
a chariot gay
You shall ride, my little Elsie, behind four steeds
of gray.

“And harps shall sound, and flutes shall play, and
brazen lamps shall glow;
On marble floors your feet shall weave the dances
to and fro.
At frosty eventide for us the blazing hearth shall
While, at our ease, we play at draughts, and drink
the blood-red wine.”