Sunday, December 09, 2007

Balder the Beautiful

"There is always a thing forgotten
When all the world goes well;
A thing forgotten, as long ago,
When the gods forgot the mistletoe,
And soundless as an arrow of snow
The arrow of anguish fell.

"The thing on the blind side of the heart,
On the wrong side of the door,
The green plant groweth, menacing
Almighty lovers in the spring;
There is always a forgotten thing,
And love is not secure."

G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse, Book III.

So on the floor lay Balder dead; and round
Lay thickly strewn swords axes darts and spears
Which all the Gods in sport had idly thrown
At Balder, whom no weapon pierc’d or clove:
But in his breast stood fixt the fatal bough
Of mistletoe, which Lok the Accuser gave
To Hoder, and unwitting Hoder threw:
’Gainst that alone had Balder’s life no charm.

Matthew Arnold, Balder Dead

I heard a voice, that cried,
"Balder the Beautiful
Is dead, is dead!"
And through the misty air
Passed like the mournful cry
Of sunward sailing cranes.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tegner's Drapa

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