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It was no noise from the strife afar,
Or the sappers under ground.
It was the pipes of the Highlanders!
And now they played "Auld Lang Syne." It came to our men like the voice of God, And they shouted along the line.
And they wept, and shook one another's hands,
And every one knelt down where he stood,
That happy day, when we welcomed them,
And the general gave her his hand, and cheers
And the pipers' ribbons and tartan streamed, Marching round and round our line;
And our joyful cheers were broken with tears, As the pipes played "Auld Lang Syne."
KING VOLMER AND ELSIE
AFTER THE DANISH OF CHRISTIAN WINTER
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
Four Danish Sovereigns have borne the name of Volmer or Valdemar. The first of the name, about the middle of the twelfth century, made himself the champion of Christianity, and largely extended the bounds of his kingdom. His son, Valdemar II, was the greatest of the line, and many romantic stories were told about him. Valdemar III was a weakling. Valdemar IV (1320-1375), known as "Atterdag", "Another day", was a diplomat rather than a warrior. St. Bridget said of him "He was a fowler who could entice the shyest birds."
The dramatic climax of the story is reached in the stanza beginning,
"The lions ramping on that shield between the hearts aflame Keep watch o'er Denmark's honor, and guard her ancient name.
Where, over heathen doom-rings and gray stones of the Horg,
In its little Christian city stands the church of Vordingborg,
In merry mood King Volmer sat, forgetful of his power, As idle as the Goose of Gold that brooded on his tower.
Out spake the King to Henrik, his young and faithful
"Darest trust thy little Elsie, the maid of thy desire?" "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,
When I myself will test her; she will not say me nay.” Thereat the lords and gallants, that round about him stood,
Vagged 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
The yellow grain is waving in the pleasant wind of morn, The wood resounds with cry of hounds and blare of hunter's horn.
In the garden of her father little Elsie sits and spins,
But she is sweeter than the mint and fairer than the flower.
About her form her kirtle blue clings lovingly, and, white 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 wheel.
The cat sits purring at her side, bees hum in sunshine
But, look! she starts, she lifts her face, she shades it with
And, hark! a train of horsemen, with sound of dog and
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
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 thee!"
What noble knight was this? What words for modest maiden's ear?
She dropped a lowly courtesy of bashfulness and fear.
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
I'll line with furs the velvet of the kirtle that you wear; All precious gems shall twine your neck; and in a chariot
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 shine, While, at our ease, we play at draughts, and drink the blood-red wine.'
Then Elsie raised her head and met her wooer face to
A roguish smile shone in her eye and on her lip found