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Back from her low white forehead the curls of gold she threw,
And lifted up her eyes to his, steady and clear and blue.
"I am a lowly peasant, and you a gallant knight;
I will not trust a love that soon may cool and turn to slight.
If you would wed me henceforth be a peasant, not a lord; I bid you hang upon the wall your tried and trusty sword."
"To please you, Elsie, I will lay keen Dynadel away, And in its place will swing the scythe and mow your father's hay."
"Nay, but your gallant scarlet cloak my eyes can never bear;
A Vadmal coat, so plain and gray, is all that you must wear."
"Well, Vadmal will I wear for you," the rider gayly spoke,
"And on the Lord's high altar I'll lay my scarlet cloak.' "But mark," she said, "no stately horse my peasant love must ride,
A yoke of steers before the plough is all that he must guide."
The knight looked down upon his steed: "Well, let him wander free:
*Vadmal, a coarse home-made cloth.
No other man must ride the horse that has been backed
Henceforth I'll tread the furrow and to my oxen talk, If only little Elsie beside my plough will walk."
"You must take from out your cellar cask of wine and flask and can;
The homely mead I brew you may serve a peasant-man.' "Most willingly, fair Elsie, I'll drink that mead of thine, And leave my minstrel's thirsty throat to drain my generous wine."
"Now break your shield asunder, and shatter sign and boss,
Unmeet for peasant-wedded arms, your knightly knee
And pull me down your castle from top to basement wail, And let your plough trace furrows in the ruins of your hall!"
Then smiled he with a lofty pride; right well at last he knew
The maiden of the spinning-wheel was to her troth-plight
"Ah, roguish little Elsie! you act your part full well:
You know that I must bear my shield and in my castle dwell!
"The lions ramping on that shield between the hearts
Keep watch o'er Denmark's honor, and guard her ancient
For know that I am Volmer; I dwell in yonder towers, Who ploughs them ploughs up Denmark, this goodly home of ours!
"I tempt no more, fair Elsie! your heart I know is true; Would God that all our maidens were good and pure as
Well have you pleased your monarch, and he shall well repay;
God's peace! Farewell! To-morrow will bring another day!"
He lifted up his bridle hand, he spurred his good steed then,
And like a whirl-blast swept away with all his gallant
The steel hoofs beat the rocky path; again on winds of
The wood resounds with cry of hounds and blare of hunter's horn.
"Thou true and ever faithful!" the listening Henrik
And, leaping o'er the green hedge, he stood by Elsie's side.
None saw the fond embracing, save, shining from afar, The Golden Goose that watched them from the tower, of
O darling girls of Denmark! of all the flowers that throng Her vales of spring the fairest, I sing for you my song. No praise as yours so bravely rewards the singer's skill; Thank God! of maids like Elsie the land has plenty still!
FOR A' THAT, AND A' THAT
Is there for honest poverty
Our toils obscure, and a' that; The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Gie folks their silks, and knaves their wine,
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
His riband, star, and a' that;
He looks and laughs at a' that.
A prince can mak' a belted knight,
Their dignities, and a' that;
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
Then let us pray that come it may,
That sense and worth o'er a' the earth,
For a' that, and a' that,
It's coming yet, for a' that,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
The guinea is an English gold coin worth a little more than five dollars. Birkie is a Scotch word for an upstart, or a pretentious person. Coof is the Scotch for blockhead.
The "riband" and "star" referred to are the symbols of knighthood.