George Borrow

(1803-1881 / England)

Runic Verses


O the force of Runic verses,
O the mighty strength of song
Cannot baffle all the curses
Which to mortal state belong.

Slaughter’d chiefs, that buried under
Heaps of marble, long have lain,
Song can rend your tomb asunder,
Give ye life and strength again.

When around his dying capture,
Fierce, the serpent draws his fold,
Song can make him, wild with rapture,
Straight uncoil, and bite the mould.

When from keep and battled tower,
Flames to heaven upward strain,
Song has o’er them greater power,
Than the vapours dropping rain.

It can quench the conflagration
Striding o’er the works of art;
But nor song nor incantation
Can appease love’s cruel smart.

O the force of Runic verses,
O the mighty strength of song
Cannot baffle all the curses
Which to mortal state belong.

Submitted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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