Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

(24 September 1825 – 22 February 1911 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Death Of The Old Sea King - Poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

'Twas a fearful night -- the tempest raved
With loud and wrathful pride,
The storm-king harnessed his lightning steeds,
And rode on the raging tide.

The sea-king lay on his bed of death,
Pale mourners around him bent;
They knew the wild and fitful life
Of their chief was almost spent.

His ear was growing dull in death
When the angry storm he heard,
The sluggish blood in the old man's veins
With sudden vigor stirred.

"I hear them call," cried the dying man,
His eyes grew full of light;
"Now bring me here my warrior robes,
My sword and armor bright.

"In the tempest's lull I heard a voice,
I knew 'twas Odin's call.
The Valkyrs are gathering round my bed
To lead me unto his hall.

"Bear me unto my noblest ship,
Light up a funeral pyre;
I'll walk to the palace of the braves
Through a path of flame and fire."

Oh! wild and bright was the stormy light
That flashed from the old man's eye,
As they bore him from the couch of death
To his battle-ship to die,

And lit with many a mournful torch
The sea-king's dying bed,
And like a banner fair and bright
The flames around him spread.

But they heard no cry of anguish
Break through that fiery wall,
With rigid brow and silent lips
He was seeking Odin's hall.

Through a path of fearful splendor,
While strong men held their breath,
The brave old man went boldly forth
And calmly talked with death.

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Read poems about / on: funeral, death, sea, pride, light, fire, night

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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