Johann Gabriel Seidl
King Erich’s Faith - Poem by Johann Gabriel Seidl
In the high church of Upsala the great altar stands in sight,
With candles blazing round it, and torches sparkling bright;
On the steps of that great altar, with devoutly lifted hand,
See, arrayed in shining vestments, Erich, King of Sweden, stand!
“Great God! who seeks thy shelter forever safe shall dwell!
Who makes the Lord his ally hath wisely done and well!”
He cries, the rest responding, till choir and dome resound,—
“When God the Lord is with us, where shall a foe be found?”
And while they thus stand praying, right, left, the choir are thrust,
And in a courier rushes, all breathless, grimed with dust: 10
“God’s mercy now! Skalater! He comes! O King! the Danes,
Seven hundred strong, already are pouring on the plains!”
The monarch hears him calmly the tale of terror tell:
“Who makes the Lord his ally,” he cries, “hath chosen well!”
In bursts a second courier, all panting with dismay: 15
“The Dane is at the gate now, and the last bolt gives way!”
But still the king keeps chanting with brave and lofty swell:
“Who makes the Lord his ally hath wisely done and well!”
Still a third courier enters,—but, ere his news he told,
His head a Danish sabre swift from his body rolled. 20
Then rang a wild alarum,—a dismal, deafening cry;
Skalater comes with frenzy demoniac in his eye;
Skalater comes, and with him his seven hundred men;
With altar, king, and country it seemed all over then.
But, all at once, Sir Erich raised the gold cross in air,
And stretched it toward the heavens, and waved it glittering there;
And of the seven gashes of Jesus every wound
Hundred-fold glory flashes, the foeman to confound.
Seven hundred men fall prostrate with lowly bended brow,
Mute in the dust, adoring the mighty Conqueror now;
And Erich and his people the song of triumph swell:
“Who makes the Lord his refuge shall aye securely dwell!”
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