William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

The Norns Watering Yggdrasill - Poem by William Bell Scott

Within the unchanging twilight
Of the high land of the gods,
Between the murmuring fountain
And the Ash-tree, tree of trees,
The Norns, the terrible maidens,
For evermore come and go.
Yggdrasill the populous Ash-tree,
Whose leaves embroider heaven,
Fills all the grey air with music—
To Gods and to men sweet sounds,
But speech to the fine-eared maidens
Who evermore come and go.

That way to their doomstead thrones
The Aesir ride each day,
And every one bends to the saddle
As they pass beneath the shade;
Even Odin, the strong All-father,
Bends to the beautiful maidens
Who cease not to come and go.
The tempest crosses the high boughs,
The great snakes heave below,
The wolf, the boar, and antlered harts
Delve at the life-giving roots,
But all of them fear the wise maidens,
The wise-hearted water-bearers
Who evermore come and go.
And men far away, in the night-hours
To the north-wind listening, hear,
They hear the howl of the were-wolf,

And know he hath felt the sting
Of the eyes of the potent maidens
Who sleeplessly come and go.
They hear on the wings of the north wind
A sound as of three that sing,
And the skald, in the blae mist wandering
High on the midland fell,
Heard the very words of the o'ersong
Of the Norns who come and go.
But alas for the ears of mortals
Chance-hearing that fate-laden song!
The bones of the skald lie there still,—
For the speech of the leaves of the Tree
Is the song of the three Queen-maidens
Who evermore come and go.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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