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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Lord of the Sea

By Karl Gottfried von Leitner (1800–1890)

Translated by Charles Timothy Brooks

BEFORE sea-washed Southampton,

With sceptre and with crown,

King Knut, in pomp of purple,

Upon his throne sits down,

The billows loudly roaring.

His vassals, mute, around him,

Await his nod, but he

Peers out with frowning eyebrows

Upon the boundless sea,

The billows loudly roaring.

Then, with defiant gesture,

The haughty, gray-haired Dane,

Tamer of England’s people,

Flings back his lion-mane;

The billows loudly roaring.

“From this gold chair I sit on,

To the blue Baltic’s brine,

From Thule to Southampton,

The world,” he cried, “is mine!”

The billows loudly roaring.

“Thou, too, despite thy fury,

White-crested old sea-wave!

Shalt henceforth pay me tribute,

And be my faithful slave!”

The billows loudly roaring.

And while he speaks, a sea-wave

Flung up its sparkling spray,

And spat upon his beard there,

As if in scornful play,

The billows loudly roaring.

But he took off his crown, then,

And flung it in the sea,

Crying, “Man’s might is idle!

To God all glory be!”

The billows loudly roaring.