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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Norway: Nidarholm

Thora of Rimol

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

“THORA of Rimol! hide me! hide me!

Danger and shame and death betide me:

For Olaf the King is hunting me down

Through field and forest, through thorp and town!”

Thus cried Jarl Hakon

To Thora, the fairest of women.

“Hakon Jarl! for the love I bear thee

Neither shall shame nor death come near thee!

But the hiding-place wherein thou must lie

Is the cave underneath the swine in the sty.”

Thus to Jarl Hakon

Said Thora, the fairest of women.

So Hakon Jarl and his base thrall Karker

Crouched in the cave, than a dungeon darker,

As Olaf came riding, with men in mail,

Through the forest roads into Orkadale,

Demanding Jarl Hakon

Of Thora, the fairest of women.

“Rich and honored shall be whoever

The head of Hakon Jarl shall dissever!”

Hakon heard him, and Karker the slave,

Through the breathing-holes of the darksome cave.

Alone in her chamber

Wept Thora, the fairest of women.

Said Karker, the crafty, “I will not slay thee!

For all the king’s gold I will never betray thee!”

“Then why dost thou turn so pale, O churl,

And then again black as the earth?” said the Earl.

More pale and more faithful

Was Thora, the fairest of women.

From a dream in the night the thrall started, saying,

“Round my neck a gold ring King Olaf was laying!”

And Hakon answered, “Beware of the king!

He will lay round thy neck a blood-red ring.”

At the ring on her finger

Gazed Thora, the fairest of women.

At daybreak slept Hakon, with sorrows encumbered,

But screamed and drew up his feet as he slumbered;

The thrall in the darkness plunged with his knife,

And the Earl awakened no more in this life.

But wakeful and weeping

Sat Thora, the fairest of women.

At Nidarholm the priests are all singing,

Two ghastly heads on the gibbet are swinging;

One is Jarl Hakon’s and one is his thrall’s,

And the people are shouting from windows and walls;

While alone in her chamber

Swoons Thora, the fairest of women.