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Foremost and leaning from her golden cloud
« Lo, Granta waits to lead her blooming band,
* Countess of Richmond and Derby; the Mother of Henry the Seventh, foundress of St. John's and Christ's Colleges.
+ The Countess was a Beaufort, and married to a Tudor: hence the application of this line to the Duke of Grafton, who claims descent from both these families.
“ The laureate wreath, * that Cecil wore, she brings, “ And to thy just, thy gentle hand “ Submits the Fasces of her
sway, “ While Spirits blest above and Men below “ Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay.
“ Thro’ the wild waves as they roar
Thy steady course of honor keep,
Lord Treasurer Burleigh was Chancellor of the University, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
From the Norse-Tongue.
Now the Storm begins to lower,
Glitt'ring lances are the loom,
* To be found in the Orcades of THORMODUS TORFÆUS; HAFNIÆ, 1697, Folio: and also in BARTHOLINUS.
VITT ER ORPIT FYRIR VALFALLI, &c. The design of Mr. Gray in writing this and the three following imitative Odes is given in the Memoirs of his Life. For the better understanding the first of these, the reader is to be informed, that
See the griesly texture grow,
Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore, Shoot the trembling cords along. Sword, that once a Monarch bore, Keep the tissue close and strong.
in the Eleventh Century, Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney-Islands, went with a fleet of ships, and a considerable body of troops into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of Dublin: the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in the action. On Christmas-day, (the day of the battle,) a Native of Caithness, in Scotland, saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling women: they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful Song; which, when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped Six to the North and as many to the South. These were the Valkyriur, female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic Mythology. Their name signifies Chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.
Mista black, terrific Maid,
Ere the ruddy sun be set,
(Weave the crimson web of war)
As the paths of fate we tread,
We the reins to slaughter give,