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The Giant of Bern and Orm Ungerswayne - a Ballad
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Transcribed from the 1913 Thomas J. Wise pamphlet by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org. Many thanks to Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, UK, for kindly supplying the images from which this transcription was made.



THE GIANT OF BERN AND ORM UNGERSWAYNE A BALLAD

BY GEORGE BORROW

LONDON: PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION 1913



THE GIANT OF BERN AND ORM UNGERSWAYNE

It was the lofty Jutt of Bern O'er all the walls he grew; He was mad and ne'er at rest, To tame him no one knew.

He was mad and ne'er at rest, No lord could hold him in; If he had long in Denmark stayed Much damage there had been.

It was the lofty Jutt of Bern Bound to his side his glaive, And away to the monarch's house he rode With the knights a fray to have.

Now goes the lofty Jutt of Bern Before the King to stand: "Thou shalt to me thy daughter give, And a brief for half thy land.

"Here as thou sitt'st at thy wide board, Hail Monarch of the Danes! Thou shalt to me thy daughter give, And the half of thy domains.

"Thou shalt to me thy daughter give, And divide with me thy land, Or thou shalt find a kempion good In the ring 'gainst me to stand."

"O thou shalt ne'er my daughter get, Nor a brief for half my land, I'll quickly find a kempion good Shall fight thee hand to hand."

Then strode the Monarch of the Danes To his castle hall amain: "Now which of ye, my courtiers, will The lovely Damsel gain?

"Here sit ye all my Danish swains On whom I bread bestow, Now which of ye will risk his life To lay the Berner low?

"I'll give to him my daughter dear, The wondrous lovely may, Who in the ring with Jutt of Bern Shall dare the desperate fray."

In silence all the kempions sat, None dared reply a word, Except alone Orm Ungerswayne, The lowest at the board.

Except alone Orm Ungerswayne, He bounded o'er the board: I tell to ye in verity He spake a manly word.

"Wilt thou to me thy daughter give, And divide with me thy land? O then will I the kempion be, Against the Jutt to stand.

"And well will I your daughter win, And the prize alone will earn; I am the lad to dare the fray In the ring with the Jutt of Bern."

It was the lofty Jutt of Bern He o'er his shoulder glar'd: "O who may yonder mouseling be, From whom those words I heard?"

"No mouseling I, though call me, Jutt, A mouseling if you will, My father was good Sigurd King Who slumbers in his hill."

"Ha! was thy sire good Sigurd King? Thou'st something of his face, Thou hast sprung up full wondrously In fifteen winter's space."

It was so late at evening tide The sun had reached the wave, When Orm the youthful swain set out To seek his father's grave.

It was the hour when grooms do ride The coursers to the rill, That Orm set out resolved to wake The dead man in the hill.

Now strikes the bold Orm Ungerswayne The hill with such a might, It was I ween a miracle It tumbled not outright.

Then stamped upon the hill so hard Young Orm with heavy foot, The arch was broke within the hill Which trembled to its root.

Then from the hill Orm's father cried, Where he so long had lain: "O cannot I in quiet lie Within my murky den?

"Who dares so early break my rest, And troubleth thus my bones? Cannot I in quiet lie Beneath my roof of stones?

"Who seeks at night the dead man's hill And works this ruin all? Let him fear for now I swear By Birting he shall fall."

"I am thy son, thy youngest son, Thy Orm, O father dear; To beg a boon in mighty need I come to seek thee here."

"If thou art Orm my youngest son, The kempion bold and brave, Last year I gave to thee of gold, All, all thy heart could crave."

"Last year you gave me store of gold On which I set no worth, Now I this year must Birting have, The bravest sword on earth."

"Never shalt thou Birting get To win the Monarch's daughter, Until to Ireland thou hast been To 'venge thy father's slaughter."

"Give to me the Birting sword, And with it bid me thrive, Or I the hill above thee will To thousand pieces rive."

"Stretch thou down thy hand and take My Birting from my side, But if thou break thy father's hill Much woe will thee betide."

He cast to him the sword, its point Appeared above the mould: "Save good fate on thee shall wait I ne'er shall be consol'd."

He reached to him the sword, and placed Its hilt within his grasp: "Beneath its blows may all thy foes Before thee sink and grasp."

Then took the sword Orm Ungerswayne, And on his shoulder plac'd; And to the Monarch's hall he sped, As fast as he could haste.

It was the lofty Jutt of Bern With wrath was nearly wild: "It ill becomes a man like me To battle with a child."

"Although I be but little, Jutt, A fearless heart I keep, And oftentimes a little hand O'erturns a mighty heap."

For two long days they fought, and when The third to evening tended, "Methinks," exclaim'd the Berner Jutt, "This fight will ne'er be ended."

It was bold Orm Ungerswayne His good sword brandish'd he, And of the lofty Berner Jutt Asunder cut the knee.

Loud bellowed then the Berner Jutt, And loud he fell to ban: "It ne'er was warrior custom yet So low to strike one's man."

"I was small, and thou wast tall, Thy prowess I admire; I only struck thy knee because I could not reach thee higher."

Then took the bold Orm Ungerswayne His faulchion on his back, And to the ocean strand he goes As fast as he could make.

It was bold Orm Ungerswayne He paced the yellow sand, And lo! Sir Tord of Valland came Swift sailing to the land.

Foremost upon the gilded prow The Tord of Valland stands: "O who is yonder little man That walks upon the sands?"

"O I am Orm, the youthful swain, A kempion bold and fine; 'Twas I that slew the Berner Jutt, That uncle dear of thine."

"If thou hast slain the Berner Jutt, That uncle dear of mine, 'Twas I the King of Ireland slew, Beloved father thine."

It was Tord of Valland then With faulchion struck the earth: "Never will I make amends By gold or money's worth."

It was bold Orm Ungerswayne, He grasped his faulchion's hilt: "In vengeance for my father then Shall valiant blood be spilt."

It was the bold Orm Ungerswayne He drew his trusty sword, And at a single blow smote off The head of Valland's Tord.

Valland's Tord he slew, and then His followers every one; Then speeds he to the monarch's house To claim the maid he'd won.

Then took the bold Orm Ungerswayne The Atheling in his arm: "Thou art my own, fair maid, for thee I have confronted harm."

O'er Helmer Isle the tidings run As fast as levin fire, That Orm the lovely maid has won, And has avenged his sire.

* * * * *

LONDON: Printed for THOMAS J. WISE, Hampstead, N.W. Edition limited to thirty Copies.

THE END

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