A Blog about Norse Fantasy, Viking Adventures, and More!

Thor’s Day Alert #26: Longfellow and Norse poetry

Happy Thor’s Day, everybody!

Ever hear of a poet named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? Sure, you say. Hasn’t everyone? As for me, I couldn’t remember actually reading anything he’d written.

About all I could recall was that Longfellow was an American who lived during the 1800’s. And I figured he wrote stuffy Victorian stuff. Not so the latter!

It seems Longfellow also had a thing for the Norse. Check out this lively poem about Odin’s favorite son:


I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!

Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miolner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it,
Strength is redoubled!

The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!

Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor’s Day!

Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus single-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!

Sounds like a pretty solid characterization of Thor to me. There’s a bigger story around this poem, crafted a la Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales but in rhyme. It’s called Tales of a Wayside Inn and you can read it in its entirety at Google Books. Good stuff, yo! (Except for the stuffy parts.)

I’m going to resume posting every Tuesday, so come back on the 26th for a bit of Althing random fun. Thanks for stopping by!

2 responses

  1. This is intriguing…I had no idea Longfellow ever wrote about the Norse myths. Gives new meaning to the name of the Longfellow Bridge in Boston that has Viking ships adorning it…

    Cool blog in general. Your taste is right up my alley!

    October 30, 2009 at 11:37 pm

  2. Yeah, it’s always fun discovering people of note who shared an interest in things Norse. Glad you enjoyed my blog — thanks! I’m looking forward to spending some time at your site, too.

    October 31, 2009 at 9:32 am

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