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THY rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
Through the dark unquiet sky !
The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
Away through the rushing night !
The banner shook on its ancient hold,
And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
And the bugle, ringing out !
From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's thrilling lay
In the hall died fast away.
The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.
The storm hath swept with the chase away,
There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
Midst the gleam of her golden hair !
The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
For the Huntsman hath gone by !
Felicia Hemans : The Wild Huntsman
It is a popular belief in the Odenwald, that the passing of the Wild Huntsman announces the approach of war. He is supposed to issue with his train from the ruined castle of Rodenstein, and traverse the air to the opposite castle of Schnellerts. It is confidently asserted that the sound of his phantom horses and hounds was heard by the Duke of Baden before the commencement of the last war in Germany.
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The dusk of evening has fallen over Berlin. A great yet silent crowd is rapidly moving through the chief street towards the royal palace, and every now and then a low whisper is heard, in which can be distinguished the words: "The King is very ill." In the palace itself yet greater silence reigns. The King's guardsmen stand motionless, the servants' steps are inaudible on the carpets of the corridors and the rooms. Now the tower clock strikes midnight; all at once a door opens, and through it glides a ghostly woman, tall of stature, queenly of bearing.
She is dressed in a trailing white garment, a white veil covers her head, below which her long flaxen hair hangs, twisted with strings of pearls; her face is deathly pale as that of a corpse. In her right hand she carries a bunch of keys, in her left a nosegay of Mayflowers. She walks solemnly down the long corridor. The tall guardsmen present arms, pages and lackeys give way before her, the guards who have just relieved their comrades open their ranks; the figure passes through them, and goes through a folding door into the royal ante-room.
"It is the White Lady ; the King is about to die," whispers the officer of the watch, brushing a tear from his eye.
"The White Lady has appeared," is whispered through the crowd, and all know what that portends.
At noon the King's death was known to all. "Yes," said Master Schneckenburger, "he has been gathered to his fathers. Mistress Berchta has once more announced what was going to happen, for she can foretell everything, both bad and good. She was seen before the misfortunes of 1806, and again before the battle of Belle-Alliance. She has a key with which to open the door of life and happiness. He to whom she gives a cowslip will succeed in whatever he undertakes."
Schneckenburger was right. It was Bertha, or Berchta, who made known the King's approaching death, but she was also the prophetess of other important events. Berchta ( from percht, shining ) is almost identical with Holda, except that the latter never appears as the White Lady. Many Germanic tribes worshipped the Earth-goddess under the name of Berchta, and there are numbers of legends about her both in North and South Germany.
One evening in the year was dedicated to her, and was called Perchten-evening ( 30th December or 6th January ), when she was supposed, as a diligent spinner, to oversee the labours of the spinning-room, or, magic staff in hand, to ride at the head of the Raging Host, in the midst of a terrific storm. She generally lived in hollow mountains, where she, as in Thuringia, watched over and tended the "Heimchen," or souls of babes as yet unborn, and of those who died an early death. She busied herself there by ploughing up the ground under the earth, whilst the babes watered the fields. Whenever men, careless of the good she did them, disturbed her in her mountain dwelling, she left the country with her train, and after her departure the fields lost all their former fruitfulness.
Once when Berchta and her babes were passing over a meadow across the middle of which ran a fence that divided it in two, the last little child could not climb over it; its water-jar was too heavy. A woman, who a short time before had lost her little baby, was close by, and recognised her dead darling, for whom she had wept night and day. She hastened to the child, clasped it in her arms, and would not let it go.
Then the little one said : "How warm and comfortable I feel in my mother's arms ; but weep no more for me, mother, my jar is full and is growing too heavy for me. Look, mother, dost thou not see how all thy tears run into it, and how I've spilt some on my little shirt ? Mistress Berchta, who loves me and kisses me, has told me that thou shouldst also come to her in time, and then we shall be together again in the beautiful garden under the hill."
Then the mother wept once more a flood of tears, and let the child go.
After that she never shed another tear, but found comfort in the thought that she would one day be with her child again.
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Fire-organ played in Reykjavik at the Winter Lights Festival Print This Post
Both the Bundeswehr and the late Nationale Volksarmee have/had no more legitimacy than Hitler's mob, but although republican do/did obviously still carry out a little of the great tradition... Torchlight Parades are always so pretty.
Both uniforms are getting on the silly side, with ties and all ( and ugly impracticable Allied-Type helmets; which is kind of ironical now the Yanks are sensibly starting to model their helmets on the stahlhelm... ) and look really remarkably similar despite any supposed ideological differences betwixt state capitalism and the free-market kind. Bundeswehr --- Großer Zapfenstreich Aufmarsch 26/10/2006 NVA --- Großer Wachaufzug 1989
Note the holy atmosphere of the NVA bash --- no doubt anything would be a break from the necessity of writing up a daily report on one's neighbours; and the poor production values of something shot in 1989 which films like 1962 outside the Iron Curtain. Note also the use of Jingling Johnnies aka La Pavillon Chinois which seem to really take one back...
Stomping Kittie with Preußens Gloria
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The most poignant pain is reserved for that which we have lost --- I'm gonna merely assume that the word derives from poignard for this truly is the stiletto that never ceases mincing the instantly reconstituted aorta and ventricle chambers.
Aged about 9 I lost on a train my Edwardian copy of Olaf The Glorious; I could get a modern reprint, but I've never since seen an original despite spending my life in second-hand bookshops, and asking for it most times. Similiarly, I may, or may not, have lost my copy of Fortescue ( by I think, Sinclair Gaudie and Harold Lamb ) a spoof of mid-victoriana.
Of particular note was the eponymous hero's descent into --- very comparative --- vice in attending a Judge & Jury show presided over by the genial Renton Nicholson at the Coal Hole in the Strand ( and also at the Cider Cellars in Covent Garden ) Eheu Fugaces, this was when London still had interesting things to do... A Gabs Ray site can explain a little of the show; plus there's a puritanic view of the end here. Even Thomas Hardy cheered himself up there. Nicholson was also a writer; here's a story of his, The Actor's Tale, from HorrorMasters * although it's not horror.
A few times I used to bulk up my C.V. with working at Renton Nicholson's, Strand, London. It does sound like any firm one can imagine, and it was a surety few hiring morons would make any connection.
* As a child I was often rather terrified each night; and as a child I read deeply of this kind of Victorian junk on ghosts etc.. It is possible the two facts may be intimately related... ( particularly the one about a nun's visiting skeleton being shattered, and coming back as individual bones reconstituting at the end of the bed. )
Archibald S. Henning --- The Judge and Jury Society in the Cider Cellar
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The women were worthy of the men --- bold, quarrelsome, revengeful. Some were loyal, like Bergthora, who foresaw how all her sons and her husband were to be burned; but who would not leave them, and perished in the burning without a cry. Some were as brave as Howard's wife, who enabled her husband, old and childless, to overthrow the wealthy bully, the slayer of his only son. Some were treacherous, as Halgerda the Fair. Three husbands she had, and was the death of every man of them. Her last lord was Gunnar of Lithend, the bravest and most peaceful of men. Once she did a mean thing, and he slapped her face. She never forgave him. At last enemies besieged him in his house. The doors were locked --- all was quiet within. One of the enemies climbed up to a window slit, and Gunnar thrust him through with his lance. "Is Gunnar at home ?" said the besiegers. "I know not --- but his lance is," said the wounded man, and died with that last jest on his lips. For long Gunnar kept them at bay with his arrows, but at last one of them cut the arrow string. "Twist me a string with thy hair," he said to his wife, Halgerda, whose yellow hair was very long and beautiful. "Is it a matter of thy life or death ?" she asked. "Ay," he said. "Then I remember that blow thou gavest me, and I will see thy death." So Gunnar died, overcome by numbers, and they killed Samr, his hound, but not before Samr had killed a man.
Andrew Lang : The Sagas
Allfather's curse on nithings is stronger than that on evil-doers: therefore we too must despise weaklings and those who associate with them more than those who actively seek us harm; both take us to hell, but the weak feign it is the way to heaven.
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Interesting exhibition here: Nordic Akseli Gallen-Kallela - Lake Keitele
And pace the post mentioning Brezhnev, a blogger here points out one of the great soviet achievements, ordered by that very Chairman, in destroying Königsberg Castle and replacing it with...
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Or ever the knightly years were gone
With the old world to the grave,
I was the King of Babylon
And you were a Christian Slave.
I saw, I took, I cast you by,
I bent and broke your pride.
You loved me well, or I heard them lie,
But your longing was denied.
Surely I knew that by and by
You cursed your gods and died.
And a myriad suns have set and shone
Since then upon the grave
Decreed by the King of Babylon
To her that had been his Slave.
The pride I trampled is now my scathe,
For it tramples me again.
The old resentment lasts like death,
For you love, yet you refrain.
I break my heart on your hard unfaith,
And I break my heart in vain.
Yet not for hour do I wish undone
The deed beyond the grave,
When I was a King in Babylon
And you were a Virgin Slave.
W. E. Henley : "Or Ever The Knightly Years Were Gone"
Arthur Rackham - Brünnhilde unregretting the loss of her valkyriehood
Hildr Valkyrie joined the German band Femegericht this year. The illustrious Court of the Holy Vehm was of course founded by Karl the Great, an enemy of the Norse religion, yet who carried forward the Germanic tradition into it's transition into High Mediæval christianity.
Here is Hildr singing an Ode to Allfather, with the video arranged by BornInMidgard1987 on YouTube: