THE HUSBAND'S MESSAGE

[ The Husband's Message is spoken by the letter itself which comes to assur the faithful, waiting wife of her husband's faith. He has prepared a new home for her abroad and calls on her to sail thither in the spring when the cuckoo's song is heard.

The poem resembles the Riddles in its device of making inanimate objects speak. The runic letters at the end of the poem are perhaps a kind of secret sign from the husband understood by the wife.]

Now I will tell thee apart my lineage as a tree. I grew up in my youth elsewhere in the land; a voyage took me over the salt streams. Very often in the boat's bosom I sought high dwellings where my master sent me. Now I have come here in the ship, and now thou shalt know how thou mayest think in thy mind of my lord's love. I dare promise that thou wilt find there firm faith.

Lo! he who engraved this wood bade me pray thee that thou, treasure-adorned, shouldst call to thy mind the promises which you two often spoke in earlier days, while yet you might have your abode in the mead castles, live in the same land, enjoy friendship. A feud drove him away from the victorious people; now he himself has bidden me tell thee joyfully, that thou shouldst cross the sea, when on the edge of the mountain thou hast heard the sad cuckoo cry in the grove. After that let no living man hold thee from the journey or hinder thy going. Go seek the sea, the home of the gull! Board the ship, so that south from here thou mayest find thy husband over the path of the sea, where thy lord lives in hopes of thee. Nor may a wish in the world come more to his mind, from what he said to me, than that Almighty God should grant you two that together you may afterwards give treasure, studded armlets, to warriors and companions. He has enough treasures of beaten gold, though in a foreign land he holds his dwelling, in a fair country. Many proud heroes wait upon him, though here my friendly lord, driven by necessity, launched his boat and was forced to go forth alone on the stretch of the waves, on the way of the flood, to furrow the ocean streams, eager for departure. Now the man has overcome woe; he lacks not his desires, nor horses, nor treasures, nor mead joys, none of the precious stores of earls on

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