Song of Harald Harfager, by Sir Walter Scott, 1821, Music by Erich Schraer, 2004, (c)2004
  1. The sun is rising dimly red,
    The wind is wailing low and dread;
    From his cliff the eagle sallies,
    Leaves the wolf his darksome valleys;
    In the mist the ravens hover,
    Peep the wild dogs from the cover,
    Screaming, croaking, baying, yelling,
    Each in his wild accents telling,
    ‘Soon we feast on dead and dying,
    Fair-haired Harald's flag is flying.’

  2. Many a crest in air is streaming,
    Many a helmet darkly gleaming,
    Many an arm the axe uprears,
    Doomed to hew the wood of spears.
    All around the crowded ranks,
    Horses neigh and armor clanks;
    Chiefs are shouting, horns are ringing,
    Louder still the skald is singing,
    ‘Gather, footmen; gather, horsemen,
    To the field, ye valiant Norsemen!

  3. ‘Halt ye not not for food or slumber,
    View not vantage, count not number;
    Jolly reapers forward still,
    Grow the crop on vale or hill,
    Thick or scattered, stiff or lithe,
    It shall down before the scythe.
    Forward with your sickles bright,
    Reap the harvest of the fight.
    Onward footmen, onward horsemen,
    To the charge, ye gallant Norsemen!

  4. ‘Fatal Choosers of the Slaughter,
    O'er you hovers Odin's daughter;
    Hear the choice she spreads before ye—
    Victory, and wealth, and glory;
    Or old Valhalla's roaring hail,
    Her ever-circling mead and ale,
    Where for eternity unite
    The joys of wassail and of fight.
    Headlong forward, foot and horsemen,
    Charge and fight, and die like Norsemen!’

This Sir Walter Scott poem was published in The Pirate in 1821. Scott used the spelling ‘Harold’, but I prefer to use the non-anglicized spelling ‘Harald’. Harald hárfagri (Fairhair) was the 9th century king who united Norway into a single kingdom. He was the father of Eirík Blóðøx (Bloodaxe), and was claimed as ancestor by Olaf Tryggvason, Olaf Haraldsson and Harald harðráði (Hardrada).

Music copyright © 2004 Erich Schraer