My strength is failing fast (Said the sea-king to his men)
I shall never sail the seas – like a conqueror again,
But while yet a drop remains – of the life-blood in my veins
Raise, oh, raise me from my bed, put the crown upon my head,
Put my good sword in my hand, and so lead me to the strand,
Where my ship at anchor rides
If I cannot end my life – in the crimsoned battle-strife
Let me die as I have lived,
On the sea.
So blow, ye tempests, blow, and my spirit shall not quail;
I have fought with many a foe, I have weathered many a gale;
And in this hour of death, Ere I yield my fleeting breath,
Ere the fire now burning slow – Shall come rushing from below,
And this worn and wasted frame – Be devoted to the flame,
I will raise my voice in triumph,
Singing free ;
To the great All-Father’s home – I am driving through the foam,
am sailing to Valhalla
O’er the sea.
Charles Mackay (1812 – 1889)
Charles Mackay (26 March 1812 – 24 December 1889) was a Scottish poet, journalist, author, anthologist, novelist, and songwriter, remembered mainly for his book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. The poem “Sea-King’s Burial” recalls the days when a Viking chief died and his body was placed in a boat. The vessel, with full sail set and a fire lighted, was then sent drifting out to sea.
Painting by Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee (1853 – 1928) – “Funeral of a Viking”