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The Roots of the Mountains, by William Morris, [1889], at


Then strode the Warriors of the Wolf over the bodies of the slain on to the dais of their own Hall; and Folk-might led the Sun-beam by the hand, and now was his sword in its sheath, and his face was grown calm, though it was stern and sad.  But even as he trod the dais comes a slim swain of the Wolves twisting himself through the throng, and so maketh way to Folk-might, and saith to him:

'Chieftain, the Alderman of Burgdale sendeth me hither to say a word to thee; even this, which I am to tell to thee and the War-leader both:  It is most true that our kinswoman the Bride will not die, but live.  So help me, the Warrior and the Face!  This is the word of the Alderman.'

When Folk-might heard this, his face changed and he hung his head; and Face-of-god, who was standing close by, beheld him and deemed that tears were falling from his eyes on to the hall-floor.  As for him, he grew exceeding glad, and he turned to the Sun-beam and met her eyes, and saw that she could scarce refrain her longing for him; and he was abashed for the sweetness of his love.  But she drew close up to him, and spake to him softly and said:

'This is the day that maketh amends; and yet I long for another day. When I saw thee coming to me that first day in Shadowy Vale, I thought thee so goodly a warrior that my heart was in my mouth.  But now how goodly thou art!  For the battle is over, and we shall live.'

'Yea,' said Face-of-god, 'and none shall begrudge us our love. Behold thy brother, the hard-heart, the warrior; he weepeth because he hath heard that the Bride shall live.  Be sure then that she shall not gainsay him.  O fair shall the world be to-morrow!'

But she said:  'O Gold-mane, I have no words.  Is there no minstrelsy amongst us?'

Now by this time were many of the men of the Wolf and the Woodlanders gathered on the dais of the Hall; and the Dalesmen noting this, and wotting that these men were now in their own Mote-house, withdrew them as they might for the press toward the nether end thereof.  That the Sun-beam noted, and that all those about her save the War-leader were of the kindreds of the Wolf and the Woodland, and, still speaking softly, she said to Face-of-god:

'Gold-mane, meseemeth I am now in my wrong place; for now the Wolf raiseth up his head, but I am departing from him.  Surely I should now be standing amongst my people of the Face, whereto I am going ere long.'

He said:  'Beloved, I am now become thy kindred and thine home, and it is meet for thee to stand beside me.'

She cast her eyes adown and answered not; and she fell a-pondering of how sorely she had desired that fair dale, and now she would leave it, and be content and more than content.

But now the kindreds had sundered, they upon the dais ranked themselves together there in the House which their fathers had builded; and when they saw themselves so meetly ordered, their hearts being full with the sweetness of hope accomplished and the joy of deliverance from death, song arose amongst them, and they fell to singing together; and this is somewhat of their singing:

    Now raise we the lay
   Of the long-coming day!
   Bright, white was the sun
   When we saw it begun:
   O'er its noon now we live;
   It hath ceased not to give;
   It shall give, and give more
   From the wealth of its store.
O fair was the yesterday!  Kindly and good
Was the wasteland our guester, and kind was the wood;
Though below us for reaping lay under our hand
The harvest of weeping, the grief of the land;
Dumb cowered the sorrow, nought daring to cry
On the help of to-morrow, the deed drawing nigh.

   All increase throve
   In the Dale of our love;
   There the ox and the steed
   Fed down the mead;
   The grapes hung high
   'Twixt earth and sky,
   And the apples fell
   Round the orchard well.
Yet drear was the land there, and all was for nought;
None put forth a hand there for what the year wrought,
And raised it o'erflowing with gifts of the earth.
For man's grief was growing beside of the mirth
Of the springs and the summers that wasted their wealth;
And the birds, the new-comers, made merry by stealth.

   Yet here of old
   Abode the bold;
   Nor had they wailed
   Though the wheat had failed,
   And the vine no more
   Gave forth her store.
   Yea, they found the waste good
   For the fearless of mood.
Then to these, that were dwelling aloof from the Dale,
Fared the wild-wind a-telling the worst of the tale;
As men bathed in the morning they saw in the pool
The image of scorning, the throne of the fool.
The picture was gleaming in helm and in sword,
And shone forth its seeming from cups of the board.

   Forth then they came
   With the battle-flame;
   From the Wood and the Waste
   And the Dale did they haste:
   They saw the storm rise,
   And with untroubled eyes
   The war-storm they met;
   And the rain ruddy-wet.
O'er the Dale then was litten the Candle of Day,
Night-sorrow was smitten, and gloom fled away.
How the grief-shackles sunder!  How many to morn
Shall awaken and wonder how gladness was born!
O wont unto sorrow, how sweet unto you
Shall be pondering to-morrow what deed is to do!

   Fell many a man
   'Neath the edges wan,
   In the heat of the play
   That fashioned the day.
   Praise all ye then
   The death of men,
   And the gift of the aid
   Of the unafraid!
O strong are the living men mighty to save,
And good is their giving, and gifts that we have!
But the dead, they that gave us once, never again;
Long and long shall they save us sore trouble and pain.
O Banner above us, O God of the strong,
Love them as ye love us that bore down our wrong!

So they sang in the Hall; and there was many a man wept, as the song ended, for those that should never see the good days of the Dale, and all the joy that was to be; and men swore, by all that they loved, that they would never forget those that had fallen in the Winning of Silver-dale; and that when each year the Cups of Memory went round, they should be no mere names to them, but the very men whom they had known and loved.

Next: Chapter XLIX. Dallach Fareth to Rose-Dale: Crow Telleth of his Errand: the Kindreds Eat Their Meat in Silver-Dale