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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Plea of King Magnus

By Björnstjerne Björnson (1832–1910)

From ‘Sigurd Slembe’

Translation of William Morton Payne

“BUT once more let me the heavens see,

When the stars their watch are keeping,”

Young Magnus begged, and fell on his knee;

It was sad to see,

And the women away turned weeping.

“Let me once more the mountains see,

And the blue of the ocean far-reaching,

Only once more, and then let it be!”

And he fell on his knee,

While his friends were for pity beseeching.

“Let me go to the church, that the sacred sight

Of the blood of God may avail me;

That my eyes may bathe in its holy light,

Ere the day take flight,

And my vision forever shall fail me!”

But the sharp steel sped, and the shadows fell,

As the darkness the day o’erpowers.

“Magnus our king, farewell, farewell!”

“So farewell, farewell,

All my friends of so many glad hours.”