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265

AXEL.

Fights, though on bended knee, and feeling
The chill of death upon him stealing,
So fought each man behind his shield,
Desperate, but scorning still to yield ;
For hope of rescue there was none
In any breast save his alone.
The king, though hurricanes were shaking
The leaves of fate, though earth seemed quaking,
Stood calm as arch that hath defied
The bursting bomb 'mid ruins wide,
Or rock that breasts the raging wave,
Or Fortitude beside a grave.

One evening he to Axel said,
"Take thou this letter !" — and he laid
The missive in his hand — "now ride
Towards Sweden straight, this even-tide.
See that thou rest not, day or night,
Till our old mountains greet thy sight ;