Before my council there thou'lt lay
The letter — and God speed thy way !"
Young Axel loves to ride amain !
The letter in his belt with joy
He hides. His sire, at Holofzin,
Fell fighting by his king ; the boy —
Thenceforth the camp's adopted child —
Grew up 'mid wars and tumults wild.
'Twas a fair form, such as our North
Doth sometimes even yet bring forth,
Fresh as a rose, but tall and slim
As Sweden's firs in youthful prime.
His arched brow was high and clear
As heaven's vault when no cloud is there,
And every feature bore impress
Of frankness and of earnestness.
His eye transparent seemed as given
To look with hope and confidence
Up to the God of day in Heaven,