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how Moses by his powerful prayers had drawn down victory from heaven : “Great and merciful God !” exclaimed he, “if thou wilt only hear my fervent prayers, and give victory to Thy champions for Thy great name's sake, then will I pray unto and praise Thee till my last breath!” And he stretched again his trembling hands towards heaven.
“ The enemy flies !—the King conquers !” now again shouted the astonished bishops and clergy; and as this singularly occurred every time that the Archbishop lifted his hands, and the contrary when they fell, the bishops and clergy hastened to kneel and support the pious Archbishop's hands. Thus they continued to support his arms, and to unite in his invocations to Heaven so long as the battle lasted, till finally, as the sun went down, the heathens took to flight over the many thousands of corpses, and were pursued by the victorious Danes.
“ Praised be the Almighty !” said the Archbishop, and attempted to rise, but he sank back pale and exhausted into the arms of the bishops and clergy. But now, as the King and all the leaders of the army assembled round him, he arose with fresh vigour, and began a solemn “Te Deum,” which the King and the whole army joined in with gladness and devotion, while Carl of Rise waved the miraculous banner above the King's head.
This singular occurrence of the appearance of this cross-banner, which since then has been preserved under the celebrated name of the “Dannebrog,” in the cathedral of Schleswig, has been accounted for by some in a natural manner, and the standard has been regarded by many as an ensign of the cross sent by the Pope ; but the tradition of its descent from heaven, was preserved amongst the people to the latest time, and gave to this national palladium such honour and sacredness in their eyes, that a white cross on a red ground for ages led the way to the Danish sea-warrior towards glory and power, and became, in the order of Dannebrog, the badge of honour to the fatherland's distinguished men, with the significant inscription—"For God and the King !"
As a specimen of Ingemann's poetry, we have said we would particularly point out his “Holger Danske." It is, as a poetic whole, composed of a cycle of lyrical pieces, divided into five sections, entitled : First, Home-Going forth into the World ; Second, Holger's Youth ; Third, Hero Life; Fourth, Holger in the North and the East ; Fifth, Return to Life.
Holger was a King of Denmark, cotemporary with Charlemagne. In his boyhood, never liked by his father, because his mother died to give him birth, he grows up amid the warrior memories of his fatherland, and early goes forth as a hostage to Charlemagne. He is baptized in the Rhine, and eventually becomes one of the twelve Paladins of Charlemagne. The rest fall at Ronceval. Holger, who has fallen in love during a captivity in Italy, with Gloriant, the beautiful Princess of Hindostan, but yields her to Prince Carvel, the man she loved, goes on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and thence to India, where he sees again Carvel and Gloriant; and after great campaigns against the heathen, whom he baptizes, and sets over them as princes his own followers-amongst them Præst John, or Prester-John,-he then returns, but is borne to the Island of Wonder, the Hidden Island, which no one but those for whom it is destined can see or approach. Here he meets Morgana the fairy, who stood by his cradle ; and in her castle of Avalon, he meets also Prince Arthur of Britain. In this beautiful region they live for ages, hunting, jousting and enjoying the music of ancient Scalds, till Holger returns at the appointed time to assist and inspirit his countrymen, as Prince Arthur does to England.
These legends of great ancient kings returning to the earth to give victory to their people, are but symbols of the popular faith in many countries, that the spirit of their greatest and most patriotic champions lives on for ever, comes forth into the heart of the million on all great occasions to inspire them with courage, and to carry them forward to victory over all tyrannies and obstructions, to the ever-onward career of civilization and freedom. King Arthur still waits in Avalon the time when he shall come forth for the glory and greatness of the British race ; Charlemagne still sleeps under the Untersberg near Saltzburg, till the hour arrives for the liberation and triumph of the whole Frank race; Barbarossa still sits in the subterranean vaults of the castle of Kyfhäuser, till his beard has grown through the stone table before him, reserved for the hour of the salvation of Germany; and Holger Danske, now in Avalon, now on the hills and cairns of Denmark, watches over the fortunes of his country, and breathes aloud his patriotic inspiration, whenever it is threatened with evil.
But the Danes have a more living faith in the presence and activeministrations of Holger, their national champion. They do not believe that he sleeps in the delicious shades of the Hidden Isle for some future period, but through all great crises for the last thousand years he has been amongst them inspiriting and invigorating them. The peasantry have a profound faith in his actual life and workings amongst them. He is seen on all national emergencies—he was beheld during the last war with
Holstein, mounted, as usual, on his foam-white steed, and pointing the way to heroic enterprize.
It is thus that Ingemann sees him, the guardian and inspirer of the nation, and lets him tell his own story. He beholds
HOLGER ON THE WARRIOR-CAIRN.
Every time I look o'er the country,
Where their heads the old cairns raise,
As it did in earliest days.
And look on the stones so grey,
I can lie as of old I lay.
In the beechwood's native land,
I nod to wood and strand.
Oh never my heart forgetteth
The cairn, the wood and the strand ;
The warrior's fatherland.
As he opens his story and as he closes it, he makes him proclaim his eternal mission and his recognition by the people :
When life blooms forth in the heart of the Dane,
When its song the nation raises ;
And the poets sing my praises.
I embrace him with exultation ;
I live in the heart of the nation.
Thou know'st it, peasant ! I am not dead ;
I come back to thee in my glory.
As in Denmark's ancient story.
Holger Danske” is conceived in the most truly poetical spirit. The old heroic feeling breathes in it, brave, free and tender, and the verse reminds us of the simple music of the ancient harps. In the various scenes of Holger's life, there is ample scope for the descriptive talent of the poet. Whether Holger lies as a child in his father's shield as a cradle, gazing on oak and beech which murmured by the northern casement, or listened to the harps of the Scalds; whether he gazed on the bowed head of Wittekind, the vanquished Saxon King, or on the grave and noble face of Charlemagne
“As he saw him on Whitsun morning,
Baptize Saxons in the Rhine.
All with Master Alcuine;"
whether he sate in captivity and listened to the wondrous singing of the beautiful Gloriant; whether he hewed his way in the battle amongst the Moors, or feasted in the hall of triumph amongst the glorious Paladins, everywhere there are superb subjects for the intellectual artist, and everywhere those glorious days are sung with an undertone of melancholy, the voice of an eternal regret over those beautiful but departed times. It is in “Ronceval,” however, that this tone reaches its height. That noble ballad, that mild, sad sound of the beloved Roland's horn, those funeral obsequies of the treacherously slain Paladins who had done such immortal deeds in the great Kaiser's campaigns throughout such vast countries, and the astounded monarch now mourning over them in the