Rackham, Arthur (illus) (1910) The Rhinegold & the Valkyrie, London: William Heinemann, p. p. 70

The Challenge of Thor

The featured image of Thor is from an illustrated edition of Wagner’s The Rhinegold and the Valkyries, a collection of Wagner’s first two operas published in 1910. The poem is from Longfellow, a more straightforward poem than the one discussed previously, though of course interpretation of poetry lies with the reader. It was originally published in 1863 as “The Challenge of Thor” in Tales of a Wayside Inn.

I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!

Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miölner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it,
Strength is redoubled!

The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!

Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor’s-Day!

Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus single-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!

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2 comments on “The Challenge of Thor

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