Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas

Page: 30

To drain damnation from her reeking cup?

Then know that sooner from the withered staff

That in my hand I hold green leaves shall spring,

Than from the brand in hell-fire scorched rebloom

The blossoms of salvation.”

Tannhäuser (Owen Meredith).



Jacques Reich

Crushed with grief at this pronouncement, Tannhäuser fled, and, despite the entreaties of his faithful friend, Eckhardt, no great time elapsed ere he returned to the Hörselberg, where he vanished within the cave. He had no sooner disappeared, however, than the Pope’s messengers arrived, proclaiming that he was pardoned, for the withered staff had miraculously bloomed, thus proving to all that there was no sin too heinous to be pardoned, providing repentance were sincere.

“Dashed to the hip with travel, dewed with haste,

A flying post, and in his hand he bore

A withered staff o’erflourished with green leaves;

Who,—followed by a crowd of youth and eld,

That sang to stun with sound the lark in heaven,

’A miracle! a miracle from Rome!

Glory to God that makes the bare bough green!’—

Sprang in the midst, and, hot for answer, asked

News of the Knight Tannhäuser.”

Tannhäuser (Owen Meredith). [55]

Holda was also the owner of a magic fountain called Quickborn, which rivalled the famed fountain of youth, and of a chariot in which she rode from place to place when she inspected her domain. This vehicle having once suffered damage, the goddess bade a wheelwright repair it, and when he had finished told him to keep some chips as his pay. The man was indignant at such a meagre reward, and kept only a very few of the number; but to his surprise he found these on the morrow changed to gold.

“Fricka, thy wife—

This way she reins her harness of rams.

Hey! how she whirls

The golden whip;

The luckless beasts

Unboundedly bleat;

Her wheels wildly she rattles;

Wrath is lit in her look.”

Wagner (Forman’s tr.).