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"The Fatal Sisters. An Ode"

"The Fatal Sisters. An Ode"


(From the Norse-Tongue,) in the ORCADES of
Thormodus Torfaeus; Hafniae, 1697, Folio:
and also in Bartholinus.

Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c.

PREFACE

In the eleventh century Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney-Islands,
went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops
into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard,
who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of
Dublin: the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and
Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a
greater loss by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in
the action. On Christmas-day, (the day of the battle,) a native
of Caithness in Scotland saw at a distance a number of persons
on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter
into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an
opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling
women: they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove,
they sung the following dreadful Song; which when they had
finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking
her portion) galloped six to the north and as many to the south.


1 Now the storm begins to lower,
2 (Haste, the loom of hell prepare,)
3 Iron-sleet of arrowy shower
4 Hurtles in the darkened air.

5 Glittering lances are the loom,
6 Where the dusky warp we strain,
7 Weaving many a soldier's doom,
8 Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane.

9 See the grisly texture grow,
10 ('Tis of human entrails made,)
11 And the weights that play below,
12 Each a gasping warrior's head.

13 Shafts for shuttles, dipped in gore,
14 Shoot the trembling cords along.
15 Sword, that once a monarch bore,
16 Keep the tissue close and strong.

17 Mista black, terrific maid,
18 Sangrida and Hilda see,
19 Join the wayward work to aid:
20 'Tis the woof of victory.

21 Ere the ruddy sun be set,
22 Pikes must shiver, javelins sing,
23 Blade with clattering buckler meet,
24 Hauberk crash and helmet ring.

25 (Weave the crimson web of war)
26 Let us go, and let us fly,
27 Where our friends the conflict share,
28 Where they triumph, where they die.

29 As the paths of fate we tread,
30 Wading through the ensanguined field:
31 Gondula and Geira, spread
32 O'er the youthful King your shield.

33 We the reins to slaughter give,
34 Ours to kill and ours to spare:
35 Spite of danger he shall live.
36 (Weave the crimson web of war.)

37 They, whom once the desert-beach
38 Pent within its bleak domain,
39 Soon their ample sway shall stretch
40 O'er the plenty of the plain.

41 Low the dauntless Earl is laid,
42 Gored with many a gaping wound:
43 Fate demands a nobler head;
44 Soon a King shall bite the ground.

45 Long his loss shall Eirin weep,
46 Ne'er again his likeness see;
47 Long her strains in sorrow steep,
48 Strains of immortality!

49 Horror covers all the heath,
50 Clouds of carnage blot the sun.
51 Sisters, weave the web of death;
52 Sisters, cease, the work is done.

53 Hail the task, and hail the hands!
54 Songs of joy and triumph sing!
55 Joy to the victorious bands;
56 Triumph to the younger King.

57 Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,
58 Learn the tenor of our song.
59 Scotland, through each winding vale
60 Far and wide the notes prolong.

61 Sisters, hence with spurs of speed:
62 Each her thundering faulchion wield;
63 Each bestride her sable steed.
64 Hurry, hurry to the field.

Gray's annotations

1
Note — The Valkyriur were female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic mythology. Their name signifies Chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valhalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.
3
[The Latin translation renders the original rifs reidisky ('the hanging cloud of the warp-beam' according to Cleasby & Vigfusson, An Old Icelandic Dictionary, s.v. rifr) by nubes sagittarum, an error which Gray incorporated into his poem.]
How quick they wheel'd; and flying, behind them shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy shower—
    Milton's Paradise Regained. [iii. 323-4]
4
The noise of battle hurtled in the air.
    Shakespear's Jul. Caesar. [II. ii. 22]

Expanding the poem lines shows notes and queries taken from various critical editions of Gray's works, as well as those contributed by users of the Archive. There are 89 textual and 103 explanatory notes/queries.

All notes and queries are shown by default.

0 "The Fatal Sisters. An Ode" 23 Explanatory, 16 Textual

Title/Paratext] "[Initial Old Norse line:] ''Vitt [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"[Initial Old Norse line:] ''Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, etc.'' [[is] [m]ore correctly: - Vitt es orpit fyr val-falli. - Ed.]"

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 51.

Title/Paratext] "[The Fatal Sisters, according to [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"[The Fatal Sisters, according to a note to the original MS. at Pembroke College, was written in 1761. It was first published, as here reprinted, in the edition of 1768. It is a paraphrase of an Icelandic court-poem of the 11th century, entitled Darradar-Liod or the Lay of Darts. According to Vigfusson and Powell, it refers to the battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday, 1014, and represents the Weird Sisters as appearing before the battle, and weaving the web of the fate of Ireland and of King Brian. See Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i. 281-283, for the Icelandic text. - Ed.]"

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 52.

Title/Paratext] "[Advertisement, last line but one] [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"[Advertisement, last line but one] ''Person,'' Thomas Warton, the poet-laureate. - [Ed.]"

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 53.

Title/Paratext] "This ode was written in [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"This ode was written in 1761, and first published in the 1768 edition of Gray's poems. It is a free rendering of a Latin translation from the Old Norse. (See Appendix to Introduction, on Gray's Knowledge of Norse.) The chief interest of Gray's version is the fact that it shows his love and eager study of strictly Romantic themes."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 162.

Title/Paratext] "[Gray's main sources for his [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"[Gray's main sources for his adaptation were Latin versions made by] Torfaeus [(Torfason)] For particulars, see Appendix[, a learned Icelander (1636-1719), and] Thomas Bartholin[us] [(Bartholin)], the younger (1659-1690)[, a Danish physician and scholar] For particulars as to his book on Northern antiquities, and as to Gray's use of it, see Appendix.
The Old Norse words quoted by Gray from a part of the opening sentence of the song: ''Vitt er orpit fyr val-falli / rifs rei[th]i-sky.'' ''The pendent cloud of loom [i.e. the fateful web which the valkyrjur are weaving] is stretched out wide before the slaughter.''"

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 162.

Title/Paratext] "Gray translated from the Latin [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Gray translated from the Latin version in Bartholin, which is repeated in Torfaeus. No doubt he referred to the original, which they also print.
This original is to be found in the Icelandic Njalssaga (the Saga of Njall or Niel), cap. 157 (Islendinga Sögur, Copenhagen, 1875, III, 898-901). The accompanying prose furnishes an introduction and a conclusion, which are put together by Gray in his Preface. The text of the song (without the prose) is edited, with an English prose translation, in Vigfusson and Powell, Corpus Poeticum Boreale, Oxford, 1883, I, 281-283. The poem is much older than the Saga which has preserved it, and must, indeed, be nearly contemporary with the event which it celebrates - the Battle of Clontarf, fought April 23 (Good Friday) - not Christmas, as Gray has it, - 1014. (See Konrad [von] Maurer, [Die] Bekehrung des norwegischen Stammes [zum Christenthume, 2 vols, München: Kaiser, 1855-1856], I, 549 ff.) It is one of the most powerful of the Old Norse poems. The metre and style are of course entirely different from the metre and style of Gray's paraphrase. The Latin version is reprinted, not because it gives a fair idea of the original, but because it is essential for comparison with Gray's Ode.
Bartholin, De Causis contemptae a Danis adhuc Gentilibus Mortis, 1689, pp. 618-624.

Late diffunditurTexamus, texamus
ante stragem futuramtelam Darradi,
sagittarum nubes,et Regi
depluit sangvis,deinde adhaereamus:
jam hastis applicaturibi videbant
cineraceasangvine rorata scuta
tela virorum,Gunna et Gondula,
qvam amicae, texuntqvae regem tutabantur.
rubro subtegmine,
Randveri mortis.Texamus, texamus
telam Darradi,
Texitur haec telaubi arma concrepant
intestinis humanis,bellacium virorum,
staminiqve stricte alliganturnon sinamus eum
capita humana;vita privari,
sunt sangvine rorataehabent Valkyriae
hastae, pro insilibus:caedis potestatem.
textoria instrumenta, ferrea:
ac sagittae pro radiis:Illi populi
densabimus gladiisterras regent,
hanc victoriae telam.qvi deserta promontoria
antea incolebant.
Prodeunt ad texendum Hildadico potenti regi
et Hiorthrimula,mortem imminere,
Sangrida et Svipula,jam sagittis
cum strictis gladiis:occubuit Comes.
hastile frangetur,
scutum diffindetur,Et Hibernis
ensisqvedolor accidet,
clypeo illidetur.qvi nunqvam
apud viros delebitur.
Texamus, texamusjam tela texta est,
telam Darradi.campus vero (sangvine) roratus,
Hunc (gladium) rex juvenisterras percurret
prius possidebat:conflictus militum.
Prodeamus
et cohortes intremus,Nunc horrendum est
ubi nostri amicicircumspicere,
armis dimicant.bene sit nobis canentibus!
cum sangvinea nubesDiscat autem ille
per aera volitet.qvi auscultat
tingetur aerbellica carmina multa,
sangvine virorum,et viris referat.
antequam vaticinia nostra
omnia corruant.Eqvitemus in eqvis
qvoniam efferimus
Bene canimusstrictos gladios,
de rege juveneex hoc loco."
victoriae carmina multa,

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 162-164.

Title/Paratext] "[Advertisement.] The ''Friend'' Gray mentions [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"[Advertisement.] The ''Friend'' Gray mentions was Thomas Warton (1728-1790). Gray had planned to write a History of English Poetry, but when he heard that Thomas Warton was engaged in that work, he gave up the idea, and handed over his general scheme to Warton, who published years afterward the History. (1st vol. 1774, 2d vol. 1778, 3d vol. 1781.) Gray's scheme is contained in his letter to Warton, 15 April 1770 (Works, III, 364). Parts of the material that Gray had collected may be found in his Works, vol. I. See also a letter from Horace Walpole to Montagu, 5 May 1761 (Walpole's Letters, ed. [Peter] Cunningham, [3 vols., London, 1857-59,] III, 399)."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 164.

Title/Paratext] "[Preface.] Mason, in his 1775 [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"[Preface.] Mason, in his 1775 edition of Gray's Poems, p. 100, quotes Gray's MS. note about the conversion of the people of the Orkney islands: ''The people of the Orkney islands were Christians, yet did not become so till after A.D. 966, probably it happened in 995; but though they, and the other Gothic nations, no longer worshiped their old divinities, yet they never doubted of their existence, or forgot their ancient mythology, as appears from the history of Olaus Tryggueson.''
King Olave Tryggvason is said to have forced Sigurd, Earl of the Orkneys, to accept baptism in 995, but Konrad [von] Maurer ([Die] Bekehrung des norwegischen Stammes [zum Christenthume, 2 vols, München: Kaiser, 1855-1856], I, 339) suggests that the nearness of Scotland and Ireland, which were Christian, must have previously caused the conversion of a large portion of the islanders. The ''history of Olaf Tryggvason'' to which Gray refers was accessible to him in Latin in the works of Torfaeus."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 164.

Title/Paratext] "[Preface.] Sictryg, better Sigtrygg (Old [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"[Preface.] Sictryg, better Sigtrygg (Old Norse Sigtryggr). Sigtrygg was King of Dublin, Brian was King of Ireland. Brian was Sigtrygg's step-father (this is no doubt what Gray means by father-in-law). Both Brian and Sigtrygg fell in the battle."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 164.

Title/Paratext] "This Ode was written in [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"This Ode was written in 1761, and first published as the seventh in the Poems of 1768. In a letter to Beattie, 1st February, 1768, Gray states that his ''sole reason'' for publishing this and the following odes is ''to make up for the omission of the Long Story,'' which he did not include in his poems in 1768."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 204.

Title/Paratext] "The Ode is a translation [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The Ode is a translation or paraphrase from the Norwegian, the original being an Icelandic court poem written about 1029, entitled ''Darradar Liod, or the Lay of Darts.'' It refers to the battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday, 1014, and represents the Weird Sisters as appearing before the battle and weaving the web of the fate of the King. There is also a Latin version, referred to by Gray."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 204/205.

Title/Paratext] "[Advertisement.] The friend referred to [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"[Advertisement.] The friend referred to in the advertisement was Mason, and the ''design was dropped'' on his hearing that Thomas Warton was engaged on a History of English Poetry. Warton (1728-1790) was Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and succeeded Whitehead as Poet-Laureate; his ''History of English Poetry'' was not published till 1774-78-81."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

Title/Paratext] "The title in the Pembroke [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The title in the Pembroke MS. is ''The Song of the Valkyries.''"

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

Title/Paratext] "The Fatal Sisters, according to [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"The Fatal Sisters, according to a note to the original MS. at Pembroke College, was written in 1761. (Gosse.) [Before May 5, vide infra.] It was first published as the seventh in the Poems of 1768. In a letter to Beattie, 1st February, 1768, Gray states that the ''sole reason'' for publishing this and the following odes is ''to make up for the omission of the Long Story,'' which he did not include in his poems in 1768. (Bradshaw.)
To the edition of 1768 Gray prefixed the following:
'Advertisement. The Author once had thoughts (in concert with a friend) of giving the History of English Poetry. In the Introduction to it he meant to have produced some specimens of the Style that reigned in ancient times among the neighbouring nations, or those who had subdued the greater part of this Island, and were our Progenitors; the following three Imitations made a part of them. He has long since dropped his design, especially after he heard, that it was already in the hands of a Person well qualified to do it justice, both by his taste, and his researches into antiquity.'
The 'friend' was Mason, as appears from a letter of Walpole to George Montagu, May 5, 1761: 'Gray has translated two noble incantations from the Lord knows who, a Danish Gray, who lived the Lord knows when. They are to be enchased in a history of English bards, which Mason and he are writing; but of which the former has not written a word yet, and of which the latter, if he rides Pegasus at his usual foot-pace, will finish the first page two years hence.' The 'Person' in whose favour Gray resigned the task was Thomas Warton. He was probably encouraged by the intimation that Gray had abandoned his own History, and by the compliment to himself in this Advertisement, to apply to Gray through Hurd for 'any fragments or sketches' of Gray's design. But it was not until April 15, 1770, when he was told that Warton's first volume was in the press, that Gray replied by sending him the sketch to be found in the letter to Warton of that date. As a matter of fact Warton's first volume only appeared in 1774, after our poet's death.
Gray followed the Advertisement in 1768 by a Preface which runs thus:
'In the eleventh century, Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney-islands, went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops into Scotland [Ireland], to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of Dublin; the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian their King, who fell in the action. On Christmas Day (the day of the battle) a native of Caithness in Scotland saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding at full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks, he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling women: they were all employed about a loom: and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful song; which when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped six to the North, and as many to the South.'
Professor Kittredge points out that ''Christmas day'' is a slip; Torfaeus puts the battle on Good Friday. It was the Battle of Clontarf, April 23, 1014. He (or Dr Phelps) notes also that Brian was king of Ireland, and Sigtrygg king of Dublin, that Brian was Sigtrygg's stepfather, and that both fell in the battle.
It is to be noted however that Gray's Preface accords with the Ode, whether in the Latin version, or his own, in ignoring the death of the younger king; and he could scarcely have had Torfaeus before him for the day of the battle, for the Latin of Torfaeus as cited in Phelps, Appendix, p. xliv., though curiously worded, is explicit for Good Friday. On p. 162 of Phelps' Gray it is stated that 'the accompanying prose of the original (in the Nialssaga) furnishes an introduction and a conclusion which are put together by Gray in his Preface.' As it is stated in the same volume that Gray in his Preface followed Torfaeus, I suppose Torfaeus followed the Nialssaga, with which his account certainly tallies.
Mitford gives Gray's Preface and Preliminary Note (infra) combined, with certain additions; after 'a native of Caithness in Scotland' come the words 'of the name of Darrud' (an error which Gray himself corrects on the Latin version); and at the end of the note the following:
'Their numbers are not agreed upon, some authors representing them as six, some as four. See Magni Beronii diss. de Eddis Islandicis, p. 145, in AElrichs Dan. et Sued. lit. opuscula, vol. I.'
Whether these statements are Gray's I do not know.
Mason gives on the Argument a MS. note of Gray, in explanation of the date Christmas Day.
''The people of the Orkney islands were Christians, yet did not become so till after A. D. 966, probably it happened in 995; but though they, and the other Gothic nations, no longer worshipped their old divinities, yet they never doubted of their existence, or forgot their ancient mythology, as appears from the history of Olaus Tryggueson.'' Mason then refers us to Bartholinus, t. i. p. 615."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 237-239.

Title/Paratext] "There is a copy of [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"There is a copy of the Fatal Sisters in the Pembroke MSS., and another, a transcript by Wharton, in the Egerton MSS. in the British Museum. The Wharton MS. is headed (doubtless from Gray), 'The Song of the weird Sisters translated from the Norwegian written about 1029.' The date thus fixed by Gray, whencesoever derived, tallies with the statement of the American editors, that ''the poem must be nearly contemporary with the event which it celebrates.''
Scott was no doubt thinking of this version in passage quoted, Bard, l. 47, ad fin.
This account, say the Amercian editors, is derived from Bartholin, Bk. II. chaps. 11 and 12, and ''accurately represents the belief that obtained among the vikings at the time when the poem was composed, but must be regarded as a special Scandinavian development, forming itself gradually among the warrior class in what is known as the 'viking age' (A.D. 750-1050 roughly) and not as a general Germanic creed (Gray's Gothic in this connection doubtless = Germanic, Teutonic), nor even as a creed ever accepted by the common people in Scandinavia.''"

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 243.

Title/Paratext] "It has been questioned whether [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"It has been questioned whether Gray translated these Norse Odes from the originals or from the Latin versions. Mason's statement is capable of being construed either way: he speaks of 'the Latin versions of the originals from whence they were taken.' In his observations on the Pseudo-Rhythmus, which were written after 1761, Gray has a note in which he quotes from the Ransom of Eigil (sic) to show that it is in rhyme, and though this can be recognized without any knowledge either of the grammar or the meaning, and is besides no evidence of the state of his acquirements when the two Norse Odes were written, it is more likely that he had in some measure understood the original of the Ransom before 1761 (see what is said on his note to the Latin version of the Fatal Sisters, infra). Gray's notes on the Descent of Odin will be discussed in their place; from them (in Phelps' Gray) Professor Kittredge, who has dealt carefully with the question, infers that Gray had gained out of the books to which he had access that sort of knowledge of the language which was inevitable to such sagacity as his, but probably nothing like mastery. There is only one point which Professor Kittredge and Dr Phelps leave untouched. They have passed over the above-mentioned note by Gray on the Latin version of the Fatal Sisters. Gray there corrects Torfaeus, from whom he extracted the Latin, but Torfaeus only repeats Bartholin, and Bartholin owns his obligation to the learned Arni Magnusson with respect to the Latin versions. (Phelps' Gray, Appendix, xliii. n. 4.) From this it would seem that Gray not only consulted the originals, but had an opinion of his own as to their meaning and claimed the right to differ from a recognized authority on the subject. (Professor Kittredge however has convinced me that I am here in error.)
Torfaeus (Torfason) 'b. 1636, d. 1719, was a learned Icelander and one of the founders of the science of Northern Antiquities. His most important works (chiefly historical) were written while he was the King of Denmark's historiographer royal for Norway. His Historia Orcadum is the work to which Gray refers.' Professor Kittredge. The other authority is Antiquitatum Danicarum de Causis contemptae Mortis a Danis adhuc Gentilibus Libri Tres. [Three books of Danish Antiquities concerning the causes of the contempt of Death by the Danes while they were still Heathens.] Copenhagen, 1689. 'The author was Thomas Bartholin the younger (1659-1690), Professor at Copenhagen.' Id.
'The Old Norse words quoted by Gray form a part of the opening sentence of the song:

''Vitt er orpit fyr val-falli
rifs reidi-sky.''
'The pendent cloud of loom is stretched out wide before the slaughter' (Phelps and Kittredge). Scott in The Pirate [chap. XV. and note D] tells how when Gray's Fatal Sisters reached one of the Orkneys, a clergyman there read it to some of the old inhabitants, who after hearing a few lines of it, told him that they knew the song well in the Norse language, and had often sung it to him when he asked them for an old song. They called it the Magicians or the Enchantresses. This was probably in Gray's lifetime.
I give, after Mason, the Latin, as Gray found it in Torfaeus; and beside it a version for English readers:
Late diffunditur
Ante stragem futuram
Sagittarum nubes:
Depluit sanguis:
Iam hastis applicatur
Cineracea
Tela virorum
Quam amicae texunt
Rubro subtegmine [i.q. subtemine.]
Randveri mortis.
    Texitur haec Tela
Intestinis humanis,
Staminique stricte alligantur
Capita humana,
Sunt sanguine roratae
Hastae pro Insilibus
Textoria Instrumenta ferrea
Ac Sagittae pro Radiis:
Densabimus Gladiis
Hanc Victoriae Telam.
Prodeunt ad texendum Hilda
Et Hiorthrimula,
Sargrida et Swipula
Cum strictis Gladiis;
Hastile frangetur,
Scutum diffindetur,
Ensisque
Clypeo illidetur.
    Texamus, texamus
Telam Darradar1!
Hunc (Gladium) Rex Juvenis
Prius possidebat.
Prodeamus,
Et Cohortes entremus
Ubi nostri Amici
Armis dimicant!
    Texamus, texamus
Telam Darradi2;
Et Regi deinde3
Deinde adhaereamus!
Ibi videbant
Sanguine rorata scuta
Gunna et Gondula
Quae Regem tutabantur.
    Texamus, texamus
Telam Darradi!
Ubi Arma concrepant
Bellacium Virorum
Non sinamus eum
Vita privari:
Habent Valkyriae
Csedis potestatem.
    Illi Populi terras regent1
Qui deserta Promontoria
Antea incolebant.
Dico potenti Regi
Mortem imminere
Jam Sagittis occubuit Comes:
    Et Hibernis
Dolor accidet,
Qui nunquam
Apud Viros delebitur.
Jam Tela texta est.
Campus vero (Sanguine) roratus:
Terras percurret
Conflictus Militum.
    Nunc horrendum est
Circumspicere
Cum Sanguinea Nubes
Per Aera volitet:
Tingetur Aer
Sanguine Virorum,
Antequam Vaticinia nostra
Omnia corruent.
    Bene canimus
De Rege juvene,
Victoriae carmina multa:
Bene sit nobis canentibus!
Discat autem ille
Qui auscultat
Bellica Carmina multa
Et Viris referat.
Equitemus in Equis
Quoniam efferimus gladios strictos
Ex hoc loco.
Wide is spread
Before the coming havoc
The cloud of arrows:
Down raineth the blood:
Now to lances is fastened
The ashen-hued
Warp of Warriors
Which the Sisters weave
With the red woof
Of Randver's death.
    This web we are weaving
Of human entrails:
And to the warp are straitly tied
Human heads;
There be blood-besprinkled
Lances for treddles:
Iron is our weaving-gear
And Arrows for Shuttles:
With Swords will we close-pleach
This Web of Victory.
Forth come to the weaving Hilda
And Hiorthrimula,
Sangrida and Swipula
With drawn Swords;
The Spear shall be broken,
Cloven the Target,
And Sword
Be dashed against Shield.
    Weave we, weave we
The Web of Darradar!
This [Sword] the Young King
Erst wont to wear.
Forth let us go
And join the Squadrons
Where our Friends
Contend in battle!
    Weave we, weave we
The Web of Darrad;
And to the King, [then,]
Then, let us cleave
There were seen
Blood-sprent shields
By Gunna and Gondula
Guarding the King.
    Weave we, weave we
The Web of Darrad!
Where rattle the Arms
Of warlike Heroes
We must not suffer him
Of Life to be reft:
The Valkyries have
Control of Slaughter.
    Lands shall those Tribes rule
Who on desert Headlands
Hitherto wont to dwell.
O'er the mighty King I say
Death impendeth
Already neath Arrows hath fallen the Earl.
    And the Hibernians
Grief shall befall
Which never from mind
Of Men shall be blotted.
Now the Web is woven:
Blood-bedabbled the Plain:
O'er the lands shall sweep
Strife of armed Men.
    Now dreadful is it
To cast the eyes round
For a Cloud of Blood
Through Air is racking:
The Air shall be dyed
With Blood of Warriors
Ere our Weird-Words
All fall to the ground.
    Well sing we
Of the Youthful King
Many Songs of Victory:
Good be our guerdon!
But let that man learn
Who is hearkening,
Many a warlike Song
And tell it among Men.
Let us ride upon Horses:
Since drawn swords from forth
This place we carry.
1 sic, ap. Mason.
2 ''So Thormodus interprets it, as though Darradar were the name of the Person who saw this vision, but in reality it signifies a Range of Spears from Daur, Hasta, and Radir, Ordo.'' Gray.
I am enabled by the Rev. W. C. Green, translator of the Egilssaga (Stock, 1893) to state that the expression vefr darradar 'web of spear' occurs in Egil's Headransom, in a passage which Mr Green (p. 132) has rendered:
''Lances, a woven fence
Well-ordered, bristle dense.''
As we have seen, Gray knew Egil's Ransom, and perhaps through this very passage in it (?as interpreted by Wormius) he is enabled to correct Bartholinus or Torfaeus here. Mr Green says, ''Gray's acceptation of darradar as a compound word is doubtful: there is no trace of such a compound in Vigfusson's Lexicon. And yet it is quite possible that some one has taken the word as Gray explains it. For darr is 'a dart, plural dorr, which might often in old books be printed daur. And rada is a word 'to arrange.' But ar is the common genitive singular termination of several Icelandic declensions, and darradar is 'of a dart.' ''
The name of the song is Darradar Liod, and Vigfusson and Powell point out that it is called in the lay itself (l. 42 of their text) geir-hliod, which can only mean 'lay of darts.' The mistake about 'Darrad' dates from the Nialssaga.
3 sic, ap. Mason.
1 Two lines ap. Phelps"

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 239-243.

Title/Paratext] "This and the following two [...]" J. Crofts, 1948 [1st ed. 1926].

"This and the following two poems ['Descent of Odin', 'Triumphs of Owen'] replaced 'The Long Story' in the volume of Gray's Works of 1768. 'This poem is not so much a translation, as a loose, though highly spirited paraphrase.' (Mitford.) Gray depended chiefly on the Latin translation of the Icelandic poem, contained in the Orcades of Thormodus Forfaeus, 1697."

Gray: Poetry and Prose. With essays by Johnson, Goldsmith and others. With an Introduction and Notes by J. Crofts. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1948 [1st ed. 1926], 162.

Title/Paratext] "[The MS. at Pembroke bears [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"[The MS. at Pembroke bears the date 1761 and is entitled 'The Song of the Valkyries'. There is also a transcript in Wharton's handwriting with the title 'The Song of the Weird Sisters, translated from the Norwegian written about 1029'. The ode is a paraphrase of an Icelandic poem of the eleventh century entitled Darra[th]ar Lio[th], or 'Lay of Darts.' It refers to the battle of Clontarf, which was fought on Good Friday 1014. It was, like the two following odes, first published in the edition of 1768 'to make up', as he says in a letter to James Beattie, February 1, 1768, 'for the omission of that Long Story'.]"

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 66.

Title/Paratext] "This is a free translation [...]" W.C. Eppstein, 1959.

"This is a free translation of ''The Song of the Weird Sisters'', written about 1029, the text of which Gray found in the Orcades of Thormodus Torfaeus. Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney Isles, had gone to Ireland to the assistance of Sictryg, and on Christmas Day, when his forces were cut to pieces, Darrud, a Scot, saw a number of horse apparently gallop into a hill. Following them, he looked through a cleft in the rocks, and saw twelve gigantic female figures weaving at a loom, and as they wove they sang this terrible song. They were the Valkyriur, the servants of Odin, the Chasers of the Slain. Such as they destined for death, they conducted to Valhalla, the Abode of the Brave.
The metre and music are both admirably adapted to the subject, and Gray seems to have met with more success than is usual in paraphrases."

Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited by W. C. Eppstein. London and Glasgow: Blackie & Son Ltd., 1959, xxii-xxiii.

Title/Paratext] "The Fatal Sisters,The Descent of [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

The following three poems are Gray's renderings of Latin translations of Old Norse and Welsh poems. Although he copied the original as well as the Latin translation of The Fatal Sisters, for example, into C[ommonplace] B[ook], his limited knowledge of the original languages apparently led him to rely primarily on the Latin translations, since he has reproduced errors found in the Latin (see individual notes below). For the Scandinavian poems, he drew most of his data from the Orcades of Thormodus Torfaeus and from Thomas Bartholinus, Antiquitatum Danicarum de causis contemptae . . . mortis (Copenhagen, 1689). Mason reprints in his notes (ii. 99-102) the Latin translation used by Gray (see explanatory notes).
Gray told Beattie (T & W no. 466), 1 Feb. 1768, that the three poems were to be published in the 1768 editions 'to make up (in bulk) for the omission' of the Long Story."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 25.

Title/Paratext] "Preface. An earlier draft, very [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Preface. An earlier draft, very similar in phrasing, is in C[ommonplace] B[ook], iii. 1041 ff. Only the more important deviations are listed here: ...employed about a loom;... [is] they were all employ'd about a loom: the threads, that formed the texture, were the entrails of Men, the shuttles were so many swords, the weights were human heads, the warp was all of bloody spears. as they wove, they sung the following magic song. Then appear four lines of the Norse original, a Latin translation, and several notes, the most important of which reads: The People of these Islands were Christians, yet did not become so till after A:D: 966. probably it happen'd in 995. but tho' they & the other Gothic Nations no longer worship'd their Old Divinities, yet they never doubted of their existence, or forgot their ancient mythology, as appears from the History of Olaus Tryggueson. (See Bartholin: L. 3. c:i. pag: 615.)
Note. A similar note appears in C[ommonplace] B[ook], iii. 1044, but with this additional information: Gunna, Gondula, & Hilda, are the names of three such divinities mention'd in the Edda (Gunnr, Gaundol, Hilldr). there were also Skaugol, Geirskaugol, Skulld, Sigrun, & others. they are often described as spinning, or flying thro' the air, dress'd in the skin of a swan: some of them were married to mortal Men, (as Svanhvitr, Aulrunr, & Alvitrar) with whom they cohabited for a few years. they also are call'd Disir (see Bartholin, L: 3. cap: i, & L: 2. cap: ii) [.] there were a great number more of these Valkyriur, as Hrist, Mist, Skeggiold, Thrudr, Hlokk, Herfiotur, Gaull, Geira, Hod, Ranngrid, Radgrid, Reginleif, &c: whose office it was to serve the departed Heroes with horns of Mead & Ale."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 27/28.

Title/Paratext] "First published in P[oems, 1768]. [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"First published in P[oems, 1768]. The [...] MS. [was] sent by Gray to Dodsley, his publisher, who followed it fairly closely in P[oems, 1768], c. 1 Feb. 1768 (T & W no. 465), 'Autograph Directions', Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 38511, ff. 5-6 (D)."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

Title/Paratext] "Title: Ode (from the Norse-tongue) [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Title: Ode (from the Norse-tongue) in the Orcades of Thormodus Torfaeus. Hafniae. 1697. Fol: & also in Bartholinus. MS. sent by Gray to Dodsley; ODE / VIII. / The FATAL SISTERS. / From the Norse tongue. M[ason]; The Song of the Valkyries. C[ommonplace] B[ook]; The Song of the weird Sisters translated from the Norwegian written about 1029. Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

Title/Paratext] "[Initial Norse line:] Vitt er [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"[Initial Norse line:] Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli &c: [is] [Wide is flung before the fall of the slain]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

Title/Paratext] "The Fatal Sisters was written [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"The Fatal Sisters was written in 1761 and is a paraphrase of a poem (often attributed to the eleventh century) preserved in Njals Saga, ch. 157, which is part of an account of the Battle of Clontarf; this battle was fought on 23 Apr. (Good Friday) 1014 (not 'Christmas-day ... about the year 1029' as Gray incorrectly entered in C[ommonplace] B[ook]). In Njals Saga the vision is said to have been seen in Caithness by a man named Dorrudr (not 'by a Native of Caithness'; this phrase together with the unfortunate placing of 'in Scotland' in the preface might lead a reader to infer that the vision was seen near Clontarf).
The original poem has no title in any of the MSS.; the name Darradar Ljod was attached to it later, probably as a means of identification when it began to be reproduced separately, although the present editors have been unable to find by whom. Tovey has assumed that the title means 'Lay of Darts' (disregarding the fact that Darradar is singular) and that the name of the man who saw the vision was a mythical one derived from the title. Since the man's name appears quite some time before the title, this theory is untenable. It is more likely that the name was taken from vef darradar ('web of the dart', probably a kenning for 'battle') of strophes 4 and 5 (see below, ll. 30, 38, 46 of the English translation of the Latin version, where the phrase is incorrectly rendered 'web of Darrad') and that the title is just what it seems to be , 'The Song of Dorrudr'.
Apparently the coincidence of darradar in the text and title misled Torfaeus who rendered vef darradar as Telam Darradi and Telam Darradar in ll. 30 and 38 respectively. It should be noted that Gray was not misled by these renderings, having written 'web of war' both times. Indeed, it seems to the present editors, whose knowledge of O[ld] N[orse] is also rather limited, that Gray did much better than he has usually been given credit for in avoiding the pitfalls of this poem.
This passage appears in Lockhart's Life of Scott (London: Millet, n.d.), iv. 223-4: 'A clergyman ... while some remnants of the Norse were yet spoken in North Ronaldsha, ... carried thither the translation [of Darradar Ljod] of Mr. Gray, then newly published, and read it to some of the old people as referring to the ancient history of their islands. But so soon as he had proceeded a little way, they exclaimed they knew it very well in the original ... [as] The Enchantresses.'
To understand the basic imagery of the poem, the reader must have an idea of the looms employed in Iceland and the Scandinavian countries. The upright loom which the author of Darradar Ljod has in mind is constructed and functions essentially in the following manner, although the details are not definitely known. There is a more detailed account, with a cut, in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, s.v. tela.
The problem in weaving is to pass a free thread (weft or woof, ON veptr) alternately under and over a series of relatively fixed parallel threads (the warp).
The warp threads were attached to a round bar (warp-beam, ON rifr) which was set in sockets near the top of two upright posts so that it could be turned and the finished cloth rolled around it. The lower ends of the warp threads, either singly or in bundles, were weighted with stones to keep them taut.
Near the middle of the uprights there was a device that ran horizontally across the loom to enable the weaver to pull a certain series of warp threads forward, thus leaving a space (the shed) between them and the rest of the warp. Through this space the weft thread, probably attached to a stick or bone instrument (the shuttle), was passed (thrown is the usual weaver's term). After each passage of the weft thread, it was tamped firmly into place (beaten) by means of a straight stick.
In the Scandinavian upright loom the beating was upward, so that the cloth seemed to rise on the loom as more was woven. After a time, there would be a solid web (ON vefr) from the working area up to and around the warp-beam (hence the kenning 'hanging cloud of the warp-beam' for 'web')."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 211/212.

Title/Paratext] "A literal translation of the [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"A literal translation of the Latin on which Gray based his poem is given below. The line numbers correspond to those in Mason. The 'friendly women' of l. 8 are the Valkyries, who were called 'the friends of Odin'.

Wide is spread
Before the slaughter to come
The cloud of arrows:
Blood rains down:
Already to spears is fastened
The death-pale
Warp of men
Which the friendly women are weaving
With the red woof
Of Randver's death.
    This web is woven
Of human entrails,
And to the warp are tightly tied
Human heads,
Bedewed with blood are
Spears for treadles,
Weaving instruments of iron
And arrows for shuttles:
With swords will we beat tight
This web of Victory.
There are working at the weaving Hilda
And Hiorthrimula,
Sangrida and Swipula;
With drawn swords
The spear shall be shattered
The shield split
And the sword
Shall be splintered by the shield.
    Let us weave, let us weave
The Web of Darrad*
This (Sword) the Young King
Formerly owned.
Let us go forth
And enter among the cohorts
Where our friends
Fight with weapons.
    Let us weave, let us weave,
The Web of Darrad;*
And then unto the King
Then let us cling!
There they saw
Shields spattered with blood---
Gunna and Gondula
Who were guarding the King.
    Let us weave, let us weave
The Web of Darrad!*
When the arms clash together
Of Warlike Men
Let us not permit him
To be deprived of life:
The Valkyries have
Rule over slaughter.
    Those Peoples shall rule the lands
Who in desert headlands
Formerly dwelt.
I say that over the mighty King
Death hangs.
Already his Comrade has fallen to the arrows;
    And to the Hibernians
Pain shall come
Which never
Among men will be ended.
Now the web is woven.
Truly the field (with blood) bedewed;
Through the lands shall rush
The strife of Warriors.
    Now it is horrible
To look about
For a Cloud of Blood
Flies through the air:
The air shall be dyed
With the blood of men
Before our incantations
Shall all fall to the ground.
    We sing well
Of the young king
Many chants of victory:
May we prosper as we sing.
Moreover let that one learn,
Who is listening,
Many chants of War
And relate them to men.
    Let us mount our horses
Since we are carrying drawn swords
From this place.
* See introductory note. The phrase vef darradar appears three times in the original poem (ll. 30, 38, 46). The Latin translator has rendered it Telam Darradi in l. 30 and Telam Darradar in ll. 38 and 46. Apparently he was led to think that darradar was a proper noun by the title, and, recognizing the form as a genitive singular, rendered it first by a Latin genitive form (Darradi) but retained the ON genitive form in the later two lines. The editors have rendered the Latin each time 'Web of Darrad' to enable the reader to see the errors in the text that Gray was working with."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 212-214.

Title/Paratext] "Advertisement. The 'Friend' is Mason, [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Advertisement. The 'Friend' is Mason, and the plan was abandoned when Gray learned that Thomas Warton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, was writing a History of English Poetry."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 214.

Title/Paratext] "Preface. In Njals Saga, Dorrudr [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Preface. In Njals Saga, Dorrudr (the 'Native of Caithness') saw twelve persons ride to a dyngja, originally in Icelandic a room for weaving, often wholly or partially underground."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 214.

Title/Paratext] "[In Gray's note to the [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"[In Gray's note to the poem] Valhalla is spelled Valkalla in P[oems, 1768] and M[ason], for Dodsley evidently misread Gray's hand here, a natural error since this is supposedly the first use of the word in English. For additional information in C[ommonplace] B[ook], see textual notes."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 214.

Title/Paratext] "[Preface 8. 'Christmas-day'] Torfaeus makes [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"[Preface 8. 'Christmas-day'] Torfaeus makes it clear that the battle actually occurred on Good Friday (eodem die passionis dominicae), 23 April 1014. With reference to Christmas Day, G[ray]. noted in the Commonplace Book (printed by Mason in 1775, Poems p. 100): 'The People of these Islands were Christians, yet did not become so till after A:D:966. probably it happen'd in 995. but tho' they & the other Gothic Nations no longer worship'd their old Divinities, yet they never doubted of their existence, or forgot their ancient mythology, as appears from the History of Olaus Tryggueson (see Bartholin: L. 3. c:i. pag: 615.)'."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 215/216.

Title/Paratext] "[Preface 8-9. 'Native of Caithness'] [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"[Preface 8-9. 'Native of Caithness'] Named Dorrudr in the Njals Saga, where he sees twelve people ride to a 'dyngja' or women's room, where such work as weaving was done, often partly underground."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

Title/Paratext] "[Preface 13. 'loom'] The draft [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"[Preface 13. 'loom'] The draft of the 'Preface' in the Commonplace Book adds: 'The threads, that formed the texture, were the entrails of Men, the shuttles were so many swords, the weights were human heads, the warp was all of bloody spears. as they wove, they sung the following magic song.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

Title/Paratext] "A similar note [as note [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"A similar note [as note on l. 1] in the Commonplace Book adds: 'Gunna, Gondula, & Hilda, are the names of three such divinities mention'd in the Edda (Gunnr, Gaundol, Hilldr). there were also Skaugol, Geirskaugol, Skulld, Sigrun, & others. they are often described as spinning, or flying thro' the air, dress'd in the skin of a swan: some of them were married to mortal Men, (as Svanhvitr, Aulrunr, & Alvitrar) with whom they cohabited for a few years. they also are call'd Disir (see Bartholin, L: 3. cap: i, & L: 2. cap: ii) there were a great number more of these Valkyriur, as Hrist, Mist, Skeggiold, Thrudr, Hlokk, Herfiotur, Gaull, Geira, Hod, Ranngrid, Radgrid, Reginleif, &c: whose office it was to serve the departed Heroes with horns of Mead & Ale.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

Title/Paratext] "Written in 1761, not later [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Written in 1761, not later than the beginning of May. Since G[ray].'s translations from Norse and Welsh poetry were associated with his plans to write a 'History of English Poetry', some account of that abortive project must be given. In July 1752 William Warburton sent Mason a sketch for a history of English poetry which he had found among Pope's papers (Letters from a Late Eminent Prelate to one of his Friends (1808) p. 89). According to Mason, Memoirs p. 337:

'Mr. Gray was greatly struck with the method which Mr. Pope had traced out in this little sketch; and on my proposal of engaging with him in compiling such a history, he examined the plan more accurately, enlarged it considerably, and formed an idea for an introduction to it. In this was to be ascertained the origin of Rhyme; and specimens given, not only of the Provencal Poetry, (to which alone Mr. Pope seemed to have adverted) but of the Scaldic, British, and Saxon; as, from all these different sources united, English Poetry had its original. ...'

G.'s transcript of Pope's MS is in the Commonplace Book (ii 707).
The elaborate scholarly projects with which G. had been occupied since 1746 - a survey of ancient Greek civilization, the study of classical literature and of travel books - were replaced, at about the time that Mason suggested a collaboration on the 'History', by research into the historical background of English poetry. G.'s borrowings from Pembroke College Library and the entries in his pocketbooks and Commonplace Book show that from 1753 onwards he was engaged on a systematic study of Romance, Germanic and Celtic poetics and philology, as well as of medieval English poetry. A series of articles in his Commonplace Book illustrates the scale on which he was working. An annotated catalogue of English poets before 1600 is followed by various essays: 'Lydgate', 'Metrum', 'Pseudo-Rhythmus', 'Gothi', 'Additional Observations on the Use of Rhyme' and 'Cambri'. These essays were printed in part by Mathias in 1814 and by Gosse in 1884. The important article 'Cambri' has been printed in full by Roger Martin, Chronologie de la vie et de l'oeuvre de Thomas Gray (Toulouse, 1931) pp. 170-99. For a detailed account of G.'s achievement as a literary historian, see W. Powell Jones, Thomas Gray, Scholar (1937) pp. 84-107.
G.'s historical labours were followed with interest by his literary friends. Richard Hurd wrote encouragingly on 16 Aug. 1757 (Corresp ii 517): 'I hope you don't forget, among your other amusements this summer, your design for a history of the English poetry. You might be regulating your plan, and digesting the materials you have by you. I shall teaze you perpetually, till you set about the project in good earnest.' Nevertheless, G.'s interest in the 'History' gradually waned and by 1758, stimulated by Horace Walpole, he had turned instead to the study of English history and antiquities. When the British Museum opened in 1759, G. took up residence in London so that he could pursue his interests in the new library. As he explained to Mason in Oct. 1759 (Corresp ii 646): 'My only employment & amusement in Town ... has been the Musaeum: but I have been rather historically than poetically given, with a little of your encouragement perhaps I may return to my old Lydgate & Occleve, whose works are there in abundance.'
The stimulus to return to the 'History' duly came in 1760, but not from Mason. In Jan. 1760 Sir David Dalrymple sent Walpole, with the intention that they should be passed on to G., two specimens of James Macpherson's supposed translations from Gaelic poetry (Corresp iii 1223). Although he had doubts about their authenticity, G. was greatly excited by them. In June 1760 Macpherson published his Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland and translated from the Galic or Erse Language at Edinburgh, and G. admitted to Wharton that he had 'gone mad about them' and that he was 'extasie with their infinite beauty'. Whether or not they were genuine, he was enthusiastic: 'in short this Man is the very Demon of Poetry, or he has lighted on a treasure hid for ages.' Almost simultaneously he was shown the MS of the De Bardis Dissertatio by the Welsh antiquary Evan Evans, which was to be published in 1764 (Corresp ii 680).
The specimens of ancient Erse and Welsh poetry produced by Macpherson and Evans inspired G. to return to his 'History of English Poetry'. When he printed his translations from Norse and Welsh poetry in 1768 he prefixed an 'Advertisement' in which he explained that the plan for the 'History' had been abandoned, but that: 'In the Introduction to it he meant to have produced some specimens of the Style that reigned in ancient times among the neighbouring nations, or those who had subdued the greater part of this Island, and were our Progenitors: the following three Imitations made a part of them.' Further detail is given in the sketch of his plan for the 'History' which he sent to Thomas Warton in April 1770 (Corresp iii 1123). The Introduction was to deal with 'the poetry of the Galic (or Celtic) nations, as far back as it can be traced', as well as 'that of the Goths: its introduction into these islands by the Saxons & Danes, & its duration.'
G. may always have intended therefore to include some verse translations in his 'History'. There is no way of dating precisely a list of works dealing with Scandinavian history and antiquities at the front of vol. ii of his Commonplace Book, which is followed by a list of 'Gothic', 'Erse' and 'Welch' poems, although the 'Erse' and 'Welch' entries seem to have been added later and to have been inspired by the collections of Macpherson and Evan Evans. Both the poems which G. translated as The Fatal Sisters and The Descent of Odin appear in the list of 'Gothic' poems and both are checked off, as if G. had intended at one stage to translate the others. Both had been translated by 5 May 1761, when Walpole wrote to George Montagu (Walpole Correspondence ix 364): 'Gray has translated two noble incantations from the Lord knows who, a Danish Gray, who lived the Lord knows when. They are to be enchased in a history of English bards, which Mason and he are writing, but of which the former has not writ a word yet, and of which the latter, if he rides Pegasus at his usual foot-pace, will finish the first page two years hence.' Walpole knew G.'s character all too well, for after this sudden return of enthusiasm in 1760-61, nothing is heard of the 'History' until 1768, when G. stated in his 'Advertisement' to The Fatal Sisters (see above) that 'He has long since drop'd his design, especially after he had heard, that it was already in the hands of a Person well qualified to do it justice, both by his taste, and his researches into antiquity'. G. may have abandoned it as early as 1762, when Thomas Warton was already planning his own History (Corresp iii 1092 n). In April 1770 G. surrendered to Warton the 'sketches' of his design (Corresp iii 1122-5). Warton's unfinished History appeared in three volumes between 1774 and 1781. Mason appears to have completed for the projected 'History' only a translation from Bartholinus, 'Song of Harold the Valiant': see his Works (1811) i 196-8."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 210-212.

Title/Paratext] "The Fatal Sisters, together with [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"The Fatal Sisters, together with The Descent of Odin and The Triumphs of Owen, was first printed in 1768. G. included these translations to replace A Long Story, which had appeared in 1753 with Bentley's illustrations and which he was now determined to omit. To James Beattie, who supervised the Glasgow edn of 1768, he explained that this was 'the sole reason I have to publish these few additions' (Corresp iii 1001-2); and he told Walpole (Corresp iii 1017-18) that 'The Long Story was to be totally omitted, as its only use (that of explaining [Bentley's] prints) was gone: but to supply the place of it in bulk, lest my works should be mistaken for the works of a flea, or a pismire, I promised to send [Dodsley] an equal weight of poetry or prose: so, since my return hither, I put up about two ounces of stuff; viz. The Fatal Sisters, The Descent of Odin (of both which you have copies), a bit of something from the Welch, and certain little notes.' The notes to which G. referred here were taken from the critical apparatus which he supplied for the Latin texts of the poems in the article 'Gothi' in his Commonplace Book (see below). Others, which G. did not include in 1768, were printed by Mason in 1775."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 212/213.

Title/Paratext] "In the list of 'Gothic' [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"In the list of 'Gothic' poems at the front of his Commonplace Book vol. ii, The Fatal Sisters is entitled 'The Song of the Weird Sisters, or Valkyries - after A:D: 1029. In Tormodus Torfaeus. (Orcad[es] & Bartholin).' G.'s transcript of the poem in his Commonplace Book, where it is dated 1761, is entitled merely 'The Song of the Valkyries'. A transcript by Wharton in the British Museum is entitled 'The Song of the Weird Sisters, translated from the Norwegian about 1029'. The present title first appears in 1768 where it is followed by the explanation: '(From the Norse-Tongue,) In the Orcades of Thormodus Torfaeus; Hafniae, 1697, Folio: and also in Bartholinus.' G. then quoted the first line of the Norse original: 'Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c.' The sources of the poem mentioned by G. are Thomas Bartholin's Antiquitatum Danicarum De Causis Contemptae A Danis Adhuc Gentilibus Mortis (Copenhagen, 1689) in which many extracts from Norse poetry and the sagas were first published, including Norse and Latin texts of the original of The Fatal Sisters on pp. 617-24; and Thormodus Torfaeus's Orcades Seu Rerum Orcadensium Historiae (Copenhagen, 1697), which reproduces Bartholin's text on pp. 36-8. In 1760 or 1761, G. made a second entry in his Commonplace Book with the title 'Gothi' (iii 1041-3), in which he copied out part of the Norse and the entire Latin text of the poem from the Danish antiquaries and added elaborate notes.
The question of how much Old Norse G. actually knew has inevitably been raised: the evidence suggests that he depended almost entirely on the Latin translations (by Arni Magnusson) for his understanding of the poems and on the Latin commentaries of Bartholin and Torfaeus for his annotation. It has been pointed out that, while he transcribed the Latin texts of the poems in full, he omitted much of the original Norse, and that he reproduced errors which occur in the Latin. It is possible, however, that, whether or not he understood it, G. may have tried to imitate the characteristic rhythms of the original Norse verse. For further discussion of this problem see G. L. Kittredge's appendix, 'Gray's knowledge of Old Norse' in W. L. Phelps, Selections from Thomas Gray (Boston, 1894) pp. xli-l; F. E. Farley, Scandinavian Influences in the English Romantic Movement (Boston, 1903) p. 35 and n; and W. Powell Jones, Thomas Gray, Scholar p. 101. Farley also discusses G.'s place in the growth of Scandinavian studies in the eighteenth century and the particular influence of his translations."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 213/214.

Title/Paratext] "The original poem, known in [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"The original poem, known in its separate form as Darradar Ljod, was probably written not long after the Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday 1014, of which it purports to be a prophetic account. At a later stage it was absorbed into the late 13th century Njals Saga, ch. 157. In the Battle of Clontarf a number of characters of the Njals Saga fight on the side of Sictryg (or Sihtric), King of Dublin, and Sigurd, Earl of the Orkneys, against Brian, King of Munster. Although Brian himself was killed, his forces were victorious and the invaders retreated leaving Sigurd dead. See L. M. Hollander, Old Norse Poems (New York, 1936) pp. 72-5; and, for the full context of the poem, the translation of the Njals Saga by C. F. Bayerschmidt (1955) pp. 355-60. The title of the poem has been the subject of some speculation. When the poem was absorbed into the saga, the name of the man who saw the vision in Caithness (see G.'s Preface), given as Dorrudr in the saga, was probably formed from a misunderstanding of the kenning 'vef darradar' ('web of the dart' = 'battle'), which occurs three times in the original (ll. 30, 38, 46). For the Latin mistranslation of the phrase, see l. 25 n. When the poem was once more reproduced separately, its title may have been intended (as Starr and Hendrickson, p. 211, suggest) merely to mean 'The Song of Dorrudr'. Tovey has argued, however, that Darradar Ljod means 'Lay of the Darts' and that the name of the man who saw the vision was mistakenly formed from the title of the poem rather than the reverse. The evidence suggests that the separate title of the poem came later than its inclusion in the saga.
A literal translation of the Latin used by G., as given by Mason in 1775, follows:

Wide is scattered
Before the coming slaughter
The cloud of arrows:
Down rains the blood:
Already to the spears is tied
The deadly-pale
Warp of warriors,
Which the Sisters weave
With the red woof
Of Randver's death.
    This web is woven
With human entrails
And to the warp-thread are tightly bound
Human heads,
There are blood-spattered
Spears as treadles,
The weaving-tools are of iron
With arrows in the place of shuttles:


The web of Darrad;
And to the King then,
Then let us cling.
There they saw
Shields dewed with blood,
Gunna and Gondula
Who stood guard over the King,
    Let us weave, let us weave
The web of Darrad!
When the weapons clang together
Of the warlike men
We will not allow him
To be deprived of life:
The Valkyries possess
Power over death.
    Those peoples shall rule the land.
Who on desolate headlands
Dwelled before.
I foretell that over the powerful King
Death impends.
Already the Earl has fallen to the arrows;
    And to the Hibernians
A grief shall come,
Which will never
Among men be ended.
We will beat close with swords
This web of victory.
    There come to the weaving Hilda
And Hiorthrimula,
Sangrida and Swipula;
With drawn swords
The lance shall be shivered,
The shield split asunder
And the sword
Broken on the shield.
    Let us weave, let us weave
The web of Darrad!
This sword the youthful king
Once possessed.
Let us go forth
And join the battle-lines,
Where our friends
Contend with weapons.
    Let us weave, let us weave


Now the web is woven.
In truth the plain is dewed (with blood);
Over the lands shall sweep
The strife of soldiers.
    Now it is dreadful
To look around,
For a cloud of blood
Flies through the air:
The air will be stained
With the blood of warriors
Before our prophecies
Shall fall to the ground.
    Well do we sing
About the young King
Many songs of victory:
May it be well for us, the singers,
And may that man learn
Who is listening
Many songs of war
And make them known among men.
    Let us ride off on horses
Since we are bearing forth drawn swords
From this place."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 214/215.

Title/Paratext] "This free translation was associated [...]" J. Reeves, 1973.

"This free translation was associated with Gray's ambitious plans, never fully realized, of writing a history of English poetry. The Norse original concerns the Battle of Clontarf which was fought in 1014 and claims to be a prophetic account. [...] He [Gray] took this poem from a Latin transcription."

The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973, 115.

Title/Paratext] "Written in 1761. First printed [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"Written in 1761. First printed in 1768. This poem is based on the Old Norse poem 'Darra[th]ar Ljo[th]' written not long after the Battle of Clontarf, 1014, of which it purports to be a prophetic account. According to the Njals Saga, this battle was between Sictryg, King of Dublin, and Sigurd, Earl of the Orkneys, against Brian, King of Munster. Gray took his text from that published in Torfaeus's Orcades Seu Rerum Orcadensium Historiae, Copenhagen, 1697, where it was accompanied by a Latin translation."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

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(From the Norse-Tongue,) in the ORCADES of
Thormodus Torfaeus; Hafniae, 1697, Folio:
and also in Bartholinus.

Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c.

PREFACE

In the eleventh century Sigurd, Earl of the Orkney-Islands,
went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops
into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard,
who was then making war on his father-in-law Brian, King of
Dublin: the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and
Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a
greater loss by the death of Brian, their King, who fell in
the action. On Christmas-day, (the day of the battle,) a native
of Caithness in Scotland saw at a distance a number of persons
on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter
into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an
opening in the rocks he saw twelve gigantic figures resembling
women: they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove,
they sung the following dreadful Song; which when they had
finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking
her portion) galloped six to the north and as many to the south.


1 Now the storm begins to lower, 2 Explanatory

1.1-6 Now ... lower,] "The information in Gray's note [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"The information in Gray's note is derived from Bartholin, bk. ii, chaps. 11 and 12. The account given of the Valkyrjur (Old Norse plural; singular Valkyrja) and of Valhalla (Old Norse Vahholl) accurately represents the belief that obtained among the vikings at the time when this poem was composed, but must be regarded as a special Scandinavian development, forming itself gradually among the warrior class in what is known as the ''viking age'' (A.D. 750-1050 roughly), and not as a general Germanic creed (Gray's ''Gothic'' in this connection doubtless = Germanic, Teutonic), nor even as a creed ever accepted by the common people in Scandinavia. The student who wishes an accurate idea of these matters should not trust the popular handbooks of mythology, which seldom take into account the results of recent scholarship, and, indeed, show little advance beyond the authorities which were accessible to Gray. He may consult for the whole subject Mogk's article Deutsche Mythologie in Paul's [(ed.)] Grundriss der germanischen Philologie [2 vols.], vol. II [1893], or E. H. Meyer's Deutsche Mythologie (Berlin, 1891); for the Valkyrjur, W. Golther's Der Valkyrjenmythus, in the Abhandlungen of the Bavarian Academy, I. Cl., XVIII, ii, 401 ff.; Schullerus, Zur Kritik des altnordischen Valhollglaubens, in Paul and Braune's Beiträge, XII, 221 ff. ''Valkalla'' in Gray's note is of course a mere misprint for ''Valhalla.''"

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 164/165.

1.1 - 4.5 Now ... air.] "Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the lowring Element / Scowls ore the dark'ned lantskip Snow, or showre.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

Contribute a note or query

2 (Haste, the loom of hell prepare,) 2 Explanatory, 1 Textual

1.1 - 4.5 Now ... air.] "Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the lowring Element / Scowls ore the dark'ned lantskip Snow, or showre.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

2.1 (Haste,] "Hast   Wharton MS. For [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Hast   Wharton MS. For the pronunciation to which this points, cf. Dryden, Threnodia Augustalis, st. 4: ''Friends to congratulate their friends made haste, / And long inveterate foes saluted as they pass'd.'' And the same rhyme, infra XXIII. ll. 8, 10."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 243.

2.2-3 the loom] "With the weaving here and [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"With the weaving here and in the ''Bard'' [lines 48, 49, and 98] compare the paraphrase of the gipsy's song in [Scott's]''Guy Mannering'': -

''Twist ye, twine ye! even so
Mingle shades of joy and woe,
Hope and fear, and peace and strife
In the thread of human life.
...
Now they wax and now they dwindle,
Whirling with the whirling spindle,'' etc."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

Contribute a note or query

3 Iron-sleet of arrowy shower 5 Explanatory

1.1 - 4.5 Now ... air.] "Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the lowring Element / Scowls ore the dark'ned lantskip Snow, or showre.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

3.1-4 Iron-sleet ... shower] "Paradise Regained, iii, 323, 324. [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Paradise Regained, iii, 323, 324. The original has ''showers.''"

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

3.1-4 Iron-sleet ... shower] "''it toto turbida coelo / [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"''it toto turbida coelo / Tempestas telorum et ferreus ingruit imber.'' [Through all the air goes a thick storm of weapons and faster falls the iron hail.   Mackail.]   Virg. Aen. XII. 284.   Mitford."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

3.1-4 Iron-sleet ... shower] "G[ray].'s note acknowledges a debt [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray].'s note acknowledges a debt to Par. Regained iii 323-4: 'How quick they wheel'd, and flying behind them shot / Sharp sleet of arrowie showers.' Cp. also Virgil, Aeneid xii 283-4: it toto turbida caelo / tempestas telorum ac ferreus ingruit imber (through the whole sky flies a thickening storm of javelins and the iron rain falls fast); and Statius, Thebaid viii 412-3: exclusere diem telis, stant ferrea caelo / nubila (Their darts shut out the day, a steely cloud hangs athwart the sky). William Browne, Britannia's Pastorals II iv 56, has 'iron shower' for spears."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

3.3-4 arrowy shower] "G[ray]. follows the Latin nubes [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. follows the Latin nubes sagittarum, a mistranslation (or simplification) of the rather obscure kenning in the original, rifs rei sky, which Bayerschmidt and Hollander translate 'the weaver's-beam's-web' = the interweaving of darts and arrows in the air, a kenning for battle."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

Contribute a note or query

4 Hurtles in the darkened air. 2 Explanatory

1.1 - 4.5 Now ... air.] "Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Par. Lost ii 490-1: 'the lowring Element / Scowls ore the dark'ned lantskip Snow, or showre.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 216.

4.1-5 Hurtles ... air.] "Julius Caesar, ii, 2, 22." W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Julius Caesar, ii, 2, 22."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

Contribute a note or query


5 Glittering lances are the loom, 1 Textual

5.2 lances] "Launces. - MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Launces. - MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 55.

Contribute a note or query

6 Where the dusky warp we strain,
7 Weaving many a soldier's doom,
8 Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane. 9 Explanatory

8.1-5 Orkney's ... bane.] " ''Gray here follows Bartholin's [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

" ''Gray here follows Bartholin's Latin, which misrepresents the original. The Icelandic has 'the friends of the slayer of Randverr,' i.e. 'the friends of Odin,' i.e. 'the valkyrjur,' a typical skaldic phrase.'' (Phelps and Kittredge.) For 'Orkney's-woe' Gray has no original. It is clear indeed that the statements which he has embodied in his Preface are not a proper Argument to the original poem, though they have affected his interpretation of it. The song is altogether one of triumph, and no disasters to the side protected by the Sisters are recorded in it. The 'Comes,' therefore, in l. 59 of the Latin version is not the Earl of the Orkneys, though Gray so took it, unless Sigurd fought on Brian's side; whoever he was, his fall is among the calamities of Erin."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

8.1 Orkney's] "Sigurd." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sigurd."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

8.1 Orkney's] "Earl Sigurd." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Earl Sigurd."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

8.1 Orkney's] "Earl Sigurd." J. Reeves, 1973.

"Earl Sigurd."

The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973, 115.

8.4-5 Randver's bane.] "Gray here follows Bartholin's Latin, [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Gray here follows Bartholin's Latin, which misrepresents the original. The Icelandic has ''the friends of the slayer of Randverr,'' i.e., ''the friends of Odin,'' i.e., ''the valkyrjur,'' - a typical skaldic phrase. (So Vigfusson, doubtless correctly.)"

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

8.4 Randver's] "Tovey states that according to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Tovey states that according to Phelps and Kittredge, the Latin translation (Randveri mortis) is a mistranslation of the Icelandic 'the friends of the slayer of Randverr [sic]', a poetic phrase meaning 'the friends of Odin' (i.e. 'the Valkyriur'). There seems to have been some misunderstanding here: in the original, ll. 8-10 read 'er paer vinur fylla (which the friendly women are filling) / raudum vepti (with the red woof) / Randves bana (of Randver's slayer)'. Bayerschmidt and Hollander interpret ll. 9 and 10 together as a kenning for 'blood', construing Randves bana with raudum vepti, which seems more likely in view of its position."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

8.4-5 Randver's bane.] "The Latin Randveri mortis evades [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"The Latin Randveri mortis evades the obscurity of the original. G. Vigfusson and F. York Powell, Corpus Poeticum Boreale (Oxford, 1883) i 281, translate the original as 'the web which we the friends of Woden are filling with red weft', taking Randvess bana to be Woden or Odin (the slayer of Randver) and the 'friends of Woden' to be the Valkyries. Bayerschmidt and Hollander translate 'which valkyries fill with the red warp-of-Randver's banesman', taking the last phrase as a probable kenning for blood."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

8.4-5 Randver's bane.] "This is unclear in the [...]" J. Reeves, 1973.

"This is unclear in the original, but probably refers to Odin, the killer of Randver."

The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973, 115.

8.4-5 Randver's bane.] "This is obscure in the [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"This is obscure in the original. The phrase may refer to Odin, slayer of Randvar, or be a kenning for blood."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

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9 See the grisly texture grow, 1 Explanatory

9.1 - 12.5 See ... head.] "See the textual note to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"See the textual note to the Preface."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

Contribute a note or query

10 ('Tis of human entrails made,) 1 Explanatory

9.1 - 12.5 See ... head.] "See the textual note to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"See the textual note to the Preface."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

Contribute a note or query

11 And the weights that play below, 1 Explanatory

9.1 - 12.5 See ... head.] "See the textual note to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"See the textual note to the Preface."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

Contribute a note or query

12 Each a gasping warrior's head. 2 Explanatory

9.1 - 12.5 See ... head.] "See the textual note to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"See the textual note to the Preface."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

12.1-5 Each ... head.] "'The gasping Head flies off', [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"'The gasping Head flies off', Dryden, Aeneid ix 446."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

Contribute a note or query


13 Shafts for shuttles, dipped in gore, 1 Explanatory

13.1-6 Shafts ... gore,] "'And dip'd his Arrows in [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"'And dip'd his Arrows in Lernaean Gore', Dryden, Aeneid vi 1096."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

Contribute a note or query

14 Shoot the trembling cords along.
15 Sword, that once a monarch bore, 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

15.1 Sword,] "Blade. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Blade. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

15.1 Sword,] "Blade. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Blade. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

15.1 Sword,] "Blade   Wharton MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Blade   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

15.1 Sword,] "It will be noticed that [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"It will be noticed that Gray has transferred to this place the reference to the Monarch's sword which comes later in the Latin (l. 31). Nor does he make it the young King's sword. The passage in the original speaks of 'the Young King' but is obscure."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

15.1 Sword,] "Blade Wharton MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Blade Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

15.1 Sword,] "Blade Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]" [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Blade Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]"

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

15.1 Sword,] "Blade   Wharton." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Blade   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

Contribute a note or query

16 Keep the tissue close and strong. 2 Explanatory

16.1-6 Keep ... strong.] "There is something in the [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"There is something in the rhythm of this line that recalls the witches in Macbeth, iv, 1, 32: ''Make the gruel thick and slab.''"

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

16.1-6 Keep ... strong.] "This line in particular reveals [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"This line in particular reveals the general influence on the poem of the witches in Macbeth: see IV i, especially l. 32."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 217.

Contribute a note or query


17 Mista black, terrific maid, 6 Explanatory, 7 Textual

17.1-2 Mista black,] "Sangrida, terrific. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Sangrida, terrific. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The names of the Sisters, [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"The names of the Sisters, in the original, are Hilda, Hiorthrimol, Sangrida, and Swipol. - [Ed.]"

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Bartholin's Latin has as the [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Bartholin's Latin has as the names of the valkyrjur in these two lines Hilda, Hiorthrimula, Sangrida, Svipula (in the original: Hildr, Hjorthrimul, Sangrithr, Svipul) and in v. 31 Gunna, Gondula (in the original: Gunnr, Gondul). Gray found the names Mista and Geira in Bartholin's translation (p. 554) of a stanza in another poem of the Poetic Edda (the Grimnismal), where they occur in a long list of names of valkyrjur. The Old Norse forms in Bartholin's text are Mist and Geira. The latter is a false form, the correct reading being probably Geironul."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The names of the sisters [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The names of the sisters in the original are Hilda, Hiorthrimula, Sangrida, and Swipula."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

17.1-2 Mista black,] "Sangrida. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sangrida. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "''Sangrida, terrific Maid / Mista [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"''Sangrida, terrific Maid / Mista black, and Hilda see''   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The four names Latinized ap. [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"The four names Latinized ap. Torfaeus (ll. 21-23) are rendered in Vigfusson and Powell ''War and Sword-clasher, Sangrid and Swipple.'' Gray rejects the awkward Hiorthrimol, and substitutes Mista. This and Geira (l. 31) he found, say the American editors, 'in Bartholin's translation (p. 554) of a stanza in another poem of the Poetic Edda (the Grimnismal), where they occur in a long list of names of valkyrjur.' [Vigfusson and Powell, I. 75]."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see, Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]"

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see,   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "G[ray]. took three of these [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. took three of these names of the Valkyries - Sangrida, Hilda and Gondula - from the Latin text; but for Hiorthrimula, Swipula and Gunna he substituted Mista and Geira, names which he found in another list of the Valkyries in Bartholin's Latin translation of part of the Griminsval from the Poetic Edda, p. 554. See his note on the Valkyries in the Commonplace Book quoted above."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

17.1 Mista] "this and the following names [...]" J. Reeves, 1973.

"this and the following names are those of Valkyries who were described by Gray as 'female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in Gothic mythology[']."

The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973, 115.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "These are names of Valkyries. [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"These are names of Valkyries. Gray took the names of Mista and Geira from Bartholinus's Latin translation of part of the Griminsval, substituting them for the originals."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

Contribute a note or query

18 Sangrida and Hilda see, 6 Explanatory, 7 Textual

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The names of the Sisters, [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"The names of the Sisters, in the original, are Hilda, Hiorthrimol, Sangrida, and Swipol. - [Ed.]"

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Bartholin's Latin has as the [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Bartholin's Latin has as the names of the valkyrjur in these two lines Hilda, Hiorthrimula, Sangrida, Svipula (in the original: Hildr, Hjorthrimul, Sangrithr, Svipul) and in v. 31 Gunna, Gondula (in the original: Gunnr, Gondul). Gray found the names Mista and Geira in Bartholin's translation (p. 554) of a stanza in another poem of the Poetic Edda (the Grimnismal), where they occur in a long list of names of valkyrjur. The Old Norse forms in Bartholin's text are Mist and Geira. The latter is a false form, the correct reading being probably Geironul."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The names of the sisters [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The names of the sisters in the original are Hilda, Hiorthrimula, Sangrida, and Swipula."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "''Sangrida, terrific Maid / Mista [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"''Sangrida, terrific Maid / Mista black, and Hilda see''   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "The four names Latinized ap. [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"The four names Latinized ap. Torfaeus (ll. 21-23) are rendered in Vigfusson and Powell ''War and Sword-clasher, Sangrid and Swipple.'' Gray rejects the awkward Hiorthrimol, and substitutes Mista. This and Geira (l. 31) he found, say the American editors, 'in Bartholin's translation (p. 554) of a stanza in another poem of the Poetic Edda (the Grimnismal), where they occur in a long list of names of valkyrjur.' [Vigfusson and Powell, I. 75]."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see, Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]"

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 29.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Sangrida, terrific Maid, / Mista black, and Hilda see,   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "G[ray]. took three of these [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. took three of these names of the Valkyries - Sangrida, Hilda and Gondula - from the Latin text; but for Hiorthrimula, Swipula and Gunna he substituted Mista and Geira, names which he found in another list of the Valkyries in Bartholin's Latin translation of part of the Griminsval from the Poetic Edda, p. 554. See his note on the Valkyries in the Commonplace Book quoted above."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

17.1 - 18.4 Mista ... see,] "These are names of Valkyries. [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"These are names of Valkyries. Gray took the names of Mista and Geira from Bartholinus's Latin translation of part of the Griminsval, substituting them for the originals."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

18.1-2 Sangrida and] "Mista black, and. - Wharton [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"Mista black, and. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

18.1 Sangrida] "Mista black. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Mista black. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

18.4 see,] "Lo! used interjectionally." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Lo! used interjectionally."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

Contribute a note or query

19 Join the wayward work to aid: 1 Explanatory

19.3 wayward] "Perverse. But G[ray]. no doubt [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Perverse. But G[ray]. no doubt had in mind the witches in Macbeth, the Weird Sisters, spelt 'weyward' in the Folio edns of Shakespeare and in G.'s MS. In this sense it means 'Having the power to control the fate of men'."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

20 'Tis the woof of victory.

21 Ere the ruddy sun be set, 1 Explanatory

21.1-6 Ere ... set,] "Cp. the witches in Macbeth [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. the witches in Macbeth I i 5: 'That will be ere the set of sun'."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

22 Pikes must shiver, javelins sing,
23 Blade with clattering buckler meet, 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

23.1 Blade] "Sword. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Sword. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 56.

23.1 Blade] "Sword. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sword. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

23.1 Blade] "Sword   Wharton MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Sword   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

23.1 Blade] "Sword Wharton MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sword Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

23.1 Blade] "Sword Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]" [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sword Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]"

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

23.1 Blade] "Sword   Wharton." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Sword   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

23.3-4 clattering buckler] "Cp. Dryden's 'clatt'ring shields', Aeneid [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Dryden's 'clatt'ring shields', Aeneid vii 1084, ix 960, and Palamon and Arcite iii 996."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

24 Hauberk crash and helmet ring. 3 Explanatory

24.1 Hauberk] "Well explained in Gray's note [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Well explained in Gray's note to the Bard, v. 5."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

24.1 Hauberk] "See Gray's note on l. [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"See Gray's note on l. 5 of the Bard."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244.

24.1-5 Hauberk ... ring.] "Cp. The Bard 5 and [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. The Bard 5 and n (p. 183); 'his Helmet rung', Dryden, Aeneid x 1089."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query


25 (Weave the crimson web of war) 2 Explanatory

25.1-6 (Weave ... war)] "With the weaving here and [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"With the weaving here and in the Bard compare the paraphrase of the gipsy's song in Guy Mannering [C. IV.]:

    'Twist ye, twine ye! even so
Mingle shades of joy and woe,
Hope and fear, and peace and strife
In the thread of human life.
    *    *    *    *    *    *
Now they wax and now they dwindle
Whirling with the whirling spindle' &c. Bradshaw."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 244/245.

25.4-6 web ... war)] "The Latin translation of the [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"The Latin translation of the phrase 'vef darradar' ('web of the dart'), which occurs three times in the original, is telam Darradi (once) or telam Darradar (twice). The translator was probably misled into taking 'darradar' as a proper name by the context of the poem in the saga or by the title (see headnote). G[ray]. corrected the error in a note, based on Bartholin p. 624, in his Commonplace Book, printed by Mason, Poems p. 99 n: 'So Tormodus interprets it, as tho' Daradr were the name of the Person, who saw this vision, but in reality it signifies a range of spears, from Daur, hasta, & Radir, ordo', etc."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

26 Let us go, and let us fly,
27 Where our friends the conflict share,
28 Where they triumph, where they die. 2 Explanatory, 5 Textual

28.1-6 Where ... die.] "Cf. Bard, l. 142." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Cf. Bard, l. 142."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

28.1-6 Where ... die.] "Cp. The Bard 142 (p. [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. The Bard 142 (p. 200 above); Pope, Iliad iv 636-7: 'So fought each host, with thirst of glory fired, / And crowds on crowds triumphantly expired.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

28.3 triumph,] "Triumph is struck out and [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Triumph is struck out and 'conquer' in the margin, Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

28.3 triumph,] "conquer Pembroke MS. (written over [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"conquer Pembroke MS. (written over triumph)."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

28.3 triumph,] "triumph del with conquer above [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"triumph del with conquer above it, C[ommonplace] B[ook]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

28.3 triumph,] "conquer   Commonplace Book, written [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"conquer   Commonplace Book, written above triumph deleted."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

28.6 die.] "die [MS. sent to] D[odsley]" [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"die [MS. sent to] D[odsley]"

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

Contribute a note or query


29 As the paths of fate we tread, 1 Explanatory

29.1 - 30.5 As ... field:] "Notice the semi-classical and conventional [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Notice the semi-classical and conventional character of these two lines. The eighteenth century poet found it hard to keep this out of his verse however romantic or primitive the theme. Johnson was accustomed to laugh at the attempts made in his day to imitate the vigorous simplicity of old romantic poetry; he could, he said, do it better himself; and to prove it extemporized four lines of translation, the third of which runs:

''Where confused in mutual slaughter''[!]
Gray also fails here occasionally, though he has chosen a measure very suitable to a sort of incantation; it is that of the witches in Macbeth; and Dr Phelps remarks that
''Keep the tissue close and strong,''
reminds us by the rhythm of
''Make the gruel thick and slab.''
      (Macb. IV. I. 32.)
We may add that l. 21
''Ere the ruddy sun be set.,''
has in the opening Witch-scene of Macbeth (I. I. 4, 5),
''When the battle's lost and won,
That will be ere the set of sun,''
a counterpart which Gray did not find in his original, and I cannot doubt that he had Macbeth lurking in his mind."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

Contribute a note or query

30 Wading through the ensanguined field: 2 Explanatory

29.1 - 30.5 As ... field:] "Notice the semi-classical and conventional [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Notice the semi-classical and conventional character of these two lines. The eighteenth century poet found it hard to keep this out of his verse however romantic or primitive the theme. Johnson was accustomed to laugh at the attempts made in his day to imitate the vigorous simplicity of old romantic poetry; he could, he said, do it better himself; and to prove it extemporized four lines of translation, the third of which runs:

''Where confused in mutual slaughter''[!]
Gray also fails here occasionally, though he has chosen a measure very suitable to a sort of incantation; it is that of the witches in Macbeth; and Dr Phelps remarks that
''Keep the tissue close and strong,''
reminds us by the rhythm of
''Make the gruel thick and slab.''
      (Macb. IV. I. 32.)
We may add that l. 21
''Ere the ruddy sun be set.,''
has in the opening Witch-scene of Macbeth (I. I. 4, 5),
''When the battle's lost and won,
That will be ere the set of sun,''
a counterpart which Gray did not find in his original, and I cannot doubt that he had Macbeth lurking in his mind."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

30.1-5 Wading ... field:] "Cp. Elegy 67 (p. 129); [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Elegy 67 (p. 129); and 'th'ensanguind Field', Par. Lost xi 650; John Philips, Blenheim 155, and many other instances."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

31 Gondula and Geira, spread 3 Explanatory, 6 Textual

31.1-3 Gondula ... Geira,] "Gunna, and Gondula. - Pembroke [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"Gunna, and Gondula. - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 57.

31.1-4 Gondula ... spread] "Bartholin's Latin has as the [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Bartholin's Latin has as the names of the valkyrjur in [...] v. 31 Gunna, Gondula (in the original: Gunnr, Gondul). Gray found the names Mista [v. 17] and Geira in Bartholin's translation (p. 554) of a stanza in another poem of the Poetic Edda (the Grimnismal), where they occur in a long list of names of valkyrjur. The Old Norse forms in Bartholin's text are Mist and Geira. The latter is a false form, the correct reading being probably Geironul."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

31.1-3 Gondula ... Geira,] "Gunna and Gondula. - Pembroke [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Gunna and Gondula. - Pembroke and Wharton MSS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

31.1-3 Gondula ... Geira,] "Gunna and Gondula   Wharton [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Gunna and Gondula   Wharton and Pembroke MSS. (The readings in Pemb. MS. are given on the faith of Mr Gosse.)"

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

31.1-3 Gondula ... Geira,] "No doubt Gray came to [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"No doubt Gray came to the conclusion that it should be Gond'ula, not Gondula. Cf. his rejection of Caradoc in the Bard, l. 102. I think he changed Gunna to Geira (see on l. 17) for greater variety in the sound after Gondula.
Notice the imperfect tenses in the Latin ll. 42, 45, from which Gray here departs. The original as translated ap. Vigfusson and Powell is ''Battle and Gondol that guard the king shall bear bloody shields.'' "

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

31.1-4 Gondula ... spread] "Gunna and Gondula, spread Pembroke [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Gunna and Gondula, spread Pembroke and Wharton MSS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

31.1-4 Gondula ... spread] "Gunna & Gondula, spread C[ommonplace] [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Gunna & Gondula, spread C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

31.1-4 Gondula ... spread] "Gunna and Gondula, spread   [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Gunna and Gondula, spread   Commonplace Book, Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

31.1-4 Gondula ... spread] "G[ray]. took three of these [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. took three of these names of the Valkyries - Sangrida, Hilda and Gondula - from the Latin text; but for Hiorthrimula, Swipula and Gunna he substituted Mista and Geira, names which he found in another list of the Valkyries in Bartholin's Latin translation of part of the Griminsval from the Poetic Edda, p. 554. See his note on the Valkyries in the Commonplace Book quoted above."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 218.

Contribute a note or query

32 O'er the youthful King your shield. 4 Explanatory

32.1-6 O'er ... shield.] "According to Vigfusson the young [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"According to Vigfusson the young king is Sigtrygg. Cf. v. 56."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

32.3-4 youthful King] "Sigtrygg, cf. l. 50 of [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Sigtrygg, cf. l. 50 of the Latin."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

32.3-4 youthful King] "Sictryg (Silitric or Sihtric)." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sictryg (Silitric or Sihtric)."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

32.3-4 youthful King] "Sictryg." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Sictryg."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query


33 We the reins to slaughter give, 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

33.1-6 We ... give,] "Cp. Par. Lost vi 695-6: [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Par. Lost vi 695-6: 'Warr wearied hath perform'd what War can do, / And to disorder'd rage let loose the reines.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

33.5 slaughter] "havock. - Pembroke MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"havock. - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 57.

33.5 slaughter] "havoc. - Pembroke MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"havoc. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

33.5 slaughter] "havock   Pembroke MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"havock   Pembroke MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

33.5 slaughter] "havock Pembroke MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"havock Pembroke MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

33.5 slaughter] "havock C[ommonplace] B[ook]." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"havock C[ommonplace] B[ook]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

33.5 slaughter] "havock   Commonplace Book." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"havock   Commonplace Book."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query

34 Ours to kill and ours to spare:
35 Spite of danger he shall live.
36 (Weave the crimson web of war.)

37 They, whom once the desert-beach 5 Explanatory, 1 Textual

37.1-5 They, ... desert-beach] "The Northmen." W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"The Northmen."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 165.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The meaning of this verse [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The meaning of this verse is that the tribe which has hitherto been confided to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

37.1 They,] "The Northmen, hitherto confined to [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"The Northmen, hitherto confined to the seabord of Erin."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 245.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The tribe which has hitherto [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"The tribe which has hitherto been confined to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland. Br[adshaw]. Gray evidently assumed that the battle was a victory for Sictryg, although this is hardly the modern interpretation. See Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, i. 412."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "G[ray]. evidently understood the poem [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. evidently understood the poem to be a celebration of Sictryg (see ll. 32, 56) and probably intended these lines to refer to his forces and their future in Ireland. In fact, Sictryg was virtually defeated in the battle and the lines corresponding to these in the original have more commonly been taken to refer to the Vikings from the north."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

37.5 desert-beach] "Gray prints and spells thus [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Gray prints and spells thus - desart-beach."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

Contribute a note or query

38 Pent within its bleak domain, 3 Explanatory, 1 Textual

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The meaning of this verse [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The meaning of this verse is that the tribe which has hitherto been confided to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The tribe which has hitherto [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"The tribe which has hitherto been confined to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland. Br[adshaw]. Gray evidently assumed that the battle was a victory for Sictryg, although this is hardly the modern interpretation. See Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, i. 412."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "G[ray]. evidently understood the poem [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. evidently understood the poem to be a celebration of Sictryg (see ll. 32, 56) and probably intended these lines to refer to his forces and their future in Ireland. In fact, Sictryg was virtually defeated in the battle and the lines corresponding to these in the original have more commonly been taken to refer to the Vikings from the north."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

38.3 its] "it's C[ommonplace] B[ook], [MS. sent [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"it's C[ommonplace] B[ook], [MS. sent to] D[odsley]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

Contribute a note or query

39 Soon their ample sway shall stretch 4 Explanatory

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The meaning of this verse [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The meaning of this verse is that the tribe which has hitherto been confided to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The tribe which has hitherto [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"The tribe which has hitherto been confined to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland. Br[adshaw]. Gray evidently assumed that the battle was a victory for Sictryg, although this is hardly the modern interpretation. See Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, i. 412."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "G[ray]. evidently understood the poem [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. evidently understood the poem to be a celebration of Sictryg (see ll. 32, 56) and probably intended these lines to refer to his forces and their future in Ireland. In fact, Sictryg was virtually defeated in the battle and the lines corresponding to these in the original have more commonly been taken to refer to the Vikings from the north."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

39.1-6 Soon ... stretch] "'And o're Campania stretch'd his [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"'And o're Campania stretch'd his ample Sway', Dryden, Aeneid vii 1018."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query

40 O'er the plenty of the plain. 4 Explanatory

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The meaning of this verse [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"The meaning of this verse is that the tribe which has hitherto been confided to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "The tribe which has hitherto [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"The tribe which has hitherto been confined to the sea-coast shall rule over rich provinces in the interior of Ireland. Br[adshaw]. Gray evidently assumed that the battle was a victory for Sictryg, although this is hardly the modern interpretation. See Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, i. 412."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

37.1 - 40.6 They, ... plain.] "G[ray]. evidently understood the poem [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. evidently understood the poem to be a celebration of Sictryg (see ll. 32, 56) and probably intended these lines to refer to his forces and their future in Ireland. In fact, Sictryg was virtually defeated in the battle and the lines corresponding to these in the original have more commonly been taken to refer to the Vikings from the north."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

40.1-6 O'er ... plain.] "Cp. Education and Government 99 [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Education and Government 99 (p. 99)."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query


41 Low the dauntless Earl is laid, 5 Explanatory

41.4 Earl] "Probably Sigurd, though Vigfusson takes [...]" W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"Probably Sigurd, though Vigfusson takes it as referring to the son of King Brian."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 166.

41.4 Earl] "Brian's son (Vigfusson and Powell), [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Brian's son (Vigfusson and Powell), see on l. 8. But Gray probably means Sigurd."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

41.4 Earl] "Sigurd." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sigurd."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

41.4 Earl] "G[ray]. obviously had had Sigurd [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. obviously had had Sigurd in mind, although some editors of the original poem believe that it may refer to Brian's son. Cp. 'Now low on Earth the lofty Chief is laid', Dryden, Aeneid xii 1346."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

41.4 Earl] "Earl Sigurd (see above) who [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"Earl Sigurd (see above) who was killed in the Battle of Clontarf."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

Contribute a note or query

42 Gored with many a gaping wound: 1 Explanatory

42.1-6 Gored ... wound:] "Cp. Faerie Queene II iv [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Faerie Queene II iv 3, 8 and vii 13, 7: 'gor'd with many a wound'; I viii 16, 6: 'the gaping wound'. Shakespeare parodied this kind of diction in II Henry IV II iv 213-[4]: 'Why, then, let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds / Untwine the Sisters Three!' Dryden has 'gaping Wound', Aeneid ix 1017, x 1117."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query

43 Fate demands a nobler head;
44 Soon a King shall bite the ground. 4 Explanatory, 6 Textual

44.2-3 a King] "Sictryg." J. Crofts, 1948 [1st ed. 1926].

"Sictryg."

Gray: Poetry and Prose. With essays by Johnson, Goldsmith and others. With an Introduction and Notes by J. Crofts. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1948 [1st ed. 1926], 162.

44.3 King] "Brian." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Brian."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 215.

44.3 King] "Brian.   Cp. Dryden, Aeneid [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Brian.   Cp. Dryden, Aeneid xi 528: 'So many Valiant Heroes bite the Ground'; also Georgics iv 117; Aeneid xii 928; Pope, Iliad xvi 853."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

44.3 King] "Brian, King of Ulster, also [...]" J. Heath-Stubbs, 1981.

"Brian, King of Ulster, also killed in the battle."

Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981, 84.

44.4 shall] "Must. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Must. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 57.

44.4 shall] "Must. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Must. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

44.4 shall] "Must   Wharton MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Must   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

44.4 shall] "must Pembroke and Wharton MSS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"must Pembroke and Wharton MSS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

44.4 shall] "must C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"must C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

44.4 shall] "must   Commonplace Book, Wharton." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"must   Commonplace Book, Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query


45 Long his loss shall Eirin weep, 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

45.2 his] "Her. - Pembroke MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Her. - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 57.

45.2 his] "Her. - Pembroke MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Her. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

45.2 his] "Her   Pembroke MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Her   Pembroke MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

45.2 his] "her Pembroke MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"her Pembroke MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

45.2 his] "her C[ommonplace] B[ook]." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"her C[ommonplace] B[ook]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

45.2 his] "her   Commonplace Book." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"her   Commonplace Book."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

45.5 Eirin] "Ireland." J. Crofts, 1948 [1st ed. 1926].

"Ireland."

Gray: Poetry and Prose. With essays by Johnson, Goldsmith and others. With an Introduction and Notes by J. Crofts. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1948 [1st ed. 1926], 162.

Contribute a note or query

46 Ne'er again his likeness see; 1 Explanatory

46.1-5 Ne'er ... see;] "Hamlet I ii 188: 'I [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Hamlet I ii 188: 'I shall not look upon his like again.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 219.

Contribute a note or query

47 Long her strains in sorrow steep,
48 Strains of immortality! 1 Explanatory

48.1-3 Strains ... immortality!] "Cf. for the diction on [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Cf. for the diction on l. 29."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

Contribute a note or query


49 Horror covers all the heath,
50 Clouds of carnage blot the sun. 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

50.1-6 Clouds ... sun.] "Cp. The Bard 135 (p. [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. The Bard 135 (p. 199 above)."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

50.4 blot] "Veil. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Veil. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 57.

50.4 blot] "Veil. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Veil. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

50.4 blot] "Veil   Wharton MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"Veil   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

50.4 blot] "veil Wharton MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"veil Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

50.4 blot] "veil Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"veil Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 30.

50.4 blot] "veil   Wharton." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"veil   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

51 Sisters, weave the web of death;
52 Sisters, cease, the work is done.

53 Hail the task, and hail the hands!
54 Songs of joy and triumph sing!
55 Joy to the victorious bands;
56 Triumph to the younger King. 1 Explanatory

56.4-5 younger King.] "See v. 32." W. Lyon Phelps, 1894.

"See v. 32."

Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894, 166.

Contribute a note or query


57 Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale, 2 Explanatory

57.1 Mortal,] "The original has, in this [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"The original has, in this context, as translated ap. Vigfusson and Powell:
''We have spoken words of might round the young King, we have sung him many a joyous Lay of Victory, many a Lay of Spears. Now let him that hath heard them learn them and sing them among men.''
This seems to be only an injunction to those that heard the songs in praise of Sigtrygg to transmit them; much as David enjoyed that his 'Song of the Bow' (the dirge over Saul and Jonathan) should be taught; but the writer in the Nialssaga, building his story in part out of the song, and misinterpreting its title, invents the listener Darrad &c.* [*Footonote:] This legendary setting of the song assumes a guise almost historic in Scott's Diary, ap. Lockhart (Life of Scott, c. xxix) ''On Duncansby head appear some remarkable rocks, like towers, called the Stacks of Duncansby. Near this shore runs the remarkable breaking tide called the Merry Men of Mey, whence Mackenzie takes the scenery of a poem - 'Where the dancing men of Mey / Speed the current to the land.' [Lockhart here refers us to Henry Mackenzie's Introduction to the ''Fatal Sisters.'' Works, 1808, vol. viii, p. 63] Here according to his locality, the Caithness man witnessed the vision, in which was introduced the song translated by Gray.''"

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

57.1-6 Mortal, ... tale,] "G[ray]. evidently refers to Dorrudr, [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"G[ray]. evidently refers to Dorrudr, the eavesdropper named in the Njals Saga and mentioned in his 'Preface'. The corresponding passage in the original poem may have been addressed to listeners in general."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

58 Learn the tenor of our song. 1 Explanatory

58.1-6 Learn ... song.] "Cp. Spenser, Colin Clout 100; [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. Spenser, Colin Clout 100; 'Heare then (quoth he) the tenor of my tale.'"

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

59 Scotland, through each winding vale 3 Explanatory, 6 Textual

59.1 - 60.6 Scotland, ... prolong.] "These lines are not in [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"These lines are not in the original. The reference to Scotland is explained in the Preface."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

59.1 - 60.6 Scotland, ... prolong.] "There is nothing corresponding to [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"There is nothing corresponding to this in the original. It is in fact an excrescence upon an excrescence. See prec. note."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

59.4 winding] "Echoing. - Wharton MS." E. Gosse, 1884.

"Echoing. - Wharton MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 58.

59.4 winding] "Echoing. - Wharton MS." J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Echoing. - Wharton MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

59.4 winding] "ecchoing   Wharton MS." D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"ecchoing   Wharton MS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

59.4 winding] "ecchoing Wharton MS." A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"ecchoing Wharton MS."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

59.4 winding] "ecchoing Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]." H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"ecchoing Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 31.

59.4 winding] "echoing   Wharton." R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"echoing   Wharton."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

59.4-5 winding vale] "Cp. 'winding Vale', Dryden, Aeneid [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Cp. 'winding Vale', Dryden, Aeneid viii 809; Pope, Summer 26."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

60 Far and wide the notes prolong. 2 Explanatory

59.1 - 60.6 Scotland, ... prolong.] "These lines are not in [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"These lines are not in the original. The reference to Scotland is explained in the Preface."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 205.

59.1 - 60.6 Scotland, ... prolong.] "There is nothing corresponding to [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

"There is nothing corresponding to this in the original. It is in fact an excrescence upon an excrescence. See prec. note."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

Contribute a note or query


61 Sisters, hence with spurs of speed: 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 58.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride;
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] " ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

" ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering falchion wield:
Now your sable steed bestride:
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' Wharton and Pembroke MSS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
Wharton MS. So Pembroke, but with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchions wield,
Now your sable steeds bestride,
C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.], but faulchion (l. 62) and steed (l. 63) in Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 31.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Wharton has: Sisters, hence! 'tis [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Wharton has:

Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
and so Commonplace Book with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

61.4-6 spurs ... speed:] "'Spurring at speed', Dryden, Aeneid [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"'Spurring at speed', Dryden, Aeneid xi 923."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

62 Each her thundering faulchion wield; 6 Textual

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 58.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride;
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] " ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

" ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering falchion wield:
Now your sable steed bestride:
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' Wharton and Pembroke MSS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
Wharton MS. So Pembroke, but with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchions wield,
Now your sable steeds bestride,
C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.], but faulchion (l. 62) and steed (l. 63) in Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 31.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Wharton has: Sisters, hence! 'tis [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Wharton has:

Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
and so Commonplace Book with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

63 Each bestride her sable steed. 1 Explanatory, 6 Textual

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 58.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride;
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] " ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

" ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering falchion wield:
Now your sable steed bestride:
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' Wharton and Pembroke MSS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" A.L. Poole/L. Whibley, 1950 [1st ed. 1919].

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
Wharton MS. So Pembroke, but with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919], 173.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Sisters, hence! 'tis time to [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchions wield,
Now your sable steeds bestride,
C[ommonplace] B[ook], Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.], but faulchion (l. 62) and steed (l. 63) in Wh[arton transcript, Egerton MS.]."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 31.

61.1 - 63.5 Sisters, ... steed.] "Wharton has: Sisters, hence! 'tis [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"Wharton has:

Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
Now your thund'ring faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride,
and so Commonplace Book with faulchions and steeds."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

63.1-5 Each ... steed.] "'bestride our foaming steeds', III [...]" R. Lonsdale, 1969.

"'bestride our foaming steeds', III Henry VI II i 183: 'his Sable Steed he spurr'd', Dryden, Theodore and Honoria 335."

The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969, 220.

Contribute a note or query

64 Hurry, hurry to the field. 4 Textual

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" E. Gosse, 1884.

"''Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' - Pembroke MS."

The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i, 58.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] "Sisters, hence, 'tis time to [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1903 [1st ed. 1891].

"Sisters, hence, 'tis time to ride;
    Now your thundering faulchion wield;
Now your sable steed bestride.
    Hurry, hurry to the field. - Pembroke MS."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891], 206.

61.1 - 64.5 Sisters, ... field.] " ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time [...]" D.C. Tovey, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

" ''Sisters, hence! 'tis time to ride:
    Now your thundering falchion wield:
Now your sable steed bestride:
    Hurry, hurry to the field.'' Wharton and Pembroke MSS."

Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898], 246.

64.1-5 Hurry, ... field.] "In C[ommonplace] B[ook] 1761 / [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.

"In C[ommonplace] B[ook] 1761 / is written at the end of the poem."

The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966, 31.

Contribute a note or query

Gray's annotations

1
Note — The Valkyriur were female Divinities, Servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic mythology. Their name signifies Chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valhalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the Brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed Heroes with horns of mead and ale.
3
[The Latin translation renders the original rifs reidisky ('the hanging cloud of the warp-beam' according to Cleasby & Vigfusson, An Old Icelandic Dictionary, s.v. rifr) by nubes sagittarum, an error which Gray incorporated into his poem.]
How quick they wheel'd; and flying, behind them shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy shower—
    Milton's Paradise Regained. [iii. 323-4]
4
The noise of battle hurtled in the air.
    Shakespear's Jul. Caesar. [II. ii. 22]

Works cited

  • The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891].
  • Gray: Poetry and Prose. With essays by Johnson, Goldsmith and others. With an Introduction and Notes by J. Crofts. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1948 [1st ed. 1926].
  • Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited by W. C. Eppstein. London and Glasgow: Blackie & Son Ltd., 1959.
  • The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i.
  • Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981.
  • The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969.
  • The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919].
  • Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894.
  • The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973.
  • The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966.
  • Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].

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Spelling has been modernized throughout, except in case of conscious archaisms. Contractions, italics and initial capitalization have been largely eliminated, except where of real import. Obvious errors have been silently corrected, punctuation has been lightly modernized. Additional contextual information for Gray's notes, presented here in unmodernized form, has been taken from the Starr/Hendrickson edition. The editor would like to express his gratitude to the library staff of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB Göttingen) for their invaluable assistance.