Friday, 7 February 2014

Veleda II

See here.

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 555-556:

"'Hear me and heed ye  highborn or lowborn,
still in your strength or  stumbling graveward,
doomed to death and  dreeing the wierd
boldly or badly.  I bid ye hearken.
When life is lost,  alone is left,
for yourself and your sons,  what is said of you.
Doughty deeds  shall never die,
but in minds of men  remain forever -
night and nothing  for the names of cravens!
No good the gods  will give to traitors,
nor aught but anger  unto the slothful.
Who fears to fight  will lose his freedom,
will cringe and crawl  to get moldy crusts,
his children chafing  in chains and shame.
Hauled into whoredom,  helplessly,
his women weep.  These woes are his.
Better a brand  should burn his home
while he, the hero  harvests foemen
till he falls defiant  and fares on skyward.

"'Hoofs in heaven  heavily ring.
Lightning leaps, blazing lances.
All the earth  resounds with anger.
Seas in surges  smite the shores.
Now will Nerha  naught more suffer.
Wrathful she rides  to bring down Rome,
the war gods with her,  the wolves and ravens.'"

This prophesy by Veleda is printed as prose but I have tried to reproduce it as the verse it is. The omniscient narrator, here conveying Everard's point of view, comments:

"...steel was in it, and winter winds." (p. 555) 

Everard comments:

"'A gift, a power - real leadership has a touch of mystery, something transhuman....But I wonder if also the time stream isn't bearing her along.'" (pp. 556-557)

Danellian physics may be relevant.

Everard must strain "...through the gloaming..." (p. 555) as Veleda addresses a tribe at night by firelight. At other times, the mystery is preserved by keeping her out of sight:

"'Best you hold aloof. Few...have seen you. There is more awesomeness in a tale than in flesh and blood.'" (p. 532)

- as we can avow, reading Anderson's tale.

Janne says that Veleda, while traveling, certainly sleeps in her elaborately carved wagon, drawn by four white oxen:

"'To preserve dignity and mystery. I suspect an image of the goddess is in there too.'" (p. 553)

My question is:

Is Veleda inspired to speak in alliterative verse or does she carefully compose such speeches before delivering them?

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