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lick their sacrifice bowls than to board the Long Serpent
to-day under your weapons, and I think we need not fear
the horse-eating Swedes ; but who OMns those large ships
to the left of the Danes .? ' 'It is,' they said, ' Eirik Jarl
Hakonsson.' King Olaf replied : ' This host is full of



94 OLAF FIGHTS MOST BOLDLY

high-born men whom they have ranged against us ;
Eirik Jarl thinks he has just cause for fighting us. It is
hkely we shall have a hard struggle with him and his men,
for they are Northmen like ourselves.'

" The Kings and the Jarl rowed at King Olaf. . . . The
horns were blown, and both sides shouted a war-cry, and
a hard battle commenced. Sigvaldi let his ships row to
and fro, and did not take part in the battle. The
battle raged fiercely, at first with arrows from cross-bows
and hand-bows, and then with spears and javelins, and
all say that King Olaf fought most manfully. . . . King
Svein's men turned their stems as thickly as they could
towards both sides of the Long Serpent, as it stood much
farther forward than the other ships of King Olaf; the
Danes also attacked the SJiort Serpent and the Crane,
and the fight was of the sharpest and the carnage great.
All the stem-defenders on the Serpent who could fought
hand-to-hand, but King Olaf himself and those aft shot
with bows and used short swords (handsox), and repeatedly
killed and wounded the Danes.

" Though King; Svein made the hardest onset on the
Northmen with sixty ships, the Danish and Swedish hosts
nevertheless were incessantly within shooting distance. King
Olaf made the bravest defence with his men, but still they
fell. King Olaf fought most boldly ; he shot chiefly with
bows and spears, but when the attack was made on the
Serpent he went forward in hand-to-hand fight, and cleft
many a man's skull with his sword.

"The attack proved difficult for the Danes, for the
stem-defenders of the Long Serpent and on the Short
Serpent and the Crane hooked anchors and grappling-
hooks on to King Svein's ships, and as they could strike
down upon the enemy with their weapons, for they had
much larger and higher-boarded ships, they cleared of



THE DOINGS OF EIRIK JARL 95

men all the Danish ships which they had laid hold of.
King Svein and all who could get away fled on board
other ships, and thereupon they withdrew, tired and
wounded, out of shooting distance. It happened as Olaf
Tryggvason guessed, that the Danes did not gain a
victory over the Northmen.

" It happened to the Swedes as to the Danes, that
the Northmen held fast their ships with grappling-hooks
and anchors, and cleared those they could reach. Their
swords dealt one fate to all Swedes whom they reached
with their blows. The Swedes became tired of keeping
up the fight where Olaf with his picked champions went
at them most fiercely. . . . Men say that the sharpest
and bloodiest fight was that of the two namesakes
before Olaf and the Swedes retreated. The Swedes had
a heavy loss of men, and also lost their largest ships.
Most of the warriors of Olaf, the Swedish King, were
wounded, and he had won no fame by this, but was
fain to escape alive. Now Olaf Tryggvason had made
both the Danes and Swedes take to flight. It all went
as he had said.

"Now must be told what Eirik Jarl did while the
Kings fought against Norway's King. The Jarl first
came alongside the farthest ship of King Olaf on one
wing with the Jarnhardi, cleared it, and cut it from the
fastenings ; he then boarded the next one, and fought
there until it was cleared. The men then began to
jump from the smaller ships on to the larger ones, but
the Jarl cut away each ship from the fastenings as it
was cleared. The Danes and Swedes drew up within
shooting distance on all sides of King Olaf's ships, but
Eirik Jarl lay continually side by side with one of them
in hand-to-hand fight ; and as the men fell on his ship
other Danes and Swedes took their places. Then the



96 DESPERATE FIGHTING

battle was both hard and sharp, and many of King Olafs
men fell.

" At last all Olafs ships had been cleared except the
Long Serpent^ which carried all the men who were able
to fight. Eirik Jarl then attacked the Serpent with five
large ships. He laid the Jdrnhm-di alongside the Serpent^
and then ensued the fiercest fight and the most terrible
hand-to-hand struggle that could be.

"Eirik Jarl was in the foreroom of his ship, where
a shieldburgh was drawn up. There was both hand-to-
hand fight and spear-throwing, and every kind of weapon
was thrown, and whatever could be seized by the hand.
Some shot with bows or with their hands, and such a
shower of weapons was poured upon the Serpent that
the men could hardly protect themselves against it.
Then spears and arrows flew thickly, for on all sides
of the Serpent lay war-ships. King Olafs men now
became so furious that they jumped upon the gunwales
in order to reach their foes with their swords and kill
them, but many did not lay their ships so close to the
Serpent as to get into hand-to-hand fight ; most of them
thought it hard to deal with Olafs champions. The
Northmen thought of nothing but continually going
forward to slay their foes, and many went straight
overboard ; for out of eagerness and daring they
forgot that they were not fighting on di'y ground,
and many sank down with their weapons between the
ships. . . .

"King Olaf Tryggvason stood on the lypting of the
Serpent, and chiefly used during the day his bow and
javelins ; and always two javelins at a time. It was
agreed by all, both friends and foes, who were present,
and those who have heard these tidings told with the
greatest truth, that they have known no man fight



COMES HYRNING WITH HIS FOLLOWERS 97

more valiantly than King Olaf Tryggvason. King Olaf
surpassed most other kings, in that he made himself so
easily known in the battle that men^ knew no example
of any king having shown himself so openly to his foes,
especially as he had to fight against such an overwhelm-
ing force. The King showed the bravery of his mind,
and the pride of his heart, so that all men might see
that he shunned no danger. The better he was seen,
and the greater lack of fear he showed in the battle,
the greater fear and terror he inspired.

"King Olaf saw that his men on the forepart of
the ship frequently raised their swords to strike, and
that the swords cut badly. He cried out, 'Why do
you raise your swords so slowly? I see they do
not bite ! ' A man replied, ' Our swords are both
dull and broken, lord.' The King then went down
from the lypting into the foreroom and unlocked the
high seat chest and took therefrom many bright and
sharp sM'ords, which he gave to his men. As he put
down his right hand they saw that blood flowed out
of the sleeve of the coat-of-mail, but no one knew where
he was wounded.

"Hard and bloody was the defence of the foreroom
men and the stem-defenders, for in both those places
the gunwale was highest and the men picked. When
the fall of men began on the Serpent^ it was first amid-
ships, mostly from wounds and exhaustion, and men
say that if these brave men could have kept up their
defence, the Serpent would never have been won.
When only a few were left on the Serpent around the
mast amidships, Eirik Jarl boarded it with fourteen
men. Then came against him the King's brother-in-law
Hyrning, with his followers, and between them ensued
a hard struggle, for Hyrning fought very boldly. It thus
7



98 THORKEL'S ADVICE

ended that Eirik Jarl retreated on the hardl ; but of
those who had followed him, some fell, and some were
wounded ; and Hjrning and Eirik Jarl became much
renowned from this fight. . . .

" Eirik Jarl took oft' the bmrU the dead and wounded,
and in their stead brought fresh and rested men, whom
he selected from among Swedes and Danes. It is also
said by some, that the Jarl had promised to let himself
be baptized if he won the Serpent ; and it is a proof
of their statement that he threw away Thor and put
up in its place a crucifix in the stem of the bardi.

" When he had prepared his men, he said to a wise
and powerful chief who was present, Thorkel the High,
brother of Sigvaldi Jarl : ' Often have I been in battles,
and never have I before found men equally brave and
so skilled in fighting as those on the Serpent, nor have
I seen a ship so hard to win. Now, as thou art one of
the wisest of men, give me the best ad\ice thou knowest
how the Serpent may be won.' Thorkel replied, ' I
cannot give thee sure advice thereon, but I can say
what seems to me best to do. Thou must take large
timbers, and let them fall from thy ship upon the
gunwale of the Sej'pent, so that it will lean over ; you
will then find it easier to board the Serpent, if its
gunwale is no higher than those of the other ships. I
can give thee no other advice, if this will not do,"* The
Jarl carried out what Thorkel had told him. . . .

" When Eirik Jarl was ready he attacked the Serpent
a second time, and all the Danish and Swedish host
again made an onset on King Olaf Tryggvason ; the
Swedes placed their prows close to the Serpent, but
the greatest part of the host was within shooting dis-
tance of the Northmen, and shot at them incessantly.
The Jarl again laid the bardi side by side with the



SUCCESS OF THORKEL'S ADVICE 99

Sei'pent, and made a very sharp onslaught with fresh
men ; neither did he spare himself in the battle, nor
those of his men who were left.

" King Olaf and his men defended themselves with
the utmost bravery and manliness, so that there was
little increase in the fall of men on the Serpent while
they were fresh ; they slew many of their foes, both
on the Jarnbardi and on other ships which lay near
the Serpent. As the fight still went against Eirik
Jarl, he hoisted large timbers on the bard'i^ which fell
on the Serpent. It is believed that the Serpent would
not have been won but for this, which had been advised
by Thorkel the High. The Serpent began to lean
over very much when the large timbers were dropped
on her gunwale, and thereupon many fell on both sides.
When the defenders of the Serpent began to thin, Eirik
boarded it and met with a warm reception.

" When King Olaf s stem-defenders saw that the
Jarl had got up on the Serpent, they went aft and
turned against him, and made a very hard resistance ;
but then so many began to fall on the Serpent, that
the gunwales were in many places deserted, and the
Jarl's men boarded them ; and all the men who were
standing up for defence withdrew aft to where the
King was. Hald()r, a poet, says that the Jarl urged on
his men.

" It is said that Thorstein Useafdt was in the fore-
room aft by the lypting, and said to the King, when
the JarFs men came thickest on board the Serpent,
' Lord, each man must now do what he can ! ' ' Why
not ? ' answered the King. Thorstein struck with his
fist one of the Jarl's men who jumped up on the
gunwale near him ; he hit his cheek so hard that he
dropped out into the sea, and at once perished. After



loo GREAT IS THE JARL'S LUCK

this Thorstein became so enraged that he took up
the sail-yard and fought with it. When the King saw
this, he said to Thorstein, 'Take thy weapons, man,
and defend thyself with them ; for weapons, and not
hands alone or timber, are meant for men to fight
with in battle."* Thorstein then took his sword, and
fought valiantly.

"There was still a most fierce fight in the foreroom,
and King Olaf shot from the lypting javelins or spears,
both hard and often. When he saw that Eirik Jarl
had come into the foreroom of the Serpent, he shot at
him with three short-handled kesjas, or short spears, but
they did not go as usual (for he never missed his aim
when shooting), and none of these kesjas hit the Jarl.
The first flew past his right side, the second his left,
and the third flew on to the forepart of the ship above
the Jarl's head. Then the King said, ' Never before
did I thus miss a man ; great is the Jarl's hamingja
(luck) ; it must be God's will that he now shall rule
in Norway, and that is not strange, for I think he has
changed the stem-dweller on the hardi. I said to-day
that he would not gain victory over us, if he had Thor
in the stem.'

"As many of the Jarl's men had got up on board
the Serpent as could be there, and his ships lay on all
sides of it, and but few remained for defence against
such a host. In a short time many of King Olafs
champions fell, though they were both strong and
valiant. There fell both the King's brothers-in-law,
Hyrning and Thorgeir, Vicar of Tiundaland, Ulf the
Red, and many other brave men, who left a famous name
behind.

" Kolbjcirn Stallari, the marshal, had defended the stem
during the day with the other stem-defenders; he had



KING OLAF DIES lor

weapons and clothing very much hke King Olaf, and he
had dressed so because he thought that if necessary, as it
now was, he might save the life of the King. When the
most valiant of the King's men in the foreroom began to
fall, Kolbjorn went up on the lypting to the King. It
was not easy to tell them apart, for Kolbjorn was a very
large and handsome man. There was then such a thick
shower of weapons in the lypting that the shields of
King Olaf and Kolbjorn were covered all over with
arrows. But when the JarPs men came up to the
lypting, it seemed to them that so much light came
over the King that they could not see through it, yet
when the light vanished they saw King Olaf nowhere." —
Olaf Tryggva^oii's Saga : Fornmanna Sogiir, ii.



university ci- california

Riverside



CHAPTER VII
BERGEN ON THE BY FJORD

BERGEN must be approached by water to be seen as
it should be, and to be appreciated as one of
the most beautiful little capitals in Europe. Norway,
when all is said, is a country of mountains. It may
have waterfalls, lakes, rivers, quaint boats, and quaint
costume, but to all and each of these there is the
mountain setting. In this case Bergen is the jewel set
in its seven mountains. Prosaic Baedeker tries to make
out that there are but four, but the citizens count
seven, and the armorial bearings of the town contain
seven hills, so this, I think, should be conclusive. The
town should know best. Anyhow, the town was much
exercised and anxious when we landed, every gaze was
turned towards Ulriken, that lies to the north-east.
Everyone possessed of a telescope, opera - glass, or
binocular was the centre of a small crowd, all looking
upwards at the mountain. We also looked, but could
see nothing but a patch of snow or white-coloured
stone. Where is it ? and, What is it ? was the question
on each one's lips. Not till we arrived at the Hotel
Metropole could we get our answer.

The stout porter spoke English fluently, and whilst
looking through our glasses told us how two young ladies
had climbed up the mountain the day before, and it
was supposed had lost their way or had climbed a spot

102



BINDING'S MONUMENT 103

too steep to climb down ; anyhow, there they were sitting
under the rock. Of course, they would be English. No
one else would do such a thing without a guide ; they
had been out all night in the pouring rain. We both
felt quite concerned, and, like everyone else, looked and
looked again at the patch. Had anyone gone to their
help ? Yes, some firemen and soldiers had made a
party, and were now climbing up to their rescue.

As nothing more could be done at the moment, we
tui'ned into the little park hard by to look at Stephen
Binding's Monument to Ole Bull. It seemed to me
imposing in its simplicity. The rough-hewn rock that
forms the pedestal, with a spring bubbling up through
it, symbolised the master's love for the wild mountains,
and the music of running water. His lithe body is well
poised on the top, as with head erect he draws his bow
across the strings of his loved violin. A pity it is that
Sinding had not Pygmalion's power to make his statue
live.

It makes one think what it can be in Bergen that
generates great men. Can it be the constant rain, that
keeps the brain soft and open to receive impressions 'i
or is it the simple life led by the Norwegians ? or the
great solitudes that are so easily reached where one could
think and dream for days and hours.? Whatever it
may be, the fact remains, that this small northern
capital of 72,600 inhabitants is the birthplace of men
who have shone like stars all over the world — in reform,
literature, music, painting, and poetry.

Ole Bull stands pre-eminent, like in face to Liszt,
but with a sharper, keener look, black brows over bright
glad eyes full of life and hope, a firm mouth and dimpled
chin ; a man who could do much and suffer much ;
a man whom it would be easy to idolise, and a word



104 01.B BULL

from whose mouth would set a soul bounding and
revive depressed and flagging energy. Ole Bull is the
idol of so great a master as Grieg. Mr. Finck tells us,
in his most interesting life of Grieg, how as a boy
" something like an electric current seemed to pass
through the lad when the world-famed violinist shook
his hand, though he could not understand his god smil-
ing and joking just like an ordinary mortal."

Ole Bull was born in Bergen thirty-three years before
Grieg. Luckily for him, his musical proclivities were
discovered and appreciated by his master, the old rector
of the Latin School, who said to him, " Take your fiddle
in eai'nest, boy, and don't waste your time here." He
folloAved this advice and became a violinist, concerning
whom no less an authority than Joachim said : " No
artist in our time has possessed his poetic fire." He
went to Germany to study his violin with the famous
Spohr, but found his style too academic to suit him.
The capricious, fantastic Paganini was more to his
taste, and him he chose for a model, if it can be said that
he chose one at all. He soon won a fame and popularity
hardly second to the great Italians, and became an
indefatigable traveller, giving concerts in the cities of
Scandinavia, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and
America.

As one can well imagine, his love for his violin was
very great : on two or three occasions he nearly lost his
life through it. The first time in Paris, where he tried
to drown himself in the Seine on finding his treasure
had been stolen ; but he was rescued, and a wealthy
lady gave him another Guarneri.

It was in a large measure due to a fit of pique on
the part of Madame Malibran, that Ole Bull scored his
first great success. It was from Bologna that his friends



MADAME MALIBRAN t05

at home first received the news of his triumphs, and
here it was that he won the great celebrity that
followed him ever afterwards. Sara Bull, his sister,
tells us, that Madame Malibran had been engaged by
the directors of the theatre for a series of nights ; but
she had made a condition which compelled them to
give the use of the theatre without charge to De Beriot,
with whom she was to appear in two concerts. The
Marquis Lampieri, who was recognised as one of the
greatest authorities in the musical world, persuaded these
artists to appear at the same time. All was arranged
and announced when, by chance, Malibran heard that
De Beriot was to receive a smaller sum than had been
stipulated for herself. Piqued at this she feigned illness,
and De Beriot declared he was suffering from a sprained
thumb.

Ole Bull had been a fortnight in Bologna, living in
an upper room, in a poor hotel. Secluded from society,
he spent the days in writing out his concerto ; when
evening came, the wonderful tones of his violin sounded
from the open windows to the delight of the passers-by.
One evening the celebrated Colbran Rossini's first wife
was passing Casa Soldali and heard those strains. " It
must be a violin,"" she said, "but a divine one, which
will be a substitute for De Beriot and Malibran." And
she went and told Lampieri on the night of the concert.
Ole Bull, full of weariness, had retired to bed early,
when he was roused by a rap at the door. It was
Lampieri ! He asked Ole Bull to improvise for him,
and after listening for a while, cried, " Malibran may
now have her headaches ! "

He hurried Ole Bull to the theatre, where sat the
Grand Duke of Tuscany, and De Beriot with his hand
in a sling. Ole Bull was almost unnerved, but he



io6 ADELINA PATTl

chose his own composition, and the desperation which
compelled him to shut his eyes, made him play with
an abandon and charm which at once captivated his
audience. The final piece was to be a violin solo.
The director was doubtful, but Ole Bull by this time
was quite composed, and played so divinely that his
hearers wept.

Perhaps the most memorable of his concert tours was
that which he undertook in 1853 with the girl soprano,
Adelina Patti. Reports of the wonderful art of this child
had gone forth, and as one of the American critics
remarked, " Nothing short of the testimony we have seen
could make us believe such a thing possible. Yet the
whole artistic life of Ole Bull is a guarantee that nothing
but sterling merit can take part in his concerts."

Ole BulFs object in giving this particular series of
concerts was to raise funds for carrying out a patriotic
project of establishing a large Norwegian colony in
Pennsylvania. " A new Norway," to cite his own words,
" consecrated to liberty, baptized with independence, and
protected by the Union's mighty flag." But he was too
thoroughly an artist to be a good business man. After
the forests had been cleared, and eight hundred settlers
made their homes there, he found that he had been
swindled ; the title to the land he had paid for was
fraudulent, and all that remained of his earnings was
devoured by the resulting lawsuits. His disappointment
was aggravated by the attitude of his countrymen Avhen
he returned to his home. He was unjustly accused of
having speculated ruthlessly at the expense of those who
had confided in him. He also had another cause for
dissatisfaction with his neighbours.

In view of the fact that, up to that time, Norway had
depended on Danish plays, Danish actors, and Danish



DEATH OF OLE BULL 107

musicians, he, an ardent patriot, wanted to found a
national theatre in Bergen — a Norse theatre with a Norse
orchestra. Such a theatre was actually opened on
January 2, 1850 ; but when he found, a year later, that
he could no longer bear the cost, he asked the Storthing
for a yearly appropriation. This was refused, and he was
subsequently subjected to so many annoyances that after
two years the theatre passed into other hands. In I860,
however, he resumed his direction of it, appointing
Bjornstjerne Bjornson as dramatic instructor. Three
years later he tried to found a Norse Music Academy in
Christiania. " This academy," writes Jonas Lie, " was not
founded; but the seed — the thought — was at that time
planted. Since then it has grown and matured, and
to-day we have a body of artists and composers, and
quite another musical culture ready to receive it."

When Ole Bull died in 1880, his patriotic aspirations
and services were duly acknowledged. The King sent
a telegram of condolence to the widow, expressing his
personal, as well as the national, loss, and Bjornstjerne
Bjornson said, in an address delivered before thousands of
mourners : " Patriotism was the creative power in his life.
When he established the Norse theatre, assisted Norse
art, and helped the National Museum, his mighty
instrument singing for other patriotic ends ; when he
helped his counti'ymen and others wherever he found
them, it was not so much for the object, or the person,
but for the honour of Norway."

Grieg played the organ at the funeral services, and his
remarks, which followed Bjiirnson's, must also be cited.
"Because more than any other thou wast the glory of
our land ; because more than any other thou hast carried
our people with thee up towards the bright heights of
Art ; because thou wast more than any other a pioneer of



lo8 THE LAUREL WREATH

our young national music ; more, much more, than any
other, the faithful, warm-hearted conqueror of all hearts,
because thou hast planted a seed which shall spring
up in the future, and for which coming generations shall
bless thee, with the gratitude of thousands upon
thousands for all this, in the name of our Norse memorial
art, I lay this laurel wreath on thy coffin. Peace be with
thy ashes ! "

In the museum, on a glass-covered table, lies a beautiful
gold laurel wreath Avith berries of the purest pearls ;
alongside rests the violin the great master so loved. The
strings are broken, dust is the hand that won from it all
that it could give, but the music lives, and will live for


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