The Earthly Paradise, (September-November), by William Morris, , at sacred-texts.com
This story shows how two friends loved a fair woman, and how he who loved her best had her to wife, though she loved him little or not at all; and how one of these two friends gave shame to and received death of the other, who in his turn came to his end by reason of that deed.
Of Herdholt and Bathstead.
HERDHOLT my tale names for the stead, where erst
Olaf the Peacock dwelt; nowise the worst
Among the great men of a noble day:
Upon a knoll amidst a vale it lay,
Nigh where Laxriver meets the western sea,
And in that day it nourished plenteously
Great wealth of sheep and cattle.
Ye shall know
That Olaf to a mighty house did go
To take to him a wife: Thorgerd he gat,
The daughter of the man, at Burg who sat,
After a great life, with eyes waxing dim,
Egil, the mighty son of Skallagrim. p. 338
Now of the sons the twain had, first we name
Kiartan alone, for eld's sake and for fame,
Then Steinthor, Haldor, Helgi, and Hauskuld,
All of good promise, strong and lithe and bold,
Yet little against Kiartan's glory weighed;
Besides these props the Peacock's house that stayed,
Two maidens, Thurid, Thorbiorg there were;
And furthermore a youth was fostered there,
Whom Thorleik, Olaf's brother, called his son:
Bodli his name was. Thus the tale is done
Of those who dwelt at Herdholt in those days.
Midst the grey slopes, Bathstead its roof did raise
Seven miles from Herdholt; Oswif, wise of men,
Who Thordis had to wife, abode there then
With his five sons, of whom let names go past
That are but names; but these were first and last,
Ospak and Thorolf: never, says my tale,
That Oswif's wisdom was of much avail
In making these, though they were stout enow;
But in his house a daughter did there grow
To perfect womanhood, Gudrun by name,
Whose birth the wondering world no more might blame
Than her's who erst called Tyndarus her sire,
What hearts soeer, what roof-trees she might fire,
What hearts soeer, what hearths she might leave cold,
Before the ending of the tale be told.
But where we take the story up, fifteen
The maiden's years were; Kiartan now had seen p. 339
His eighteenth spring, and younger by a year
Was Bodli, son of Thorleik.
Now most fair
Seemed Olaf's lot in life, and scarcely worse
Was Oswif's, and what shadow of a curse
Might hang oer either house, was thought of now
As men think of a cloud the mountain's brow
Hides from their eyes an hour before the rain;
For so much love there was betwixt the twain,
Herdholt and Bathstead, that it well might last
Until the folk aforenamed were all passed
From out the world; but herein shall be shown
How the sky blackened, and the storm swept down.