You have builded your ships in the sun-lands,
And launched them with song and wine;
They are boweled with your stanchest engines,
And masted with bravest pine;
You have met in your closet councils,
With your plans and your prayers to God
For a fortunate wind to waft you
Where never a foot has trod.
And now you follow the polar star
To the seat of the old Norse Kings,
Past the death-white halls of Valhalla,
Where the Norn to the tempest sings--
Follow the steady needle
That cleaves to its steady star
To the uttermost realms of Odin
And the warlike thunderer, Thor.
Far through the icy silence,
Where the glacier's teeth hang white,
And even the sun-god Baldur,
Looks down in vague affright,
You flutter like startled spectres,
With a prayer on your lips for the goal--
To stand for one thrilling moment
At the awful, nameless Pole.
But lo! in that hour shall greet you,
At the end of your perilous path,
A mockery far more bitter
Than the sting of the frost king's wrath,
For this is the meed you shall gather
In the lands no man has trod:
The finger that beckoned you onward
Shall lift and point to God!