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 With a grasp by love and by fear made strong,
He held her fast, and he held her long;
With the beating heart of a bird afeard,
She hid her face in his flame-red beard.
‘O love!’ he cried, “let me look to-day
In thine eyes ere mine are plucked away;
Let me hold thee close, let me feel thy heart
Ere mine by the Troll is torn apart!
“I sinned, O Helva, for love of thee!
Pray that the Lord Christ pardon me!”
But fast as she prayed, and faster still,
Hammered the Troll in Ulshoi hill.
He knew, as he wrought, that a loving heart
Was somehow baffling his evil art;
For more than spell of Elf or Troll
Is a maiden's prayer for her lover's soul.
And Esbern listened, and caught the sound
Of a Troll-wife singing underground:
“To-morrow comes Fine, father thine:
Lie still and hush thee, baby mine!
“Lie still, my darling! next sunrise
Thou 't play with Esbern Snare's heart and eyes”
‘Ho! ho!’ quoth Esbern, “is that your game?
Thanks to the Troll-wife, I know his name!”
The Troll he heard him, and hurried on
To Kallundborg church with the lacking stone.
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