DISCOVERY AND PROPHECY
Night on bleak downs; a high grass-grown trench runs athwart the slope. The earthwork is manned by warriors clad in hides. Two warriors, BRYS and GAST, talking.
This puts a tall heart in me, and a tune
Of great glad blood flowing brave in my flesh,
To see thee, after all these moons, returned,
My Brys. If there's no rust in thy shoulder-joints,
That battle-wrath of thine, and thy good throwing,
Will be more help for us than if the dyke
Were higher by a span.—Ha! there was howling
Down in the thicket; they come soon, for sure.
Brys. Has there been hunger in the forest long?
I think, not only hunger makes them fierce:
They broke not long since into a village yonder,
A huge throng of them; all through the night we heard
The feasting they kept up. And that has made
The wolves blood-thirsty, I believe.
To keep so slack a waking on their dykes!
Now have they made a sleepless winter for us.
Every night we must look, lest the down-slope
Between us and the woods turn suddenly
To a grey onrush full of small green candles,
The charging pack with eyes flaming for flesh.
And well for us then if there's no more mist
Than the white panting of the wolfish hunger.
They'll come to-night. Three of us hunting went
Among the trees below: not long we stayed.
All the wolves of the world are in the forest,
And man's the meat they're after.
Ay, it must be
Blood-thirst is in them, if they come to-night,
Such clear and starry weather.—What dost thou make,
Gast, of the stars?
Brother, they're horrible.
I always keep my head as much as I may
Bent so they cannot look me in the eyes.