Raven Banner

Words: Malkin Gray (Debra Doyle)
Tune:Peregrynne Windrider (Melissa Williamson)
Source: Westerfilk Collection Volume II
A Filksong Folio
MIDI file / NWC file / PDF file
used with permission

Sigurd, the jarl of the Orkney Isles, has called to his banner a viking band,
And sailed to Dublin to make himself King of the Irish land.
But crowns are never so quickly won, the Norns, they well know - -
The king of the Irish blocks our way. We must to battle go.

The raven banner of the Orkney jarl brings luck in battle, but its bearer dies.
Two men have fallen 'neath its wings today, but still the raven flies.
The jarl tells a third to take it up. The third man answers no.
"The devil's your own, take it up yourself, and back to battle go."

"'Tis fitting the beggar should bear the bag," replies the jarl, "And I'll do so here."
He fought with the banner tied around his waist and fell to an Irish spear.
He died and the Irish broke our line. We had no chance but flight.
But I'm not hurried - - it's a long way home; I won't get there tonight.

The Norns have woven a bloody web, tapestry woven of guts and bone,
And parcelled it out to the Orkney host - - our day in Ireland's done.
The grey wolf howls and the ravens soar above the arrow's flight,
And Odin is waiting beyond the fray for some of us tonight.

Back to Main Songbook Page