Sword Song

USA & North American fans can buy Sword Song CD at: CD Baby



Long I heard, now I see
Dievs’s grey horses
Adorned with silver droplets

In darkness Dievs arrived
Don’t know where to put his horse
Ride sister at night watch at grass
Let him into the apple grove

Dievs placed his horse
On a stone to rest
So his hooves wouldn’t rust
In the tillable land

On the road I found
The horse Dievs had ridden
Golden saddle on its back
Silver bridle



Dry timber, green trees
All torn asunder

Small hills broke apart
While the stones danced
While the stones danced

I slashed the thistle bushes
With a sharp sword

Thistle bushes expand
The sword gets sharper



(Ancient Letgallian folk song)

Pērkons brought the bride
From land beyond to here

Saule brought the dowry
Adorning all the forest

Pine and fir were blanketed
The birch got a white woolen shawl

The oak had waxen gloves
For showing the way

Even a little osier
Had a worsted wool



Ready was the warrior
Ready was the war horse

I waited for the sign
That would come from the titmouse

Riding out the gate
I stuck the rod beneath it

If it grows, if it blossoms
Wait for my return

If it doesn’t grow or blossom
Wait for me no longer

When I went off to war
Cut a cross into the oak

Don’t cry father, mother
Let the cross cry in the oak



Around the hill I went
When I climbed up to the top
I saw a little girl crying

Why are you crying, little girl?
Why such sorrow?
How can I not cry?
My brother goes to war

I had to go to war
I didn’t want to stay
War was full of hardship
For the father’s son

Cold winds blew
Grim warlords sent me
Into strange lands over distant seas



The Prussian maid rode to the war
In place of her brother

Goodbye father, mother
I face a long journey

I rode a long way
And found a green grove

I found a green grove
And saw the flags of war

I saw the flags of war
I saw the warriors fighting

Good day, the masters of war
Will you let me fight too?

Ride home, Prussian maid
Feed your mother’s cows

Feed your mother’s cows
And father’s horses



Pērkons thundered as he left
Striking fires crosswise
Scaring away Jods’ mother
Far beyond the nine lakes

Rain poured from the sun
Dead souls feasted at the wedding
My brother died young
And chose a bride from the otherworld

Sons of Dievs were bridegrooms
Daughters of Saule were bridesmaids
They were the dowry makers
And the gift givers

From the ash they hung a golden towel
From the oak, a silver one
The little willow was adorned
With a golden ring

When I die, then I will be
Honoured in the land of dead



A silver river flows
Alongside the golden hill
There ride all the warlords
To bleach their swords

Dress yourself young brother
Saddle your steed
Beyond the gates I heard
The rumbling of copper drums

Open! Copper gates
Open all the way
Now my brothers will ride
With swords strapped across their chests

All with plumes upon their hats
All with stars upon their swords
From each hat dawn will break
From each sword the sun will rise

Garb yourself in iron, brother
Don’t wear pure silver
Iron garb is fit for war
This is not a time for silver



Oh fog, oh dew
Neither one was good for me
The dew dampened my feet
The fog made me lose my steed

The fog lifted, the dew lifted
I found my horse
I found my horse
At the Mēness’s doorstep

The Mēness took the daughter of Saule
And invited me to a wedding
How can I ride to a wedding
On a horse without saddle?

The Saule gave me a golden saddle
The Mēness – a silver bridle
Now I can boldly ride
Together with the sons of Dievs

Crosswise grow the roots of trees
Crosswise stars shine in the sky
The sons of Dievs ride next to me
Crosswise galloping our horses



The horses neighed, the devils rode
The river flowed and bubbled
I stood by the riverside
With a sword in my hand

I cut off devil’s head
Into nine pieces
I splashed my brown coat
With that devil’s blood

You, Pērkon, are clever man
Where can I wash it?
I’m searching for the lake
Where nine rivers flow

You, Pērkon, are clever man
Where can I dry it?
I’m searching for the oak
Where nine suns are rising

You, Pērkon, are clever man
Where can I put it?
I’m searching for an ash chest
With a nine keys

You, Pērkon, are clever man
Where can I wear it down?
– Ride brother, to war
There you will wear it down



“Where will you ride, brother?
Putting on shoes in the evening?”
Go, sister, do not ask
Bring me my hat

“Where will you ride, brother?
I brought you your hat”
Go, sister, do not ask
Bring me my sword

“Where will you ride, brother?
I brought you your sword”
Go, sister, do not ask
Saddle my horse

“Where will you ride, brother?
I saddled your horse”
I will ride far, far away
To defend my fathers’ land

Choose Dievs, my pathway
And watch over my body
So that I can easily
Win victory over my enemies



Neighed the battle horses
Waiting for the warriors
The warriors’ swords
Were sharpened on stone

When the swords were sharpened
They were crossed with an oath:
“I would gladly give my head
To save the land of our fathers”

I say to you, strangers
Don’t come into this land
Sings the golden nightingale
On the tip of my sword



(Ancient Lithuanian war song)

When the sun was rising
Brother was saddling the horse
Rise, dear sister, verdant flower
Light a bright flame

I rose early in the morning
Washed my face
I will bid farewell to father and mother
For we may not meet again

While riding down the road
While spurring on my horse
Oh, I saw a dear maiden
In the granary, near a chest

Oh why are you opening the chest?
Why are you cutting the linen?
I will not wear your shirt
While I am a soldier

The king will give us his horses
Horses with proud saddles
We will be dressed alike
Like a mother’s sons

Mountains will fall into the forest
Rivers will flow with blood
Yet we will stand solidly
Until we defeat our enemy



Ūsiņš rides over the hill
On a horse of stone
He brings leaves for the trees
Green clover for the ground

In a day of Ūsiņš, in a day of Mārtiņš
I made the sweet beer
Mārtiņš grew the barley
Ūsiņš raised good horses

Hey Ūsiņš, good man!
Ride with me on the pastures
I will start a little fire
You will herd the horses

For Ūsiņš, I sacrificed a cock
With nine curls on his comb
So my horse can run
Along nine pathways


A crested bird sings
From atop the stable rafters

Go, sister, give a listen
What news the bird has brought

It brought news that
Brother must go to war

Go, sister into the garden
And adorn brother’s cap

She adorned it while singing
And sent him off while crying

Don’t cry my sister
But wait for my return

If you can’t await me
Then wait then for my horse

After three years, on the fourth
My horse finally returned

She asked to the horse
Where it left the rider

The rider stayed there
Where men lie like oaks

The wind rustled their hair
The sun whitened their bones

There rode sons of Dievs
Gathering up their souls


Dievs – supreme god, the creator of this world and all beings. Dievs is not just the father of the gods; he is the essence of them all. Every other deity is a different aspect or manifestation of Dievs. He appears to people as an old man with long grey beard.

Pērkons – he is powerful god of thunder and sky; lightning and rain, also mountains and oak trees.

Saule – she is goddess of the sun and fertility, patron of the unlucky ones and orphans. She lives on top of a mountain and flies across the sky on her chariot. At night, she sails across the sea.

Mēness – in Latvian mythology Mēness is the avatar of the moon and the patron of travelers and soldiers, also the god of night.

Ūsiņš – apparently first known as the god of light, bringer of the spring; but later mostly mentioned as the keeper of the horses.

Ūsiņš Day – 23rd April, it was the first day at pasture and night-watch of horses at grass. To promote the wellbeing of the horses and cows, a cock was slaughtered on the morning of Ūsiņš day. He is often mentioned in connection with Mārtiņš, because he takes care of livestock in the summer while Mārtiņš does so in the winter.

Mārtiņš Day – 10th November, considered as the end of autumn and beginning of the wintertime. This is the last day of horses and night–herdsmen. With Mārtiņš day begins the merry time of masquerades, popular in 16th -18th centuries, which contains much of ancient rites for promoting fertility.

Veļi – souls of the dead, associated with fog and clouds. The place they lived was called Otherworld or land beyond the reach. The ghosts of deceased visited their old homes during dark autumn time. 28th October was last day when final feast was arranged for them.

Jods – evil forest spirit in Latvian mythology.