POEMS AND SONGS BY BJRNSTJERNE BJRNSON
TRANSLATED FROM THE NORWEGIAN IN THE ORIGINAL METERS BY ARTHUR HUBBELL PALMER Professor of the German Language and Literature In Yale University
New York The American-Scandinavian Foundation London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press 1915
INTRODUCTION BJRNSON AS A LYRIC POET
I lived far more than e'er I sang; Thought, ire, and mirth unceasing rang Around me, where I guested; To be where loud life's battles call For me was well-nigh more than all My pen on page arrested.
What's true and strong has growing-room, And will perhaps eternal bloom, Without black ink's salvation, And he will be, who least it planned, But in life's surging dared to stand, The best bard for his nation.
A life seventy-seven years long and but two hundred pages of lyrical production, more than half of which was written in about a dozen years! The seeming disproportion is explained by the lines just quoted from the poem Good Cheer, with which Bjrnson concluded the first edition of his Poems and Songs. Alongside of these stanzas, in which the cause of his popularity and powerful influence is also unconsciously revealed, may well be placed the following one from The Poet, which discloses to us the larger conception of the mission that Bjrnson himself in all his work and life, no less than in his lyrics, so finely fulfilled:
The poet does the prophet's deeds; In times of need with new life pregnant, When strife and suffering are regnant, His faith with light ideal leads. The past its heroes round him posts, He rallies now the present's hosts, The future opes Before his eyes, Its pictured hopes He prophesies. Ever his people's forces vernal The poet frees, —by right eternal.
"The best bard for his nation" is he who "does the prophet's deeds," who "rallies now the present's hosts," and "frees, —by right eternal." Poet and prophet Bjrnson was, but more than all else the leader of the Norwegian people, "where loud life's battles call," through conflict unto liberation and growth. It has been said that twice in the nineteenth century the national soul of Norway embodied itself in individual men,—during the first half in Henrik Wergeland and during the second half in Bjrnstjerne Bjrnson. True as this is of the former, it is still more true of the latter, for the history of Norway shows that the soul of its people expresses itself best through will and action. Bjrnson throughout all his life willed and wrought so much for his country, that he could give relatively little time and power to lyrical self-expression.
But Bjrnson strikingly represented the past of Norway as well as his contemporary age. He was a modern blending of the heroic chieftain and the gifted skald of ancient times. He was the first leader of his country in a period when the battles of the spirit on the fields of politics and economics, ethics, and esthetics were the only form of conflict,—a leader evoking, developing, and guiding the powers of his nation into fuller and higher life. In his many-sidedness Bjrnson was also in his time the first skald of his people, almost equally endowed with genius as a narrative, a dramatic, and a lyric poet; with talents scarcely less remarkable as an orator, a theater-director, a journalistic tribune of the people (his newspaper articles amounted, roughly estimated, to ten thousand book-pages), a letter-writer, and a conversationalist.
If, furthermore, we take into account also Bjrnson's labors and achievements in the domain of action more narrowly considered, it is no wonder that his Poems and Songs make only a small volume. Examining the book more closely, we find that three-quarters of its pages were written before the year 1875, so that the lyrical output, here published, of the thirty-four years thereafter amounts to but fifty pages. From the year 1874 on in Bjrnson's life the chieftain supplanted the skald, so far as lyrical utterance was concerned. He was leading his nation in thought and action on the fields of theology and religion, of politics, economics, and social reform; he was tireless in making speeches, in writing letters and newspaper articles; his poetic genius flowed out copiously in the dramatic and epic channels of his numerous modern plays, novels, and stories.
That soon after 1874 Bjrnson passed through a crisis in his personal thought and inner life was probably, in view of the sufficient explanation suggested above, without influence in lessening his production of short poems. This crisis was in his religious beliefs. His father was a clergyman in the Lutheran State Church, and from his home in western Norway Bjrnson brought with him to Christiania in 1850 fervent Christian faith of the older orthodox sort. Here his somewhat somber religion was soon made brighter and more tender by the adoption of Grundtvig's teachings, and until past mid-life he remained a sincere Christian in the fullest sense, as is repeatedly shown in his lyrics. But in the years just before 1877 study of modern science and philosophy, of the history of the Church and dogma, led him to become an evolutionist, an agnostic theist. Nevertheless, he ever practiced the Christian art of life, as he tried to realize his ideals of truth, justice, and love of humanity. This large and simple Christian art of life, in distinction from the dogmas of the Church, he early sung in lines which sound no less true to the keynote of his later years:
Love thy neighbor, to Christ be leal! Crush him never with iron-heel, Though in the dust he's lying! All the living responsive await Love with power to recreate, Needing alone the trying.
The quantity, then, of Bjrnson's short poems is small. Their intrinsic worth is great. Their influence in Norway has been broad and deep, they are known and loved by all. If lyrical means only melodious, "singable," they possess high poetic value and distinction. In a unique degree they have inspired composers of music to pour out their strains. When a Scandinavian reads Bjrnson's poems, his ears ring with the familiar melodies into which they have almost sung themselves.
Here is not the place for technical analysis of the external poetic forms. A cursory inspection will show that Bjrnson's are wonderfully varied, and that the same form is seldom, if ever, precisely duplicated. In rhythm and alliteration, rhyme sequence and the grouping of lines into stanzas, the form in each case seems to be determined by the content, naturally, spontaneously. Yet for one who has intimately studied these verses until his mind and heart vibrate responsively, the words of all have an indefinable melody of their own, as it were, one dominant melody, distinctly Bjrnsonian. This unity in variety, spontaneous and characteristic, is not found in the earlier poems not included in this volume. So far as is known, Bjrnson's first printed poem appeared in a newspaper in 1852. It and other youthful rhymes of that time extant in manuscript, and still others as late as 1854, are interesting by reason of their contrast with his later manner; the verse-form has nothing personal, the melodies are those of older poets. It is in the lyrics of Synnve Solbakken, written in 1857 or just before, that Bjrnson for the first time sings in his own forms his own melody.
Style and diction are the determining factors in the poetic form of lyric verse, along with the perhaps indistinguishable and indefinable quality of melodiousness. Of Bjrnson's style or manner in the larger sense it must be said that it is not subjectively lyrical. He is not disposed to introspective dwelling on his own emotions and to profuse self-expression without a conscious purpose. In general he must have some definite objective end in view, some occasion to celebrate for others, some "cause" to champion, the mood of another person or of other persons, real or fictitious, to reproduce synthetically in a combination of thoughts, feelings, similes, and sounds. In his verses words do not breed words, nor figures beget figures unto lyric breadth and vagueness. When Bjrnson was moved to make a poem, he was so filled with the end, the occasion, the cause, the mood to be reproduced, that he was impatient of any but the most significant words and left much to suggestion. Often the words seem to be in one another's way, and they are not related with grammatical precision. Thus in the original more than in the translation of the poem Norway, Norway! the first strophe of which is: Norway, Norway, Rising in blue from the sea's gray and green, Islands around like fledglings tender, Fjord-tongues with slender Tapering tips in the silence seen. Rivers, valleys, Mate among mountains, wood-ridge and slope Wandering follow. Where the wastes lighten, Lake and plain brighten, Hallow a temple of peace and hope. Norway, Norway, Houses and huts, not castles grand, Gentle or hard, Thee we guard, thee we guard, Thee, our future's fair land.
Such abrupt brevity of expression, not uncommon among Norwegian peasants, was no doubt natural to Bjrnson, but was confirmed by the influence of the Old Norse sagas and skaldic poetry. The latter may also have increased his use of alliteration, masterly not only in the direct imitation of the old form, as in Bergliot, but also in the enrichment of the music of his rhymed verse in modern forms. Conciseness of style in thought and word permitted no lyrical elaboration of figures or descriptions; it restricted the poet to brief hints of the ways his spirit would go, and along which he wished to guide that of the hearer or reader. Herein is the source of much of the power of Bjrnson's patriotic songs and poems of public agitation. Those who read or hear or sing them are made to think, or at least to feel, the unwritten poetry between the lines. Scarcely less notable is this paucity in the expression of wealth of thought and feeling in the memorial and other more individual poems.
Bjrnson's diction corresponds to the quality of style thus briefly characterized. The modern Norwegian language has no considerable, highly developed special vocabulary for poetic use. From the diction of prose the poet must quarry and carve the verbal material for his verse. It sometimes seems, indeed, as if it were hard for Bjrnson to find the right block and fit it, nicely cut, into his line. In describing his diction critics have used the figures of hewing and of hammer-strokes, but then have said that it is not so much laborious effort we hear as the natural falling into place of words heavy with thought and feeling. Here it is that translation must so often come short of faithful reproduction. The choice of words in relation to rhythm and euphony is a mystery difficult to interpret even in the poet's own language. If we try to analyze the verse of great poets, we frequently find, beyond what is evidently the product of conscious design, effects of suggestion and sound which could not be calculated and designed. The verbal material seems hardly to be amenable to the poet's control, but rather to be chosen, shaped, and placed involuntarily by the thought and the mood. The Ocean is a good example of the distinctive power and beauty of Bjrnson's diction.
Such, then, in melody, rhythm, style, and diction is the form of Bjrnson's verse: compact, reticent, suggestive, without elaborate verbal ornamentation, strong with "the long-vibrating power of the deeply felt, but half-expressed." It challenges and stimulates the soul of the hearer or reader to an intense activity of appropriation, which brings a fine reward.
What, now, is the content that finds expression in this form? As we turn the pages from the beginning, we first meet lyrics that may be called personal, not utterances of Bjrnson's individual self, but taken from his early tales and the drama Halte Hulda, with strains of love, of religious faith, of dread of nature, and of joy in it, of youthful longing; then after two patriotic choral songs and a second group of similar personal poems from A Happy Boy follow one on a patriotic subject with historical allusions, a memorial poem on J. L. Heiberg, and one descriptive, indeed, of the ocean, but filled with the human feelings and longings it arouses; then come a lyric personal to Bjrnson, and one that is not. As we progress, we pass through a similar succession of descriptive, personal, or memorial poems, some of religious faith, historical ballads, lyrical romances, patriotic and festival choral songs, poems in celebration of individual men and women, living or dead, and towards the end poems, like the Psalms, of deep philosophic thought suffused with emotion.
Now these subjects may be gathered into a small number of groups: love, religious faith and thought, moods personal to the poet, patriotism,—love of country, striving for its welfare, pride in Norway's history, and joy in the beauty and grandeur of its scenery. The occasional songs and poems in celebration of great personalities, —whether they were of high station and renown, or lowly and unfamed, —or for festivals, earnest or jovial, are nearly all conceived in the spirit of patriotism,—love of Norway, its historic past, its present, its future. They may be social songs memorial or political poems, ballads or lyrical romances,—all are inspired by and inspire love of country.
Not very many of Bjrnson's lyrics have love as their subject. From his tales, novels, and dramas we know that his understanding of love was comprehensive and subtle, yet this volume contains but few of the love-lyrics of strong emotion, which Bjrnson must have felt, if not written. He was a man of will and action with altruistic ideals; sexual love could not be the whole nor the center of life for him.
Nor are the purely religious poems numerous, although Christian faith is at once the ground and the atmosphere of his lyrics in the earlier period, and some of the latest are expressions of a broad and deep philosophy of life. "Love thy neighbor!" and "Light, Love, Life" in deeds were characteristic of Bjrnson, rather than the utterance of passive meditations of a theoretic nature on God and man's relation to Him.
Bjrnson's unfailing bent towards activity in behalf of others could not favor either the lyric outpouring of other purely personal moods. Such purely personal poems are then also relatively rare. Some of them, however, are most beautiful and deeply moving. Generally he frees himself in an epic or dramatic way from subjective introspection; he projects his feeling into another personality or sends it forth in choral song in terms of "we" and "our." The moods he does express more directly for himself are vague youthful longing for the great and the instant, joyous trustfulness even in adversity and under criticism, love of parents, wife, family, and friends, faith in the future and in the power of the good to prevail.
By far the largest number of the Poems and Songs have as their subject patriotism in the broadest sense, a theme at once simple and complex. It is in them that the skald and chieftain so typically blend in one. Of this group the influence has been widest and deepest. In his oration at the unveiling of the statue of Wergeland in Christiania, Bjrnson spoke of him and of Norway's constitution as growing up together; with reference to this it has been maintained that we have still greater right to say that Bjrnson and Norway's full freedom and independence grew up together. The truth of the statement is very largely due to Bjrnson's patriotic poems. Through them the poet-prophet interpreted for his nation the historic past and the evolving present, and forecast the future. Simplifying the meaning of life, he accomplished the mission which he himself made the ideal of The Poet, and became for his own people the liberalizing teacher and molder, leading them to freedom in thought and action, in social and political life. Of this large and seemingly complex group of patriotic lyrics,—whether they be on its history, or on contemporaneous events and deeds of individuals with political significance; or on men, both known and unknown to fame, who had made and were making Norway great; or on historical, political, and other national festivals; or on the country, its land and sea and fjords and forests and fields and cities, in aspects more genial or more stern, —whether they be poems of the individual or social and choral songs, manorial poems or ballads or lyrical romances, or descriptions of Norway's scenery,—the unifying simple theme is Norway to be loved and labored for.
Not a single poem is, however, merely descriptive of external nature. Bjrnson's relation to nature is indeed more intimate than that of any other Norwegian writer of his time, but here also he is epic and dramatic rather than subjectively lyrical. He sees and hears through what is external, and his feeling for and with nature is but a profounder looking into the soul of his nation or the inner life of other human beings. For him Norway's scenery is filled with the glory of the nation's past, the promise of its future, or the needs of the present. The poems that contain nature descriptions are primarily patriotic. In the national hymn Yes, We Love, it is the nation, its history and its future, which with the land towers as a whole before his vision; in Romsdal the scenery frames the people, their character and life. More personal poems, as To Molde or A Meeting, are not merely descriptive; in the former childhood's memories and the love of friends fill the scene, while in the latter the freshly and tenderly drawn snow-landscape is but the setting for a vivid picture of a deceased friend.
The contents of this volume befit the verse-form, as if each were made by and for the other. The subjects are simple, large, weighty; the form is compact, strong, suggestive. Bjrnson is distinctly not subjectively lyrical, but has a place in the first rank "as a choral lyric poet and as an epic lyric poet." (Collin.) Georg Brandes wrote of him many years ago: "In few [fields] has he put forth anything so individual, unforgettable, imperishable, as in the lyric field."
POEMS AND SONGS BY BJRNSTJERNE BJRNSON
SYNNOVE'S SONG (FROM SYNNOVE SOLBAKKEN)
Have thanks for all from our childhood's day, Our play together in woodland roaming. I thought that play would go on for aye, Though life should pass to its gloaming.
I thought that play would go on for aye, From bowers leading of leafy birches To where the Solbakke houses lay, And where the red-painted church is.
I sat and waited through evenings long And scanned the ridge with the spruces yonder; But darkening mountains made shadows throng, And you the way did not wander.
I sat and waited with scarce a doubt: He'll dare the way when the sun's descended. The light shone fainter, was nearly out, The day in darkness had ended.
My weary eye is so wont to gaze, To turn its look it is slow in learning; No other landmark it seeks, nor strays, Beneath the brow sorely burning.
They name a place where I help may find, And fain to Fagerli church would guide me; But try not thither to move my mind; He sits there ever beside me.
—But good it is, that full well I know, Who placed the houses both here and yonder, Then cut a way through the woods so low And let my eye on it wander.
But good it is that full well I know, Who built the church and to pray invited, And made them meeting in pairs to go Before the altar united.
THE HARE AND THE FOX (FROM SYNNOVE SOLBAKKEN)
The fox lay still by the birch-tree's root In the heather. The hare was running with nimble foot O'er the heather. Was ever brighter a sunshine-day, Before, behind me, and every way, O'er the heather!
The fox laughed low by the birch-tree's root In the heather. The hare was running with daring foot O'er the heather.
I am so happy for everything! Hallo! Why go you with mighty spring O'er the heather?
The fox lay hid by the birch-tree's root In the heather. The hare dashed to him with reckless foot O'er the heather. May God have mercy, but this is queer! — Good gracious, how dare you dance so here O'er the heather?
NILS FINN (FROM HALTE HULDA) (see Note 1)
Now little Nils Finn had away to go; The skis were too loose at both heel and toe. —"That's too bad!" rumbled yonder.
Then little Nils Finn in the snow set his feet: "You ugliest troll, you shall never me cheat!" —"Hee-ho-ha!" rumbled yonder.
Nils Finn with his staff beat the snow till it blew "Your trollship, now saw you how hapless it flew?" —"Hit-li-hu!" rumbled yonder.
Nils Finn pushed one ski farther forward with might; The other held fast,—he reeled left and right. —"Pull it up!" rumbled yonder.
Nils' tears wet the snow, while he kicked and he struck; The more that he kicked there, the deeper he stuck. —"That was good!" rumbled yonder.
The birch-trees, they danced, and the pine-trees said "Hoo!" They more were than one,—were a hundred and two. —"Know your way?" rumbled yonder.
A laugh shook the ridge till it made the snow fly; But Nils clenched his fists and he swore 't was a lie. —"Now beware!" rumbled yonder.
The snow-field yawned wide, and the heavens came low; Nils thought 't was now time for him also to go. —"Is he gone?" rumbled yonder.—
Two skis in the snow looked about everywhere, But saw nothing much; for there was nothing there. —"Where is Nils?" rumbled yonder.
THE MAIDENS' SONG (FROM HALTE HULDA)
Good-morning, sun, 'mid the leaves so green — Mind of youth in the dales' deep reaches, Smile that brightens their somber speeches, Heaven's gold on our earth-dust seen!
Good-morning, sun, o'er the royal tower! Kindly thou beckonest forth each maiden; Kindle each heart as a star light-laden, Twinkling so clear, though a sad night lower!
Good-morning, sun, o'er the mountain-side! Light the land that still sleep disguises Till it awakens and fresh arises For yonder day in thy warmth's full tide!
THE DOVE (FROM HALTE HULDA)
I saw a dove fear-daunted, By howling storm-blast driven; Where waves their power vaunted, From land it had been riven. No cry nor moan it uttered, I heard no plaint repeated; In vain its pinions fluttered — It had to sink, defeated.
THE MOTHER'S SONG (FROM ARNE)
Lord! Oh, hold in Thy hand my child, Guard by the river its playing! Send Thou Thy Spirit as comrade mild, Lest it be lost in its straying! Deep is the water and false the ground. Lord, if His arms shall the child surround, Drowned it shall not be, but living, Till Thou salvation art giving.
Mother, whom loneliness befalls, Knowing not where it is faring, Goes to the door, and its name there calls; Breezes no answer are bearing. This is her thought, that everywhere He and Thou for it always care; Jesus, its little brother, Follows it home to mother.
LAMBKIN MINE (FROM ARNE)
Kille, kille, lambkin mine, Though it often be hard to climb Over the rocks upswinging, Follow thy bell's sweet ringing!
Kille, kille, lambkin mine, Take good care of that fleece-coat thine! Sewed to one and another, Warm it shall keep my mother.
Kille, kille, lambkin mine, Feed and fatten thy flesh so fine! Know, you dear little sinner, Mother will have it for dinner!
BALLAD OF TAILOR NILS (FROM ARNE)
If you were born before yesterday, Surely you've heard about Tailor Nils, who flaunts him so gay.
If it's more than a week that you've been here, Surely you've heard how Knut Storedragen got a lesson severe.
Up on the barn of Ola-Per Kviste after a punchin': "When Nils heaves you again, take with you some luncheon."
Hans Bugge, he was a man so renowned, Haunting ghosts of his name spread alarm all around.
"Tailor Nils, where you wish to lie, now declare! On that spot will I spit and lay your head right there."—
"Oh, just come up so near, that I know you by the scent! Think not that by your jaw to earth I shall be bent!"
When first they met, 't was scarce a bout at all, Neither man was ready yet to try to get a fall.
The second time Hans Bugge slipped his hold. "Are you tired now, Hans Bugge? The dance will soon be bold."
The third time Hans fell headlong, and forth the blood did spurt. "Why spit you now so much, man?" — "Oh my, that fall did hurt!"—
Saw you a tree casting shadows on new-fallen snow? Saw you Nils on a maiden smiling glances bestow?
Have you seen Tailor Nils when the dance he commences? Are you a maiden, then go!—It's too late, when you've lost your senses.
VENEVIL (FROM ARNE) (See Note 2)
Fair Venevil hastened with tripping feet Her lover to meet. He sang, so it rang o'er the church far away: "Good-day! Good-day!"
And all the little birds sang right merrily their lay: "Midsummer Day Brings us laughter and play; But later know I little, if she twines her wreath so gay!"
She twined him a wreath of the flowers blue: "My eyes for you!" He tossed it and caught it and to her did bend: "Good-by, my friend!" And loudly he exulted at the field's far distant end: "Midsummer Day Brings us laughter and play; But later know I little, if she twines her wreath so gay!"
She twined him a wreath: "Do at all you care For my golden hair?" She twined one, and gave in life's hour so rare Her red lips' pair; He took them and he pressed them, and he blushed as she did there.
She twined one all white as a lily-band: "'T is my right hand." She twined one blood-red, with her love in each strand: "'T is my left hand." He took them both and kept them both, but would not understand.
She twined of the flowers that bloomed around "Every one I found!" She gathered and twined, while tears would her eyes fill: "Take them you will!" In silence then he took them, but to flight he turned him still.
She twined one so large, of discordant hue: "My bride's-wreath true!" She twined it and twined, till her fingers were sore: "Crown me, I implore!" But when she turned, he was not there, she never saw him more.
She twined yet undaunted without a stay At her bride's-array. But now it was long past the Midsummer Day, All the flowers away: She twined it of the flowers, though they all were now away! "Midsummer Day Brings us laughter and play; But later know I little, if she twines her wreath so gay!"
OVER THE LOFTY MOUNTAINS (FROM ARNE) (See Note 3)
Wonder I must, what I once may see Over the lofty mountains! Eyes shall meet only snow, may be; Standing here, each evergreen tree Over the heights is yearning;— Will it be long in learning?
Pinions strong bear the eagle away Over the lofty mountains Forth to the young and vigorous day; There he exults in the swift, wild play, Rests where his spirit orders,— Sees all the wide world's borders.
Full-leaved the apple-tree wishes naught Over the lofty mountains! Spreading, when summer hither is brought, Waiting till next time in its thought; Many a bird it is swinging, Knowing not what they are singing.
He who has longed for twenty years Over the lofty mountains, He who knows that he never nears, Smaller feels with the lapsing years, Heeds what the bird is singing Cheerily to its swinging.
Garrulous bird, what will you here Over the lofty mountains? Surely your nest was there less drear, Taller the trees, the outlook clear;— Will you then only bring me Longings, but naught to wing me?
Shall I then never, never go Over the lofty mountains? Shall to my thoughts this wall say,—No! Stand with terror of ice and snow, Barring the way unwended, Coffin me when life is ended?
Out will I! Out!—Oh, so far, far, far, Over the lofty mountains! Here is this cramping, confining bar, Baffling my thoughts, that so buoyant are;— Lord! Let me try the scaling, Suffer no final failing!
Sometime I know I shall rise and soar Over the lofty mountains. Hast Thou already ajar Thy door?— Good is Thy home! Yet, Lord, I implore, Hold not the gates asunder,— Leave me my longing wonder!
THE DAY OF SUNSHINE (FROM ARNE)
It was such a lovely sunshine-day, The house and the yard couldn't hold me; I roved to the woods, on my back I lay, In cradle of fancy rolled me; But there were ants, and gnats that bite, The horse-fly was keen, the wasp showed fight.
"Dear me, don't you want to be out in this fine weather?" —said mother, who sat on the steps and sang.
It was such a lovely sunshine-day, The house and the yard couldn't hold me; A meadow I found, on my back I lay, And sang what my spirit told me; Then snakes came crawling, a fathom long, To bask in the sun,—I fled with my song.
"In such blessed weather we can go barefoot,"—said mother, as she pulled off her stockings.
It was such a lovely sunshine-day, The house and the yard couldn't hold me; I loosened a boat, on my back I lay, While blithely the current bowled me; But hot grew the sun, and peeled my nose; Enough was enough, and to land I chose.
"Now these are just the days to make hay in,"— said mother, as she stuck the rake in it.
It was such a lovely sunshine-day, The house and the yard couldn't hold me; I climbed up a tree, oh, what bliss to play, As cooling the breeze consoled me; But worms soon fell on my neck, by chance, And jumping, I cried: "'T is the Devil's own dance!"
"Yes, if the cows aren't sleek and shiny to-day, they'll never be so,"—said mother, gazing up the hillside.
It was such a lovely sunshine-day, The house and the yard couldn't hold me; I dashed to the waterfall's endless play, There only could peace enfold me. The shining sun saw me drown and die,— If you made this ditty, 't was surely not I.
"Three more such sunshine-days, and everything will be in,"—said mother, and went to make my bed.
INGERID SLETTEN (FROM ARNE)
Ingerid Sletten of Sillejord Neither gold nor silver did own, But a little hood of gay wool alone, Her mother had given of yore.
A little hood of gay wool alone, With no braid nor lining, was here; But parent love made it ever dear, And brighter than gold it shone.
She kept the hood twenty years just so: "Be it spotless," softly she cried, "Until I shall wear it once as bride, When I to the altar go."
She kept the hood thirty years just so: "Be it spotless," softly she cried, "Then wear it I will, a gladsome bride, When it to our Lord I show."
She kept the hood forty years just so, With her mother ever in mind. "Little hood, be with me to this resigned, That ne'er to the altar we'll go."
She steps to the chest where the hood has lain, And seeks it with swelling heart; She guides her hand to its place apart,— But never a thread did remain.
THE TREE (FROM ARNE)
Ready with leaves and with buds stood the tree. "Shall I take them?" the frost said, now puffing with glee. "Oh my, no, let them stand, Till flowers are at hand!" All trembling from tree-top to root came the plea.
Flowers unfolding the birds gladly sung. "Shall I take them?" the wind said and merrily swung. "Oh my, no, let them stand, Till cherries are at hand!" Protested the tree, while it quivering hung.
The cherries came forth 'neath the sun's glowing eye. "Shall I take them?" a rosy young girl's eager cry. "Oh my, yes, you can take, I've kept them for your sake!" Low bending its branches, the tree brought them nigh.
THE MELODY (FROM ARNE)
The youth in the woods spent the whole day long, The whole day long; For there he had heard such a wonderful song, Wonderful song.
Willow-wood gave him a flute so fair, A flute so fair,— To try, if within were the melody rare, Melody rare.
Melody whispered and said: "I am here!" Said: "I am here!" But while he was listening, it fled from his ear, Fled from his ear.
Oft when he slept, it to him crept, It to him crept; And over his forehead in love it swept, In love it swept.
When he would seize it, his sleep took flight, His sleep took flight; The melody hung in the pallid night, In the pallid night.
"Lord, O my God, take me therein, Take me therein! The melody rare all my soul doth win, My soul doth win."
Answered the Lord: "'T is your friend alone, Your friend alone; Though never an hour you it shall own, You it shall own."
OUR COUNTRY (1859) (See Note 4)
A land there is, lying near far-northern snow, Where only the fissures life's springtime may know. But surging, the sea tells of great deeds done, And loved is the land as a mother by son.
What time we were little and sat on her knee, She gave us her saga with pictures to see. We read till our eyes opened wide and moist, While nodding and smiling she mute rejoiced.
We went to the fjord and in wonder beheld The ashen-gray bauta, that record of eld; Still older she stood and her silence kept, While stone-studded hows all around us slept.
Our hands she then took and away o'er the hill She led to the church ever lowly and still, Where humbly our forefathers knelt to pray, And mildly she taught us: "Do ye as they!"
She scattered her snow on the mountain's steep side, Then bade on swift skis her young manhood to glide; The North Sea she maddened with scourge of gales, Then bade her young manhood to hoist the sails.
Of beautiful maidens she gathered a throng, To follow our daring with smiles and with song, While she sat enthroned with her saga's scroll In mantle of moonlight beneath the Pole.
Then "Forward, go forward!" was borne on the wind, "With forefathers' aim and with forefathers' mind, For freedom, for Norsehood, for Norway, hurrah!" While echoing mountains voiced their hurrah.
Then life-giving fountains burst forth on our sight, Then we were baptized with her spirit of might, Then gleamed o'er the mountains a vision high, That summons us onward until we die.
SONG FOR NORWAY (1859) NATIONAL HYMN (See Note 5)
Yes, we love this land that towers Where the ocean foams; Rugged, storm-swept, it embowers Many thousand homes. Love it, love it, of you thinking, Father; mother dear, And that night of saga sinking Dreamful to us here.
This the land that Harald guarded With his hero-throng, This the land that Haakon warded, Hailed by Eyvind's song. Olaf here the cross erected, While his blood he shed; Sverre's word this land protected 'Gainst the Roman dread.
Peasants whetted axes carried, Broke th' invader's blow; Tordenskjold flashed forth and harried, Lighted home the foe. Women oft to arms were leaping, Manlike in their deed; Others' lot was naught but weeping, Tears that brought their meed.
Many truly were we never, But we did suffice, When in times of testing ever Worthy was the prize. For we would the land see burning, Rather than its fall; Memory our thoughts is turning Down to Fredrikshald!
Harder times we bore that tried us Were cast off in scorn; In that crisis was beside us Blue-eyed freedom born. That gave father-strength for bearing Famine-need and sword, Honor death itself outwearing, And it gave accord.
Far our foe his weapons flinging Up his visor raised; We in wonder to him springing On our brother gazed. Both by wholesome shame incited Southward made our way; Brothers three, in heart united, We shall stand for aye!
Men of Norway, high or lowly, Give to God the praise! He our land's Defender Holy In its darkest days! All our fathers here have striven And our mothers wept, Hath the Lord His guidance given, So our right we kept.
Yes, we love this land that towers Where the ocean foams; Rugged, storm-swept, it embowers Many thousand homes. As our fathers' conflict gave it Vict'ry at the end, Also we, when time shall crave it, Will its peace defend.
THE CALL (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
Come calf now to mother, Come lamb that I choose, Come cats, one and t' other, With snowy-white shoes, Come gosling all yellow, Come forth with your fellow, Come chickens so small, Scarce walking at all, Come doves, that are mine now, With feathers so fine now! The grass is bedewed, The sunlight renewed, It's early, early, summer's advancing But autumn soon comes a-dancing!
EVENING (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
Evening sun in beauty is shining, Lazy puss on the step's reclining. "Two small mice, Cream that was so nice, Four fine bits of fish, Stolen from a dish, And I'm so good and full, And I'm so lazy and dull!" Says the pussy.
Mother-hen her wings now is sinking, Rooster stands on one leg a-thinking: "That gray goose, High he flies and loose; But just watch, you must admit, Naught he has of rooster-wit. Chickens in! To the coop away! Gladly dismiss we the sun for today!" Says the rooster.
"Dear me, it is good to be living, When life no labor is giving!" Says the song-bird.
MARIT'S SONG (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
"Dance!" called the fiddle, Its strings loudly giggled, The bailiff's man wriggled Ahead for a spree. "Hold!" shouted Ola And tripped him to tumbling, The bailiff's man humbling, To maidens' great glee.
"Hop!" said then Erik, His foot struck the ceiling, The beams rang their pealing, The walls gave a shriek. "Stop!" said now Elling, And seizing him collared, He held him and hollered: "You still are too weak!"
"Hei!" said then Rasmus, Fair Randi embracing: "Be quick now in placing The kiss that you know!"
"Nay!" answered Randi. A slapping she gave him, And from her she drave him: "Here take what I owe!"
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
Love thy neighbor, to Christ be leal! Crush him never with iron-heel, Though in the dust he's lying! All the living responsive await Love with power to recreate, Needing alone the trying.
OYVIND'S SONG (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
Lift thy head, thou undaunted youth! Though some hope may now break, forsooth, Brighter a new one and higher Shall throe eye fill with its fire.
Lift thy head to the vision clear! Something near thee is calling: "Here!"— Something with myriad voicing, Ever in courage rejoicing.
Lift thy head, for an azure height Rears within thee a vault of light; Music of harps there is ringing, Jubilant, rapturous singing.
Lift thy head and thy longing sing! None shall conquer the growing spring; Where there is life-making power, Time shall set free the flower.
Lift thy head and thyself baptize In the hopes that radiant rise, Heaven to earth foreshowing, And in each life-spark glowing!
LOVE SONG (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
Have you love for me, Yours my love shall be, While the days of life are flowing. Short was summer's stay, Grass now pales away, With our play will come regrowing.
What you said last year Sounds yet in my ear,— Birdlike at the window sitting, Tapping, trilling there, Singing, in would bear Joy the warmth of sun befitting.
Litli-litli-lu, Do you hear me too, Youth behind the birch-trees biding? Now the words I send, Darkness will attend, May be you can give them guiding.
Take it not amiss! Sang I of a kiss? No, I surely never planned it. Did you hear it, you? Give no heed thereto, Haste I make to countermand it.
Oh, good-night, good-night Dreams enfold me bright Of your eyes' persuasive mildness. Many a silent word From their corners heard,— Breaking forth with gentle wildness.
Now my song is still; Is there more you will? All the tones, to me returning, Laughing, luring, soar; Did you wish me more? Still and warm the night is yearning.
MOUNTAIN SONG (FROM A HAPPY BOY)
When you will the mountains roam And your pack are making, Put therein not much from home, Light shall be your taking! Drag no valley-fetters strong To those upland spaces, Toss them with a joyous song To the mountains' bases!
Birds sing Hail! from many a bough, Gone the fools' vain talking, Purer breezes fan your brow, You the heights are walking. Fill your breast and sing with joy! Childhood's mem'ries starting, Nod with blushing cheeks and coy, Bush and heather parting. If you stop and listen long, You will hear upwelling Solitude's unmeasured song To your ear full swelling; And when now there purls a brook, Now stones roll and tumble, Hear the duty you forsook In a world-wide rumble.
Fear, but pray, you anxious soul, While your mem'ries meet you! Thus go on; the perfect whole On the top shall greet you. Christ, Elijah, Moses, there Wait your high endeavor. Seeing them you'll know no care, Bless your path forever.
ANSWER FROM NORWAY TO THE SPEECHES IN THE SWEDISH HOUSE OF NOBLES, 1860 (See Note 6)
Have you heard what says the Swede now, Young Norwegian man? Have you seen what forms proceed now, Border-watch to plan? Shades of those from life departed, Our forefathers single-hearted, Who, when words like these were said, Mounted guard and knew no dread.
Says the Swede now: That our cherished Norseland's banner red, That which flew when Magnus perished, As to-day outspread, Which o'er Fredrikshald victorious And o'er Adler waved all glorious, That the Swedish yellow-blue Must in shame henceforth eschew.
Says the Swede now: Lost their luster Have our memories, Brighter honors shall we muster, If we borrow his. Bids us forth to Ltzen stumble, Close this straw-thatched cottage humble, Drag our grandsire's ancient seat To the Swedes for honor meet.
Let it stand, that poor old lumber, To us dear for aye; Sweden's ground it could but cumber, And it might not pay. For, we know from history's pages, Some sat there in former ages, Sverre Priest and other men, Who may wish to come again.
Says the Swede now: We must know it, He our freedom gave, But the Swedish sword can mow it, Send it to its grave. Yet the case is not alarming, He must fare with good fore-arming, For in truth some fell of yore, There where he would break a door.
Says the Swede now: We a clever Little boy remain, Very suitable to ever Hold his mantle's train. But would Christie be so pliant, With his comrades self-reliant, If they still at Eidsvold stood, Sword-girt, building Norway's good?
Big words oft the Swede was saying, Only small were we, But they never much were weighing, When the test should be. On the little cutter sailing, Wessel and Norse youth prevailing, Sweden's flag and frigate chased From the Kattegat in haste.
Sweden's noblemen are shaking Charles the Twelfth's proud hat; We, in council or war-making, Peers are for all that. If things take the worse turn in there, Aid from Torgny we shall win there. Then o'er all the Northland's skies Greater freedom's sun shall rise.
JOHAN LUDVIG HEIBERG (1860) (See Note 7)
To the grave they bore him sleeping, Him the aged, genial gardener; Now the children gifts are heaping From the flower-bed he made.
There the tree that he sat under, And the garden gate is open, While we cast a glance and wonder Whether some one sits there still.
He is gone. A woman only Wanders there with languid footsteps, Clothed in black and now so lonely, Where his laughter erst rang clear.
As a child when past it going, Through the fence she looked with longing, Now great tears so freely flowing Are her thanks that she came in.
Fairy-tales and thoughts high-soaring Whispered to him 'neath the foliage. She flits softly, gathering, storing Them as solace for her woe.
Far his wanderings once bore him, Bore this aged, genial searcher; One who listening sat before him Much could learn from time to time.
Life and letters were his ladder Up toward that which few discover, Thought's wide realm, with vision gladder He explored, each summit scaled.
In his manhood he defended All that greatness has and beauty; Later he the stars attended In their silent course to God.
Older men remember rather "New Year!" ringing o'er the Northland. How it power had to gather Leaders to a greater age
Do you him remember leaping Forth, his horn so gladly winding, Back the mob on all sides sweeping From the progress of the great?
Play of thought 'mid tears and laughter, Fauns and children were about him; Freedom's beacons high thereafter Kindled slowly of themselves.
And his words soon found a hearing, Peace of heart flowed from his music; All the land thrilled to the nearing Of a great prophetic choir.
In his manhood he defended All that greatness has and beauty; Later he the stars attended In their silent course to God.
Northern flowers were his pleasure, As an aged genial gardener, From his nation's springtime treasure Culling seed for deathless growth.
Now with humor, now sedately, He kept planting or uprooting, While the Danish beech-tree stately Gave his soul its evening peace.
There the tree we saw him under, And the garden gate is open, While we cast a glance and wonder Whether some one sits there still.
THE OCEAN (FROM ARNLJOT GELLINE) (See Note 8)
... Oceanward I am ever yearning, Where far it rolls in its calm and grandeur, The weight of mountain-like fogbanks bearing, Forever wandering and returning. The skies may lower, the land may call it, It knows no resting and knows no yielding. In nights of summer, in storms of winter, Its surges murmur the self-same longing.
Yes, oceanward I am ever yearning, Where far is lifted its broad, cold forehead! Thereon the world throws its deepest shadow And mirrors whispering all its anguish. Though warm and blithesome the bright sun stroke it With joyous message, that life is gladness, Yet ice-cold, changelessly melancholy, It drowns the sorrow and drowns the solace.
The full moon pulling, the tempest lifting, Must loose their hold on the flowing water. Down whirling lowlands and crumbling mountains It to eternity tireless washes. What forth it draws must the one way wander. What once is sunken arises never. No message comes thence, no cry is heard thence; Its voice, its silence, can none interpret.
Yes, toward the ocean, far out toward ocean, That knows no hour of self-atonement! For all that suffer release it offers, But trails forever its own enigma. A strange alliance with Death unites it, That all it give Him,—itself excepting!
I feel, vast Ocean, thy solemn sadness, To thee abandon my weak devices, To thee let fly all my anxious longings: May thy cool breath to my heart bring healing! Let Death now follow, his booty seeking: The moves are many before the checkmate! Awhile I'll harass thy love of plunder, As on I scud 'neath thy angry eyebrows; Thou only fillest my swelling mainsail, Though Death ride fast on thy howling tempest; Thy billows raging shall bear the faster My little vessel to quiet waters.
Ah! Thus alone at the helm in darkness, By all forsaken, by Death forgotten, When sails unknown far away are wafted And some swift-coursing by night are passing, To note the ground-swell's resistless current, The sighing heart of the breathing ocean — Or small waves plashing along the planking, Its quiet pastime amid its sadness. Then glide my lingering longings over Into the ocean-deep grief of nature, The night's, the water's united coldness Prepares my spirit for death's dark dwelling.
Then comes day's dawning! My soul bounds upward On beams of light to the vault of heaven; My ship-steed sniffing its flank is laving With buoyant zest in the cooling billow. With song the sailor to masthead clambers To clear the sail that shall swell more freely, And thoughts are flying like birds aweary Round mast and yard-arm, but find no refuge. ... Yes, toward the ocean! To follow Vikar! To sail like him and to sink as he did, For great King Olaf the prow defending! With keel unswerving the cold thought cleaving, But hope deriving from lightest breezes! Death's eager fingers so near the rudder, While heaven's clearness the way illumines!
And then at last in the final hour To feel the bolts and the nails are yielding And Death is pressing the seams asunder, That in may stream the absolving water! Wet winding-sheets shall be folded round me, And I descend to eternal silence, While rolling billows my name bear shoreward In spacious nights 'neath the cloudless moonlight!
ALONE AND REPENTANT (TO A FRIEND SINCE DECEASED) (See Note 9)
A friend I possess, whose whispers just said, "God's peace!" to my night-watching mind. When daylight is gone and darkness brings dread, He ever the way can find.
He utters no word to smite and to score; He, too, has known sin and its grief. He heals with his look the place that is sore, And stays till I have relief.
He takes for his own the deed that is such That sorrows of heart increase. He cleanses the wound with so gentle a touch, The pain must give way to peace.
He followed each hope the heights that would scale Reproached not a hapless descent. He stands here just now, so mild, but so pale; — In time he shall know what it meant.
The princess looked down from her bower high, The youth blew his horn as he lingered thereby. "Be quiet, O youth, will forever you blow? It hinders my thoughts, that would far away go, Now, when sets the sun."
The princess looked down from her bower high, The youth ceased his blowing, his horn he laid by. "Why are you so quiet? Now more shall you blow, It lifts all my thoughts, that would far away go, Now, when sets the sun."
The princess looked down from her bower high, The youth blew again, as he lingered thereby. Then weeping, she whispered: "O God, let me know The name of this sorrow that burdens me so! — Now has set the sun."
FROM MONTE PINCIO
Evening is coming, the sun waxes red, Radiant colors from heaven are beaming Life's lustrous longings in infinite streaming;— Glory in death o'er the mountains is spread. Cupolas burn, but the fog in far masses Over the bluish-black fields softly passes, Rolling as whilom oblivion pale; Hid is yon valley 'neath thousand years' veil. Evening so red and warm Glows as the people swarm, Notes of the cornet flare, Flowers and brown eyes fair. Great men of old stand in marble erected, Waiting, scarce known and neglected.
Vespers are ringing, through roseate air Nebulous floating of tone-sacrifices, Twilight in churches now broadens and rises, Incense and word fill the evening with prayer. Over the Sabines the flame-belt is knotted, Shepherds' lights through the Campagna are dotted, Rome with her lamps dimly breaks on the sight,— Shadowy legend from history's night. But to the evening's spell Dances the Saltarell';— Fireworks flash and play, Mora and laughter gay;— Colors and tones in all thoughts are enthroning Harmony's gracious condoning.
Lost has the light in its soundless affray, Heaven its vaulting of dark-blue is framing, Where from infinity deep stars are flaming, Earth's masses sink into vapor away. Fleeing the darkness, the eyes seek the city, Meet with its torches a corpse borne in pity; These seek the night, but a flag is each light, Waving the hope of eternity bright. Gaily to dance and wine Mandolins give the sign. Monkish song, noise of streets, Drowned by a drum's stern beats;— Through all the dreaming life's arteries flowing, Glimpses of daylight are going.
Silence o'er all, and the darker blue sky Watches serenely expectant, 'mid cheering Dreams of the past and the future that's nearing:— Fluctuant gleams in the gray that is nigh. But they will gather, and Rome be resurgent, Day-dawn from Italy's midnight emergent: Cannon shall sound and the bells ring the new, Mem'ries illumine the future's bright blue!— Greeting a bridal pair Charming in hope so rare, Voices bring soft salute, Music of harp and flute. Mightier yearnings sweet sleep is beguiling;— Lesser dare waken to smiling.
IF ONLY YOU KNEW IT
I dare never speak up to you, For you to look down would not do, But always you are there each day, And always I wander this way. Our thoughts go by stealth to make search and renew it, But neither dares question nor give answer due it; If only you knew it!
When constantly I could be found, You often in pride on me frowned; But now that I rarely appear, I see that you wait for me here! Two eyes, oh, two eyes made a snare and then drew it, And who would escape must beware, and eschew it! If only you knew it!
Yes, if you but guessed, this might be A poem for you made by me, Whose billowy lines just now fly Up where you stand graceful and high! But look you, this knowledge, to no purpose grew it, I farther will go, Heaven guard, lest we rue it,— If only you knew it!
THE ANGELS OF SLEEP
Asleep the child fell When night cast its spell; The angels came near With laughter and cheer. Her watch at its waking the mother was keeping: "How sweet, my dear child, was your smile now while sleeping!"
To God mother went, From home it was rent; Asleep the child fell 'Neath tears' troublous spell. But soon it heard laughter and mother-words tender; The angels brought dreams full of childhood's rare splendor.
It grew with the years, Till gone were the tears; Asleep the child fell, While thoughts cast their spell. But faithful the angels their vigils were keeping, The thoughts took and whispered: "Have peace now, while sleeping!"
THE MAIDEN ON THE SHORE
She wandered so young on the shore around, Her thoughts were by naught on earth now bound. Soon came there a painter, his art he plied Above the tide, In shadow wide,— He painted the shore and herself beside.
More slowly she wandered near him around, Her thoughts by a single thing were bound. And this was his picture wherein he drew Herself so true, Herself so true, Reflected in ocean with heaven's blue.
All driven and drawn far and wide around Her thoughts now by everything were bound. Far over the ocean,—and yet most dear The shore right here, The man so near, Did ever the sunshine so bright appear!
He gloomily sat by the wall, As gaily she danced with them all. Her laughter's light spell On every one fell; His heartstrings were near unto rending, But this there was none comprehending.
She fled from the house, when at eve He came there to take his last leave. To hide her she crept, She wept and she wept; Her life-hope was shattered past mending, But this there was none comprehending.
Long years dragged but heavily o'er, And then he came back there once more. —Her lot was the best, In peace and at rest; Her thought was of him at life's ending, But this there was none comprehending.
OLAF TRYGVASON (See Note 10)
Broad the sails o'er the North Sea go; High on deck in the morning glow Erling Skjalgsson from Sole Scans all the sea toward Denmark: "Cometh never Olaf Trygvason?"
Six and fifty the ships are there, Sails are let down, toward Denmark stare Sun-reddened men;—then murmur: "Where is the great Long Serpent? Cometh never Olaf Trygvason?"
When the sun in the second dawn Cloudward rising no mast had drawn, Grew to a storm their clamor: "Where is the great Long Serpent? Cometh never Olaf Trygvason?"
Silent, silent that moment bound, Stood they all; for from ocean's ground Sighed round the fleet a muffled: "Taken the great Long Serpent, Fallen is Olaf Trygvason."
Ever since, through so many a year, Norway's ships must beside them hear, Clearest in nights of moonshine: "Taken the great Long Serpent, Fallen is Olaf Trygvason."
Evening sunshine never Solace to my window bears, Morning sunshine elsewhere fares;— Here are shadows ever.
Sunshine freely falling, Wilt thou not my chamber find? Here some rays would reach a mind, 'Mid the dark appalling.
Morning sunshine's gladness, Oh, thou art my childhood bright; While thou playest pure and white, I would weep in sadness.
Evening sunshine's whiling, Oh, thou art the wise man's rest;— Farther on! Then from the west Greet my window smiling!
Morning sunshine's singing, Oh, thou art the fantasy That the sun-glad world lifts free, Past my powers' winging.
Evening sunshine's quiet, Thou art more than wisdom's rest, Christian faith glows in thee blest: Calm my soul's wild riot!
TO A GODSON (1861) (With an album containing portraits of all those who at the time of his birth were leaders in the intellectual and political world.)
Here hast thou before thee that constellation Whereunder was born thy light; These stars in the vault of high thoughts' mutation Will fashion thy life with might. Their prophecy, little one, we cannot know, They light up the way that, unknown, thou shalt go And kindle the thoughts that within shall glow. Thou first shalt them gather, Then choose thine own,— So canst thou the rather Grope on alone.
BERGLIOT (See Note 11) (Harald Haardraade's saga, towards the end of Chapter 45, reads thus: When Einar Tambarskelve's wife Bergliot, who had remained behind in her lodgings in the town, learned of the death of her husband and of her sort, she went straight to the royal residence, where the armed force of peasants was, and eagerly urged them to fight. But in that very moment the King (Harald) rowed out along the river. Then said Bergliot: "Now miss we here my kinsman, Haakon Ivarson; never should Einar's murderer row out along the river, if Haakon stood here on the river-bank.")
(In her lodgings)
To-day King Harald Must hold his ting-peace; For Einar has here Five hundred peasants.
Our son Eindride Safeguards his father, Who goes in fearless The King defying.
Thus maybe Harald, Mindful that Einar Has crowned in Norway Two men with kingship,
Will grant that peace be, On law well grounded; This was his promise, His people's longing.—
What rolling sand-waves Swirl up the roadway! What noise is nearing! Look forth, my footboy!
—The wind's but blowing! Here storms beat wildly; The fjord is open, The fells low-lying.
The town's unchanged Since child I trod it; The wind sends hither The snarling sea-hounds.
—What flaming thunder From thousand voices! Steel-weapons redden With stains of warfare!
The shields are clashing! See, sand-clouds rising, Speer-billows rolling Round Tambarskelve!
Hard is his fortune!— Oh, faithless Harald: Death's ravens roving Ride o'er thy ting-peace!
Fetch forth the wagon, Drive to the fighting! At home to cower Would cost my life now.
(On the way)
O yeomen, yield not, Circle and save him! Eindride, aid now Thine aged father!
Build a shield-bulwark For him bow-bending! Death has no allies Like Einar's arrows!
And thou, Saint Olaf, Oh, for thy son's sake! Help him with good words In Gimle's high hall!
( Nearer )
Our foes are the stronger ... They fight now no longer ... Subduing, Pursuing, They press to the river,— What is it that's done? What makes me thus quiver? Will fortune us shun? What stillness astounding! The peasants are staying, Their lances now grounding, Two dead men surrounding, Nor Harald delaying! What throngs now enwall The ting-hall's high door! ... Silent they all Let me pass o'er! Where is Eindride!— Glances of pity
Fear lest they show it, Flee lest they greet me ... So I must know it: Two deaths there will meet me!— Room! I must see: Oh, it is they!— Can it so be?— Yes, it is they!
Fallen the noblest Chief of the Northland; Best of Norwegian Bows is broken.
Fallen is Einar Tambarskelve, Our son beside him,— Eindride!
Murdered with malice, He, who to Magnus More was than father, King Knut the Mighty's Son's counselor good.
Slain by assassins Svolder's sharp-shooter, The lion that leaped on the Heath of Lyrskog!
Pride of the peasants Snared in a pitfall, Time-honored Tronder, Tambarskelve.
White-haired and honored, Hurled to the hounds here,— Our son beside him, Eindride!
Up, up, ye peasants, he has fallen, But he who felled him is living! Have you not known me? Bergliot, Daughter of Haakon from Hjrungavaag;— Now I am Tambarskelve's widow.
To you I appeal, peasant-warriors: My aged husband has fallen. See, see, here is blood on his blanching hair, Your heads shall it be on forever, For cold it becomes, while vain is your vengeance.
Up, up, warriors, your chieftain has fallen, Your honor, your father, the joy of your children, Legend of all the valley, hero of all the land,— Here he has fallen, will you not avenge him?
Murdered with malice within the king's hall, The ting-hall, the hall of the law, thus murdered, Murdered by him whom the law holds highest,— From heaven will lightning fall on the land, If thus left unpurged by the flames of vengeance.
Launch the long-ships from land Einar's nine long-ships are lying here, Let them hasten vengeance on Harald!
If he stood here, Haakon Ivarson, If he stood here on the hill, my kinsman, The fjord should not save the slayer of Einar, And I should not seek you cowards who flinch!
Oh, peasants, hear me, my husband has fallen, The high-seat of my thoughts through years half a hundred! Overthrown it now is, and by its right side, Our only son fell, oh, all our future! All is now empty between my two arms; Can I ever again lift them up in prayer? Or whither on earth shall I betake me? If I go and stay in the places of strangers,— I shall long for those where we lived together. But if I betake me thither,— Ah, them, themselves I shall miss.
Odin in Valhall I dare not beseech; For him I forsook in days of childhood. But the great new God in Gimle?— All that I had He has taken!
Vengeance? Who speaks of vengeance? Can vengeance the dead awaken, Or cover me warm from the cold? Find I in it a widow's seat sheltered, Solace to cheer a childless mother?
Away with your vengeance! Let me alone! Lay him on the wagon, him and our son! Come, we will follow them home. That God in Gimle, new and fearful, who all has taken, Let Him now also take vengeance! Well He knows how! Drive slowly! For so drove Einar always; —Soon enough we shall come home.
The dogs to-day will not greet us gladly, But drearily howl with drooping tails. And lifting their heads the horses will listen; Neighing they stand, the stable-door watching, Eindride's voice awaiting.
In vain for his voice will they hearken, Nor hears the hall the step of Einar, That called before him for all to arise and stand, For now came their chieftain.
Too large the house is; I will lock it; Workmen, servants send away; Sell the cattle and the horses, Move far hence and live alone. Drive slowly! —Soon enough we shall come home.
TO MY WIFE (WITH A SET OF ROMAN PEARLS) (See Note 12)
Pray, take these pearls!—and my thanks for them You lavished, the home of my youth to gem! The thousands of hours of peaceful luster Your spirit has filled, are pearls that cluster With beauty blest On my happy breast, And softly shining My brow are entwining With thoughts whence the truth gleams: Thus gave his wife, Who jeweled with tenderest love his life!
IN A HEAVY HOUR (See Note 13)
Be glad when danger presses Each power your soul possesses! In greater strain Your strength shall gain, Till greater vict'ry blesses! Supports may break in pieces, Your friends may have caprices, But you shall see, The end will be, Your need of crutches ceases. —'T is clear, Whom God makes lonely, To him He comes more near.
KAARE'S SONG (FROM SIGURD SLEMBE) (See Note 14)
KAARE What wakens the billows, while sleeps the wind? What looms in the west released? What kindles the stars, ere day's declined, Like fires for death's dark feast?
ALL God aid thee here, our earl, God aid thee here, our earl, It is Helga, who comes unto Orkney.
KAARE What drives the fierce dragon to ride the foam, While billows with blood are red? The sea-fowl are shrieking, they seek their home, And hover around my head.
ALL God aid thee here, our earl, God aid thee here, our earl, It is Helga, who comes unto Orkney.
KAARE What maiden so strange to the strand draws nigh, In light with soft music nears? What is it that makes all the flowers die, What fills all your eyes with tears?
ALL God aid thee here, our earl, God aid thee here, our earl, It is Helga, who comes unto Orkney.
IVAR INGEMUNDSON'S LAY (FROM SIGURD SLEMBE) (See Note 15)
Wherefore have I longings, When to live them strength is lacking? And wherefore see I, If I see but sorrow?
Flight of my eye to the great and distant Dooms it to gales of darkening doubt; But fleeing backward to the present, It's prisoned in pain and pity.
For I see a land with no leader, I see a leader with no land. The land how heavy-laden The leader how high his longing!
Might the men but know it, That he is here among them! But they see a man in fetters, And leave him to lie there.
Round the ship a storm is raging, At the rudder stands a fool. Who can save it? He, who below the deck is longing, Half-dead and in fetters.
Hear how they call Thee And come with arms uplifted! They have their savior at hand, And Thou sayest it never?
Shall they, then, all thus perish, Because the one seems absent? Wilt Thou not let the fool die, That life may endure in many?
What means that solemn saying: One shall suffer for many? But many suffer for one. Oh, what means it?
The wisdom Thou gavest Wearies me with guesswork. The light Thou hast dealt me Leads me to darkness.
Not me alone, moreover, But millions and millions! Space unending spans not all the questions From earth here and up toward heaven.
Weakness cowers in walls of cloisters, But wills of power press onward, And thronging, with longing, They thrust one another out of the lands.—
Whither? Before their eyes is night, "In Nazareth a light is set!" one says aloud, A hundred thousand say it; All see it now: To Nazareth!
But the half-part perish from hunger by the wayside, The other half by the sword of the heathen, The pest awaits the pilgrim in Nazareth,— Wast Thou there, or wast Thou not there?
Oh, where art Thou? The whole world now awakens, And on the way is searching And seeking after Thee!
Or wast Thou in the hunger? Wast Thou in the pest? Wast Thou in the sword of the heathen?
Saltest Thou with the salt of wrath? Refinest Thou with suffering's fire? Hast Thou millions of millions hidden in Thy future, Whom Thou thus wilt save to freedom?
Oh, to them are the thousands that now suffer But one, And that one I would beseech Thee for— Nothing!
I follow a little brook And find it leads to an ocean, I see here a little drop, And swelling in mist it mounts a mighty cloud.
See, how I'm tossed so will-less By troublous waves of doubt, The wind overturned my little boat, The wreck is all my refuge.
Lead me, lead me, I see nowhere land! Lift me, lift me, I nowhere footing find!
MAGNUS THE BLIND (FROM SIGURD SLEMBE) (See Note 16)
"Oh, let me look once again and see Starlight the heavens o'ersweeping!" Begged young Magnus on bended knee, It was sore to see. All the women afar were weeping.
"Oh, till to-morrow! The mountains to see And ocean its blue displaying, Only once, and then let it be!" Thus he bent the knee, While his friends for mercy were praying.
"Oh, in the church let God's blood so bright Be the last blessing that greets me! It shall bathe with a flood of light Through eternal night My eyes, when the darkness meets me!"
Deep sank the steel, and each seeing eye Lightning-like night had swallowed. "Magnus, King Magnus, good-by, good-by!" —"Oh, good-by, good-by,— You who eighteen summers me followed!"
SIN, DEATH (FROM SIGURD SLEMBE) (See Note 17)
Sin and Death, those sisters two, Two, two, Sat together while dawned the morning. Sister, marry! Your house will do, Do, do, For me, too, was Death's warning.
Sin was wedded, and Death was pleased, Pleased, pleased, Danced about them the day they married; Night came on, she the bridegroom seized, Seized, seized, And away with her carried.
Sin soon wakened alone to weep, Weep, weep. Death sat near in the dawn of morning: Him you love, I love too and keep, Keep, keep. He is here, was Death's warning.
FRIDA (See Note 18)
Frida, I knew that thy life-years were counted. If but before thee a lifting thought mounted, Upward thy gaze turned all wistful to view it, As wouldst thou pursue it.
Eyes that so clear saw the wonderful vision Looked far away beyond earth's indecision. Snow-white unfolded the pinions that later Bore thee to the greater.
Speaking or asking thou broughtest me sorrow; Eyes thine and words thine seemed wanting to borrow Clearness more pure and thoughts, victory gaining Beyond my attaining.
When thou wert dancing in all a child's lightness, Shaking thy locks like a fountain in brightness, Laughing till heaven was opened in gladness Over thy gladness,—
Or when affliction in sternness had spoken, So that thy heart in that moment seemed broken, Far from thy thoughts in thy suffering riven Were both earth and heaven,—
Then, oh, I saw then: thy joy and thy grieving Ever the bounds of the mortal were cleaving. All seems so little where silent we ponder,— But room they have yonder.
BERGEN (See Note 19)
As thou sittest there Skerry-bound and fair, Mountains high around and ocean's deep before thee, On thee casts her spell Saga, that shall tell Once again the wonders of our land.
Honor is thy due, "Bergen never new," Ancient and unaging as thy Holberg's humor; Once kings sought thine aid,— Mighty now in trade,— First to fly the flag of liberty.
Oft in proud array, As a sunshine-day Breaks forth from thy rain and fog wind-driven, Thou didst come with men Or great deeds again, When the clouds were darkest o'er our land.
Thy soul was the ground, Wit-enriched and sound, Whence there sprang stout thoughts to make our country's harvest, Whence our arts exist, In their birth-hour kissed By thy nature, somber, large, and strong.
In thy mountain-hall Learned our painter, Dahl; Wand'ring on thy strands our poet dreamed, Welhaven; All thy morning's gold Ole Bull ensouled, Greeted on thy bay by all the world.
With thy sea-wide sway Thou hast might for aye, Fjords of blue convey thy life-blood through our country. Norway's spirit thou Dost with joy endow,— Great thy past, no less thy future great.
P. A. MUNCH (1863) (See Note 20)
Many forms belong to greatness. He who now has left us bore it As a doubt that made him sleepless, But at last gave revelation,— As a sight-enhancing power, That gave visions joined with anguish Over all beyond our seeing,— As a flight on labor's pinions From the thought unto the certain, Thence aloft to intuition,— Restless haste and changeful ardor, God-inspired and unceasing, Through the wide world ever storming, Took its load of thoughts and doubtings, Bore them, threw them off,—and took them, Never tired, never listless.
Still! for he had one haven of rest: Family-life peace-bestowing! Powers of light gave repose to his breast, Calm 'mid the strife of his knowing.
Softly with music his wife led him in Unto the sweet-smelling birches! Unto the flowers and still deeper in Under the fir-forest's churches!
Daughters drew near him in love secure Cooling his forehead's hot fever; Gently their message of innocence pure Made him a childlike believer.
Or he joined glad in their light-hearted game, Colors and music surrounding,— Gone were the clouds, in the heavens came Sparkling of star-light abounding.
But as in an autumn evening Silent, dreamy, dark, sheet-lightning Wakens thought and feeling stormward,— Or as in a boat a sudden Stroke when gliding as in slumber On between the cliffs that tower In a quiet, balmy spring night,— But a single stroke and soft, then Echo takes it up and tosses To and fro 'mid walls of mountains, Thrush and grouse send forth their wood-calls Deer rise up and listen keenly, Stones are rolling, all are up now, Dogs are barking, bells are clanging, Ushering in the strife of daytime,— Thus could oft a recollection Down-light falling in that playtime, Waken all his thought and doubting!
Then it roved the wide world over, Then it hottest burned within him,— But it lavished light for others!
Rise of races, spread of language, Birth of names, all laws' close kinship, Small and great in equal passion, Equal haste and doubting goal-ward!— There where others stones saw only, He saw precious gems that glistened, Sunk his shaft the mine to deepen. And where others thought the treasure Sure and safe for years a hundred, Doubt possessed him as he burrowed Day and night — and saw it vanish! But the unrest that gave power Made him oft the goal pass over; While to others he gave clearness, Intuitions new deceived him. Therefore: where he once had striven, Thither he would turn him never, Changed his ground and shifted labor, From his own thought-conquests fleeing. But his thoughts pursued, untiring, Followed, growing, as the fire, Kindled in Brazilian forests, Storm-wind makes and storm-wind follows! Where before no foot had trodden, Ways were burned for many millions!
Northward stretches Scandinavia 'Mid the fog that dims the Ice-sea, Darkness of the months of winter Lays its weight on sea and mountain. Like our lands are too our peoples. Their beginnings prehistoric Stretch afar in fog and darkness. But as through the fog a lighthouse, Or as Northern Lights o'er darkness, Gleamed his thought with light and guidance. When with filial fond remembrance Tenderly he sought and questioned, Searching for his people's pathways— Names and graves and rusty weapons, Stones and tools their answer gave him. Through primeval Asian forests, Over steppes and sands of deserts, 'Neath a thousand years that moldered, Saw he caravan-made footsteps Seek a new home in the Northland. And as they the rivers followed, Followed them his thought abundant, Into Nature's All full-flowing.—
See his restless soul's creation! Harmony of truth he yearned for, Found it not, but wonder-working New discoveries and pathways, —Like those alchemists aforetime Who, though gold was all their seeking, Found not that, but mighty forces, Which to-day the world are moving.—
Deepest ground of all his being Was the polar power of contrast, For his thought, to music wakened By the touch of Northern Saga, Vibrated melodious longing, Toward the South forever tending. In his eye the lambent fire, Of his thought the glint, showed kinship With the free improvisator In the land of warmth and vineyards. And his swiftly changing feeling And his all-consuming ardor, That could toil the livelong winter Till caprice the fruit discarded,— That immeasurable richness Wherein thoughts and moods and music, Joy and sorrow, jest and earnest, Gleamed and played without cessation,— All a Southern day resembled!
Therefore was his life a journey, Towards the South in constant movement,— Through the mists of intuition, From the darker to the brighter, From the colder to the warmer,— On the bridge of ceaseless labor Bearing over sea and mountain!
Oh, the time with wife beside him And his bonny playmate-sisters (Gladsome children, winsome daughters), When he stood, where evening sunshine Glowed on Capitol and Forum,— Stood where from the great world-city, As from history's very fountain, Knowledge wells in streams of fullness;— Where a clearness large and cloudless Falls upon the bygone ages That have laid them down to rest here;— Where to him, the Northern searcher, It would seem, he had been straying Too long lost in history's fogland, Rowing round the deep fjords' surface;— Stood where dead men burst the earth-clods And themselves come forth for witness In their heavy marble togas;— Where the goddesses of Delos In the frescoed halls are dancing, As two thousand years before now;— Pantheon and Coliseum In their spacious fate have sheltered All the world's swift evolution;— Where a Hermes from that corner Saw the footsteps firm of Cato, Pontifex in the procession,— Saw then Nero as Apollo Lifted up take sacrifices, Saw then Gregory, the wrathful, Riding forth to rule in spirit Over all the known world's kingdoms,— Saw then Cola di Rienzi Homage pay to freedom's goddess 'Mid the Roman people's paeans,— Saw Pope Leo and his princes Choose instead of the Lord Jesus Aristotle dead and Plato;- Saw again how stouter epochs Raised the Church of Papal power, Till the Frenchman overthrew it And exalted Nature's Godhead; Saw anew then wonted custom In its pious, still processions With a Lamb the great world's ruler!— All this saw the little Hermes On the corner near the temple, And the wise man from the Northland Saw that Hermes and his visions.
Yes, when over Rome he stood there In that high, historic clearness, And his eye the mountain-ridges Followed toward the red of evening,— Then all beams of longing focused In a blessed intuition, And — he saw a church before him Greater far than that of nature, And he felt a peace descending, Larger far than all the present.
When the second time he came there, After days and nights of labor, Hard as were it for redemption,— Then the Lord Himself gave welcome, Led him gently thither, saying: "Peace be with thee! Thou hast conquered!"
But to us with sorrow stricken Turned the Lord with comfort, saying: "When I call, who then dares murmur, That the called man had not finished?"
Whoso dies, he here had finished! Spite our sorrow we believe it, Hold that He, who unrest giveth (The discoverer's disquiet, That drove Newton, drove Columbus), Also knows when rest is needed.
But we question, while reviewing All that mighty thought-armada Now disbanded, home-returning: Who again shall reunite it?
For when he cut his war-arrow, Lords and liegemen soon were mustered, And to aid from Sweden, Denmark, England, France, swift-flying vessels Coursed the sea-ways toward his standard.
Royal was that fleet and mighty, By our shore at anchor lying; We were wont to see it near us Or to hear the wondrous tidings Of its cruises and its conquests.
What it won we own forever; But the fleet is sailing homeward. Here we stand the last sail watching As it sinks on the horizon. Then we turn and breathe the question: Who again shall reunite it?
KING FREDERIK THE SEVENTH (1863) (See Note 21)
Our King is bereft of a trusty friend! And in dismay We lower our banners and sad attend On his burial day. But Denmark, in sorrow most deep thou waitest, For fallen the life that was warmest, greatest, And fallen the tower Of mightiest power. Bewailing the death of their kingly chief, Men voice their grief.
For Denmark's salvation the man was born Who now is dead. When banished in youth from the court in scorn, To his people he fled. There throve he right well, there grew he together With peasants and sailors in foul and fair weather, While fullness of living Its schooling was giving; When ready for Denmark was laid the snare, Then he was there!
Now soon it was plain, he was peasant-skulled For their tricks; and hence The traitors' shrewd schemings were all annulled By his bit of sense. He knew but one thing;—what his people thought them, And therefore in danger he freedom brought them. The whole was his vision, He would no scission; His words were but few, and of these the key: "It shall not be!"
He stood by the helm like a sailor good, In no storm remiss; Of praise the tribute he never would, But he shall have this! The ship to the North he unswerving directed,— In storm or in fog, exposed or protected;— And fear allaying, All folk were saying: "He isn't so stupid as people tell, For all goes well!"
"On deck every man!" was his last command, "There's storm again!" When answered the cry from the mast-head: "Land!" Oh, then, just then, Were loosed from the helm the true hands that were steering, In death he sank down, while the ship began veering— No, never veering! To the course adhering! Now, Denmark, united, with all thy force Hold straight his course!
He made it his honor, in line to stand, No rank to know; But shoulder to shoulder to lend a hand, And pride forego. They gather now fruit of his faithful training: Well drilled, every man at his post is straining. The course is steady, For tried and ready Is many a helmsman, and all their will Is "Northward still!"
Naught else can they do now, but with good cheer Hold out they must, Stand guard in the darkness and have no fear, In God their trust. It is sultry and silent, and yearning in sorrow All breathless they listen and wait for the morrow,— 'T is time for waiting, Till, night abating, The eastern sky reddens and bright dawn speeds The day of deeds!
TO SWEDEN (DECEMBER 28, 1863) (See Note 22)
Lift thou thine ancient yellow-blue! Aloft the front must show it. The German's slow to take the cue, But seeing that he'll know it.
He'll know that greater danger's near Than ink on Bismarck's trousers; That it will cost him doubly dear, Men, horses, bovine browsers;
That ten years' nonsense now is done, The daily quarrel dirty Will soon become a war with one Who held his own for thirty;
The Northland's stubborn folk allied Their forces are uniting, With glorious memories to guide, The Northern heavens lighting;
That great Gustavus once again To battle glad is riding, But now against the Southern men With Christian Fourth is siding,—
With Haakon Earl the times of old Round Palnatoki gather; Near Charles the Twelfth stands Tordenskjold, Placid, and smiling rather,—
That we, who have so well known how To fight against each other, Shall not exactly scorn earn now, When brother stands with brother.
But forward thou the way must lead With stirring drum-beats' rattle, Thy marching-step we all must heed, Thou 'rt known on fields of battle.
That ancient Swedish melody, Renowned in world-wide glory, Not merely for the heart's deep plea In Jenny's travel-story,—
But for the solemn earnestness To Ltzen's battle calling, And for the daring strains no less, That rang at Narwa's falling,—
The song thou sang'st the North t' inspire With virtue and with power, The three must with united choir Lift up this very hour!
It now must bear aloft a hymn, The call of God proclaiming; Pictures of blood its lines shall limn, Drawn bold in letters flaming,—
Its name shall be: "The Free North's Hymn!" Of all the hymns thou voicest, Whose glory time shall never dim, It shall be first and choicest.
OUR FOREFATHERS (JANUARY 13, 1864) (See Note 23)
High memories with power Shine through the wintry North On every peak's white tower, On Kattegat so swarth. All is so still and spacious, ' The Northern Lights flow free, Creating bright and gracious A day of memory.
Each deed the North defending, Each thought for greater might, A star-like word is sending Down through the frosty night! To hope they call and boldness, And call with double cheer To him, defying coldness, On guard the Eider near.
No anxious shadows clouding, No languid, lukewarm mist Our heaven of mem'ries shrouding, This eve of battle-tryst! May, as of yore, while ringing The bells unseen loud swelled, Come leaders vict'ry bringing, Whom th' army ne'er beheld.
WHEN NORWAY WOULD NOT HELP (EASTER EVE, 1864) (See Note 24) When Kattegat now or the Belt you sail, No more will you sight The Danish proud frigate, no more will you hail The red and white; No more will the ringing command be heard In Wessel's tongue, No rollicking music, no jocund word, 'Neath Dannebrog sung. No dance will you see, no laughter meet, As the white sails shine, From mast and from stern no garland you greet, Of arts the sign. But all that we owned of the treasures on board The deeps now hold; One sad winter night to the sea-waves were poured Our memories old.
It was that same night, when the frigate nigh To Norway's land Distress-guns was firing, the surf running high With sea-weed and sand. To help from the harbor men put out boats, But they turn back, ... The frigate toward Germany drifting floats, A broken wrack! What once had been ours overboard was strown, Each kinship mark Was quickly removed, to the sea it was thrown With curses stark! The Northern lion, that figure-head gray, Now had to fall, In pieces 'twas hewn, and the frigate lay Like a shattered wall. ... Repaired and refitted, its canvas it spread Near Germany's coast, With black-yellow flag and an eagle dread In the lion's post. When sailing we Kattegat sweep with our eyes, 'T is still evermore. But a German admiral's frigate lies Near Scania's shore.
DANIEL SCHJTZ (DIED OF OVER-EXERTION AS VOLUNTEER MILITARY-SURGEON, 1864)
He gave heed to no Great Power But the one that God we call. Hastening on to death's high hour, He before asked not the Gaul, Nor the Briton, nor the others, If he too had leave to die In the battle of his brothers Underneath the Danish sky. First to act with ardor youthful, First a strong, clear faith to show, First to swear in spirit truthful, First o'er death's dark bridge to go.
Knowing not, in times so trying None would come but he alone, Thus he struggled, death defying, For the sacred things we own. He of thousands here remaining Single would the name redeem, Sank then with his zeal unwaning Down beneath death's silent stream. First of souls in hope believing, Freedom's right 'gainst wrong to wield, First warm drop, full-flowing, cleaving, Of our blood on Denmark's shield.
TO THE DANNEBROG (WHEN DYBBL WAS CAPTURED) (See Note 25)
Dannebrog of old was seeming Snow-white, rosy red, Through the mists of ages beaming, Heaven's gift outspread, Rich as fruits of Denmark's planting, Grand as song of heroes chanting, Spirit-winged to deeds of daring O'er the wide world faring.
Dannebrog, thou now art seeming Death-pale, bloody red, Like a dying sea-gull gleaming White with blood o'erspread. Purple tides the wounds are showing From thy faith in justice flowing; Denmark, bear the cross, thy burden Honor is thy guerdon!
TOAST FOR THE MEN OF EIDSVOLD (MAY 17, 1864) (See Note 26)
'Twas then this land of ours we drew From centuries of ice and sorrow, And let it of the sun's warmth borrow, And law and plow brought order new; We dug the wealth in mountain treasured, Our stately ships the oceans measured, And springtime thoughts were free to run As round the Pole the midnight sun.
And still with God we'll conquer, hold: Each plot reclaimed for harvest-reaping, Each ship our sea takes to its keeping, Each child-soul we to manhood mold, Each spark of thought our life illuming, Each deed to fruit of increase blooming,— A province adds unto our land And o'er our freedom guard shall stand.
THE NORRNA-RACE (NOVEMBER 4, 1864)
Norrna-race's longing, It was the sea's free wave, And fight of heroes thronging, And honor that it gave; Their thoughts and deeds upspringing From roots in Surtr's fire, With branches topward swinging To Yggdrasil aspire.
His course alone each guided, Oft brother-harm was done; Our vict'ries were divided, The honor gained was one. Each heard his call time-fated, First Norway, Denmark, came, The Swede the longest waited, But greatest grew his fame.
In eastern, western regions The Danish dragons shone, To Norway's roving legions Jerusalem was known. From sparks the Swedish spirit Struck forth in Poland's night, Through Ltzen must inherit Full half the world its light.
First Norseman, Dane, agreeing In trying times were found, But Saga's will far-seeing By little men was bound; Then Norseman, Swede, agreeing, Time in its fullness found, And Saga's will far-seeing Shall nevermore be bound.
There is prophetic power In longing hearts of men, Foretells our union's hour ' For great deeds once again. Each festival so glorious To solemn vows us draws: Forever be victorious Our blood's, our race's cause!
HYMN OF THE PURITANS (FROM MARIA STUART)
Arm me, Lord, my strength redouble, Heaven open, heed my trouble! God, if my cause Thine shall be, Grant a day of victory! Fell all Thy foes now! Fell all Thy foes now! Roll forth Thy thunders, Thy lightning affright them, Into the pit, the bottomless, smite them, Their seed uproot, Tread under foot! Send then Thy snowy white dove peace-bringing, Unto Thy faithful Thy token winging, Olive-branch fair of Thy summer's fruition After the deluge of sin's punition!
HUNTING SONG (FROM MARIA STUART)
Round us rolls the heather's sheen, Heather's sheen, 'Neath the falcon of our queen, Of our queen.
Birch and cherry balm exhale, Balm exhale, Loud our horns the cliffs assail, Cliffs assail.
Light the air and clear the sky, Clear the sky,— Hurrah! onward, she is nigh, She is nigh.
Hunt ye joy with every breath, Every breath, Hunt it to the stream of death, Stream of death!
TAYLOR'S SONG (FROM MARIA STUART)
For joys the hours of earth bestow With sorrow thou must pay. Though many follow close, yet know, They're loaned but for a day. With sighing in thy laughter's stead Shall come a time of grief, The load of usury bow thy head, With loss of thy belief. Mary Anne, Mary Anne, Mary Anne, Mary Anne, Hadst thou not smiled upon me, thou, I were not weeping now.
May God help him who never can Give only half his soul; The time comes surely for that man To take the sorrow whole. May God help him who was so glad, That he cannot forget, Help him who lost the all he had, But not his reason yet. Mary Anne, Mary Anne, Mary Anne, Mary Anne, The flowers that my life had grown, Died out when thou went gone.
LECTOR THAASEN (See Note 27)
I read once of a flower that lonely grew, Apart, with trembling stem and pale of hue; The mountain-world of cold and strife Gave little life And less of color.
A botanist the flower chanced to see And glad exclaimed: Oh, this must sheltered be, Must seed produce, renewing birth, In sun-warmed earth Become a thousand.
But as he dug and drew it from the ground, Strange glitterings upon his hands he found; For to its roots clung dust of golden hue; The flower grew On golden treasure!
And from the region wide came all the youth To see the wonder; they divined the truth: Here lay their country's future might; A ray of light From God that flower!—
This I recall now even while I mourn; The Lord of life has lifted him and borne From mountain-cold and wintry air To fruitage fair In warmth eternal.
For where the roots were of that life replete, What gleams and glitters! See, they ran to meet The shafts of wisdom's goodly mines, The gold that shines In veins of God's thought.
Now he is lifted up, to light are brought The riches he to guard so faithful sought. The treasures of our past are there, And glintings rare Of future riches.
Come, Norway's youth! Unearth to use the hoard That round this heaven-borne flower's roots was stored! To you his message! Hear and heed! Achieve in deed His dream and longing!
DURING A JOURNEY IN SWEDEN (See Note 28)
My boyish heart in thee confided, For to the great by thee 't was guided. As man, my waiting is for thee,— The Northern cause with thee, with thee!
Rich lands and talents are thy dower, But fallow lie thy wealth and power. Thou must the North in concord bind, Or never shalt thy true self find.
There's longing in thy folk arisen, Poetic hope—but yet in prison. Though forces great within thee dwell, Thou art not wholly sound and well.
Too many things are undertaken, Too oft the task is soon forsaken. Though rich in promptings of the heart, In faith and duty faint thou art.
In danger only hast thou thriven, When something great to guard was given. When every breast with warmth shall glow At Sweden's name, thy strength thou'lt know.
What's thine alone lifts not thy feeling, Till honor's cause the skies are pealing, Thou hast no joy but daring deed In fortune's favor or in need.
For thy fair memories inspiring Are far too great, much more requiring: The Northern cause! Lead thou the way! 'T will double glory thee repay!
Of all thou canst, this is the greatest, Thy duty earliest and latest. Thy future rests in its embrace With cure for ills that now abase.
Thou land of heart-born fancies thronging, Thou land of poetry and longing, Fill now thy heart, thy spirit free! The Northern banner waits for thee!
Silent I'm biding, While softly gliding Sink the still hours to eternity's sleep. My fancies roaming List in the gloaming:— Will she the trysting now keep?
Winter is dreaming, Bright stars are beaming, Smiling their light through its cloud-veil they pour, Summer foretelling Sweet love compelling;— Dare she not meet me here more?
'Neath the ice lying, Longing and sighing, Ocean would wander and warmer lands woo. Anchored ships swinging, Sail-thoughts outflinging;— Come we together, we two!
Whirling and fallings Pictures enthralling, Fairy-light made in the forest the snow; Wood-folk are straying, Shadows are playing;— Was it your footstep? Oh, no!
Courage is failing, Hoar frost assailing Boughs of your longing surrounds with its spell. But I dare enter, Break to the center, Where in dream-fetters you dwell.
SONG FOR THE STUDENTS' GLEE CLUB (See Note 29)
Now, brothers, sing out our song, Whose train of light shall follow long! With love are its measures beating And victory's joyous greeting, While round about it flower-seeds In will of youth shall grow to deeds!
Our song has gone far and. wide, Bright mem'ries on our way abide, In flags flying, friends that love us, In wreaths from fair hands above us, In feasts where youth's full spirits stream, Our nation's past, our nation's dream.
At Hald on a sunny day That shot-torn flag of many a fray Was waving above our singing, Soul-fire to our music bringing, The ardor of that glorious band, Who died as heroes for our land.
To Arendal our summer-way "For might and fame!"—remember aye! The fleet on the bay was riding, Our singer-ship through it gliding. Our merchant-ships shall rule the wave! This joyous hoisting-song we gave.
We gathered in Bergen town Of ancient and of new renown. The horns of our fathers greet us, King Sverre comes forth to meet us; But fresh and full the present spoke In heartfelt song from all its folk.
Upsala, Copenhagen, Lund, In each our song its garland won, Fair fetters of music winding, Harmonious the Northland binding; Our mighty choral theme shall be The Northern races' unity.
With courage, then, onward roam! Where echo answers is our home. Our past that we sing draws nearer, Our future in song grows clearer, E'en while we wander hand in hand And summer sing into our land.
+ MRS. LOUISE BRUN (JANUARY 30, 1866) (See Note 30)
CHORUS (Behind the scenes) Farewell, farewell, From friends, from all, from fatherland! Your soul's calm power is from us riven, Your words, your song, to spirit's praise In art's glad temple given.
CHORUS OF MEN We thank you that with youthful fire You came the doubting to inspire, Who anxious stood with strength untried!
CHORUS OF WOMEN We thank you that in morning-dawn Your woman's tact and aid were drawn Our boisterous youthful art to guide!
ALL Thanks for the spring of your life's year, Thanks for the tones so sweet and clear, Thanks for the tints of pearly hue, That colored all you touched anew. For all your noble life on earth, Thanks, thanks! And that you gave our calling worth, Thanks, thanks!
EPILOGUE 'T is but a short time since we saw pass by A picture drawn from life, austere and dark, A soul in servitude to strong desires; And all its life in prison-labor spent. Although religion prays and sings its hymns, And poetry and art their sunshine spread, That soul in slavery toils, till white the hair.
She, in whose memory we gather here, Was early made to feel by hard conditions, That clouded life and rudely barred her soul,— How men and women live as toiling slaves! And she rebelled against this servitude; Great powers have birth to longings for the light; Freedom she craved, that others she might free! With restless spirit outward went her quest To people, books; but thoughtful she became, As one whose search was vain; reserved and shy, As one whose courage fails;—until one day He, who from fairy-tale and hero-legend That wondrous bow received of magic might, Stood up and to the vale and mountain played: "Come forth, come from our nation's heart-deep forth, Creative might, that in our nation's morning Didst lift its image up to dread, to greatness, In myths of Asas fair and giants grim! As mountain-walls lean o'er their own reflection, In that thought-ocean we our life could see, With spring, with winter, and with spring again. Thou gav'st our image oft in song and story, In times of darkness and in times of light; Our image meets us wheresoe'er we go,— But yet our nation sees it not, nor looks Up from its toiling thoughts and dull routine!— Oh, wake it, lift it, make it see itself! Then shall it put to use the powers it owns!"
And living echoes answered! Lo, there swarmed Elves of the Stage about him, as he played! They made the lamps to burn, and reared the grotto, They brought and brushed the costumes Holberg knew, And in them played their pranks 'neath powdered wigs,— Roamed on the mountains of a summer night And stole the saeter-maiden while she slept, And filled with mortal fear the aged wooer! They danced the goblin-dance in dusk of winter, Played hide-and-seek with their own shadows; They snared the hypocrite in his own sighs, In his own web the pettifogger bound; They scattered wide the hoard a miser gathered, They tripped and threw the petty parish-pope They saved the tears of innocence seduced And on the altar laid as lustrous pearls; They melted hatred in the ice-hard breast, It fell as rain upon the enemy's fields; They bound the slanderer, Mazeppa-like, Upon the back of his wild calumnies;— The crafty man of stealthy selfishness They set afloat within an open boat;— But one who freely gave himself, his all, They bore to heaven upon their joyous laughter. They drew the magic ring round those who loved, And to the altar led the blushing pair. They brought heroic forms from barrows old To tower in might among the teeming present. —There was not one could longer rest in peace; Himself, his folly, all our country's need, Wholeness victorious, halfness doomed to fail, The power of honest faith, the wreck of doubt,— All this our nation saw in its own image, When strongly lighted on the Stage 't was set.—