Poems and Songs by Bjornstjerne Bjornson - HTML preview
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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!"
(FROM SIGURD SLEMBE)
(See Note 17)
Sin and Death, those sisters two,
Sat together while dawned the morning. Sister, marry! Your house will do,
Sin was wedded, and Death was pleased,
Danced about them the day they married;
Night came on, she the bridegroom seized,
And away with her carried.
Sin soon wakened alone to weep,
Death sat near in the dawn of morning:
Him you love, I love too and keep,
He is here, was Death's warning.
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,
Eyes that so clear saw the wonderful vision
Looked far away beyond earth's indecision.
Snow-white unfolded the pinions that later
Speaking or asking thou broughtest me sorrow; Eyes thine and words thine seemed wanting to borrow Clearness more pure and thoughts, victory gainingBeyond 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 gladnessOver 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
Ancient and unaging as thy Holberg's humor; Once kings sought thine aid,--
Mighty now in trade,--
Breaks forth from thy rain and fog wind-driven,
Thou didst come with men
Or great deeds again,
Whence there sprang stout thoughts to make our country's harvest, Whence our arts exist,
In their birth-hour kissed
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,--
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!
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!
(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;
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 Lützen'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.
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.
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 DYBBÖL 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.
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.
To Norway's roving legions Jerusalem was known.
From sparks the Swedish spirit Struck forth in Poland's night,
Through Lützen 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.
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!
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!
(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!
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.
I read once of a flower that lonely grew, Apart, with trembling stem and pale of hue; The mountain-world of cold and strifeGave 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,
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
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,
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!_
Sink the still hours to eternity's sleep.
My fancies roaming
List in the gloaming:--
Smiling their light through its cloud-veil they pour, Summer foretelling
Sweet love compelling;--
Ocean would wander and warmer lands woo. Anchored ships swinging,
Fairy-light made in the forest the snow;
Wood-folk are straying,
Shadows are playing;--
Boughs of your longing surrounds with its spell. But I dare enter,
Break to the center,
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,
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.
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)
_(Behind the scenes)_
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!
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,
And that you gave our calling worth,
'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.--
And she was part of this! The first full tone Thrilled her breast too and woke a thousand mem'ries Of something that she ne'er before had known! On that first evening, when the curtain rose, With timid step one clad in white came forth And begged for Norway's art, for our young drama A home in Norway,--but with so great fear,
The gentle voice was trembling, dim the eyes; Yet from the voice, the eyes, the form, the bearing Was heard a promise in sweet modesty;
For she who spoke those first words on this Stage, That maiden dark with eyes so deep and true, Lo, it was she!
And soon her art shone clear
And softly radiant through the evening hours.-- With fairy lightness fell its magic gleams
On hidden longings, sorrows half-concealed,-- But gently, tenderly. If joy she touched,
'T was always softly. But we all could feel
A stream of power so full, that if she had
In an unguarded hour let it flow free
With all its deep and swelling tide sincere,
It would have borne herself from earth away.
In truth, the calmness of her course through life Was never weakness, but was strength controlled; Was never fear, but veneration deep
For those whose souls are great: a model she For noble women as for forceful men,--
This wreath we weave for her pure memory.
But what she thus had early taught herself, She taught to others. When upon the stage She stood, depicting woman's painful conflict With rudeness, violence, and wild desire,
Then,--though she wielded but a woman's weapons, Her silent dignity, her subtle smile,
Her light derision, all-subduing laughter,--
A spirit-dawn gleamed from their flashing play, To usher in a day of victory.
She barriers raised around the woman weak (Down-trodden in a half-built social order),
She stood forth here so many an evening-hour And talked to thousands of a woman's worth. though her call was not fully to free
All that a woman's heart may hope and dream, She shielded it secure in all its beauty.
This conflict made her reticent, severe;--
But sometimes in a song her spirit could
Send forth glad tidings, messages of freedom, Her large free soul revealing. _Then_ we heard Such longing after full, unbroken peace,
Our thoughts were captive held by sad foreboding.--
'T is now come true!--The crape of mourning droops About her name, the tolling bell is still.
Her final summons gather us once more
Before her stage, and here our thanks we utter For what she gave us. So as _she_ had given, Has no one given. She gave of her sorrow, With bleeding heart beneath her winsome smile. She shared with us the tears her conflict brought, The radiant glory of her victory.
Thanks, prayer-borne thanks, you noble soul, From all your brothers, from your sisters all! From Norway's youthful art enduring thanks! From women to their pure interpreter
Farewell and thanks!--From all those whom you lifted On pinions of the spirit high to beauty
Once more a wreath is brought,--it is the last.
_(Laying it before the bust)_
Now God in His bright heaven makes you glad, And we will make you glad with good remembrance.
_(Behind the scenes, softly)_
Now in your grave
No want is known;
But what you gave,
We ever own.
Your spirit's seed
Shall blossom here,
Bear fruit in deed,
And sad hearts cheer.
TO JOHAN DAHL, BOOKDEALER (ON HIS SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY) (See Note 31)
Our glasses we lift now and drink to our host! "Hurrah!"
Give heed to our ditty, we sing you our toast! "Aha!"
The first thing appearing is what he was nearing,
When uproar not fearing he came for a hearing 'Fore skerry-bred eagle
And Wergeland regal.
He came like an innocent spring-lambkin ewe-born, Oh, woe!
So neat and so fine in his guilelessness new-born Like snow.
The flesh so delicious was chopped up to farce-meat,
And later by Wergeland found for a farce meet, And gayly 't was swallowed,
And all the bones hollowed
But swift as Thor's he-goats to life again skipping, He sprang
Whole skinned together, and gave them a whipping That rang.
This made him seem worthy to join the gay party,
At once they received him in fellowship hearty! And soon was no other
More loved as a brother
The light from his shop spread afar and made brighter Our day.
His drawing-room gathered so many a fighter
Our taste there was made and our critical passion,
The shop was a power, new Norway to fashion. Though little, its story
Shall some time in glory
For what you have kindled, endured, and aspired, Our thanks!
For hearts you have gladdened and souls you have fired, Our thanks!
For all your good faith in your fervor and ranting,
Yes, for your whole-heartedness free from all canting, You whimsical, queer one,
Old fellow, you dear one,
TO SCULPTOR BORCH
(ON HIS FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY) (See Note 32)
With friends you stalwart stand and fair, To-day of fifty years the heir;
The past your works rejoicing praise, But forward goes your gaze.
Your childlike faith, your spirit true, Your hand that never weary grew, A home's sweet music, love of wife, Make ever young your life.
You dared believe with heart alive That here in Norway art can thrive. You forced the hardness of our stones To harmony of tones.
You laid our wild world's secrets bare And caught "The Hunter" near the lair. Our nation's moods, of beauty born, Your "Girl with Eggs" adorn.
As o'er a slope's snow-covered brow A youth came swiftly flying now, You saw him, raised your hand, and lo! He stood there, chiseled snow.
But your "Ski-runner's" courage good, It was your own, when forth you stood Art's champion by the world unawed, And with your faith in God.
You won your victory supreme
Through rock-like faith and will's full stream While with unnumbered hours of rest Your love has others blessed.
Were all now here from west and east Whose hearts you own, oh, what a feast! From Akershus the convicts e'en
Would bear a freeman's mien.
Now we whose lives with good you filled For you to-day a palace build,
On heights of heart's-ease lifting square Its golden tower of prayer.
In peace you oft shall dwell in it,
Whene'er you need to rest a bit,
And feel through them who hold you dear Yourself to heaven near.
Long since our country to you gave
The meed of thanks that most you crave; It gave a maid with golden hair,
Its springtime's image fair.
She came from where the fairies dwell, With nixie's charm and wood-nymph's spell, With peace all holy, sweet, and calm, To sing of life the psalm.
So may your life yet long endure To light our gland, your home secure! May all that from your heart you gave, Still blossom on your grave!
May God's protecting mercy hold Your spirit ever fresh and bold,-- May He to genius oft impart
Just such a mind and heart!
Oh, what was it he meant
By his question as he went?
"I am making a loom,
'T will be up in April's bloom;
If you think it may be,
Spin for me!"
Oh, what shall I believe?
Does he think himself to weave?
And the yarn that I spin,
Lo, he thinks to weave it in?
And so soon as the Spring
Flowers shall bring?
And he laughed when he'd done; Oh, he is so full of fun.
Dare I trust all my skein
To so young and wild a swain?--
May God help to bind in
All I spin!
The white rose and the red rose,
So sisters two were named, yes, named. The white one was so quiet,
The red one laughed and flamed.
But different was their doing, yes,
When came the time of wooing, yes. The white one turned so red, so red, The red one turned so white.
For him the red one favored,
Him father would not bless, not bless. But him the white one favored, He got at once his "Yes."
The red one now was paling, yes, With sorrow, psalms, and wailing, yes. The white one turned so red, so red, The red one turned so white.
Then father grew so fearful
And had to give his "Yes," oh, yes! With songs and music cheerful
The wedding rang, oh, yes!
And soon sprang children rosen, yes, In shoes and little hosen, yes.
The red one's, they were white,--and oh, The white one's, they were red.
Mood of youth,
Mood of youth,
Eagle-like must seek the blue, Dauntlessly its course pursue, All the mountain-heights must view.
Blood of youth,
Blood of youth,
Steam-like puts full-speed to sea, E'en though storm and ice there be, Makes its way and romps in glee.
Dream of youth,
Dream of youth,
Rogue-like stealing sets its snare In the maiden's morning-prayer; All the springtime, fragrant, glowing, In its airy waves is flowing.
Joy of youth,
Joy of youth,
Waterfall-like foams in truth,
Laughing, rainbow-gifts forth flashing, Even while to death 't is dashing.
Joy of youth,
Dream of youth,
Blood of youth,
Mood of youth,
Clothe the world with colors golden, Singing songs that never olden.
Though _she_ depart, a vision flitting, If I these thoughts in words exhale:
I love you, you blonde maiden, sitting Within your pure white beauty's veil. I love you for your blue eyes dreaming, Like moonlight moving over snow, And 'mid the far-off forests beaming On something hid I may not know.
Because it stands so starry-clear,
In flood of thought sees its reflection
And wonders at the image near.
I love these locks in riot risen
Against the hair-net's busy bands; To free them from their pretty prison Their sylphs entice my eyes and hands.
I love this figure's supple swinging
In rhythm of its bridal song,
Of strength and life-joy daily singing With youthful yearnings deep and long. I love this foot so lightly bearing
The glory of sure victory
Through youth's domain of merry daring To meet first-love that hers shall be.
I love these hands, these lips enchanting, With them the God of love's allied,
With them the apple-prize is granting, But guards them, too, lest aught betide. I love you and must say it ever,
Although you heed not what you've heard, But flee and answer: maidens never May put their trust in poet's word.
Part IVOnward our life is now marching, Banner-like high thoughts are flying,
Lifted to view.
One 'mid the foremost o'erarching
Leads where the pathway is lying,--
It came from you!
Runes of our past with their warning
Carved on its shaft,
Show us the spring you have quaffed, Leading our land to the light of the morning.
Some poor man in need
To bless and to feed,
I bring at its worth,
This day of my birth,
A book,--from my youth I must own. But Who in His power
Gave bud and gave flower,
To bread can transform
In want's winter-storm
Each leaf that my Springtime has grown.
Rang our fathers' battle-cry.
Norsemen, be our watchword high!
All that fires the spirit and makes the heart's faith bright,
For that we forward go with might
And faithful fight.
Whoso loves a home that's free. "Forward! forward!"
Freedom's course must ever be. Though it shall be tested by doubt and by defeat,
Who will the losses' count repeat When vict'ries greet?
Whoso trusts in Norway's day.
Whoso goes our fathers' way.
Hid in Northern mountains are spirit-treasures true
They shall, when dawns the morning's blue, Come forth anew.
(AT THE STUDENT MEETING OF 1869) (See Note 38)
Thoughts toward one another coursing To their pole must run,
Hearts that meet, all bonds are forcing, Like the springtime sun.
Though to-day too heavy sorrow Dull the mind of youth,
Higher on the meeting's morrow Roll the tides of truth.
Though each man with courage fired Hundreds forward bore,
Though a thousand died inspired, There is need of more.
May a Northern Spring come blowing Over wood and field,
Wake the hundred thousands, knowing Meeting-hour revealed!
Hail! A Northern day is written
In the brightening sky;
Darksome dread, that erst had smitten, Flees, now dawn is nigh.
After Gjallar-horn blasts hollow, Tears and shame and blood,
As so often, now shall follow
Full the spirit's flood.
In our people's life deep-seated This is felt each day:
Who grows stronger when defeated, Victor stands for aye.
Our Spring-meeting's fullness swells now, Bearing prophecy
Of the Spring whose hope upwells now: Hail, the Northern three!
(IN RINGERIKE DURING THE STUDENT MEETING OF 1869) (See Note 39)
We wander and sing with glee Of glorious Norway, fair to see. Let sweetly the tones go twining In colors so softly shining
On mountain, forest, fjord, and shore,
'Neath heaven's azure arching o'er.
The warmth of the nation's heart, The depth, the strength, its songs impart, Here opens its eyes to greet you, Rejoicing just now to meet you,
And giving, grateful for the chance,
In love a self-revealing glance.
Here wakened our history first,
Here Halfdan dreamed of greatness erst, In vision of hope beholding
The kingdom's future unfolding,
And _Nore_ stood and summons gave,
While forth to conquest called the wave.
Here singing we must unroll
Of our dear land the pictured scroll! Let calm turn to storm of wildness, Bring might into bonds of mildness:
Then Norsemen mustering, each shall see
This is our land's whole history.
To them first our way we wing,
The hundred harbors in the spring, Where follow fond love and yearning, When sea-ward the ships are turning.
For Norway's weal pure prayers exhale
From sixty thousand men that sail. See sloping the skerried coasts,
With gulls and whales and fishing-posts, And vessels in shelter riding,
While boats o'er the sea are gliding,
And nets in fjord and seines in sound,
And white with spawn the ocean's ground.
See Lofoten's tumult grand,
Where tow'ring cliffs in ocean stand,
Whose summits the fogs are cleaving, Beneath them the surges heaving,
And all is darkness, mystery, dread,
But 'mid the tumult sails are spread.
Here ships of the Arctic sea;
Through snow and gloom their course must be; Commands from the masthead falling The boats toward the ice are calling;
And shot on shot and seal on seal,
And souls and bodies strong as steel.
On mountains we now shall guest,
When eventide to all brings rest,
In dairy on highland meadow,
On hay-field 'neath slanting shadow,
While to the alphorn's tender tone
Great Nature's voice responds alone.
But quickly we must away,
If a11 the land we would survey,--
The mines of our metal treasures,
The hills of our hunters' pleasures,
The foam-white river's rush and noise,
The timber-driver's foot-sure poise.
Returning, we linger here,
These valleys broad to us are dear,
Whose men in their faithful living
To Norway are honor giving;
Their fathers, strong in brain and brawn, Lent luster to our morning-dawn.
We wander and sing with glee
Of glorious Norway fair to see.
Our present to labor binds us,
Each how of the past reminds us,
I passed by the house one summer day, Morning sunshine upon it lay;
Toward the windows that blood-red burned Flaming my soul was turned, was turned.
There spring had found me
And captive bound me
To lissome hands and soft lips enthralling, To smiles now stained by the teardrops falling.
Till the view from my vision dies,
To it backward I send my eyes;
All that was becomes new and near,
The forgotten grows warm and dear;
While this I ponder,
And from the springtime all love's sweet dreaming Forward and back in my soul is streaming.
Joyous that time and joyous now,
Sorrow that time and .sorrow now.
Sun on meadows bedewed appears,
Soul in mem'ries of smiles and tears.
When they waking
Their bounds are breaking,
When streams their ebbing with sinking power,
The soul bears poetry's bud and flower.
As on I drive, in my heart joy dwells
Of Sabbath silence with sound of bells.
The sun lifts _all_ that is living, growing, God's love itself in its symbol showing.
To church pass people from near and far, Soon psalms ascend from the door ajar.
--Good cheer! Your greeting hailed more than me, But that in hastening you failed to see.
Here's goodly company with me riding, Though oft they cunningly keep in hiding; But when you saw me so Sunday-glad, It was because of the mates I had.
And when you heard me so softly singing, The tones attuned to their hearts were ringing.
One soul is here of such priceless worth, For me she offered her all on earth;
Yes, she who smiled in my boat storm-driven, And blanched not, braving the waves wind-riven, In whose white arms that in love caressed me Full warmth of life and of faith possessed me.
The snail in this I am like when faring,--
My home I ever am with me bearing;
And who believes it is burdensome,
He ought to learn how it's good to come
And creep in under the roof thereafter,
Where she gives light amid children's laughter.
No poet paints nor can thinker tell
So vast a vault or so deep a well,
As where the glory of God's own love
On cradle-mirror falls from above.
Your soul is brighter, your heart more tender, When by the cradle your thanks you render.
Who knows not love in the small and near, The many in memory hold not dear.
Who cannot build him a house his own,
What towers he builds will be soon o'erthrown. From Moscow victor to Carthagena,
He vanquished dies on his Saint Helena.
When such a stronghold you've reared with labor, It often safely protects your neighbor;
Though work of woman's and children's hands, Your soul finds strength where that fortress stands, You go hence braver to battle-dangers,
Can courage give unto countless strangers.
One home bore often a whole land's fate, And sent the hero who saved the state;
Thousands of _homes_, when the war was o'er, The land delivered in safety bore.
So bear it onward in peace and beauty The hearts of homes beating true to duty.
Though foreign perfumes be fine and rare, Still pure alone is the home's sweet air. Naught meets you there but the childlike, truthful, And sin is kissed from your forehead ruthful. To heaven's home leads its door ajar,
For thence it came and it lies not far.
Good cheer, to church on your way not staying! For those we love we shall both be praying; In prayer together the way we wander
That leads from this to the home up yonder. You enter in; I must journey far,
While follow psalms from the door ajar. Good cheer! Your greeting hailed more than me, But that in hastening you failed to see.
TO MY FATHER
(UPON HIS RETIREMENT) (See Note 42)
In all the land our race was once excelling.
In richer regions it e'en now possesses
Broad seats and fruitful; but by fate's hard stresses _Our_ branch was bent and bowed to blows compelling. Now toward the light again it lifts aloft
Its top, and fresh buds crown it, fair and soft.
The flowing fountain of _your_ faith has laved it, To life's late evening thus your strength has saved it.
As rests the race in time of chill and rigor, And from the deeps that lie within its being Draws to it what alone can nourish, freeing Its powers to full prophecy of vigor,--
So I divined the unseen stir in you
Of nature's might that you could not subdue; It was so strong, from sire to son surviving, In mystery mute descends this power's striving.
Upon this poured its radiant warmth pervading My mother's soul; of wedded joy the glory Crowns not alone your aged heads and hoary; But it shall death outlive in light unfading. And if my people ever truly prize
The pictured home that in my writings lies, Honor of love and faith serene, unbroken,-- Of father, mother, both, shall praise be spoken.
If men remember the Norwegian peasant,
As from the field of toil or saga fateful
I conjured him; to you they shall be grateful, Father, in whom love let me find him present. And if the woman whom I made them view
In sun-like splendid faith and spirit true,
By women is approved, it is the other
Who has their homage, my sweet-natured mother.
And now you'll rest the evening long and cheery From the day's work in fair or troubled weather, And of the by-gone time you'll talk together, Of many a mile you trod with footsteps weary,-- Now will as sunlight on the winter's snow,
A warmth of thanks in through the window glow, Harsh memories mellow with its golden shining, Your life in faith complete find its refining.
But none gives thanks as now that son in gladness, For whom you lived in anxious fear unceasing, Since forth he flew with strength of wing increasing, For whom to God you prayed in joy and sadness. Oh, know, when hot my blood burned over-much, I felt your soothing hands my forehead touch, And oft, my heart in mute repentance bleeding, In thoughts of you I heard God's gentle pleading.
And so I pray that I may have the power
(Since we again for life shall be united,
And hope 'mid mirthful mem'ries be relighted), To brighten now their every evening-hour!
When children's children in their arms shall be, Oh, let them morning in their evening see!
So shall they gladly lay, when death gives warning, Their gray heads down to greet the dawning morning.
TO ERIKA LIE When Norse nature's dower
Tones will paint with power,
There is more than mountain-heights that tower,-- Plains spread wide-extending,
Whereon at their wending
Glommen's valley fill to overflowing,-- There are green slopes vernal,
Glad with joy fraternal,
As in sunshine birds are soaring slowly, Or, their spells transmitting,
Northern Lights are flitting,--
Picture after picture are portraying,
As the poet dreamed them,
In soul-travail teemed them,
Sparks as from your father's humor springing; Now there meets us nigher,
Mirroring the higher,
So its faith the wide world is enfolding, While your sweet sounds sally,
Truth to tell and rally,
AT MICHAEL SARS'S GRAVE Ever he would roam
Toward th' eternal home;
From the least life deep in ocean To each gleam of stars in motion, Worth of all he weighed. Now the Lord lends aid.
Still he passed beyond,
Softly dreaming; fond
Nature met him as her lover.
God with strength his soul shall cover
Even here on earth
Harmony's sweet birth--
When discovery new truth sunders, When the small reveals its wonders--
Filled his soul with song
For the ages long.
Where his watch he kept,
Eyes a hundred swept.
Where millenniums sand assembled, Where the tiniest life-pulse trembled,
There he sought the clue,
Silent, wise, and true.
In a water glass
Searching he saw pass
All the ocean's life; his thinking To unfathomed deeps was sinking;
Fair our fatherland,
While such faith shall stand! With an eye so true and tender, With a sense so fine for splendor
In the small and still,-
Great ends we fulfil!
TO JOHAN SVERDRUP When now my song selects and praises Your forceful name, think not it raises
The rallying-flag for battle near;
The street-fight shall not reach us here.
If sacred poetry's fair hill
Lies open to assassination,--
Is _this_ the newer revelation,
Then I withdraw and hold me still.
Then I the words of Einar borrow,
When southern change of kings brought sorrow, And Harald's hosts their ravage spread: I follow rather Magnus dead
Than Harald living thus,--and then
I sail away with ships and men.
Nor therefore do I lift anew
The flag of song just now for you,
Because my spirit's deepest yearning
To you for new light now is turning.
No, where the _greatest_ questions started, Just there it is our ways were parted--
From where the deepest thought can reach, To plan and goal of daily speech.
My childhood's faith unshaken stands,
And thence our equal rights deriving,
I for a people free am striving
And brotherhood in kindred lands.
Though both of us are _Christian_ men, So wide a gulf between us lies;
Though both are true _Norwegian_ men, We Norway see with different eyes.
If but to-day we victory gain,
We must to-morrow fight amain.
But now I honor you in singing,
Because what ought just now to be
With strongest will you clearly see,
And foremost to the fight are springing. When sinks the land 'neath heavy fogs And no fair prospect cheers the eye,
The thickening air our breathing clogs,
Yes, all things dull in torpor lie,--
_Then_ mounts your mind with freest motion, Its thunder-wings the mist-banks driving, Its lightning-talons cloud-walls riving,
Till sunlight spreads o'er land and ocean. _You_ are the freshening shower clean Upon our sluggish day's routine.
You are the salt sea-current poured Into each close and sultry fjord.
Your speech a mine-shaft is, deep-going To where the veins of ore are showing. And by your flashing eyes far-sighted The past is for our future lighted.
So long as Sverre's sword you wield, So long as you our hosts are heading, We know we'll win on every field;
Foes flee, your battle trumpet dreading. We see their struggling ranks soon rifted, We see them set so many a snare: Your head unharmed in thought's pure air Above the waves of war is lifted.
We love you for this courage good, That e'er _before_ the banner stood, We love the strength you boldly stored In your self-forged and tempered sword. Your vigilance we love and prize,
That sickness, slander, loss defies, We love you, that at duty's call
You gave your peace, your future, all, We love you still--hate cannot cleave!-- Because you dared in us believe.
How can they hope that backward here Our land shall go? No, year by year, Forward in freedom and in song,
Forward the truly Norse disclosing. What might can now avail, opposing The travail of the centuries long?
People and power no more divided; In peace to save or war to kill,
Our freedom with _one_ guard provided, _One_ nation only and _one_ will.
The spirit of our nation's morn,
The unity of free gods dreaming,
And all things great to be great deeming, Forever must the spurious scorn.
The spirit that impelled the viking
'Gainst kingly power for freedom striking,-- That, threatened, sailed to Iceland strong With hero-fame and hero-song,
And further on through all the ages,-- That spirit never dwells in cages.
The spirit that at Hjörung broke
For thousand years the foreign yoke, By might of king ne'er made to cower, Defying e'en the papal power,--
The spirit that, to weakness worn,
Held free our soil with rights unshorn, Held free, with tongue and hand combined, 'Gainst foreign host and foreign mind,-- By which our Holberg's wit was whetted, And Wessel's sword and Wessel's pen, And to whose silent forge indebted
The thoughts that armed our Eidsvold-men,-- The spirit that in faith so high
Through Odin could to God draw nigh, As bridge the myth of Balder threw,
And almost found the free way new
To truth's fair home in radiant Gimle, When this was closed and warded grimly By monkish lies and papal speech,-
That threw a second bridge to reach
On freedom's lightly soaring arches
To heights whereon the free soul marches,-- So, when for Luther blood was shed, The North but razed a fence instead,
--The spirit that, when men were deeming True faith in all the world were dead, Brun, Hauge, and their lineage spread, From soul-springs in our nation streaming,-- Though pietism's fog now thickens,
Still guards the altar lights and quickens;-- Can _this_ they make the fashion better, By modern bishop-synod's letter?
Is _this_ by politics provided,
When into "Chambers" 't is divided?
Can _this_ into a box be juggled
And o'er the boundary be smuggled?
And that just now when beacons lighted On all the mountain-tops are sighted, And when our folk-high-school's young day The Norse heart kindles with its ray, Renewing mem'ries, courage bringing, While they are hearing, trusting, singing;-- Just when the deep in billows surges, Responsive to the tempest's might, And over it the Northern Light
Of Youth's refulgent hope emerges;-- Just when the spirit everywhere,
While walls lie low as trumpets blare, Is breaking from the ancient forms, And will of youth the heights now storms.
A battle-age,--and we are in it!
The greatest thing on earth: to be Where powers that are bursting free, Self-shaping seek their place and win it;-- Our fusing passion all to give,
To cast the statue that shall live,
To press the mold of our own form On what shall be the future's norm, Into the age's soul thus breathed
The spirit God to us bequeathed.
'T was this that now I wished to say To you, who late and early, aye
Within time's workshop great are going, What is, what shall be, ever knowing;-- To you, who all our people's might
Have roused for freedom new to fight;-- To whom our people gave this power, And sorrow, its eternal dower.
Toward God in heaven spacious
With artless faith a boy looks free,
As toward his mother gracious,
And top of Christmas-tree.
But early in the storm of youth
There wounds him deep the serpent's tooth;
His childhood's faith is doubted
Soon stands in radiant splendor
With bridal wreath his boyhood's dream;
Her loving eyes and tender
The light of heaven's faith stream.
As by his mother's knee of yore
God's name he stammers yet once more,
The rue of tears now paying
When now life's conflict stirring
Leads him along through doubtings wild,
Then upward points unerring
Close by his side his child.
With children he a child is still
And whatsoe'er his heart may chill,
Prayer for his son is warming,
The greatest man in wonder
Must ward the child within his breast,
And list 'mid loudest thunder
Its whisperings unrepressed.
Where oft a hero fell with shame, The child it was restored his name,
His better self revealing,
All great things thought created
In child-like joy sprang forth and grew;
All strength with goodness mated,
Obeyed the child's voice true.
When beauty in the soul held sway, The child gave it in artless play;--
All wisdom worldly-minded
For there alone possesses
The child-life peace on earth.
Though worn we grieve and hardened grow, What solace 't is our home to know
OLE GABRIEL UELAND (See Note 46)
Of long toil 't is a matter
Before such power can shatter Time-hallowed custom's cage.
The soul-fruit of the peasant, Though seldom seed was sown,
It is our honor present,-
Our future sure foreknown.
The fjords that earnest waited 'Mid mountain-snows around
His childhood's thoughts created And depth of life profound.
The highlands' sun that played there On fjord and mountain snow
So wide a vision made there
As one could wish to know.
When _he_ to Ting repairing
Would plead the peasant's right,
Each word a beam was bearing. To make our young day bright.
It came like ancient story
Or long-lost song's refrain;
What crowned our past with glory It made our present gain.
Though in his boat a seaman, A farmer in his field,
Ne'er finer thoughts did freeman In royal council wield.
His years bear witness ready That we shall yet achieve
Our people's self-rule steady, He taught us to believe.
When weary, worn, and aged, His faith was ever strong;
The people's war he wagèd For victory erelong.
Beneath the banner dying, He would not yet give o'er,
And him Valkyries flying Home to Valhalla bore.
From wintry night and bitter He was with stately tread
In Saga's hall a-glitter
Before the high-sear led.
Old heroes proud or merry Rising to greet him went,
But first of all King Sverre, From whom was his descent.
ANTON MARTIN SCHWEIGAARD
(IN THE CHURCH AFTER THE FUNERAL ORATION) (See Note 47)
Give us, God, to Thee now turning, Fullness of joy, tears full and burning, Of will the full refining fire!
Hear our prayer o'er his inurning: His will was _one_, the whole discerning, His whole soul would to it aspire.
Power in counsel our folk to lead, Our folk in deed,
Our folk in gladness and in need!
Thou, O God, our want preventest; To raise the temple _him_ Thou lentest, A spirit bright and pure and great.
When Thou from time to call him meantest, Her tender soul to him Thou sentest Who went before to heaven's gate.
Men then marveled, the while they said: "Living and dead,
O'er all our land he beauty spread."
Help us, God, to wiser waring,
When to our land Thou light art bearing, That we Thy dayspring then may know. God, our future Thou'rt preparing, Oh, give us longing, honor's daring, That we the great may not forego! Thou sentest many out,-- Cease not, our God, nor doubt!
Let us follow Thy way, Thy call, Men, words, and all!
Thy mercies shall our North enwall!
TO AASMUND OLAFSEN VINJE (SUNG AT HIS WIFE'S GRAVE) (See Note 48)
Your house to guests has shelter lent, While you with pen were seated. In silent quest they came and went, You saw them not, nor greeted.
But when now they
Were gone away,
Your babe without a mother lay, And you had lost your helpmate.
The home you built but yesterday In death to-day is sinking,
And you stand sick and worn and gray On ruins of your thinking.
Your way lay bare
Since child you were,
The shelter that you first could share Was this that now is shattered.
But know, the guests that to you came In sorrow's waste will meet you;
Though shy you shrink, they still will claim The right with love to treat you.
For where you go
To you they show
The world in radiant light aglow
Of great and wondrous visions.
What once you saw, now passing o'er, Will but be made the clearer;
It is the far eternal shore,
That on your way draws nearer.
Will see in light
All that the clouds have wrapped in night;-- Great doubts will find an answer.
And later when you leave again
The waste of woe thought-pregnant, Whom you have met shall teach us then. Your pen in power regnant.
From sorrow's weal
With purer zeal,
Inspiring light, and pain's appeal
Shall shine your wondrous visions.
GOOD CHEER (1870)
(See Note 49)
So let these songs their story tell
To all who in the Northland dwell,
Since many friends request it.
Has deepest borne and favored: Some are too hasty, some too brief, Some, long in stock, have come to grief,Some with raw youth are flavored. 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
What's true and strong has growing-room, And will perhaps eternal bloom,
Without black ink's salvation,
The best bard for his nation.
I heard once of a Spanish feast: Within the ring a rustic beast,
A horse, to fight was fated;
In came a tiger from his cage, Who walked about, his foe to gauge,
But none could see him bleeding;
The tiger tumbling shrinks and backs
Before the horse's rustic whacks,
Out o'er the balcony bending;
With shouts the tiger's heart they tease, Their thirst for blood soon to appease,
No blood to see was given,
For fortune held the horse too dear,
To him the tiger could not near,
To say who won I will not try;
For lo, this rustic horse am I,
And on the conflict's going;--
The city, though, where it occurs,
My right to wrath reserving.
It is my blood, my soul, that goes
In every line of all my blows,
Who fill'st the North with wonder; In wrath thou dawn didst prophesy Behind the North's dark morning-sky,That lightnings shook and thunder.
Then, milder, thou, by sea and slope, The fount of saga, faith, and hope Mad'st flow for every peasant;--Now from the snow-years' mountain-side Thou seest with time's returning tide Thine own high image present. To _thee_, then, in whose spring of song Finland's "the thousand lakes" belong
And sound their thrilling sorrow:-- Our Northern soul forever heard
Keeps watch and ward in poet's word
With wealth of light and power.
There shines he: HENRIK WERGELAND,
Out over Norway's pallid strand
In memory's clear hour.
I went to a school that was little and proper,
Both for church and for state a conventional hopper, Feeding rollers that ground out their grist unwaiting; And though it was clear from the gears' frequent grating They rarely with oil of the spirit were smeared, Yet no other school in that region appeared.
We _had_ to go there till older;--though sorry, I went there also,--but reveled in Snorre.
The self-same books, the same so-called education, That teacher after teacher, by decrees of power royal, Into class after class pounds with self-negation,
And that only bring promotion to them that are loyal!-- The self-same books, the same so-called education, Quickly molding to one type all the men in the land, An excellent fellow who on _one_ leg can stand,
And as runs an anchor-rope reel off his rote-narration!-- The self-same books, the same so-called education From Hammerfest to Mandal--('tis the state's creation Of an everything-and-every-one-conserving dominion, Wherein all the finer folk have but one opinion!)-
The self-same books, the same so-called education My comrades devoured; but my appetite failed me, And that fare I refused, till, to cure what had ailed me, Home leaving I leaped o'er those bars of vexation. What I met on the journey, what I thought in each case, What arose in my soul in the new-chosen place,
Where the future was lying,--this to tell is refractory, But I'll give you a picture of the "student factory."
Full-bearded fellows of thirty near died of
Their hunger for lore, as they slaved by the side of Rejected aspirants with faces hairless,
Like sparrows in spring, scatter-brained and careless.
--Vigorous seamen whose adventurous mind
First drove them from school that real life they might find-- But now to cruise wide on the sea they were craving, Where the flag of free thought o'er all life wide is waving.
--Bankrupted merchants who their books had wooed In their silent stores, till their creditors sued
And took from them their goods. Now they studied "on credit." Beside them dawdling dandies. Near in scorn have I said it!
--"Non-Latin" law-students, young and ambitious,
"Prelims," theologs, with their preaching officious;
--Cadets that in arm or in leg had a hurt;
--Peasants late in learning but now in for a spurt:-- _Here_ they all wished through their Latin to drive In _one_ year or in two,--not in eight or in five.
They hung over benches, 'gainst the walls they were lying, In each window sat two, one the edge was just trying Of his new-sharpened knife on an ink-spattered desk. Through two large open rooms what a spectacle grotesque!
At one end, half in dreams, Aasmund Olavsen Vinje's Long figure and spare, a contemplative genius;
Thin and intense, with the color of gypsum,
And a coal-black, preposterous beard, Henrik Ibsen. I, the youngest of the lot, had to wait for company Till a new litter came in, after Yule Jonas Lie.
But the "boss" who ruled there with his logical rod,
"Old Heltberg" himself, was of all the most odd!
In his jacket of dog's skin and fur-boots stout
He waged a hard war with his asthma and gout.
No fur-cap could hide from us his forehead imperious, His classical features, his eye's power mysterious.
Now erect in his might and now bowed by his pain,
Strong thoughts he threw out, and he threw not in vain. If the suffering grew keener and again it was faced
By the will in his soul, and his body he braced
Against onset after onset, then his eyes were flaming And his hands were clenched hard, as if deep were his shaming That he seemed to have yielded! Oh, then we were sharing Amazed all the grandeur of conflict, and bearing
Home with us a symbol of the storms of that age,
When "Wergeland's wild hunt" o'er our country could rage! There was power in the men who took part in that play, There was will in the power that then broke its way. Now alone he was left, forgotten in his corner:-
But in deeds was a hero,--let none dare to be his scorner! He freed thought from the fetters that the schools inherit, Independent in teaching, he led by the spirit;
Personality unique: for with manner anarchic
He carved up the text; and absolute-monarchic
Was his wrath at mistakes; but soon it subsided,
Or, controlled, into noblest pathos was guided,
Which oft turned in recoil into self-irony
And a downpour of wit letting no one go free.--
So he governed his "horde," so we went through the country, The fair land of the classics, that we harried with effront'ry! How Cicero, Sallust, and Virgil stood in fear
On the forum, in the temple, when we ravaging drew near! 'T was again. the Goths' invasion to the ruin of Rome, It was Thor's and Odin's spirit over Jupiter's home,
--And the old man's "grammar" was a dwarf-forged hammer, When he swung it and smote with sparks, flames, and clamor. The herd of "barbarians" he thus headed on their way Had no purpose to settle and just there to stay.
"Non-Latins" they remained, by no alien thought enslaved, And found their true selves, as the foreign foes they braved. In conquering the language we learned the laws of thought, And following him, his fine longing we caught
For wanderings and wonders, all the conqueror's zeal, To win unknown lands and their mysteries reveal. Each lesson seemed a vision that henceforth was ours, Inspiring each youth's individual powers.
His pictures made pregnant our creative desire,
His wit was our testing in an ordeal of fire,
His wisdom was our balance, to weigh things great and small, His pathos told of passions, burning, but held in thrall,
Oft the stricken hero scarce his tedious toil could brook, He wished to go and write, though it were but a single book, To show a _little_ what he was, and show it to the world: He loosed his cable daily, but ne'er his sails unfurled.
His "grammar" was not printed! And he passed from mortal ken To where the laws of thought are not written with a pen. His "grammar" was not printed! But the life that it had, In ink's prolonging power did not need to be clad.
It lived in his soul, so mighty, so warm,
That a thousand books' life seems but poor empty form. It lives in a host of independent men,
To whose thought he gave life and who give it again In the school, at the bar, in the church, and Storting's hall, In poetry and art,--whose deeds and lifework all
Have proved to be the freer and the broader in their might, Because Heltberg had given their youth higher flight.
FOR THE WOUNDED (1871)
(See Note 51)
A still procession goes
Amid the battle's booming,
Its arm the red cross shows; It prays in many forms of speech, And, bending o'er the fallen,
Brings peace and home to each.
Not only is it found
Where bleed the wounds of battle, But all the world around.
It is the love the whole world feels In noble hearts and tender,
While gentle pity kneels;--
It is all labor's dread
Of war's mad waste and murder, Praying that peace may spread; It is all sufferers who heed
The sighing of a brother,
And know his sorrow's need;--
It is each groan of pain
Heard from the sick and wounded, 'T is Christian prayer humane; It is their cry who lonely grope, 'T is the oppressed man's moaning, The dying breath of hope;--
This rainbow-bridge of prayers Up through the world's wild tempest In light of Christ's faith bears: That love and loving deeds
May conquer strife and passion; For thus His promise reads.
(See Note 52) And that was Olaf Trygvason,
Going o'er the North Sea grim,
Straight for his home and kingdom steering, Where none awaited him.
Now the first mountains tower;
Are they walls, on the ocean that lower?
And that was Olaf Trygvason,
Fast the land seemed locked at first,
All of his youthful, kingly longings
Doomed on the cliffs to burst,--
Until a skald discovered
Shining domes in the cloud-mists, that hovered.
And that was Olaf Trygvason,
Seemed to see before his eyes
Mottled and gray some timeless temple Lifting white domes to the skies.
Sorely he longed to win it,
Stand and hallow his young faith within it.
TO HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
(AT A SUMMER-FÊTE FOR HIM IN CHRISTIANIA, 1871) (See Note 53)
We welcome you this wondrous summer-day,
When childhood's dreams on earth are streaming, To bloom and sing, to brighten and to pale;
A fairy-tale, our Northland all is seeming,
And holds you in its arms a festal space
With grateful glee and whisperings face to face.
Th' angelic noise,
Sweet strains of children's joys,
Bears you a moment to that home
Whence all our dreams, whence all our dreams have come.
We welcome you! Our nation all is young,
Still in that age of dreams enthralling,
When greatest things in fairy-tales are nursed,
And he is first,
And he is first, who hears his Lord's high calling.
Of childhood's longings you the meaning know,
And to the North a goal of greatness show.
Has just that path made free, Where, past the small things that you hate,
(See Note 54)
May Seventeenth in Eidsvold's church united, To hallow after fifty years the day
When they who there our charter free indited, Together for our land were met to pray,--
We both were there with thanks to those great men, With thanks to God, who to our people then In days of danger courage gave unbounded.
And when so mighty through the church now sounded "Praise ye the Lord!" lifting our pallid prayer To fellowship with all her sons, our brothers, I saw you, child-like, weep in secret there
Upon the breast we love, our common mother's.
Then I remembered that from boyhood's hour With all your strength to serve her you have striven, Your youthful fire, your counsel cool have given, And till it waned, your manhood's wealth of power. With blessing then and praise of you I thought In thankful prayer, as one of those who fought To shield our land from storms of fate's hard weather, Till 'neath the roof in peace we sat together.
Of you I thought;--but so think few and fewer. Your manhood's fame ere you yourself has crumbled, And you, alas, will not find justice truer,
Till you and yours one day have fallen, humbled.
For see, the roads you drew o'er hill and plain For all our people's onward-pressing longing, You dare not travel with the joyous train,
That greater grows while towards its future thronging. You knew not what it was your labor wrought, When steam and powder, bursting every barrier, Gave new-born cravings each its speedy carrier And to the people's spirit power brought.
The new day's work, as 't were the tempest's welter, In din about you seemed a dream, a fable, And with your like you built in fear a shelter From soul-unrest, a looming tower of Babel.
While now you wait for the impending fight, With gentle eye and stately head all hoary,
And o'er the mountains gleams the morning's glory,-- Your foes half hid amid the mists of night,--
As from an outpost in the wooded wild,
These words I send, of peace a token mild.
You fear the people? 'Tis your own that rally, And like the fog arisen from the valley.
You think them rebels, void of sense and oneness? Yes, spring's full floods obey no rule precise; Storm-squalls and slush render the roads less nice, The snow's pure white is partly soiled to dunness. But spring is born! The man of genius free,
Prophetic, heeds its holy harmony;
For genius shares the soul of what shall be.
This you have not and never had an hour,
And so you shrink before the people's power.
You were a foreman with the gift of leading, When pioneers cleared up a pathless tract;
Your lucid thinking and your gracious tact
Oft helped them over obstacles impeding.
But what new growths the ancient fields have filled, From western seed to feed our land's wants tilled, And what new light shines through your window-pane, Longing for truth beneath religion's reign,
And what new things but whispering we say,-- And what foretells the dawning reckoning-day,-- You fail to understand and find but madness In our young nation's fairest growth and gladness.
You answer: Poet's deeming is but dreaming, And in the statesman's art most unbeseeming. I answer: None has might men's life to sway, If impotent the worth of dreams to weigh.
From cravings, powers that seek their form, ascending, They fill the air; their right to be defending,
Till all men wakened to one goal are tending. His nation's dreams are all the statesman's life, Create his might, direct his aim in strife,
And if he this forgets, the next dreams blooming Bring forth another, unto death him dooming.
The tempest-clouds that mount afresh and thicken Cannot so dense before the morn's light hover That we may not through cloud-rifts clear discover Great thoughts that new-born victories shall quicken.
Such thoughts are radiant over me to-day, And to my heart the warmer blood is streaming, And all we live for, all that we are dreaming, Its summons sends and strengthens for the fray.
The war-horns soon beneath the woods shall bray, Through dewy night th' assailing columns dash, Amid the sudden gleams of shot and slash The fog dissolve before our new-born day.
Soon, though you threaten, will the heights be taken For future ages, and our nation's soul
Can thence o'erlook the land in might unshaken,
With even hand and right to rule the whole.
It soon shall roll war's billows on to battle,
While from the clouds the fathers' weapons rattle!
O aged man, look round you where you stand,
For soon you have against you all our land.
But when you fall defeated on the field,
Then shall we say by your inverted shield:
He stood against us, since he knew not better,
A noble knight and never honor's debtor.
ON A WIFE'S DEATH
(See Note 55)
With death's dark eye acquainted she had been made ere this, When to her son, her first-born, she gave the farewell kiss, And when afar she hastened beside her mother's bed, It followed all her faring with warning fraught and dread; It filled her with foreboding when standing by the bier: More sheaves to gather hopeth the harvester austere. So soon she saw her husband, that man of strength, succumb, She said with sorrow stricken: « I knew that it would come!" She thought that he was chosen by God from earth to go, Would check, her hands upthrusting, the harsh behest of woe; And with her slender body, too weak for such a strife, Would ward her gallant consort,--and gave for him her life. She smiled, serene and blissful, as death's dark eye she braved;
Her sacrifice was given, her heart's proud hero saved. Our love and admiration lifted a starry dome
Of happiness above her in life's last hour of gloam,
And snow-white pure she passed then to her eternal home. Such tender love and holy to heaven's bounds can bear The souls that it embraces in sacrifice and prayer.
THE BIER OF PRECENTOR A. REITAN (1872)
(See Note 56)
With smiles his soft eyes ever gleamed, When God and country thinking;
With endless joy, his soul, it seemed, Faith, fatherland, was linking.
His word, his song,
Like springs flowed strong;
They fruitful made the valley long, And quickened all there drinking.
Poor people and poor homes among In wintry region saddest,
In Sunday's choir he always sung, Of all the world the gladdest:
"The axis stout
It turns about,
Falls not the poorest home without, For thus, O God, Thou badest."
With sickness came a heavy year
And put to proof his singing,
While helpless children standing near His trust to test were bringing.
But glad the more,
As soft notes soar
When winds o'er hidden harp-strings pour,
His song his soul was winging.
His life foretold us that erelong With faith in God unshaken
Shall all our nation stand in song, And church, home, school, awaken, In Norway's song,
In gladness' song,
In glory of the Lord's own song, From life's low squalor taken.
Fair fatherland, do not forget, The children of his bower!
He, poor as is the rosebush, yet Gave gladness till death's hour-- With failure's smart
Let not depart
From this thy soil so glad a heart,--
His garden, let it flower!
Song brings us light with the power of lending Glory to brighten the work that we find;
Song brings us warmth with the power of rending Rigor and frost in the swift-melting mind.
Song is eternal with power of blending
Time that is gone and to come in the soul,
Fills it with yearnings that flow without ending, Seeking that sea where the light-surges roll.
Song brings us union, while gently beguiling Discord and doubt on its radiant way;
Song brings us union and leads, reconciling Battle-glad passions by harmony's sway,
Unto the beautiful, valiant, and holy
--Some can pass over its long bridge of light
Higher and higher to visions that solely
Faith can reveal to the spirit's pure sight.
Songs from the past of the past's longings telling, Pensive and sad cast a sunset's red glow;
Present time's longings in sweet music dwelling, Grateful the soul of the future shall know.
Youth of all ages in song here are meeting,
Sounding in tone and in word their desire;
--More than we think, from the dead bringing greeting, Gather to-night in our festival choir.
ON THE DEATH OF N. F. S. GRUNDTVIG (1872)
(See Note 57)
E'en as the Sibyl in Northland-dawn drew Forth from the myth-billows gliding, Told all the past, all the future so true, Sank with the lands' last subsiding,-Prophecies leaving, eternally new,
Thus goes his spirit the Northland before,-- Though, that he sank, we have tiding,-- Visions unfolding like sun-clouds, when o'er Sea-circled lands they are riding,
Northern lands' future, till time is no more,
FROM THE CANTATA FOR N. F. S. GRUNDTVIG
His day was the greatest the Northland has seen, It one was with the midnight-sun's wonders serene: The light wherein he sat was the light of God's true peace, And that has never morning, nor night when it must cease.
In light of God's peace shone the _history_ he gave, The spirit's course on earth that shall conquer the grave. Might of God's pure peace thus our _fathers'_ mighty way Before us for example and warning open lay.
In light of God's peace he beheld with watchful eye
The people at their work and the spirit's strivings high.
In light of God's pure peace he would have all learning glow, And where his word is honored the "Folk-High-Schools" must grow.
In light of God's peace stood 'mid sorrow and care
For Denmark's folk his comfort, a castle strong and fair; In light of God's pure peace there shall once again be won And thousand-fold increased, what seems lost now and undone.
In light of God's peace stands his patriarch-worth, The sum and the amen of a manful life on earth. In light of God's pure peace how his face shone, lifted up, When white-haired at the altar he held th' atoning cup.
In light of God's peace came his word o'er the wave, In light of God's pure peace sound the sweet psalms he gave. In light of God's pure peace, as its sunbeam curtains fall To hide him from us, stands now his memory for all.
AT A BANQUET FOR
PROFESSOR LUDV. KR. DAA (See Note 58)
Youthful friends here a circle form,
Elder foes now surrender.
Feel among us in safety, warm,
Toward you our hearts are tender.
Once again on a hard-fought day
Hero-like you have led the way,
Smiting all that before you stood;-
But now be good!
With no hubbub, without champagne,
Dress-suit, and party-collar,
We would honor o'er viands plain
Grateful our "grand old scholar"!
When all quiet are wind and wave,
Seldom we see this pilot brave;--
When storm-surges our ship might whelm, He takes the helm!
--Takes the helm and through thick and thin (Clear are his old eyes burning),
Steers the course with his trusty "grin," Straight, where the others are turning!
Thanks gave to him I know not who,
For he scolded the skipper, too!--
Back he went to his home right soon: We had the boon.
He has felt what it is to go
Hated, till truth gains the battle;
He has felt what it is to know
Blows that from both sides rattle.
He has felt what the cost is, so
Forward the present its path to show:
He, whose strength had such heights attained, Stood all disdained.
Heroes who its true weal create, Who are no laggards sordid.
Shall we always so slowly crawl,
Split forever in factions small, Idly counting each ill that ails?-- No! Set the sails!
Set the sails for the larger life,
Whereto our nation has power!
Daily life is with death but rife,
If there's not growth every hour.
Rally to war for the cause of right,
Sing 'neath the standard of honor bright, Sail with faith in our God secure, And strong endure
Oh, when will you stand forth, who with strength can bring aid, To strike down the injustice and lies
That my house have beset, and with malice blockade Every pathway I out for my powers have laid,
And would hidden means find
With deceit and with hate
To set watch on my mind
And defile every plate
In my beautiful home where defenseless we wait?
Oh, when will you stand forth? This detraction through years For my people has made me an oaf,
Hides my poetry's fount in the fog of its fleers,
So it merely a pool of self-worship appears;
Like a clumsy troll I
Am contemned with affront,
Whom all "cultured" folk fly,
Or yet gather to hunt,
That their hunger of hate at a feast they may blunt.
When I publish a book: "It is half like himself;" If I speak, 't is for vanity's sake.
What I build in the stage-world of fancy's free elf Is but formed from my fatuous self.
When for faith I contend
And our land's ancient ways,
When the bridge I defend
From our fathers' great days,
'Tis because my poor breast no king's "Order" displays.
Oh, when will you stand forth, who shall sunder in twain All this slander so stifling and foul,
And shall sink in the sea all the terror insane
That they have of heart-passion and will-wielding brain,-- And with love shall enfold
A soul's faith wide and deep,
That in want and in cold
Would its morning-watch keep
Undismayed, till the light all the host shall ensweep?
Come, thou Spirit of Norway, God-given of yore In the stout giant-conquering Thor!
While the lightning thou ridest, thy answer's loud roar Drowns the din that the dwarfs in defiance outpour; Thou canst waken with might
All our longings to soar,
Thou canst strengthen in right
What united we swore,
When at Hafur thy standard in honor we bore.
Hail, thou Spirit of Norway! To think but of thee Makes so small all the small things I felt.
To thy coming I hallow me, wholly to thee, And I humbly look up to thy face, unto thee, And I pray for a song
With thy tongue's stirring sound,
That I true may and strong
In the crisis be found,
To rouse heroes for thee on our forefathers' ground.
AT HANSTEEN'S BIER (1873)
(See Note 60)
Whom in the grave we now shall lay! Starlit paths of thoughts that awe us His spirit found; his deeds now draw usTo deeds, as mighty magnets play. He was the first to stand
A light in our free land;
Of our present the first fair crown,
The first renown,
At Norway's feet he laid it down.
Shall sing with all the world our praise. God, who ever guides our nation,
Hath called us to a high vocation
And shown where He our goal doth raise. People of Norway, glad
Go on, as God us bade!
God has roused you; He knows whereto, Though we are few.
With Him our future we shall view.
RALLYING SONG FOR FREEDOM IN THE NORTH TO "THE UNITED LEFT"
(See Note 61)
Dishonored by the higher, but loved by all the low,-- Say, is it not the pathway that the new has to go? By those who ought to guard it betrayed, oh yes, betrayed,-- Say, is it not thus truth ever progress has made?
Some summer day beginning, a murmur in the grain, It grows to be a roaring through the forests amain, Until the sea shall bear it with thunder-trumpets' tone, Where nothing, nothing's heard but it alone, it alone.
With Northern allies warring we take the Northern For God and for our freedom--is the watchword we bring. That God, who gave us country and language, and all, We find Him in our doing, if we hear and heed His call.
That doing we will forward, we many, although weak, 'Gainst all in fearless fighting, who the truth will not seek:-- Some summer day beginning, a murmur in the grain, It goes now as a roaring through the forests amain.'T will grow to be a storm ere men think that this can be,
With voice of thunder sweeping o'er the infinite sea. What nation God's call follows, earth's greatest power shall show, And carry all before it, though it high stand or low.
AT A BANQUET
GIVEN TO THE DEPUTATION OF THE SWEDISH RIKSDAG TO THE CORONATION, IN TRONDHJEM, JULY 17, 1873 (See Note 62)
You chosen men we welcome here
From brothers near.
We welcome you to Olaf's town
That Norway's greatest mem'ries crown,
Where ancient prowess looking down With searching gaze,
The question puts to sea and strand:
Are men now in the Northern land
Our "Yes" is sealed!
'T is well, if now our strength is steeled To grasp our fathers' sword and shield And in life's warfare lift and wield
For God and home!
For us they fought; 't is now our call To raise for them a temple-hall,
List to the Northern spirit o'er
Our sea and shore!
Here once high thoughts in word were freed,
In homely song, in homely deed;
And ever shall the selfsame need
That spirit sing:
Heed not things trivial, foreign, new;
Alone th' eternal, Northern, true
Can harvest bring.
O brother-band, this faith so dear
Has brought us here?
The spirit of the North to free,
Our common toil and prayer shall be,
Those greater days again to see,--
As once before,
Of home and trust a message strong
To send the warring world we long Forevermore.
Open water, open water!
All the weary winter's yearning
Bursts in restless passion burning. Scarce is seen the blue of ocean, And the hours seem months in motion.
Open water, open water!
Smiles the sun on ice defiant,
Eats it like a shameless giant:
Soon as mouth of sun forsakes it, Swift the freezing night remakes it.
Open water, open water!
Storm shall be the overcomer
Sweeping on from others' summer Billows free all foes to swallow,-- Crash and fall and sinking follow.
Open water, open water!
Mirrored mountains are appearing, Boats with steam and sail are nearing, Inward come the wide world's surges, Outward joy of combat urges.
Open water, open water!
Fiery sun and cooling shower
Quicken earth to speak with power. Soul responds, the wonder viewing: Strength is here for life's renewing.
SONG OF FREEDOM TO "THE UNITED LEFT" (1877)
(See Note 63)
Freedom's father--power strong, Freedom's mother--wrath and song. Giant-stout, a youth self-taught, Soon a giant's work he wrought. Ever he, full of glee,
Thought and wit and melody, Mighty, merry, made his way,-- Labor's toil or battle-fray.
Enemies whom none could tell
Lay in wait this foe to fell,
Found him waking all too stark,
Sought his sleeping hours to mark, Tried their skill, bound him still;
When he wakened, they fared ill. Glad he forward strode firm-paced, Full of power, full of haste.
Bare fields blossom 'neath his feet, Commerce swells about his seat, From his fire gleam thought-rays bright,-- All things doubled are in might!
For the land law he planned,
Keeps it, guards with head and hand, Of all rue and error quit,
Crushing him who injures it.
Freedom's God is God of light, Not the bondsman's god of fright,-God of love and brotherhood, Springtime's hope and will for good. To earth's ends _peace_ He sends! Heed the words His law commends: "One your Lord, and I am He, Have no other gods but Me!"TO MOLDE (See Note 64)
True as a song,
Billowy rhythms whose thoughts fill with love me,
Follow thy form in bright colors above me, Bear thy beauty along.
Naught is so black as thy fjord, when storm-lashes
Sea-salted scourge it and inward it dashes,
Naught is so mild as thy strand, as thine islands, Ah, as thine islands!
Naught is so strong as thy mountain-linked ring,
Naught is so sweet as thy summer-nights bring. Molde, Molde,
True as a song,
Murm'ring memories throng.
Houses and gardens where good friends wander! Hundreds of miles away,--but I'm yonder
'Mid the roses full-blown.
Strong shines the sun on that mountain-rimmed beauty, Fast is the fight, let each man do his duty.
Friends, who your favor would never begrudge me,
Gently now judge me!--
Only with life ends the fight for the right.
Thought flees to you for a refuge in light.
Childhood's memories' throne.
Oh, may at last
In thine embrace, life's fleeting
Glad thine evening-glory greeting,
--Where life let thought awaken,-- My thought by death be taken!
PER BO (1878)
Once I knew a noble peasant
From a line of men large-hearted. Light and strength were in his mind, Lifted like a peak clear-lined
O'er the valley in spring sunshine, First to feel the morning's beam, First refreshed by cloud-born stream.
Wide the springtime spread its banner, Waving in his will illumined,
Bright with promise, color-sound; Heritage of toil its ground.
Round that mountain music floated, Songsters sweet of faith and hope Nestled on its tree-clad slope.
Sometime, sometime all the valley Like him shall with light be flooded; Sometime all his faith and truth Sunward grow in dewy youth, And the dreams he dreamt too early Live and make him leader be For a race as true as he.
HAMAR-MADE MATCHES (1877)
(See Note 65)
"Here your Hamar-made matches!"-- Of them these verses I sang;
A thought to which humor attaches, But yet to my heart sparks sprang.
Sparks from the box-side flying Sank deep in my memory,
Till in a light undying
Two eyes cast their spell on me,--
Light on the fire that's present, When faith blazes forth in deed.
Know, that to every peasant Those eyes sent a light in need.
Sent to souls without measure The flame of love's message broad,
Gathering in one treasure
Fatherland, home, and God.
For it was Herman Anker
Took of his fathers' gold,
Loaned it as wisdom's banker, Spread riches of thought untold,
Scattered it wide as living Seed for the soil to enwrap;
Flowers spring from his giving Over all Norway's lap.
Flowers spring forth, though stony The ground where it fell, and cold.
Never did patrimony
Bear fruitage so many fold.
Heed this, Norwegian peasant,
Heed it, you townsman, too!
That fruit of love's seed may be present, Our thanks must fall fresh as dew.
"Here your Hamar-made matches!" My thanks kindle fast. And oh!
This song at your heart-strings catches, That kindling your thanks may glow.
The matches hold them in hiding,-- Scratching one you will find
The light with a warmth abiding Carries them to his mind.
"Here your Hamar-made matches!" Only to strike one here,
Our thanks far-away dispatches, With peace his fair home to cheer.
His matches in thousands of houses, In great and in small as well!--
The light that thanksgiving arouses Shall scatter the darkness fell.
His matches in thousands of houses!-- Some eve from his factory
He'll see how thanksgiving arouses The land, and its love flames free.
Through gleams that his matches woke, The thanks that his nation would render,
His glistening wreath of oak,--
He'll feel that Norway with double The warmth of other lands glows;
The harvest must more be than trouble, When faith in its future grows.
"Here your Hamar-made matches!" No phosphorus-poison more!
The bearer of light up-catches The work of the school before:--
Mute they wander,
In the wondrous Spring new-born,
That though old as Time's first morn, Brings fresh youth to all the living,
Now held fast, now far retreating,
But through hearts in oneness beating Ever fullest bloom is giving.
Mute they wander. E'en the eye
Speaks no thought. For from on high To their souls sweet strains have spoken From the wide world's harmony,
Born of light, the darkness broken,
In the dawn of things to be.
Like a sun-song rolled the sound.
Mute they wander. Sweet strains ending-- Eye nor tongue dares yet the lending Speech to thought.
But lo! quick blending,
All things speak! They sound and shimmer, Bloom in fragrance, ring and glimmer, Tint and tone combining, nearer,
Meet as one-with all their thinking
In one beauty, higher, clearer,--
Heaven itself to earth is sinking.
But in this great hour of trysting
Life is opened, its course brightened, Growth eternal calls, enlisting
Every spirit-power heightened.
THE PURE NORWEGIAN FLAG
(Note: That is, without the mark of union with Sweden.) (See Note 66)
Tri-colored flag, and pure, Thou art our hard-fought cause secure; Thor's hammer-mark of might
Thou bearest blue in Christian white,
And all our hearts' red blood
To thee streams its full flood.
Thou liftest us high when life's sternest, Exultant, thou oceanward turnest;
Thy colors of freedom are earnest
That spirit and body shall never know dearth.-- Fare forth o'er the earth!
You "wise" men maintain for true.
But the flag is the truth poetic,
The folly is found in you.
In poetry upward soaring,
The nation's immortal soul
With hands invisible carries
The flag toward the future goal.
That soul's every toil and trial,
That soul's every triumph sublime,
Are sounding in songs immortal,--
To their music the flag beats time.
We bear it along surrounded
By mem'ry's melodious choir,
By mild and whispering voices,
By will and stormy desire.
It gives not to others guidance,
Can not a Swedish word say;
It never can flaunt allurement:--
Clear the foreign colors away!
Possess in the flag no right;
The flag is the high ideal
In honor's immortal light.
The best of our past achievements,
The best of our present prayers,
It takes in its folds from the fathers
And bears to the sons and heirs;
Bears it all pure and artless,
By tokens that tempt us unmarred,
Is for our will's young manhood
Leader as well as guard.
We are by the flag affied!"
But Norway is _not_ betrothèd,
She _is_ no one's promised bride. She shares her abode with no one,
Her bed and her board to none yields, Her will is her worthy bridegroom,
Herself rules her sea, her fields. Our brother to eastward honors
This independence of youth.
_He_ knows well that by it only
Our wreath can be won in truth. When we from the flag are taking
His colors, _he_ knows 't is no whim, But merely because we are holding
Our honor higher than him.
And none who himself has honor
Will seek him a different friend; Our life we can for him offer,
But naught of our flag can lend.
Respectful I seek a hearing, With trust in your temper sane, And plead now our cause before you In words that are calm and plain:
If, Sweden, _you_ were the smaller,
Were young your freedom's renown,
Had _your_ flag a mark of union
That pressed you still farther down
By saying that you, as little,
Were set at the greater's board
(For this is the mark's real meaning,
By no one on earth ignored),
Yes, if it were you,--and your freedom Not hallowed by age, but young,
And a century's want and weakness
Still heavy in memory hung,
The soul of your nation harrowed
By old injustice and need,
By luckless labor and longing,
--And did you its meaning heed;
Yes, if it were you, whose duty To teach your people were tried,
To honor their new-born freedom, To find in their flag their guide:
Would longer you suffer it sundered, Leave foreign a single field?
Would you not claim it unplundered, Your independence to shield?
Would not to yourself you say then: "If one has high lineage long,
If greater his colors' glory,
The more alluring his song.
Oh, tempt not him who from trouble Is rising with new found might;
With pure marks direct him, rather, To honor's exalted height."
Thus _you_ would speak, elder hero, If _you_ in _our_ home abode;
Your wont is the way of honor,
You fare on the forward road.
From eighteen hundred and fourteen, And down to the latest day,
So oft for our independence
We stood like the stag at bay,
Brave men have risen among you, And scorning the strife that swelled
Have talked for our cause high-minded, Like Torgny to them of eld.
You say, it is "knightly duty,"
The fight for the flag to share,--
I hold you full high in honor,
But--_that_ is our own affair!
For just because we encounter
The storm-blasts of slander stark,
It's "knightly duty" to free now
The flag from the marring mark.
The "parity" that mark preaches
Flies false over all the seas;
A pan-Scandinavian Sweden
Can never our nation please.
From "knightly duty" the smaller Must say: I am not a part;
The mark of my freedom and honor Is whole for my mind and heart.
From "knightly duty" the greater Must say: A falsehood's fair sign
Can give me no special honor,
No longer shall it be mine.
For both it is "knightly duty,"
With flags that are pure, to be
A warring world's bright example Of peoples at peace, proud and free.
I honor you, who, though refused, affronted, Have heard the voice, and victory have won;
I honor you, who still by malice hunted, Show miracles of faith and power done.
I honor you, God-thirsting soul so driven, 'Mid scorn and need the spirit's war to wage;
I honor you, by Gudbrand's valley given, And of her sons the foremost in this age.
I do not share your faith, your daring dreaming; This parts us not, the spirit's paths are broad.
For, all things great and noble round us streaming, I worship them, because I worship God.
A man in coat of ice arrayed
Stood up once by the Arctic Ocean; The whole earth shook with proud emotion
The frightened king fell down again, Began to weep with features ashen: "My Order is in this rude fashionRefused by just the greatest men.
"My dear man, take it, 't is but fit,
Of your king's honor be the warder; On your breast greater grows the Order,
The Arctic giant was too good,-- A foible oft ascribed to giants, Who foolish trust in little clients,--He took it,--while we mocking stood.
But all the kings crept to him then, And each his Order brought, to know it Thereby renewed and greater, so itGave rank to needy noblemen.
_Honi soit_ ... and all the rest; Soon Orders covered all his breast. But oh! they greater grew no tittle,And he grew so confounded little. ROMSDAL (See Note 69) Come up on deck! The morning is clear,-- Memory wakes, as the landmarks appear.
How many the islands, green and cheery, The salt-licking skerries, weed-wound, smeary!
On this side, on that side, they frolic before us, Good friends, but wild,--in frightened chorus Sea-fowl shriek round us, a flying legion.
We are in a region
Of storms historic, unique for aye.
We fare the fishermen's venturesome way! Far out the bank and the big fish shoaling, The captain narrates; and just now unrolling Sails run to shore a swift racing match;-- Good is the catch.
Yes, yes,--I recognize them again,
Romsdal's boats' weather-beaten men. They _know_ how to sail, when need's at hand.
But I'm forgetting to look towards land!
-- -- -- It whelms the sight
Like lightning bright,--
In memory graven, but not so great.
Wherever I suffer my eyes to wander,
Stand mountain-giants, both here and yonder, The loin of one by the other's shoulder,
Naught else to where earth and sky are blending. The dread of a world's din daunts the beholder; The silence vastens the vision unending.
Some are in white and others in blue,
With pointed tops that emulous tower;
Some mass their power,
In marching columns their purpose pursue. Away, you small folk!--In there "The Preacher" In high assembly the service intoning
Of magnates primeval, their patriarch owning! Of what does he preach, my childhood's teacher? So often, so often to him I listened,
In eager worship, devout and lowly;
My songs were christened
In light that fell from his whiteness holy.
-- How great it is! I can finish never.
Great thoughts that in life and legend we treasure Stream towards the scene in persistent endeavor, The mighty impression to grasp and measure,-- Dame's hell, India's myth-panorama,
Shakespeare's earth-overarching drama,
Aeschylus' thunders that purge and free,
Beethoven's powerful symphony,--
They widen and heighten, they cloud and brighten
--Like small ants scrambling and soft-cooing doves, They tumble backward and flee affrighted;-- As if a dandy in dress-coat and gloves
The mountains approached and to dance invited. No, tempt them not! Their retainer be!
You'll learn then later,
How life with the great must make you greater. If you are humble, they'll say it themselves, That something is greater than e'en their greatest. Look how the little river that delves
High in the notch within limits straitest,
Through ice first burrowed and stone, a brook, Slowly the giants asunder wearing!
Unmoved before, their face now and bearing They had to change 'mid the spring-flood's laughter; Millions of years have followed thereafter, Millions of years it also took.
In stamps the fjord now to look on their party, Lifts his sou'-wester, gives greeting to them. Whoever at times in their fog could view them Has seen him near to their very noses;--
The fjord's not famed for his well-bred poses.
Towards him hurry, all white-foam-faced,
Brooks and rivers in whirling haste,
All of his family, frolicsome, naughty.
If ever the mountains the fjord would immure, Their narrows press nigher, a prison sure;-- His water-hands then with a gesture haughty Seize the whole saucy pass like a shell;
Set to his mouth, he begins to blow it
With western-gale-lungs,--and then you may know it, Loud is the noise, and the swift currents swell.
Forcing the coast, a big fjord, black and gray, Breaks us our way;
Waterfalls rushing on both sides rumble.
Sponge-wet and slow,
Cloud-masses over the mountain-flanks fumble; The sun and mist, lo,
Symbol of struggle eternal show.
All things I see, have eyes and have voices. The people? I know them, each man understand, Though never I saw him nor with him have spoken; I know this folk, for the fjord is their token.
_One_ is the fjord in the storm's battle-fray, _Another_ is he when the sunbeams play In midsummer's splendor,
And radiant, happy his heart is tender. Whatever has form,
He bears on his breast with affection warm, Mirrors it, fondles it,--
Be it so bare as the mossy gray rubble, Be it so brief as a brook's fleeting bubble.
Oh, what a brightness! Beauty, soul-ravishing, Shines from his prayer, that now he be shriven Of all the past! And penitence lavishing, All he confesses; with glad homage given Mirrors and masses
Deep the mountains' high peaks and passes.
The old giants think now: He's not really bad; In greater degree he's wrathful and glad Than others perchance; is false not at all, But reckless, capricious,--true son of Romsdal.
Right are the mountains! This race-type keeping, _They_ saw men creeping
Over the ridges, scant fodder reaping.
_They_ saw men eager
Toil on the sea, though their take was meager, Plow the steep slope and trench the bog-valley, To bouts with the rock the brown nag rally. Saw their faults flaunted,--
Buck-like they bicker,
Love well their liquor,-
But know not defeat,--hoist the sail undaunted!
Different the districts; but all in all:
Spirits vivacious, with longings that spur them, Depths full of song, with billows that stir them, Folk of the fjord and the sudden squall.
Viking-abode, I hail you with wonder!
High-built the wall, broad sea-floor thereunder, Hall lit by sun-bows on waterfall vapors, Hangings of green,--your dwellers the drapers. Viking-born race,--'t is you I exalt!
It costs in under so high a vault
A struggle long unto lordship stable;
Not all who have tried to succeed, were able. It costs to recover the wealth of the fjord From wanton waste and in power to hoard. It costs;--but who conquers is made a man. I know there are that can.
Spring's herald, hail! You've rent the forest's quiet? Your hair is wet, and you are leaf-strewn, dusty ... With your powers lusty
Have you raised a riot?
What noise about you of the flood set free,
That follows at your heels,--turn back and see: It spurts upon you! --Was it that you fought for? You were in there where stumps and trunks are rotting Where long the winter-graybeards have been plotting To prison safe that which a lock they wrought for. But power gave you Pan, the ancient god!
They cried aloud and cursed your future lot? Your gallant feat they held a robber's fraud?
--Each spring it happens; but is soon forgot.
You cast you down beside the salt sea's wave. It too is free; dances with joy to find you.
You know the music well; for Pan resigned you His art one evening by a viking's grave.
But while on nature's loving lap you lie, The tramp of battle on the land you hear, You see the steamers as they northward steer With freedom's flag;--of your name comes a cry.
And so is torn between the two your breast:-- Freedom's bold fighters, who now proudly rally, In nature's life and legend dreamy rest; The former chide, the latter lures to dally.
Your songs sound, some as were a war-horn braying, Some softly purl like streams on reedy strand. Half nature-sprite and half as man you stand, The two not yet one law of life obeying.
But as you seem and as yourself you are (The faun's love that the viking's longing tinges), We welcome you, no lock is left nor bar,-- You bring along the door and both the hinges.
Just this it is that we are needing now:
The spring, the spring! These stifling fumes we bear Of royal incense and of monkish snuff,
Of corpses in romantic cloak and ruff,
Are bad for morals and for lungs: Fresh air!
Rather a draught of Songs Venetian, cheerful, With southern wantonness and color-wonders,-- Rather "Two Shots" (although they make us fearful) Against our shallow breeding and its blunders.
Spring's herald, hail! come from the forest's choir, From ocean's roar, from armèd hosts and grim! Though sometimes carelessly you struck the lyre,-- Where rich growth is, one can the rank shoots trim. The small trolls jeer the gestures of a giant, I love you _so_,--unique and self-reliant.A MEETING (See Note 71) ... O'er uplands fresh swift sped my sleigh ... A light snow fell; along the way
Stood firs and birches slender.
The former pondered deep, alone,
The latter laughed, their white boughs shone;--
The snow with playful sally. I glimpse behind its veil so thin A landscape gay, and high withinA snow-peak o'er the valley. But from the border white and brown, Where'er I look, there's peeping down
A face ... but whose, whose is it?
I bore my gaze 'neath cap and brim And see the snowflakes swarm and swim;--
Will some one here me visit?
A star fell on my glove ... right here ... And here again ... its unlike peer; ...
They will with riddles pose me. And smiles that in the air abound From eyes so good ... I look around ...'T is memory besnows me. The stars spin fine their filigree, Can hidden spirits in it be?
There haunts me something awing ... You finer birch, you snow unstained, You purer air,--a soul you've gained?Who is it here now drawing His features dear in nature's face, In all this fascinating grace,
In falling stars that cheat me,--
In these white gleams that finely glance, In all this silent rhythmic dance? ...