Esaias Tegnér (13 de noviembre de 1782 – 2 de noviembre de 1846) fue un escritor, profesor de griego y obispo sueco. Durante el siglo XIX, fue considerado el padre de la poesía moderna en Suecia, en especial, por la saga legendaria Frithiofs saga (basada en el original medieval islandés Friðþjófs saga hins frœkna, "La historia de Fritiof el Audaz"). Ha sido denominado el primer hombre moderno de Suecia.
Su padre fue un pastor y sus abuelos por ambas líneas fueron campesinos. Su padre, Esaias Lucasson, adoptó el apellido Tegnérus (alterado por su quinto hijo como Tegnér) del pueblo de Tegnaby en la provincia de Småland, donde había nacido.
En 1799, Esaias Tegnér, hasta entonces educado en casa, ingresó a la Universidad de Lund, donde siguió estudios de filosofía y se graduó en 1902. Continuó como tutor hasta 1810 cuando fue elegido como docente de griego. En 1806, se casó con Anna Maria Gustava Myhrman, con quien había estado ligado desde su juventud temprana. En 1812, fue nombrado profesor y continuó su trabajo en Lund hasta 1824, cuando fue nombrado obispo de Växjö. Permaneció en Växjö hasta su muerte acaecida veintidós años más tarde.
Su primer éxito como escritor fue una canción de guerra ditirámbica para el ejército de 1808. En 1811, su poema patriótico Svea ganó el reconocimiento de la Academia Sueca y lo hizo famoso. El mismo año, se fundó en Estocolmo la Liga Gótica (Götiska förbundet), una suerte de club de jóvenes y patriotas hombres de letras, del cual Tegnér se hizo pronto director. El club publicó una revista titulada Iduna, en la cual publicó gran cantidad de poesía, así como sus puntos de vista, en particular, con respecto al estudio de la historia y la literatura islandesa antigua. Tegnér, Geijer, Afzelius, y Nicander se convirtieron en los miembros más famosos de la Liga Gótica.
Al final de su vida, Tegnér fue enviado a un hospital psiquiátrico en Schleswig y, a inicios de 1841, fue dado de alta y regresó a Växjö. Durante su convalecencia en Schleswig, compuso Kronbruden. No escribió nada más de importancia y, en 1843, tuvo un ataque cerebrovascular y falleció el 2 de noviembre de 1846 en Växjö.
La mayoría de los poemas de Tegnér de su época en Lund son cortos, pero algunos están en líricas. Su celebrada Canción al sol data de 1817. Completó tres poemas de un carácter más ambicioso, en los cuales descansa su fama. De estos, el romance de Axel (1822) y el idilio de Nattvardsbarnen ("La primera comunión", 1820) toman un rol secundario en comparación con la obra maestra de Tegnér de fama mundial.
En 1819, se convirtió en miembro de la distinguida Academia Sueca.
En 1820, publicó en Iduna fragmentos de un poema épico en el que estaba trabajando: Frithiofs saga (La historia de Frithiof). En 1822, publicó cinco cantos más y, en 1825, el poema entero. Ya antes de esta publicación, era famoso en toda Europa. Así, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe sugirió a Amalie von Imhoof que tradujera su obra al alemán. Esta paráfrasis romántica de una saga antigua fue compuesta en 24 cantos, todos los cuales diferían en la forma de versos, sobre la base de una obra maestra danesa previa, la Helga de Oehlenschläger.
Durante el siglo XIX, la saga de Frithjof fue la mejor conocida de todas las producciones suecas y fue traducida 22 veces al inglés, 20 veces en alemán y, por lo menos, una vez en las principales lenguas europeas.
Tegnér empezó, pero dejó inacabadas, dos poemas épicos adicionales: Gerda y Kronbruden.
Los triunfos de la violencia y de la iniquidad son pasajeros: pero la verdad y la justicia se imponen al fin y duran eternamente. Isaías Tegnér, poeta sueco (1782-1846). glosa tan hermoso pensamiento en la siguiente composición.
Bien puede al mundo subyugar el hombre
Que es justo y esforzado;
Bien puede su renombre
Del águila tomar el vuelo osado;
Mas la espada tal vez mirase rota,
Y herida se ve el águila potente:
La violencia es fugaz; su fin incierto
Y mudable, y su esfuerzo en breve agota
Y pasa cual la ráfaga rugiente
De airada tempestad sobre el desierto.
Mas vive la verdad... Junto al acero
De los combates aparece en calma,
Y en el rostro severo
Mostrando el vivo resplandor del alma.
Por un mundo camina
Oscuro y tenebroso:
Tornando va con expresión divina
Su vista hacia otro mundo más hermoso.
Eterna es la verdad. En tierra y cielo
Su gloria se sucede
De un siglo en otro, y sin cesar resuenan
Sus palabras. Eterna es la justicia.
Pudiera socavar acaso el suelo
En que apoya su planta, la malicia;
Mas arrancarla de raíz no puede.
Si la verdad del mundo se apodera,
El bien puedes ansiar, y si a tu lado
Por la fuerza brutal o astucia artera
Perseguida la ves, aun en tu seno
El conservarla incólume te es dado.
La voluntad es fuerte
Si en corazón enérgico reposa;
La Justicia en temible se convierte,
Y un pueblo al fin se cambia y regenera.
Los sacrificios que prudente hiciste,
De la virtud el generoso empleo.
Los riesgos que corriste.
Serán nítidos astros que aparecen
Sobre las turbias aguas del Leteo.
No es igual a la flor que dura un dia
Con su plácido aroma.
Ni al iris que fugaz súbito asoma
Tras de la nube umbría.
Cuanto bello por ti fuera creado.
No es materia, en verdad perecedera;
El tiempo que transcurre
Su mérito y valor acrecentado
Ofrecerá a la gente venidera.
Sus arenas de oro,
Con las olas del tiempo que discurre,
Con ansiedad ardiente recogemos,
Y un preciado tesoro
Legado a nuestra edad en ellas vemos.
Vive, pues, siempre a la verdad unido;
La Justicia defiende y la venera;
Goza en lo bello: tan divinos dones
Del mundo nunca habrán desparecido.
Lo que del tiempo vive, raudo el tiempo
También lo recupera
A su paso por cien generaciones.
Lo que es eterno quedará por siempre
Conservado en los buenos corazones.
FROM THE SWEDISH AND DANIS
PASSAGES FROM FRITHIOF'S SAGA
Traducción de Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Three miles extended around the fields of the homestead, on three sides
Valleys and mountains and hills, but on the fourth side was the ocean.
Birch woods crowned the summits, but down the slope of the hillsides
Flourished the golden corn, and man-high was waving the rye-field.
Lakes, full many in number, their mirror held up for the mountains,
Held for the forests up, in whose depths the high-horned reindeers
Had their kingly walk, and drank of a hundred brooklets.
But in the valleys widely around, there fed on the greensward
Herds with shining hides and udders that longed for the milk-pail.
'Mid these scattered, now here and now there, were numberless flocks of
Sheep with fleeces white, as thou seest the white-looking stray clouds,
Flock-wise spread o'er the heavenly vault when it bloweth in springtime.
Coursers two times twelve, all mettlesome, fast fettered storm-winds,
Stamping stood in the line of stalls, and tugged at their fodder.
Knotted with red were their manes, and their hoofs all white with steel shoes.
Th' banquet-hall, a house by itself, was timbered of hard fir.
Not five hundred men (at ten times twelve to the hundred)
Filled up the roomy hall, when assembled for drinking, at Yule-tide.
Through the hall, as long as it was, went a table of holm-oak,
Polished and white, as of steel; the columns twain of the High-seat
Stood at the end thereof, two gods carved out of an elm-tree:
Odin with lordly look, and Frey with the sun on his frontlet.
Lately between the two, on a bear-skin (the skin it was coal-black,
Scarlet-red was the throat, but the paws were shodden with silver),
Thorsten sat with his friends, Hospitality sitting with Gladness.
Oft, when the moon through the cloudrack flew, related the old man
Wonders from distant lands he had seen, and cruises of Vikings
Far away on the Baltic, and Sea of the West and the White Sea.
Hushed sat the listening bench, and their glances hung on the graybeard's
Lips, as a bee on the rose; but the Scald was thinking of Brage,
Where, with his silver beard, and runes on his tongue, he is seated
Under the leafy beech, and tells a tradition by Mimer's
Ever-murmuring wave, himself a living tradition.
Midway the floor (with thatch was it strewn) burned ever the fire-flame
Glad on its stone-built hearth; and thorough the wide-mouthed smoke-flue
Looked the stars, those heavenly friends, down into the great hall.
Round the walls, upon nails of steel, were hanging in order
Breastplate and helmet together, and here and there among them
Downward lightened a sword, as in winter evening a star shoots.
More than helmets and swords the shields in the hall were resplendent,
White as the orb of the sun, or white as the moon's disk of silver.
Ever and anon went a maid round the hoard, and filled up the drink-horns,
Ever she cast down her eyes and blushed; in the shield her reflection
Blushed, too, even as she; this gladdened the drinking champions.
A SLEDGE-RIDE ON THE ICE
King Ring with his queen to the banquet did fare,
On the lake stood the ice so mirror-clear,
"Fare not o'er the ice," the stranger cries;
"It will burst, and full deep the cold bath lies."
The king drowns not easily," Ring outspake;
"He who's afraid may go round the lake."
Threatening and dark looked the stranger round,
His steel shoes with haste on his feet he bound,
The sledge-horse starts forth strong and free;
He snorteth flames, so glad is he.
"Strike out," screamed the king, "my trotter good,
Let us see if thou art of Sleipner's blood."
They go as a storm goes over the lake.
No heed to his queen doth the old man take.
But the steel-shod champion standeth not still,
He passeth them by as swift as he will.
He carves many runes in the frozen tide,
Fair Ingeborg o'er her own name doth glide.
Spring is coming, birds are twittering, forests leaf, and smiles the sun,
And the loosened torrents downward, singing, to the ocean run;
Glowing like the cheek of Freya, peeping rosebuds 'gin to ope,
And in human hearts awaken love of life, and joy, and hope.
Now will hunt the ancient monarch, and the queen shall join the sport:
Swarming in its gorgeous splendor, is assembled all the Court;
Bows ring loud, and quivers rattle, stallions paw the ground alway,
And, with hoods upon their eyelids, scream the falcons for their prey.
See, the Queen of the Chase advances! Frithiof, gaze not at the sight!
Like a star upon a spring-cloud sits she on her palfrey white.
Half of Freya, half of Rota, yet more beauteous than these two,
And from her light hat of purple wave aloft the feathers blue.
Gaze not at her eyes' blue heaven, gaze not at her golden hair!
Oh beware! her waist is slender, full her bosom is, beware!
Look not at the rose and lily on her cheek that shifting play,
List not to the voice beloved, whispering like the wind of May.
Now the huntsman's band is ready. Hurrah! over hill and dale!
Horns ring, and the hawks right upward to the hall of Odin sail.
All the dwellers in the forest seek in fear their cavern homes,
But, with spear outstretched before her, after them the Valkyr comes.
. . . . . . . . . .
Then threw Frithiof down his mantle, and upon the greensward spread,
And the ancient king so trustful laid on Frithiof's knee his head,
Slept as calmly as the hero sleepeth, after war's alarm,
On his shield, or as an infant sleeps upon its mother's arm.
As he slumbers, hark! there sings a coal-black bird upon the bough;
"Hasten, Frithiof, slay the old man, end your quarrel at a blow:
Take his queen, for she is thine, and once the bridal kiss she gave,
Now no human eye beholds thee, deep and silent is the grave,"
Frithiof listens; hark! there sings a snow-white bird upon the bough:
"Though no human eye beholds thee, Odin's eye beholds thee now.
Coward! wilt thou murder sleep, and a defenceless old man slay!
Whatsoe'er thou winn'st, thou canst not win a hero's fame this way."
Thus the two wood-birds did warble: Frithiof took his war-sword good,
With a shudder hurled it from him, far into the gloomy wood.
Coal-black bird flies down to Nastrand, but on light, unfolded wings,
Like the tone of harps, the other, sounding towards the sun, upsprings.
Straight the ancient king awakens. "Sweet has been my sleep," he said;
"Pleasantly sleeps one in the shadow, guarded by a brave man's blade.
But where is thy sword, O stranger? Lightning's brother, where is he?
Who thus parts you, who should never from each other parted be?"
"It avails not," Frithiof answered; "in the North are other swords:
Sharp, O monarch! is the sword's tongue, and it speaks not peaceful words;
Murky spirits dwell in steel blades, spirits from the Niffelhem;
Slumber is not safe before them, silver locks but anger them."
No more shall I see
In its upward motion
The smoke of the Northland. Man is a slave:
The fates decree.
On the waste of the ocean
There is my fatherland, there is my grave.
Go not to the strand,
Ring, with thy bride,
After the stars spread their light through the sky.
Perhaps in the sand,
Washed up by the tide,
The bones of the outlawed Viking may lie.
Then, quoth the king,
"'T is mournful to hear
A man like a whimpering maiden cry.
The death-song they sing
Even now in mine ear,
What avails it? He who is born must die."
THE CHILDREN OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
Pentecost, day of rejoicing, had come. The church of the village
Gleaming stood in the morning's sheen.
On the spire of the bell
Decked with a brazen cock, the friendly flames of the Spring-sun
Glanced like the tongues of fire, beheld by Apostles aforetime.
Clear was the heaven and blue, and May, with her cap crowned with roses,
Stood in her holiday dress in the fields, and the wind and the brooklet
Murmured gladness and peace, God's-peace! with lips rosy-tinted
Whispered the race of the flowers, and merry on balancing branches
Birds were singing their carol, a jubilant hymn to the Highest.
Swept and clean was the churchyard. Adorned like a leaf-woven arbor
Stood its old-fashioned gate; and within upon each cross of iron
Hung was a fragrant garland, new twined by the hands of affection.
Even the dial, that stood on a mound among the departed,
(There full a hundred years had it stood,) was embellished with blossoms
Like to the patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the hamlet,
Who on his birthday is crowned by children and children's children,
So stood the ancient prophet, and mute with his pencil of iron
Marked on the tablet of stone, and measured the time and its changes,
While all around at his feet, an eternity slumbered in quiet.
Also the church within was adorned, for this was the season
When the young, their parents' hope, and the loved-ones of heaven,
Should at the foot of the altar renew the vows of their baptism.
Therefore each nook and corner was swept and cleaned, and the dust was
Blown from the walls and ceiling, and from the oil-painted benches.
There stood the church like a garden; the Feast of the Leafy Pavilions
Saw we in living presentment. From noble arms on the church wall
Grew forth a cluster of leaves, and the preacher's pulpit of oak-wood
Budded once more anew, as aforetime the rod before Aaron.
Wreathed thereon was the Bible with leaves, and the dove, washed with silver
Under its canopy fastened, had on it a necklace of wind-flowers.
But in front of the choir, round the altar-piece painted by Horberg,
Crept a garland gigantic; and bright-curling tresses of angels
Peeped, like the sun from a cloud, from out of the shadowy leaf-work.
Likewise the lustre of brass, new-polished, blinked from the ceiling,
And for lights there were lilies of Pentecost set in the sockets.
Loud rang the bells already; the thronging crowd was assembled
Far from valleys and hills, to list to the holy preaching.
Hark! then roll forth at once the mighty tones of the organ,
Hover like voices from God, aloft like invisible spirits.
Like as Elias in heaven, when he cast from off him his mantle,
So cast off the soul its garments of earth; and with one voice
Chimed in the congregation, and sang an anthem immortal
Of the sublime Wallin, of David's harp in the North-land
Tuned to the choral of Luther; the song on its mighty pinions
Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven,
And each face did shine like the Holy One's face upon Tabor.
Lo! there entered then into the church the Reverend Teacher.
Father he hight and he was in the parish; a Christianly plainness
Clothed from his head to his feet the old man of seventy winters.
Friendly was he to behold, and glad as the heralding angel
Walked he among the crowds, but still a contemplative grandeur
Lay on his forehead as clear as on moss-covered gravestone a sunbeam.
As in his inspiration (an evening twilight that faintly
Gleams in the human soul, even now, from the day of creation)
Th' Artist, the friend of heaven, imagines Saint John when in Patmos,
Gray, with his eyes uplifted to heaven, so seemed then the old man:
Such was the glance of his eye, and such were his tresses of silver.
All the congregation arose in the pews that were numbered.
But with a cordial look, to the right and the left hand, the old man
Nodding all hail and peace, disappeared in the innermost chancel.
Simply and solemnly now proceeded the Christian service,
Singing and prayer, and at last an ardent discourse from the old man.
Many a moving word and warning, that out of the heart came,
Fell like the dew of the morning, like manna on those in the desert.
Then, when all was finished, the Teacher re-entered the chancel
Followed therein by the young. The boys on the right had their places,
Delicate figures, with close-curling hair and cheeks rosy-blooming.
But on the left of these there stood the tremulous lilies,
Tinged with the blushing light of the dawn, the diffident maidens,--
Folding their hands in prayer, and their eyes cast down on the pavement
Now came, with question and answer, the catechism. In the beginning
Answered the children with troubled and faltering voice, but the old man's
Glances of kindness encouraged them soon, and the doctrines eternal
Flowed, like the waters of fountains, so clear from lips unpolluted.
Each time the answer was closed, and as oft as they named the Redeemer,
Lowly louted the boys, and lowly the maidens all courtesied.
Friendly the Teacher stood, like an angel of light there among them.
And to the children explained the holy, the highest, in few words,
Thorough, yet simple and clear, for sublimity always is simple,
Both in sermon and song, a child can seize on its meaning.
E'en as the green-growing bud unfolds when Springtide approaches.
Leaf by leaf puts forth, and wanued, by the radiant sunshine,
Blushes with purple and gold, till at last the perfected blossom
Opens its odorous chalice, and rocks with its crown in the breezes,
So was unfolded here the Christian lore of salvation,
Line by line from the soul of childhood. The fathers and mothers
Stood behind them in tears, and were glad at the well-worded answer.
Now went the old man up to the altar;--and straightway transfigured
(So did it seem unto me) was then the affectionate Teacher.
Like the Lord's Prophet sublime, and awful as Death and as Judgment
Stood he, the God-commissioned, the soul-searcher, earthward descending
Glances, sharp as a sword, into hearts that to him were transparent
Shot he; his voice was deep, was low like the thunder afar off.
So on a sudden transfigured he stood there, lie spake and he questioned.
"This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith the Apostles delivered,
This is moreover the faith whereunto I baptized you, while still ye
Lay on your mothers' breasts, and nearer the portals of heaven,
Slumbering received you then the Holy Church in its bosom;
Wakened from sleep are ye now, and the light in its radiant splendor
Downward rains from the heaven;--to-day on the threshold of childhood
Kindly she frees you again, to examine and make your election,
For she knows naught of compulsion, and only conviction desireth.
This is the hour of your trial, the turning-point of existence,
Seed for the coming days; without revocation departeth
Now from your lips the confession; Bethink ye, before ye make answer!
Think not, O think not with guile to deceive the questioning Teacher.
Sharp is his eye to-day, and a curse ever rests upon falsehood.
Enter not with a lie on Life's journey; the multitude hears you,
Brothers and sisters and parents, what dear upon earth is and holy
Standeth before your sight as a witness; the Judge everlasting
Looks from the sun down upon you, and angels in waiting beside him
Grave your confession in letters of fire upon tablets eternal.
Thus, then,--believe ye in God, in the Father who this world created ?
Him who redeemed it, the Son, and the Spirit where both are united?
Will ye promise me here, (a holy promise!) to cherish
God more than all things earthly, and every man as a brother?
Will ye promise me here, to confirm your faith by your living,
Th' heavenly faith of affection! to hope, to forgive, and to suffer,
Be what it may your condition, and walk before God in uprightness?
Will ye promise me this before God and man?"--With a clear voice
Answered the young men Yes! and Yes! with lips softly-breathing
Answered the maidens eke. Then dissolved from the brow of the Teacher
Clouds with the lightnings therein, and lie spake in accents more gentle,
Soft as the evening's breath, as harps by Babylon's rivers.
"Hail, then, hail to you all! To the heirdom of heaven be ye welcome!
Children no more from this day, but by covenant brothers and sisters!
Yet,--for what reason not children? Of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Here upon earth an assemblage of children, in heaven one Father,
Ruling them all as his household,--forgiving in turn and chastising,
That is of human life a picture, as Scripture has taught us.
Blest are the pure before God! Upon purity and upon virtue
Resteth the Christian Faith: she herself from on high is descended.
Strong as a man and pure as a child, is the sum of the doctrine,
Which the Divine One taught, and suffered and died on the cross for
Oh, as ye wander this day from childhood's sacred asylum
Downward and ever downward, and deeper in Age's chill valley,
Oh, how soon will ye come,--too soon!--and long to turn backward
Up to its hill-tops again, to the sun-illumined, where Judgment
Stood like a father before you, and Pardon, clad like a mother,
Gave you her hand to kiss, and the loving heart was for given
Life was a play and your hands grasped after the roses of heaven!
Seventy years have I lived already; the Father eternal
Gave rue gladness and care; but the loveliest hours of existence,
When I have steadfastly gazed in their eyes, I have instantly known them,
Known them all again;--the were my childhood's acquaintance.
Therefore take from henceforth, as guides in the paths of existence,
Prayer, with her eyes raised to heaven, and. Innocence, bride of man's childhood
Innocence, child beloved, is a guest from the world of the blessed,
Beautiful, and in her hand a lily; on life's roaring billows
Swings she in safety, she heedeth them not in the ship she is sleeping.
Calmly she gazes around in the turmoil of men; in the desert
Angels descend and minister unto her; she herself knoweth
Naught of her glorious attendance; but follows faithful and humble,
Follows so long as she may her friend; oh do not reject her,
For she cometh from God and she holdeth the keys of the heavens.
Prayer is Innocence' friend; and willingly flieth incessant
'Twixt rhe earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven,
Son of Eternity, fettered in Time, and an exile, the Spirit
Tugs at his chains evermore, and struggles like flame ever upward.
Still he recalls with emotion his Father's manifold mansions,
Thinks of the land of his fathers, where blossomed more freshly the flowerets,
Shone a more beautiful sun, and he played with the wingM angels.
Then grows the earth too narrow, too close; and homesick for heaven
Longs the wanderer again; and the Spirit's longings are worship;
Worship is called his most beautiful hour, and its tongue is entreaty.
Aid when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us,
Crushes to earth our hope, and, under the earth, in the graveyard,
Then it is good to pray unto God; for his sorrowiug children
Turns he ne'er from his door, but he heals and helps and consoles them,
Yet is it better to pray when all things are prosperous with us,
Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful Fortune
Kneels before the Eternal's throne; and with hands interfolded,
Praises thankful and moved the only giver of blessings.
Or do ye know, ye children, one blessing that comes not from Heaven?
What has mankind forsooth, the poor! that it has not received?
Therefore, fall in the dust and pray! The seraphs adoring
Cover with pinions six their face in the glory of him who
Hung his masonry pendent on naught, when the world be created.
Earth declareth his might, and the firmament utters his glory.
Races blossom and die, and stars fall downward from heaven,
Downward like withered leaves; at the last stroke of midnight, millenniums
Lay themselves down at his feet, and he sees them, but counts them as nothing
Who shall stand in his presence? The wrath of the judge is terrific,
Casting the insolent down at a glance. When he speaks in his anger
Hillocks skip like the kid, and mountains leap like the roebuck.
Yet,--why are ye afraid, ye children? This awful avenger,
Ah! is a merciful God! God's voice was not in the earthquake,
Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering breezes.
Love is the root of creation; God's essence; worlds without number
Lie in his bosom like children; he made them for this purpose only.
Only to love and to be loved again, he breathed forth his spirit
Into the slumbering dust, and upright standing, it laid its
Hand on its heart, and felt it was warm with a flame out of heaven.
Quench, oh quench not that flame! It is the breath of your being.
Love is life, but hatred is death. Not father, nor mother
Loved you, as God has loved you; for 't was that you may be happy
Gave he his only Son. When he bowed down his head in the death-hour
Solemnized Love its triumph; the sacrifice then was completed.
Lo! then was rent on a sudden the veil of the temple, dividing
Earth and heaven apart, and the dead from their sepulchres rising
Whispered with pallid lips and low in the ears of each other
Th' answer, but dreamed of before, to creation's enigma,--Atonement!
Depths of Love are Atonement's depths, for Love is Atonement.
Therefore, child of mortality, love thou the merciful Father;
Wish what the Holy One wishes, and not from fear, but affection
Fear is the virtue of slaves ; but the heart that loveth is willing
Perfect was before God, and perfect is Love, and Love only.
Lovest thou God as thou oughtest, then lovest thou likewise thy brethren:
One is the sun in heaven, and one, only one, is Love also.
Bears not each human figure the godlike stamp on his forehead
Readest thou not in his face thou origin? Is he not sailing
Lost like thyself on an ocean unknown, and is he not guided
By the same stars that guide thee? Why shouldst thou hate then thy brother?
Hateth he thee, forgive! For 't is sweet to stammer one letter
Of the Eternal's language;--on earth it is called Forgiveness!
Knowest thou Him, who forgave, with the crown of thorns on his temples?
Earnestly prayed for his foes, for his murderers? Say, dost thou know him?
Ah! thou confessest his name, so follow likewise his example,
Think of thy brother no ill, but throw a veil over his failings,
Guide the erring aright; for the good, the heavenly shepherd
Took the lost lamb in his arms, and bore it back to its mother.
This is the fruit of Love, and it is by its fruits that we know it.
Love is the creature's welfare, with God; but Love among mortals
Is but an endless sigh! He longs, and endures, and stands waiting,
Suffers and yet rejoices, and smiles with tears on his eyelids.
Hope,--so is called upon earth, his recompense, Hope, the befriending,
Does what she can, for she points evermore up to heaven, and faithful
Plunges her anchor's peak in the depths of the grave, and beneath it
Paints a more beautiful world, a dim, but a sweet play of shadows!
Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering promise,
Having naught else but Hope. Then praise we our Father in heaven,
Him, who has given us more; for to us has Hope been transfigured,
Groping no longer in night; she is Faith, she is living assurance.
Faith is enlightened Hope; she is light, is the eye of affection,
Dreams of the longing interprets, and carves their visions in marble.
Faith is the sun of life ; and her countenance shines like the Hebrew's,
For she has looked upon God; the heaven on its stable foundation
Draws she with chains down to earth, and the New Jerusalem sinketh
Splendid with portals twelve in golden vapors descending.
There enraptured she wanders. and looks at the figures majestic,
Fears not the winged crowd, in the midst of them all is her homestead.
Therefore love and believe; for works will follow spontaneous
Even as day does the sun; the Right from the Good is an offspring,
Love in a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more than
Animate Love and faith, as flowers are the animate Springtide.
Works do follow us all unto God; there stand and bear witness
Not what they seemed,--but what they were only. Blessed is he who
Hears their confession secure; they are mute upon earth until death's hand
Opens the mouth of the silent. Ye children, does Death e'er alarm you?
Death is the brother of Love, twin-brother is he, and is only
More austere to behold. With a kiss upon lips that are fading
Takes he the soul and departs, and, rocked in the arms of affection,
Places the ransomed child, new born, 'fore the face of its father.
Sounds of his coming already I hear,--see dimly his pinions,
Swart as the night, but with stars strewn upon them! I fear not before him.
Death is only release, and in mercy is mute. On his bosom
Freer breathes, in its coolness, my breast; and face to face standing
Look I on God as he is, a sun unpolluted by vapors;
Look on the light of the ages I loved, the spirits majestic,
Nobler, better than I; they stand by the throne all transfigured,
Vested in white, and with harps of gold, and are singing an anthem,
Writ in the climate of heaven, in the language spoken by angels.
You, in like manner, ye children beloved, he one day shall gather,
Never forgets he the weary;--then welcome, ye loved ones, hereafter!
Meanwhile forget not the keeping of vows, forget not the promise,
Wander from holiness onward to holiness; earth shall ye heed not
Earth is but dust and heaven is light; I have pledged you to heaven.
God of the universe, hear me! thou fountain of Love everlasting,
Hark to the voice of thy servant! I send up my prayer to thy heaven!
Let me hereafter not miss at thy throne one spirit of all these,
Whom thou hast given me here! I have loved them all like a father.
May they bear witness for me, that I taught them the way of salvation,
Faithful, so far as I knew, of thy word; again may they know me,
Fall on their Teacher's breast, and before thy face may I place them,
Pure as they now are, but only more tried, and exclaiming with gladness,
Father, lo! I am here, and the children, whom thou hast given me!"
Weeping he spake in these words; and now at the beck of the old man
Knee against knee they knitted a wreath round the altar's enclosure.
Kneeling he read then the prayers of the consecration, and softly
With him the children read; at the close, with tremulous accents,
Asked he the peace of Heaven, a benediction upon them.
Now should have ended his task for the day; the following Sunday
Was for the young appointed to eat of the Lord's holy Supper.
Sudden, as struck from the clouds, stood the Teacher silent and laid his
Hand on his forehead, and cast his looks upward; while thoughts high and holy,
Flew through the midst of his soul, and his eyes glanced with wonderful brightness.
"On the next Sunday, who knows! perhaps I shall rest in the graveyard!
Some one perhaps of yourselves, a lily broken untimely,
Bow down his head to the earth; why delay I? the hour is accomplished,
Warm is the heart;--I will! for to-day grows the harvest of heaven.
What I began accomplish I now; what failing therein is
I, the old man, will answer to God and the reverend father.
Say to me only, ye children, ye denizens new-come in heaven,
Are ye ready this day to eat of the bread of Atonement?
What it denoteth, that know ye full well, I have told it you often.
Of the new covenant symbol it is, of Atonement a token,
Stablished between earth and heaven. Man by his sins and transgressions
Far has wandered from God, from his essence. 'T was in the beginning
Fast by the Tree of Knowledge he fell, and it hangs its crown o'er the
Fall to this day; in the Thought is the Fall; in the Heart the Atonement.
Infinite is the fall,--the Atonement infinite likewise.
See! behind me, as far as the old man remembers, and forward,
Far as Hope in her flight can reach with her wearied pinions,
Sin and Atonement incessant go through the lifetime of mortals.
Sin is brought forth full-grown; but Atonement sleeps in our bosoms
Still as the cradled babe; and dreams of heaven and of angels,
Cannot awake to sensation; is like the tones in the harp's strings,
Spirits imprisoned, that wait evermore the deliverer's finger.
Therefore, ye children beloved, descended the Prince of Atonement,
Woke the slumberer from sleep, and she stands now with eyes all resplendent.
Bright as the vault of the sky, and battles with Sin and o'ercomes her.
Downward to earth he came and, transfigured, thence reascended,
Not from the heart in like wise, for there he still lives in the Spirit,
Loves and atones evermore. So long as Time is, is Atonement.
Therefore with reverence take this day her visible token.
Tokens are dead if the things live not. The light everlasting
Unto the blind is not, but is born of the eye that has vision.
Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hallowed
Lieth forgiveness enshrined; the intention alone of amendment
Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things, and removes all
Sin and the guerdon of sin. Only Love with his arms wide extended,
Penitence wee ping and praying; the Will that is tried, and whose gold flows
Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by Atonement
Breaketh Atonement's bread, and drinketh Atonement's wine-cup.
But he who cometh up hither, unworthy, with hate in his bosom,
Scoffing at men and at God, is guilty of Christ's blessed body,
And the Redeemer's blood! To himself he eateth and drinketh
Death and doom ! And from this, preserve us, thou heavenly Father!
Are ye ready, ye children, to eat of the bread of Atonement?
Thus with emotion he asked, and together answered the children,
"Yes!" with deep sobs interrupted. Then read he the due supplications,
Read the Form of Communion, and in chimed the organ and anthem:
"O Holy Lamb of God, who takest away our transgressions,
Hear us! give us thy peace! have mercy, have mercy upon us!"
Th' old man, with trembling hand, and heavenly pearls on his eyelids,
Filled now the chalice and paten, and dealt round the mystical symbols.
Oh, then seemed it to me as if God, with the broad eye of midday,
Clearer looked in at the windows, and all the trees in the church yard
Bowed down their summits of green, and the grass on the graves 'gan to shiver
But in the children (I noted it well ; I knew it) there ran a
Tremor of holy rapture along through their ice-cold members.
Decked like an altar before them, there stood the green earth, and above it
Heaven opened itself, as of old before Stephen; they saw there
Radiant in glory the Father, and on his right hand the Redeemer.
Under them hear they the clang of harpstrings, and angels from gold clouds
Beckon to them like brothers, and fan with their pinions of purple.
Closed was the Teacher's task, and with heaven in their hearts and their faces,
Up rose the children all, and each bowed him, weeping full sorely,
Downward to kiss that reverend hand, but all of them pressed he
Moved to his bosom, and laid, with a prayer, his hands full of blessings,
Now on the holy breast, and now on the innocent tresses.
A NATIONAL SONG OF DENMARK
King Christian stood by the lofty mast
In mist and smoke;
His sword was hammering so fast,
Through Gothic helm and brain it passed;
Then sank each hostile hulk and mast,
In mist and smoke.
"Fly!" shouted they, "fly, he who can!
Who braves of Denmark's Christian
Nils Juel gave heed to the tempest's roar,
Now is the hour!
He hoisted his blood-red flag once more,
And smote upon the foe full sore,
And shouted Loud, through the tempest's roar,
"Now is the hour!"
"Fly!" shouted they, "for shelter fly!
Of Denmark's Juel who can defy
North Sea! a glimpse of Wessel rent
Thy murky sky!
Then champions to thine arms were sent;
Terror and Death glared where he went;
From the waves was heard a wail, that
Thy murky sky!
From Denmark, thunders Tordenskiol',
Let each to Heaven commend his soul,
Path of the Dane to fame and might!
Receive thy friend, who, scorning flight
Goes to meet danger with despite,
Proudly as thou the tempest's might
And amid pleasures and alarm;
And war and victory, be thine arms
THE ELECTED KNIGHT
Sir Oluf he rideth over the plain,
Full seven miles broad and seven miles wide,
But never, ah never can meet with the man
A tilt with him dare ride.
He saw under the hillside
A Knight full well equipped;
His steed was black, his helm was barred;
He was riding at full speed.
He wore upon his spurs
Twelve little golden birds;
Anon he spurred his steed with a clang,
And there sat all the birds and sang.
He wore upon his mail
Twelve little golden wheels;
Anon in eddies the wild wind blew,
And round and round the wheels they flew.
He wore before his breast
A lance that was poised in rest;
And it was sharper than diamond-stone,
It made Sir Oluf's heart to groan.
He wore upon his helm
A wreath of ruddy gold;
And that gave him the Maidens Three,
The youngest was fair to behold.
Sir Oluf questioned the Knight eftsoon
If he were come from heaven down;
"Art thou Christ of Heaven," quoth he,
"So will I yield me unto thee."
"I am not Christ the Great,
Thou shalt not yield thee yet;
I am an Unknown Knight,
Three modest Maidens have me bedight."
"Art thou a Knight elected,
And have three Maidens thee bedight
So shalt thou ride a tilt this day,
For all the Maidens' honor!"
The first tilt they together rode
They put their steeds to the test,
The second tilt they together rode,
They proved their manhood best.
The third tilt they together rode,
Neither of them would yield;
The fourth tilt they together rode,
They both fell on the field.
Now lie the lords upon the plain,
And their blood runs unto death;
Now sit the Maidens in the high tower,
The youngest sorrows till death.
BY JENS IMMANUEL BAGGESEN
There was a time when I was very small,
When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
Sweetly, as I recall it, tears do fall,
And therefore I recall it with delight.
I sported in my tender mother's arms,
And rode a-horseback on best father's knee;
Alike were sorrows, passions and alarms,
And gold, and Greek, and love, unknown to me,
Then seemed to me this world far less in size,
Likewise it seemed to me less wicked far;
Like points in heaven, I saw the stars arise,
And longed for wings that I might catch a star.
I saw the moon behind the island fade,
And thought, "Oh, were I on that island there,
I could find out of what the moon is made,
Find out how large it is, how round, how fair!"
Wondering, I saw God's sun, through western skies,
Sink in the ocean's golden lap at night,
And yet upon the morrow early rise,
And paint the eastern heaven with crimson light;
And thought of God, the gracious Heavenly Father,
Who made me, and that lovely sun on high,
And all those pearls of heaven thick-strung together,
Dropped, clustering, from his hand o'er all the sky.
With childish reverence, my young lips did say
The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
"O gentle God! oh, let me strive alway
Still to be wise, and good, and follow Thee!"
So prayed I for my father and my mother,
And for my sister, and for all the town;
The king I knew not, and the beggar-brother,
Who, bent with age, went, sighing, up and down.
They perished, the blithe days of boyhood perished,
And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!
Now have I but their memory, fondly cherished;--
God! may I never lose that too!