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- Poems and Songs - 30/44 -

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.

He'll see in the eyes so tender, 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:--

From home all the poison taking, Hastening the light's advance, Longings to warm light waking, That lay there and had no chance.


Mute they wander, Meeting yonder, 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. Power crowned-- Earth around 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)

I 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!

II "The pure flag is but pure folly," 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!

III The sins and deceits of our nation 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.

IV They say: "As by rings of betrothal 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.

V TO SWEDEN 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

Poems and Songs - 30/44

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