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- Poems and Songs - 5/44 -


Ready with leaves and with buds stood the tree. "Shall I take them?" the frost said, now puffing with glee. "Oh my, no, let them stand, Till flowers are at hand!" All trembling from tree-top to root came the plea.

Flowers unfolding the birds gladly sung. "Shall I take them?" the wind said and merrily swung. "Oh my, no, let them stand, Till cherries are at hand!" Protested the tree, while it quivering hung.

The cherries came forth 'neath the sun's glowing eye. "Shall I take them?" a rosy young girl's eager cry. "Oh my, yes, you can take, I've kept them for your sake!" Low bending its branches, the tree brought them nigh.


The youth in the woods spent the whole day long, The whole day long; For there he had heard such a wonderful song, Wonderful song.

Willow-wood gave him a flute so fair, A flute so fair,-- To try, if within were the melody rare, Melody rare.

Melody whispered and said: "I am here!" Said: "I am here!" But while he was listening, it fled from his ear, Fled from his ear.

Oft when he slept, it to him crept, It to him crept; And over his forehead in love it swept, In love it swept.

When he would seize it, his sleep took flight, His sleep took flight; The melody hung in the pallid night, In the pallid night.

"Lord, O my God, take me therein, Take me therein! The melody rare all my soul doth win, My soul doth win."

Answered the Lord: "'T is your friend alone, Your friend alone; Though never an hour you it shall own, You it shall own."

OUR COUNTRY (1859) (See Note 4)

A land there is, lying near far-northern snow, Where only the fissures life's springtime may know. But surging, the sea tells of great deeds done, And loved is the land as a mother by son.

What time we were little and sat on her knee, She gave us her saga with pictures to see. We read till our eyes opened wide and moist, While nodding and smiling she mute rejoiced.

We went to the fjord and in wonder beheld The ashen-gray bauta, that record of eld; Still older she stood and her silence kept, While stone-studded hows all around us slept.

Our hands she then took and away o'er the hill She led to the church ever lowly and still, Where humbly our forefathers knelt to pray, And mildly she taught us: "Do ye as they!"

She scattered her snow on the mountain's steep side, Then bade on swift skis her young manhood to glide; The North Sea she maddened with scourge of gales, Then bade her young manhood to hoist the sails.

Of beautiful maidens she gathered a throng, To follow our daring with smiles and with song, While she sat enthroned with her saga's scroll In mantle of moonlight beneath the Pole.

Then "Forward, go forward!" was borne on the wind, "With forefathers' aim and with forefathers' mind, For freedom, for Norsehood, for Norway, hurrah!" While echoing mountains voiced their hurrah.

Then life-giving fountains burst forth on our sight, Then we were baptized with her spirit of might, Then gleamed o'er the mountains a vision high, That summons us onward until we die.


Yes, we love this land that towers Where the ocean foams; Rugged, storm-swept, it embowers Many thousand homes. Love it, love it, of you thinking, Father; mother dear, And that night of saga sinking Dreamful to us here.

This the land that Harald guarded With his hero-throng, This the land that Haakon warded, Hailed by Eyvind's song. Olaf here the cross erected, While his blood he shed; Sverre's word this land protected 'Gainst the Roman dread.

Peasants whetted axes carried, Broke th' invader's blow; Tordenskjold flashed forth and harried, Lighted home the foe. Women oft to arms were leaping, Manlike in their deed; Others' lot was naught but weeping, Tears that brought their meed.

Many truly were we never, But we did suffice, When in times of testing ever Worthy was the prize. For we would the land see burning, Rather than its fall; Memory our thoughts is turning Down to Fredrikshald!

Harder times we bore that tried us Were cast off in scorn; In that crisis was beside us Blue-eyed freedom born. That gave father-strength for bearing Famine-need and sword, Honor death itself outwearing, And it gave accord.

Far our foe his weapons flinging Up his visor raised; We in wonder to him springing On our brother gazed. Both by wholesome shame incited Southward made our way; _Brothers three_, in heart united, We shall stand for aye!

Men of Norway, high or lowly, Give to God the praise! He our land's Defender Holy In its darkest days! All our fathers here have striven And our mothers wept, Hath the Lord His guidance given, So our right we kept.

Yes, we love this land that towers Where the ocean foams; Rugged, storm-swept, it embowers Many thousand homes. As our fathers' conflict gave it Vict'ry at the end, Also we, when time shall crave it, Will its peace defend.


Come calf now to mother, Come lamb that I choose, Come cats, one and t' other, With snowy-white shoes, Come gosling all yellow, Come forth with your fellow, Come chickens so small, Scarce walking at all,

Poems and Songs - 5/44

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