Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

a

Of the strength, the tenderness, the lyric grace, the inward and heartfelt devotion-weeping, praying, sympathizing, deprecating the anger, and triumphing in the goodness and the greatness of the Almighty—which pervade the hymns and psalms of Grundtvig, our limits will not allow us to give any adequate conception. No nation has a nobler or more original collection of such sacred poetry than Denmark. From Kingo and Brorson downwards, almost all their chief poets, have contributed to it, and every Sunday their splendid compositions are sung in the churches : amongst them, none are more lively and beautiful than Grundtvig's. We present one of them, and regret that we cannot also add his beautifully touching “Mary Magdalene."

SONG OF PRAISE.

O mighty God! we Thee adore
From our hearts' depths for evermore.
Who is in glory like to Thee ?
As Thou, who from eternity ?
Thy name is blessed by cherubim,
Thy name is blessed by seraphim !
And songs of praise from earth ascend,
With thine angelic quires to blend.

Holy art Thou, our God !
Holy art Thou, our God !
Holy art Thou, our God !

Jehovah! Sabaoth !
Thou didst create the glorious skies,
And in thine image, man likewise.
The prophets prophesied of Thee,
The old apostles preached of Thee ;
The martyr-bands they lauded thee
In their death-hour exultingly!
And Christendom shall never cease
To bless Thee both for life and peace !

Yes, Father, praise from all bursts forth,
Because Thy Son brought peace to earth ;
Because Thy Holy Ghost doth give
The word which makes Thy Church to live.
Thou King of Glory, Saviour, dear,
Blessed and welcome be Thou here.
Thou laid'st Thy great dominion by,
On a poor Virgin's breast to lie !
Thou didst to glory consecrate,
And heavenly joy, our poor estate ;
Our yoke, our sins, on Thee didst lay ;
Our penance on the cross didst pay !
Didst rise triumphant from beneath ;
And overcam’st the power of death!
To Heaven, which opened, didst arise
Received with angel-symphonies !
On God's right hand is now Thy place,
But in Thy Church abides Thy grace!
O Holy Ghost! to us so dear,
Blessed and welcome be Thou here !
Truth, goodness, joy Thou dost impart,
With life, unto the Christian's heart;
As thine Thou dost the nations claim,
And givest peace in Jesus' name.
To thee doth God a pledge accord
That all is true in Mercy's word ;
Thou art that power divine, whose might
Doth give eternal life and light !
Halleluja! grief is o'er,
And Paradise unsealed once more.
Halleluja! joy is sure,
God's Spirit dwelleth with the poor.
Halleluja! evermore,
Our God hath bliss for us in store.

O mighty God! we Thee adore
From our hearts' depths for evermore.
Yes, Adam's race shall join the hymn
Of seraphim and cherubim,

O holy, mighty God of grace !
Let endless glory, blessing, praise,
Rise, wheresoever peoples are,
Unto Thy name. Halleluja!

In his more general poetry Grundtvig often betrays too much of the oratorical talent, and his words flow like a mountain stream, impetuous and almost without limit; but in his shorter pieces, like the following, he is peculiarly happy. In fact, his poetic genius is essentially lyrical

[blocks in formation]

Our mother's voice was the cradle song

That soothed us beyond all other;
And sweetly soundeth the mother-tongue

When the first-born lispeth “ Mother !"
Our mother-tongue is that in which

Our young souls first found expression ;
And the lover knows no other speech

To pour out his full heart's passion.
'Twas spoken by all those kings of old,

Round whom our homage gathers,
And by those warriors true and bold,

Whom we proudly call our fathers.
Our mother-tongue, in the people's mouth,

With words of power it liveth;
'Tis loved in the North and in the South,

And its echo the green wood giveth.

Our mother-tongue, like a flowery wreath,

Both high and low it enfoldeth ;
Through it the souls of our fathers breathe,

And the true heart fast it holdeth.

Our hearts speak only our mother-tongue,

They know no foreign translation ;
'Tis it alone, whether written or sung,

Which from sleep can rouse a nation.

Our mother-tongue, by the sea-shore wild,

And in deep woods, summer laden,
How sweetly it sounds, from man or child,

But sweetest from the lips of a maiden.
Sweet in pleasure and sweet in woe,
Sweet in life and in death also,
And sweet in recollection.

a

It is only by collecting into one view the great and varied labours of Grundtvig—what he has written and what he has done; his masterly writings on the Ancient Scandinavian Mythology and hero-life; his equally masterly and extensive translations from the Latin, the Icelandic and the Anglo-Saxon ; his sermons and speeches of the most fervent eloquence; and the voluminous mass of his miscellaneous productions, poetic, historic, antiquarian and polemic, that we arrive at a true idea of the intellectual proportions of Grundtvig—one of the most colossal, original and independent minds of the North.

CHAPTER VII.

STEEN STEENSEN BLICHER.

STEEN BLICHER, if not one of the greatest writers of Denmark, is one of the most characteristic and original. A cotemporary author of his own country has declared him to be the “most Danish of the poets who have hitherto written in Danish.” He was a clergyman in Jutland, as his father was before him; and he has made his native province the scene of his poetry and his stories, giving and receiving from it that peculiar tone and aspect which make his writings stand out in sharp contrast to that of all other Danish writers, as those of Crabbe do from English ones. They have the same graphic cha

. racter; the same power of scene-painting in words; the same faculty of placing whatever it touches, not only before you, but living, and fresh as in nature. But Blicher has the advantage over Crabbe, that he possesses or at least brings into use, more imagination, and does not confine his topics so much to what is wretched, painful and humiliating. His country is a country of wild

. heaths, sandy and heathery, with its pine woods and its

« AnteriorContinuar »