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most celebrated production is his “King Réné's Daughter,” a lyrical drama, founded on the political marriage between the daughter of King Réné and the Count of Vaudemont. This has given him a European reputation.
Herz has published several volumes of New Year's Gifts, in which are many beautiful poems; and in his
Ghostly Letters, or Poetical Epistles from Paradise,”. he has manifested keen satirical powers, especially in his attacks on Hauch and Andersen, the latter of whom he will not admit to be a poet at all.
Who was born in 1809, is esteemed, and justly, in Denmark, as one of the most powerful poets of the present day. From the union of deep feeling, genuine passion and pathos, with the most sportive humour and sweeping satire on the follies of the age, he is regarded by a large body of admirers as the Byron of Scandinavia. His works, like those of many of his countrymen, embrace various departments of literature. In 1832, he published his “Four Romances," which was honoured with the approbation of the Society of Polite Literature. In 1833, appeared his “Dandserinden” (female dancer), a poem, in three books, bearing the stamp of the author's character a mixture of seriousness and humour. Since these, he has published “ Cupid and Psyche," a lyrical drama; “Poems," in two volumes; and “Venus," a dramatic poem. But his great production is his “ Adam Homo,” a poem, in three volumes, of which the first appeared in 1841, in which the hero's life is described from his cradle to his grave, and in which the author liberally indulges his satiric ridicule of the failings and
meannesses of the age. The following stanzas from Adam's boyhood, give a good idea of the more tender and spiritual portions of the work :
“O mother,” Adam sighed, “ tell thou to me,”
And with these words his large blue eyes
As at her feet he sate, and on her gazed,
“Tell me, dear mother, what it means, to be ?
What those two words can mean I cannot tell,
Yet, says my father, I must learn them well ;
I know my lesson well from line to line,
Yet what to be means I cannot divine."
“ To be ?” the parson's daughter whispered low,
In self-communion, with a quiet smile,
And stroking with her hand his cheek the while,
“ These words, my child! their sense dost thou not know?
Nay, let not thy tears fall, but bear in mind
That weeping sometimes maketh people blind.
Now dry thine eyes. I yet may show to thee
The meaning of these words in some degree.”
Thus, rising from the garden seat, she spoke,
Whilst the boy clapped his hands for joy amain,
And full of gladness flung aside his book,
Because it tired him, as the slave his chain;
Then, after silent thought, she spake again :
“ Come,” and his hand with tender love she took ;
“ Come, Adam, thou and I awhile will walk,
And thus about thy lesson can we talk.”
And through the garden went the loving pair ;
And full of life and with a roguish joy,
Among the bushes hid the merry boy ;
Then with a cry leapt forth, his mother to scare.
Thus through the garden-paths they took their way,
Until the meadows green before them lay ;
And then a little bird, on pinions bright,
Flew past them towards the distance calm and bright.
“Behold the bird !” said she unto her son,
Who, gazing on its flight, beside her stood,
“See how yon little bird hath quickly flown
Back to its nest within the meadow wood;
See, only with its tiny beak alone,
It makes a nest for its beloved brood.
To sing, to fly, to rear its progeny,
That, says the bird, my Adam, is to be ?
“And look thou at the snail, which slowly fareth
Along the pathway in a shiny maze,
Which ever with its long horns round it stareth,
Yet is so bashful, as thou say’st, always;
When it rejoiceth and no food doth lack,
And the sun shines upon its wrinkled back,
Then doth it say, though thou no word mayst hear,
To be, is thus to move in sunshine clear!
“ And if the mighty trees had tongues as well
As have the leaves and every tender blossom,
So that they could of their experience tell,
And thou shouldst ask them, thus would they unbosom
Their vigorous thoughts : to be is to put forth
Both leaf and flower, with groves to crown the earth ;
To spread, like mighty arms, our branches wide,
To be with sunshine and with rain supplied !”
Whilst from the spring-head thus of her fresh feelings,
Poured forth of easy words the eloquent stream,
Stood Adam, gazing as if in a dream,
Gazing, yet drinking in her sweet revealings.
She paused; and troubling thought again came stealing
O’er him, and with a voice of low appealing,
Again he cried : “Still, mother, tell to me,
Tell me once more the meaning of to be !"
“ Know I myself ?” she whispered low and mild:
Then by the mother's glowing impulse led,
She lifted from the ground the little child,
And clasped him to her heart, as thus she said :
" When I enfold thee thus with loving care,
And all my soul lift up to God in prayer,
For thee and for myself and for my dearest,
Then what it is to be I feel the clearest!
“ But to thy father let us now return,
That he may to us these hard words make plain,
Perhaps we from the strong that light may gain,
Which we, the feeble ones, cannot discern.
-Adam shall question, Peter shall explain ;
We both of us will go and from him learn,
And both our kisses shall be his reward
If he can answer us this question hard !"
Since “ Adam Homo,” Paludan Müller has published two dramatic poems, “Tithon” and “The Dryad's Marriage," besides many smaller poems.
Is the half-brother of Paul Martin Möller, a poet also of good standing. His subjects are drawn very much from the life of the people, and from the old Kämpe-Viser; and are naïve, strong and life-like. He is also author of some novels. We cannot give a more spirited specimen of his popular ballads than
“Nay, nay, my noble Lord! I speak the truth to you:
She only loves her Henrik, and to him will be true.
Pure as the slender lily will she, my Else, prove,
Though she has fired your bosom with such a flame of love."
“My brave good man, to-morrow it is again a day;
Then will I woo your daughter and win her as I say.”
Thus spoke the wily Lord and looked upon the ground.
The other Lords smiled to themselves as they stood listening round.
When sang the summer lark o'er the town of Vordingborough, And the weathercock shone golden in the fresh dawn of the morrow; When the cool and gentle breeze came wafting o'er the corn, Was heard amid the leafy wood the sounds of hound and horn.
Sweet Else sat so calmly her father's door beside,
All busy at her wheel, and round her blossomed wide
The tulip and the peony, the box and mint so rare;
But the maiden was the fairest of all the flowers there.
Her fair form was attired in a dark blue woollen gown,
And the sleeves of snow-white linen unto her wrists came down ;
And busily and rapidly her little foot turned round
The ever-whirling wheel with its cheerful humming sound.
Beneath the privet hedge the cat basks in the sun,
And a-nigh, the lapsing waters of a sparkling brooklet run,
Down which a flock of ducklings swim all in happy strife,
Each like a golden egg-yoke that moment woke to life.
The humming bee flew by, the sun shone bright and warm,
When she raised her head and shaded the sunshine with her arm;
A troop of gallant hunters came on with thundering speed,
Over hill and hollow, and right across the mead.
Each rider was apparelled in all his best array,
Yet still was he the fairest who rode the charger grey.
He glittered like the sun amid that splendid train;
She stopped her busy wheel and he checked his charger's rein.
“ 'Mong roses here thou sittest, thyself a rose so fair,
Sweet Else, I have loved thee, yet all were unaware.”
Then bowed that modest maiden, and cast to earth her eye,
For bashfulness and terror she was about to die.
“ For thy heart and for thy hand I now am here to sue ;
These honest Danish gentlemen of this will witness true.”
With that arose she slowly, her face one crimson glow,
And taking up her wheel, she turned her round to go.