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But Sweden has many poets—she has only one Geijer, the eloquent and masterly author of “Svea Rikes Häfder” -the Chronicles of Sweden. This is still but a mere fragment of a history, but it is a fragment grand, unique and. created for all time. The first volume, in which he penetrates far up amid the darkness and the misty shades of antiquity, and brings thence magnificent traces of men and ages, that point still onwards to the times and haunts of the world's youth, is of itself a national monument of genius such as no people has prouder to display. There is a mass of information, and a clear intimation of immensely more, which may be obtained by collecting the remaining portions of a great past, and artistically assorting and combining them, that gives you the same sensation of wonder and awe as the first news of the discovered remains of the primeval Nineveh. In following Geijer through those far-off and Cimmerian regions, you feel yourself under the guidance of a man with such a firm, sure step, and with such a steady and penetrating glance, that you surrender yourself in child-like faith, and enjoy all the wonder of the scene.

In that one volume you have all that belongs to the North—its gods, its mythic doctrines, its grand traditions, its heroes, Vikings, runes and poets, carrying whole ages of history in their trains; and that in so eloquent, brilliant and comprehensive a style, as is rarely to be met with in an antiquarian. But that antiquarian is a poet, and a rare one : and with his poetic fervour he has made the dry bones of tradition and chronology live like the actual flesh and blood of present times.

Geijer and Tegnér are both from the same country, Wermland or Warmland, where subterranean fires seem to quicken the soil, and give a more prominent vigour to both vegetation and man, and where the solitary moun

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tains, woods and lakes are contagious of poetry. They met there as youths, and Tegnér has described the strange antagonism and yet attraction which their different modes of viewing things, and yet the same substratum of poetic feeling, produced, and ever after continued to produce, between them. Geijer was the son of an iron-founder at Ransäter, in Wermland, where he was born in 1783 ; became a student at Upsala, in 1799 ; Master of Arts in 1806; travelled to England in 1809; and in 1817, was made Professor of History. He spent the greater part of his life in Upsala, less employed in lecturing on history than in searching into the ancient archives, and penning his histories ; the lesser History of Sweden, in which he was engaged, being also left unfinished, till his death, which occurred in 1847.

We can present no example of his prose writings more delightful than his own account of his first great success in life.

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I thank God for the best of parents. The memory of the happy spot which their gentle care has rendered sacred, lies like a sunbeam in my breast. It is a place of rest in the innermost of my being, where yet the fountain of youth seems to sound. Whatever has been quickened by the verdure of spring, soothed by the shadow of woods, invigorated by the fresh billows; the scent of fir-twigs and flowers, country air, early morning air; all these live and are present in my memory: nor has city life, Court life, books without number, nor all the accumulated dust of the highways of literature, sufficed to deaden it. It wells up out of the sand like a spring in the desert. I bear it with me, and am a youthful fool with grey hair.

My native country, Vermland, is in one respect both fortunate and peculiar; it is, in a great measure, as it has always been, a new country. One cannot believe that it was so long since Olaf Trätälja there first put an axe to the root of the tree. He does it to this day. The country belongs to the Norrland scenery. One sees its ground-plan of water and mountain ; long stretches of water and valleys, from which lesser side valleys branch off, and lose themselves within the hills and among the woods; whilst in the woods themselves lie many scattered waters, farms, cultivated estates, remote fisheries, clearings of timber, charcoal stacks and green paths, which indicate the winter roads of the peasant. In the greatest part of the country, iron first broke the land. Hammers resound by the greater and the lesser waters.

Where I was born, there were, upon a little stream, which poured itself from a little lake in the woods into the river Klara, three iron forges, within about a mile and a half. The life there in winter was wholesome. The smelting of iron and the Northern winter accord with each other. It is its beautiful season. In the middle of summer, it is a painful sight to see the sons of Vulcan blowing their huge bellows at the forge; but in winter, they and their surroundings present an image of the cheerfulness of the hardest labour. These flames, bursting amid depths of snow, which send forth waters from beneath vaults and pillars of ice; the heavy, farresounding hammer-stroke, which, amid a landscape frozen to rest, shows that man is yet awake; muscular energy and sweat, in cold and storm ; charcoal and iron carriers, in long lines, with hoar-frost on their beards ; horses sending forth warm clouds of breath from their nostrils ; a stir of people and business ; it is a picture to see, a picture to live in the memory. How many a day




have I seen it! have made one in the throng of magpies, sparrows and children! How many an evening have I watched the sparks ascending from the smithy, and followed the wandering stars, until they were extinguished in the darkness of space!

Nevertheless, I was brought up in a corner of the world. It is with a sort of secret satisfaction that I still recollect that, scarcely a mile from the abode of my parents, the road came to an end—that is, for those who merely drove in,a carriage; the end of cultivated society.

It is singular to contemplate that deeply-seated feeling of prosperity which prevailed during the concluding twenty years of the last century, when the world was shaken to its foundations until it trembled. Nothing was known of these convulsions in the above-mentioned corner of the world, or if heard of they were gazed on as I gazed on the fire-sparks from the forge-chimney. War and revolution, when contemplated from a proper distance,

a species of amusement after dinner. It is astonishing what people then can sustain. They regard the most terrific incidents but as outbursts of heroism. We were not horrified. The beautiful speeches of the French National Assembly, so far as an echo of them reached our forests, caused us infinite delight. We did not put much faith in the bloody scenes which were related, as long as they remained in words; and I still remember how one of our respectable neighbours spoke of Robespierre (not yet the Dictator) as a persecuted, virtuous man, who was not permitted to live quietly.

But then burst upon us, like a thunderbolt out of the clear heavens, the murder of Gustavus III. I remember, as if it were yesterday, how the horrible tidings reached us at table, and how at length horror gave place to tears ; how we pressed weeping round the knees of our excellent




father, and how his eyes and hands were uplifted to heaven. Even yet I seem to hear the tolling of the death-bell through the long day.

Yet, nevertheless, the concluding ten years of the last century were fortunate for Sweden. Various outward signs that the times were not calculated for peaceful enjoyment, might, however, even then be perceived rather, afterwards: then nobody saw them, or else disregarded them. There were among the political weatherwise men, a few old pilots, who by signs, which escaped the cognizance of the many, could foretel approaching storms. As a general rule, the approach of social earthquakes is preceded by a remarkable gaiety among human beings. With the many it is the thoughtlessness of levity, the arrogance of peace and prosperity. Many feast

. and sing away their fear. A gayer time, a time more affluent in pleasure than that which in Europe preceded the French Revolution is scarcely to be formed. Sweden enjoyed her neutrality in the great war. The wounds of the Russian war were soon healed. There was a superabundance of money, at least of government paper; whilst agriculture, trade and commerce flourished. Iron was in extreme demand, and Vermland, which owing to this being its principal production, had fortunately been able to resist violent commercial changes, had not, since the year 60 in the last century, experienced any of those financial failures which had visited at intervals this province, and caused property to change hands.

My father had reinstated his paternal house after such a failure. He had now, if not indeed a superfluous income, at least a competence; and such prevailed generally throughout the country.

There could not be found a more hospitable habitation than that of my childhood. At Christmas a great number

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