Thursday, 27 January 2011

One of the classic poems of Danish literature, by Johannes Ewald (1775)

The delights of Rungsted. An Ode

In shadows refreshing,
        In darkness from roses now stealing;
Where busily nesting
        The songstress her home is revealing –,
        Where streams whose carousing
        Now lulls, now is rousing
The Muses’ best darling, the sentient bard,
        With murmurings close to the heart –

Where cattle are lowing,
        At woodland-sons’ fleet gallivanting,
And breathe hard at knowing
        The plenty in which they are panting –
        Where reapers are singing,
        Midst golden stacks swinging,
And count out their treasure and let cries resound
        To him who their hope now has crowned.

Where, skittishly playing,
        Waves wash o’er the roamer, who quick-eyed
First finds his gaze straying
        At Helsinge’s grey-shaded hillside
        Then wond’ringly hastens
        Through forests of masts and
Inspects, then makes out foreign flags straight away,
        Forgetting the fast-waning day. –

Where balm of the lonely,
        Sweet slumber so gently relieving,
Louise oft solely
        Could help one forget the heart’s grieving –
        Where joys offer home, a
        Repose for the roamer,
Where Rungsted encloses delights pure and chaste:
        There did the muse fill my breast.

Where pain and affliction,
        With joy found your imprint, Oh High One,
The pure heart’s depiction
        By every compassionate eye won –
        Where friendship adds worth to
        The strictest of virtues;
There did my song grow; and the forest in awe
        Re-echoed the Great Maker’s law.

I saw your thrones gleam too,
        Almighty! – my gaze all aquiver –
But tones divine passed through
        The strings with each shiver –
        Each leaf where I sighted
        The High One ignited
My soul – and exulted at which my song swelled! –
        The mighty sound could not be quelled! –

Oh all the Worlds’ Father! –
        So sang I – You Strong One! – You Wise One!
God! Whom myriads are
        Now praising as do heaven’s prized ones!
        See, how dust can carry
        Your plenty, your glory,
Your goodness, oh Father! – so sang I – and joy
        My lips’ quaking sound did employ. –

O poet most blissful,
        That gladness bade come to his dwelling;
To duties most cheerful,
        To freedom, through virtues compelling! –
        All cherubs while winging
        His bold voice hear ringing,
And heavens are gathered around him; and joy
        Unfolds in man’s breast, ne’er to cloy.

But you, you alone drew
        From anguish such joy beyond measure
Say! – has my muse power to
        Unfold in your heart greatest pleasure?
        O sweet friend, recite me! –
        Can song’s goddess lightly
With soft-melting notes the lap then reward
        That me such delight did afford? –

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