Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Grundtvig – the Danes as world champions at self-deprecation

Far higher are mountains in other lands found

Far higher are mountains in other lands found
than here where a hill is thought striking.
But Danes of the North find that grass-covered mounds,
and lowlands are more to their liking.
The lofty and wind-swept may suit all the rest,
to stay down to earth is what serves us Danes best.

Far lovelier, we are prepared to believe,
are foreign climes which we know barely.
But Danes are at home where beech comes into leaf
by shores strewn with fair blue-eyed Mary,
from cradle to grave our most beautiful sight
is fields in full bloom in the waves’ glittering light.

Far greater may deeds be for money or fame
by foreigners done, or their scions.
Though never in vain were shields borne by us Danes
with hearts and with three passant lions.
Let eagles for worldly power sharp talons wield!
we’ll not change our banner, we’ll not trade our shield.

Far cleverer folk may be found anywhere
than where every sound and strait’s glinting.
For household use though we have good sense to spare,
we won’t make us godlike by thinking.
As long as the heart burns for truth and what’s right,
time surely will show that our minds were quite bright.

Far higher, and nobler, and finer the words
that foreigners’ lips may be spouting.
Of what’s high and lovely can Danes though be heard
to speak and to sing without shouting.
Our native tongue may not strike home to a hair,
but melts the heart more than their tongues cleave the air.

Far more of that ore that’s so white or so red
did others extract or were selling.
But every Dane eats of his own daily bread
no matter how humble his dwelling.
And as for great riches, we’re on the right track
when few have too much, fewer still suffer lack.

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