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Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

(8 December 1832 – 26 April 1910 / Kvikne)

Our Country 1859


A land there is, lying near far-northern snow,
Where only the fissures life's springtime may know.
But surging, the sea tells of great deeds done,
And loved is the land as a mother by son.

What time we were little and sat on her knee,
She gave us her saga with pictures to see.
We read till our eyes opened wide and moist,
While nodding and smiling she mute rejoiced.

We went to the fjord and in wonder beheld
The ashen-gray bauta, that record of eld;
Still older she stood and her silence kept,
While stone-studded hows all around us slept.

Our hands she then took and away o'er the hill
She led to the church ever lowly and still,
Where humbly our forefathers knelt to pray,
And mildly she taught us: "Do ye as they!"

She scattered her snow on the mountain's steep side,
Then bade on swift skis her young manhood to glide;
The North Sea she maddened with scourge of gales,
Then bade her young manhood to hoist the sails.

Of beautiful maidens she gathered a throng,
To follow our daring with smiles and with song,
While she sat enthroned with her saga's scroll
In mantle of moonlight beneath the Pole.

Then "Forward, go forward!" was borne on the wind,
"With forefathers' aim and with forefathers' mind,
For freedom, for Norsehood, for Norway, hurrah!"
While echoing mountains voiced their hurrah.

Then life-giving fountains burst forth on our sight,
Then we were baptized with her spirit of might,
Then gleamed o'er the mountains a vision high,
That summons us onward until we die.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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