Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Introductory to Norway


By Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen (1848–1895)

WINTER has its icy crown

Pressed round Norway’s temples hoary;

Midnight’s sun has poured down

On her head its glory.

Time’s white waves their power broke

’Gainst her ancient rocks and bowlders;

Ocean has its misty cloak

Thrown around her shoulders.

But when ice-enthroned pole

Blows the mantling mist asunder,

Far the gloom-fraught pine-woods roll

Sun-enriched thereunder.

And when easeful Summer sinks

O’er the lucid fjords and valleys,

Bursts the wood-lake’s wintry links

And the lily’s chalice,—

O, what throbbing life aglow!

O, how fair the birch and willow,

And the gulls, that drift like snow

O’er the rippling billow!

Giant-like the glacier looms,

Seaward throws its branches mazy;

And on Winter’s bosom blooms

Fearlessly the daisy.

And the wild bright peaks that shine

Through the clouds that veil their bosom,

At whose foot, mid birch and pine,

Fresh-lipped lilies blossom.

In the airy bath of morn

Gleams the fjord-like snow-cool river,

While the cloud-shades, fancy-born,

On its mirror quiver.

Here it was where Frithjof gay

Wooed King Belé’s fair-haired daughter;

Here she sang the sweet, sad lay

Which her love had taught her.

Hence those Vikings sprung whose sword

Waked the South from idle dalliance;

Who in Vineland’s rivers moored

Dauntlessly their galleons.

Now, alas! that age hath fled,

Fled the spirit that upbore it.

Ah, but still doth midnight shed

Flaming splendor o’er it.

And that fame which curbed the sea,

Spanned the sky with runes of fire,

Now but rustles tremblingly

Through the poet’s lyre.