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

Introductory to Norway

Old Norway

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

  • A Mountain War-Song
  • “To a Norwegian the words Gamle Norge (Old Norway) have a spell in them immediate and powerful; they cannot be resisted. Gamle Norge is heard, in an instant, repeated by every voice; the glasses are filled, raised, and drained,—not a drop is left; and then bursts forth the simultaneous chorus ‘For Norge!’ the national song of Norway. Here (at Christiansand), and in a hundred other instances in Norway, I have seen the character of a company entirely changed by the chance introduction of the expression Gamle Norge. The gravest discussion is instantly interrupted; and one might suppose for the moment that the party was a party of patriots, assembled to commemorate some national anniversary of freedom.”—Derwent Conway’s Personal Narrative of a Journey through Norway and Sweden.

  • ARISE! Old Norway sends the word

    Of battle on the blast;

    Her voice the forest pines hath stirred,

    As if a storm went past;

    Her thousand hills the call have heard,

    And forth their fire flags cast.

    Arm, arm, free hunters! for the chase,

    The kingly chase of foes!

    ’T is not the bear or wild wolf’s race

    Whose trampling shakes the snows:

    Arm, arm! ’t is on a nobler trace

    The northern spearman goes.

    Our hills have dark and strong defiles,

    With many an icy bed;

    Heap there the rocks for funeral piles

    Above the invader’s head!

    Or let the seas, that guard our isles,

    Give burial to his dead!