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

Sweden: Lapmark

The Laplanders

By James Thomson (1834–1882)

(From Winter)

THEY ask no more than simple Nature gives;

They love their mountains, and enjoy their storms.

No false desires, no pride-created wants,

Disturb the peaceful current of their time;

And through the restless, ever-tortured maze

Of pleasure or ambition bid it rage.

Their reindeer form their riches. These their tents,

Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth

Supply; their wholesome fare and cheerful cups.

Obsequious at their call, the docile tribe

Yield to the sled their necks, and whirl them swift

O’er hill and dale, heaped into one expanse

Of marbled snow, or, far as eye can sweep

With a blue crust of ice unbounded glazed.

By dancing meteors then, that ceaseless shake

A waving blaze refracted o’er the heavens,

And vivid moons, and stars that keener play

With double lustre from the radiant waste,

E’en in the depth of polar night, they find

A wondrous day; enough to light the chase,

Or guide their daring steps to Vinland fairs.

Wished spring returns; and from the hazy south,

While dim Aurora slowly moves before,

The welcome sun, just verging up at first,

By small degrees extends the swelling curve!

Till seen, at last, for gay, rejoicing months,

Still round and round his spiral course he winds,

And as he nearly dips his flaming orb,

Wheels up again, and reascends the sky.

In that glad season from the lakes and floods,

Where pure Niemi’s fairy mountains rise,

And fringed with roses, Tenglio rolls his stream,

They draw the copious fry. With these, at eve,

They cheerful loaded to their tents repair;

Where all day long in useful cares employed,

Their kind, unblemished wives the fire prepare.

Thrice happy race! by poverty secured

From legal plunder and rapacious power:

In whom fell interest never yet has sown

The seeds of vice; whose spotless swains ne’er know

Injurious deed, nor, blasted by the breath

Of faithless love, their blooming daughters woe.