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

Introductory to Denmark

The Love of Our Country

By Thomas Thaarup (1749–1821)

Translated by William Sidney Walker

THOU spot of earth, where from my bosom

The first weak tones of nature rose;

Where first I cropped the stainless blossom

Of pleasure, yet unmixed with woes;

Where, with my new-born powers delighted,

I tripped beneath a mother’s hand;

In thee the quenchless flame was lighted,

That sparkles for my native land!

And when in childhood’s quiet morning

Sometimes to distant haunts we rove,

The heart, like bended bow returning,

Springs swifter to its home of love!

Each hill, each dale, that shared our pleasures,

Becomes a heaven in memory;

And even the broken veteran measures

With sprightlier step his haunts of glee.

Through east, through west, where’er creation

Glows with the cheerful hum of men,

Clear, bright it burns, to earth’s last nation,

The ardor of the citizen!

The son of Greenland’s white expansion

Contemns green corn and laughing vine;

The cot is his embattled mansion,

The rugged rock his Palestine.

Such was the beacon-light that guided

Our earliest chiefs through war and woe;

Even love itself in fame subsided,

Though love was all their good below:

Thus young Hialte rushed to glory,

And left his mourning maid behind;

He fell,—and Honor round his story,

Dropping with tears, her wreath entwined.

Such flame, O pastor-chief! impelled thee

To quit the crosier for the blade;

Not even the heaven-loved cloister held thee,

When Denmark called thee to her aid:

No storms could chill, no darkness blind thee,

Ankona saw her thousands bend;

Yet when her suppliant arms entwined thee,

She found a man in Denmark’s friend.

O’er Norway’s crags, o’er Denmark’s valleys,

Heroic tombs profusely rise,

Memorials of the love that rallies

Nations round kings, and knits their ties.

Sweet is the bond of filial duty,

Sweet is the grasp of friendly hand,

Sweet is the kiss of opening beauty,

But sweeter still our native land.

Thou monument of truth unfailing!

Sublime, unshaken Frederickshall!

In vain, with peal on peal assailing,

Charles thundered at thy fatal wall;

Beneath thy cliff, in flames ascending,

A sacrifice to virtue blazed,

When patriot bands, serene, unbending,

Consumed the domes their fathers raised.

O royal town! in memory hallowed

To Denmark’s last and darkest day!

The prize that Sweden’s hunter followed

Behind thy feeble ramparts lay:

But faith, the strength of towers supplying,

Bade Vasa tremble for his name;

While round the rescued Hafnia lying

Expired stern Sweden’s flower and fame.

Long, long shall Danish maidens sigh

For those who in their battle fell;

And mothers long, with beaming eye,

Of Frederickshall and Hafnia tell!

The child that learns to lisp his mother,

Shall learn to lisp his country’s name;

Shall learn to call her son a brother,

And guard her rights with heart of flame.

Burn high, burn clear, thou spark unfading,

From Holstein’s oaks to Dofra’s base;

Till each, in war his country aiding,

Remain in peace her strength and grace!

The sons of wisdom shall approve us,

The God of patriots smile from high,

While we, and all the hearts that love us,

Breathe but for Denmark’s liberty.