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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 Women of Denmark

By Knud Lyne Rahbek (1760–1830)

Translated by William Sidney Walker

BRETHREN, join the social measure,

Sing our sister-Danes beloved,

While round each eye bedimmed with pleasure

Swims the form his youth approved.

And tell me not, that, cold to beauty,

Ye feel not yet her thrilling eye:

The heart that ’s fit for friendship’s duty

Is fit for gentle woman’s tie.

Hence away, the man who wringeth

The soft heart on him bestowed;

Who, where love its fragrance flingeth,

Turns to thorns the flowery road!

And hence the man, whose faith is broken,

Who loves not her he loved of old,

Who coldly scorns affection’s token,

O, he will prove a friend as cold!

Glory to the spouse who traces

Firm through sorrow’s rocky soil

Him who shared her first embraces,

Side by side, nor faints with toil!

The silent tear that darkly glances

She kisses from him ere it fall,

She shares each smile, each sweet enhances,

His friend, his counsellor, his all.

Heaven’s own blessing rest upon her,

The nymph who wins without a wile,

Her who turns a youth to honor

By the magic of her smile!

O, many a boy hath found in beauty

His guardian power, his spirit’s aid;

How can he hate the paths of duty,

Who loves them in his dearest maid?

Joy to him, the loved, the loving,

To the husband and the friend!

May they win their heart’s approving,

Who now in vain before her bend;

May he who scorns the fair’s dominion

Soon bow beneath her gentle chains;

And Heaven’s own love, with fostering pinion,

Watch ever o’er our sister-Danes!