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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

To My Country

By Jens Baggesen (1764–1826)

Translated by William Sidney Walker

THOU spot of earth, where from the breast of woe

My eye first rose, and in the purple glow

Of morning, and the dewy smile of love,

Marked the first gleamings of the power above;

Where, wondering at its birth, my spirit rose,

Called forth from nothing by his word sublime,

To run its mighty race of joys and woes,

The proud coeval of immortal time;

Thou spot unequalled! where the thousand lyres

Of Spring first met me on her balmy gale,

And my rapt fancy heard celestial choirs

In the wild wood-notes and my mother’s tale;

Where my first trembling accents were addressed

To lisp the dear, the unforgotten name,

And, clasped to mild Affection’s throbbing breast,

My spirit caught from her the kindling flame:

My country! have I found a spot of joy

Through the wide precincts of the checkered earth,

So calm, so sweet, so guiltless of alloy,

As thou art to his soul whose best employ

Is to recall the joys that blessed his birth?

O, nowhere blooms so bright the summer rose,

As where youth cropt it from the valley’s breast.

O, nowhere are the downs so soft as those

That pillowed infancy’s unbroken rest.

In vain the partial sun on other vales

Pours liberal down a more exhaustless ray,

And vermeil fruits, that blush along their dales,

Mock the pale products of our scanty day;

In vain, far distant from the land we love,

The world’s green breast soars higher to the sky;

O, what were heaven itself, if lost above

Were the dear memory of departed joy?

Range ocean, melt in amorous forests dim,

O’er icy peaks with sacred horror bend,

View life in thousand forms, and hear the hymn

Of love and joy from thousand hearts ascend,

And trace each blessing, where round freedom’s shrine

Pure faith and equal laws their shadows twine;

Yet, wheresoe’er thou roam’st, to lovelier things

With mingled joy and grief thy spirit springs;

And all bright Arno’s pastoral lays of love

Yield to the sports, where through the tangling grove

The mimic falcon chased the little dove.

O, what are Eloisa’s bowers of cost,

Matched with the bush where hid in berries white

Mine arms around my infant love were crossed?

What Jura’s peak, to that upon whose height

I strove to grasp the moon, and where the flight

Of my first thought was in my Maker lost?

No! here—but here in this lone paradise,

Which Frederic, like the peaceful angel, gilds,—

Where my loved brethren mix in social ties

From Norway’s rocks to Holstein’s golden fields;

O Denmark! in thy quiet lap reclined,

The dazzling joys of varied earth forgot,

I find the peace I strove in vain to find,

The peace I never found where thou wert not.

The countless wonders of my devious youth,

The forms of early love and early truth,

Rise on my view, in Memory’s colors dressed;

And each lost angel smiles more lovingly,

And every star that cheered my early sky

Shines fairer in this happy port of rest!