Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Tycho Brahe, or the Ruins of Uranienborg

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

Denmark: Huen, the Island

Tycho Brahe, or the Ruins of Uranienborg

By Peter Andreas Heiberg (1758–1841)

Anonymous translation

THOU by the strand dost wander,—

Yet here, O stranger, stay!

Turn towards the island yonder,

And listen to my lay:

Thy every meditation

Bid thither, thither haste;

A castle had its station

On yon banks ages past.

In long-past days in glory

It stood, and grandeur sheen;

Now—’t was so transitory—

Its ruins scarce are seen.

But it in ancient tide was

For height and size renowned,

It seen from every side was

Uprising from the ground.

For no sea-king intended,

I ween, was yonder hold;

Urania! it ascended

In praise of thee so bold.

Close by the ocean roaring,

Far, far from mortal jars,

It stood towards heaven soaring,

And towards the little stars.

A gate in the wall eastward

Showed like a mighty mouth;

There was another westward,

And spires stood north and south.

The castle dome, high rearing

Itself, a spirelet bore,

Where stood, ’fore the wind veering,

A Pegasus, gilt o’er.

Towers, which the sight astounded,

In north and south were placed,

Upon strong pillars founded,

And both with galleries graced.

And there they caught attention

Of all, who thither strolled,

Quadrants of large dimension,

And spheres in flames that rolled.

One, from the castle staring,

Across the island spied

The woods, green foliage bearing,

And ocean’s bluey tide.

The halls the sight enchanted,

With colors bright of blee;

The gardens they were planted

With many a flower and tree.

When down came night careering,

And vanished was the sun,

The stars were seen appearing

All heaven’s arch upon.

Far, far was heard the yelling

(When one thereto gave heed)

Of those who watched the dwelling,

Four hounds of mastiff breed.

The good knight ceased to walk on

The fields of war and gore;

His helm and sword the balk on

He hung, to use no more.

From earth, its woe and riot,

His mind had taken flight,

When in his chamber quiet

He sat at depth of night.

Then he his eye erected

Into the night so far,

And keen the course inspected

Of every twinkling star;

The stars his fame transported

Wide over sea and land;

And kings his friendship courted,

And sought his islet’s strand.

But the stars pointed serious

To other countries’ track;

His fate called him imperious;

He went, and came not back.

The haughty walls, through sorrow,

Have long since sunken low;

The heavy ploughshares furrow

Thy house, Urania! now.

Each time the sun is sinking,

It friendly looks on Hveen;

Its rays there linger, thinking

On what that place has been.

The moon hastes, melancholy,

Past, past her coast so dear;

And in love’s pleasure holy

Shines Freya’s starlet clear:

Then suddenly takes to heaving

Of that same ruin old

The basis deep, believing,

Some evening,—’t is oft told,—

For many moments, gladly,

’T would rise up from the mould;—

It may not; so it sadly

Sinks in Death’s slumber cold.