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

Norway: Ulvik


By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)

(From Lars)

ON curtained eyes, and bosoms warm with rest,

On slackened fingers and unburdened feet,

On limbs securer slumber held from toil,

While nimble spirits of the busy blood

Renewed their suppleness, yet filled the trance

With something happy which was less than dream,

The sun of Sabbath rose. Two hours, afar,

Behind the wintry peaks of Justedal,

Unmarked, he climbed; then, pausing on the crest

Of Fille Fell, he gathered up his beams

Dissolved in warmer blue, and showered them down

Between the mountains; through the falling vale,

On Ulvik’s cottages and orchard trees.

And one by one the chimneys breathed; the sail

That loitered lone along the misty fiord

Flashed like a star, and filled with fresher wind;

The pasturing steers, dispersed on grassy slopes,

Raised heads of wonder over hedge and wall

To call, unanswered, the belated cows;

And ears that would not hear, or heard in dreams,

The lark’s alarum over idle fields,

And lids, still sweetly shut, that else unclosed

At touch of daybreak, yielded to the day.


They set themselves to climb the stubborn fell

By stony stairs that left the fields below,

And ceased, far up, against the nearer blue.

But lightly sprang the maids; and where the slides

Of ice ground smooth the slanting planes of rock,

Strong arms drew up and firm feet steadied theirs.

Here lent the juniper a prickly hand,

And there they grasped the heather’s frowsy hair,

While jest and banter made the giddy verge

Secure as orchard-turf; and none but showed

The falcon’s eye that guides the hunter’s foot,

Till o’er their flushed and breathless faces struck

The colder ether; on the crest they stood,

And sheltered vale and ever-winding fiord

Sank into gulfs of shadow, while afar

To eastward many a gleaming tooth of snow

Cut the full round of sky.
“Why, look you, now!”

Cried one; “the fiord is bare as threshing-floor

When winter ’s over: what ’s become of Per?”

“And what of Lars?” asked Ragnil, with a glance

At Brita’s careless face; “can he have climbed

The Evil Pass, and crossed the thundering foss,

His nearest way?” As clear as blast of horn

There came a cry, and on the comb beyond

They saw the sparkle of a scarlet vest.

Then, like the echo of a blast of horn,

A moment later, fainter and subdued,

A second cry; and far to left appeared

A form that climbed and leaped, and nearer strove.

And Harald, Anders Ericssen, and Nils

Set their three voices to accordant pitch

And shouted one wild call athwart the blue,

Until it seemed to quiver: as they ceased

The maids began, and, moving onward, gave

Strong music: all the barren summits rang.