Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Translations
From the Swedish and Danish.
King Christian
 
        
(Kong Christian stod ved hoien mast)
A National Song of Denmark
  Written during a visit to Copenhagen in September, 1835. The poet first heard the air from some strolling musician in a coffee-house, and looking up the words by Johannes Evald in his lyrical drama Fiskerne (The Fishermen), Act ii. Sc. v., translated them.

KING CHRISTIAN stood by the lofty mast
    In mist and smoke;
His sword was hammering so fast,
Through Gothic helm and brain it passed;
Then sank each hostile hulk and mast,        5
    In mist and smoke.
“Fly!” shouted they, “fly, he who can!
Who braves of Denmark’s Christian
    The stroke?”
 
Nils Juel gave heed to the tempest’s roar,        10
    Now is the hour!
He hoisted his blood-red flag once more,
And smote upon the foe full sore,
And shouted loud, through the tempest’s roar,
    “Now is the hour!”        15
“Fly!” shouted they, “for shelter fly!
Of Denmark’s Juel who can defy
    The power?”
 
North Sea! a glimpse of Wessel rent
    Thy murky sky!        20
Then champions to thine arms were sent;
Terror and Death glared where he went;
From the waves was heard a wail, that rent
    Thy murky sky!
From Denmark thunders Tordenskiol’,        25
Let each to Heaven commend his soul,
    And fly!
 
Path of the Dane to fame and might!
    Dark-rolling wave!
Receive thy friend, who, scorning flight,        30
Goes to meet danger with despite,
Proudly as thou the tempest’s might,
    Dark-rolling wave!
And amid pleasures and alarms,
And war and victory, be thine arms        35
    My grave!
 
 
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