Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
Norway: Hardanger
Henrik Wergeland (1808–1845)
Translated by John A. Dahl

IF a spot on earth be found
Where, responsive to the alluring
Voice of nature so beguiling,
Grief will cease to be enduring;
Where grim hate will cease reviling;        5
Where the baleful bent to sinning,
Passions base and soul-immuring,
Are laid powerless and bound
By the mere sight of the winning
Charms of landscape, by the thought        10
Of His presence who has made
Earth in all her charms arrayed;
And by the delicious feeling
Of the peace the scene ’s revealing,
As if hill and dale had caught        15
Glories from that place where never
Aught is known of strife and clangor,—
Then that spot must be forever
In fair, beautiful Hardanger.
If a spot on earth there be        20
Where the godless, that may stray
Thither, instantly will cower
In profound humility;
Where remorse, awe of God’s anger,
Feel the great Creator’s power,        25
But no longer are a prey
On the heart’s new-born endeavor,—
Then that spot must be forever
In fair, beautiful Hardanger.
If a spot on earth there be        30
Where two foes, each other meeting,
Will exchange a friendly greeting,
Cease their animosity,
Each a hand of truce extending,
Each an arm the other lending,        35
Conquered by the soothing balm
In the scene’s sweet, holy calm;
Where conceit and vain assurance
Would have but a short endurance;
Where a man, intent on spoil,        40
Would stop short, ’shamed of approaching,
As if fearful of encroaching
In a consecrated soil;—
Where all nature speaks to thee:
Snow-crowned mountain, e’er appearing        45
Like a hoary great-grandfather,
Round whom loving children gather;
Sunny glen, with its endearing
Voice so soft and motherly;
Crystal stream, the bosom warming        50
With its song of days that never
Lose their place in memory,—
O, that spot must be forever
In Hardanger, fair and charming.
If there be a place so blest,        55
Where from lovely flower-clad valley
Blue alps rear their silvery crest
Towards heaven majestically;
Where near glaciers you may see
Blossoming the apple-tree,        60
Whilst wild roses gayly grow
In a patch of lingering snow;
Where a brook begins its song
In a voice first unpretending,
Babbling onwards musically        65
Through its own sweet little valley,
Then its voice in compass mending,
Rushes eagerly along,
All ambition to be lending
Its charms to the greater valley,        70
And—like David, of whom Holy
Scripture says he rose to be,
By his harp’s sweet minstrelsy,
Monarch from a shepherd lowly—
Thunders on majestically        75
Through its fair domain, the valley,—
Ay, where is there such a place?
Grandeur, majesty, and grace
In harmonious combination:
Where from snow-clad mountain-tops        80
Spread in graceful undulation
Lines of meadow-land and copse;
Where the slopes that like a cord
Bind the mountain to the fjord,
Glide out in soft capes, surrounded        85
With festoons of green that lave
Their bright fringes in the wave,
Looking as if half-way bounded
In their progress to get o’er
To the other sylvan shore;        90
And where, from behind the screen
Of a birchwood may be seen
Peeping out a cottage lowly,
The light smoke from it ascending
To the scene the appearance lending        95
Of an offering sweet and holy,—
O, where find you so much grace,
Such exemption from all clangor,
Such retreats, such harmless ways?
Say, where is there such a place        100
But in beautiful Hardanger?

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