Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Gold Horns - Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger

Upon the pages
Of the olden ages,
And in hills where are lying
The dead, they are prying;
On armour rusty,
In ruins musty,
On Rune-stones jumbled,
With bones long crumbled.

Eld’s deeds, through guesses
Beheld, are delighting,
But mist possesses
The ancient writing.
The eye-ball fixed is,
The thought perplexed is;
In darkness they’re groping
Their mouths they’re op’ing:
“Ye days long past,
When the North was uplighted,
And with earth heav’n united,
A glimpse back cast.”

The clouds are bustling,
The night blasts rustling,
Sighs are breaking,
From grave-hills quaking,
The regions were under
Thunder.
Of the mighty and daring,
The ghosts there muster,
Stains of war bearing,
In their eye star lustre.

Ye who blind are straying,
And praying,
Shall an ag’d relic meet,
Which shall come and shall fleet,
Its red sides golden,
The stamp displaying
Of the times most olden.

That shall give ye a notion
To hold in devotion
Our gift, is your duty!
A maiden, of beauty
Most rare.
Shall find the token!”

They vanished; this spoken
Their tones die in air.

Black Hrymfax, weary,
Panteth and bloweth,
And in sea himself burieth;
Belling, cheery,
Morn’s gates ope throweth;
Forth Skinfax hurrieth,
On heaven’s bridge prancing,
And with lustre glancing.

The little birds quaver,
Pearls from night’s weeping;
The flowers are steeping
In the winds which waver;
To the meadows, fleet
A maiden boundeth;
Violet fillet neat
Her brows surroundeth;
Her cheeks are glowing,
Lilly hands she’s showing;
Light as a hind,
With sportive mind
She smiling frisketh.
And as on she whisketh,
And thinks on her lover,
She trips something over;
And, her eyes declining,
Beholds a shining,
And red’neth and shaketh,
And trembling uptaketh
With wondering sprite
From the dingy mould,
With hand snow-white,
The ruddy gold.
A gentle thunder
Pealeth;
The whole North wonder
Feeleth.

Forth rush with gabble
A countless rabble;
The earth they’re upturning,
For the treasure burning.
But there’s no gold!
Their hope is mistaken;
They see but the mould,
From whence it is taken.

An age by rolleth.
Again it howleth
O’er the tops of the mountains.
Of the rain the fountains
Burst with fury;
The spirits of glory
From Norge’s highlands,
To Denmark’s islands,
In the halls of ether
Again meet together.

“For the few there below
Who our gift’s worth know,
Who earth’s fetters spurn all,
And whose souls are soaring
To the throne of th’ Eternal;
Who in eye of Nature
Behold the Creator;
And tremble adoring,
’Fore the rays of his power
In the sun, in the flower,
In the greatest and least,
And with thirst are possest
For of life the spring;
Who, O powerful sprite
Of the times departed!
See thy look bright
From the relic’s sides darted:
For them our Be once more shall ring.

“Nature’s son, whose name
Is unknown to fame,
But his acre tilling,
Strong-armed and tall,
Like his forefathers all,
Him to honour we’re willing,
He shall find the second token!”
They vanished, this spoken.

Black Hrymfax weary
Panteth and bloweth,
And in sea himself buried;
And Belling cheery
Morn’s gates ope throweth;
Forth Skinfax hurrieth,
On heaven’s bridge prancing,
And with lustre glancing.

By the bright green shaw
The oxen striding
The heavy plough draw,
The soil dividing.
The plough stops; sorest
Of shudders rushes
Right through the forest;
The bird-quire hushes
Sudden its strains;
Holy silence
O’er all reigns.

Then rings in the mould
The ancient gold.

Glimpses two from period olden
   Lo! in modern time appearing;
Strange returned those glimpses golden,
   On their sides enigmas bearing.

Holiness mysterious hovers
   O’er their signs, of meaning pond’rous;
Glory of the Godhead covers
   These eternal works so wondrous.

Reverence them, for nought is stable;
   They may vanish, past all seeking.
Let Christ’s blood on Christ’s own table
   Fill them, once with red blood reeking.

But their majesty unviewing,
   And their lustre but descrying,
Them as spectacles ye’re shewing
   To the silly and the prying.

Storm-winds bellow, blackens heaven!
   Comes the hour of melancholy;
Back is taken what was given,—
   Vanished is the relic holy.

Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1779 - 1850) Denmark
Translated by George Borrow

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