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external nature. Bjornson's relation to nature is indeed more intimate than that of any other Norwegian writer of his time, but here also he is epic and dramatic rather than subjectively lyrical. He sees and hears through what is external, and his feeling for and with nature is but a profounder looking into the soul of his nation or the inner life of other human beings. For him Norway's scenery is filled with the glory of the nation's past, the promise of its future, or the needs of the present. The poems that contain nature descriptions are primarily patriotic. In the national hymn Tes, We Love, it is the nation, its history and its future, which with the land towers as a whole before his vision; in Romsdal the scenery frames the people, their character and life. More personal poems, as To Molde or A Meeting, are not merely descriptive; in the former childhood's memories and the love of friends fill the scene, while in the latter the freshly and tenderly drawn snowlandscape is but the setting for a vivid picture of a deceased friend.

The contents of this volume befit.the verse-form, as if each were made by and for the other. The subjects are simple, large, weighty; the form is compact, strong, suggestive. Bjornson is distinctly not subjectively lyrical, but has a place in the first rank "as a choral lyric poet and as an epic lyric poet." (Collin.) Georg Brandes wrote of him many years ago: "In few [fields] has he put forth anything so individual, unforgettable, imperishable, as in the lyric field."





HAVE thanks for all from our childhood's day,
Our play together in woodland roaming.
I thought that play would go on for aye,
Though life should pass to its gloaming.

I thought that play would go on for aye,
From bowers leading of leafy birches

To where the Solbakke houses lay,
And where the red-painted church is.

I sat and waited through evenings long

And scanned the ridge with the spruces yonder;

But darkening mountains made shadows throng,
And you the way did not wander.

I sat and waited with scarce a doubt:

He'll dare the way when the sun's descended.

The light shone fainter, was nearly out,
The day in darkness had ended.

My weary eye is so wont to gaze,

To turn its look it is slow in learning;

No other landmark it seeks, nor strays,
Beneath the brow sorely burning.

They name a place where I help may find,
And fain to Fagerli church would guide me;

But try not thither to move my mind;—
He sits there ever beside me.

— But good it is, that full well I know,

Who placed the houses both here and yonder,

Then cut a way through the woods so low
And let my eye on it wander.

But good it is that full well I know,

Who built the church and to pray invited,

And made them meeting in pairs to go
Before the altar united.

(from Synnove Solbakken)

The fox lay still by the birch-tree's root

In the heather.
The hare was running with nimble foot

O'er the heather.
Was ever brighter a sunshine-day,
Before, behind me, and every way,

O'er the heather!

The fox laughed low by the birch-tree's root

In the heather.
The hare was running with daring foot

O'er the heather.

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