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Johan Ludvig Heiberg 1860

To the grave they bore him sleeping,
 Him the aged, genial gardener;
Now the children gifts are heaping
 From the flower-bed he made.

There the tree that he sat under,
 And the garden gate is open,
While we cast a glance and wonder
 Whether some one sits there still.

He is gone. A woman only
 Wanders there with languid footsteps,
Clothed in black and now so lonely,
 Where his laughter erst rang clear.

As a child when past it going,
 Through the fence she looked with longing,
Now great tears so freely flowing
 Are her thanks that she came in.

Fairy-tales and thoughts high-soaring
 Whispered to him 'neath the foliage.
She flits softly, gathering, storing
 Them as solace for her woe.


Far his wanderings once bore him,
 Bore this aged, genial searcher;
One who listening sat before him
 Much could learn from time to time.

Life and letters were his ladder
 Up toward that which few discover,
Thought's wide realm, with vision gladder
 He explored, each summit scaled.

In his manhood he defended
 All that greatness has and beauty;
Later he the stars attended
 In their silent course to God.


Older men remember rather
"New Year!" ringing o'er the Northland.
How it power had to gather
 Leaders to a greater age

Do you him remember leaping
 Forth, his horn so gladly winding,
Back the mob on all sides sweeping
 From the progress of the great?

Play of thought 'mid tears and laughter,
 Fauns and children were about him;
Freedom's beacons high thereafter
 Kindled slowly of themselves.

And his words soon found a hearing,
 Peace of heart flowed from his music;
All the land thrilled to the nearing
 Of a great prophetic choir.


In his manhood he defended
 All that greatness has and beauty;
Later he the stars attended
 In their silent course to God.

Northern flowers were his pleasure,
 As an aged genial gardener,
From his nation's springtime treasure
 Culling seed for deathless growth.

Now with humor, now sedately,
 He kept planting or uprooting,
While the Danish beech-tree stately
 Gave his soul its evening peace.

There the tree we saw him under,
 And the garden gate is open,
While we cast a glance and wonder
 Whether some one sits there still.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:54 min read

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer who received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit", becoming the first Norwegian Nobel laureate. Bjørnson is considered to be one of The Four Greats (De Fire Store) among Norwegian writers, the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland. Bjørnson is also celebrated for his lyrics to the Norwegian National Anthem, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet". more…

All Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson poems | Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Books

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