The Viking

The Viking by erik Gustaf Geijer
Summer night on the Greenland coast around the year 1000, painting by the Danish artist Carl Rasmussen.

One of Erik Gustaf Geijer's most famous poems, written in 1811.

At the age of fifteen the cottage became too small for me,
Where I lived with my mother.
To watch over the streets the day became long to me;
I changed my mind.
I dreamed, I thought I don't know what,
I couldn't be happier than I used to be
In the woods.

With cool mind on the mountain I ran,
And looked into the wide sea.
The song of the waves seemed so sweet to me,
There they go in the foaming sea.
They come from the feather, feathery land,
They do not keep chains, they do not feel bonds
In the harbour.

One morning from the shore a ship I saw;
Like an arrow in the bay it shot.
Then my breast was hungry, then my mind was burning,
Then I knew what me tired.
I run away from the ghetto and mother mine,
And the Viking took me in the ship
On the harbour.

And the wind with power into the sails race;
We flew on the back of the waves.
In the blazing depths the top of the mountain crumbles,
And I was so happy and so safe.
I father's rusty sword took in hand
And swore to give me kingdom and country
On the harbour.

At the age of sixteen I the Viking struck,
Who scolded me beardless and weak.
I became a sea king - over the waters went
In the bloody play of the herd.
I landed did, won castles and palaces,
And with my fighters for the turf drew lots
On the harbour.

From the horns we emptied the mead must
With power on the stormy sea.
From the wave we ruled on the coast -
In Valland I took me a moor -
For three days she wept, and then she was satisfied,
And so stood our wedding, with playful glee
On the harbour.

Once even I owned lands and castles,
And drank under a sooty ridge[1],
And brought sorrow to kingdom and church,
And sof within walls and locks.
It was a whole winter - it seemed long to me,
And though I was a king, the earth was too narrow for me
Emot havvet.

I did nothing, but had no peace,
To help any helpless jerk.
They want me for a wall around the farmer's nest
And to lock the beggar's sack.
On the scissors, edging and thieves and robbers
I heard my fill - I was far away
Up the harbor!

So I prayed - but the hang went and the winter long,
And with syrups the beaches sprinkled,
And the waves sing their song again
And sound: at sea, at sea!
And spring-winds play in the valley and in altitude,
And the streams free fall with joy
In the harbour.

Then I was seized by the invisible bond,
I was attracted by the race of the waves.
I scattered my gold over town and country,
And smashed my crown
And poor as of old, with a ship and a sword.
Against unknown fates pulled in the viking-travel
On the harbour.

Like the wind free we played with desire
On the spring surging lake.
We men saw, on a foreign shore,
In the same way live and die.
Concerns with her settling down;
But grief, she knows not the Viking's path
On the harbour.

And again among the struggles I stood scouting
After ships in the feathery blue.
Viking sails came - then blood was the order of the day;
The creeper came - and he had to go.
But bloody is the victory the brave host,
And Viking friendship, it is tied with swords
On the harbour.

I stood in the daytime in a rocking chair,
In the glory for me the future lay;
So funny, like the swan in the rocking saw,
I was carried on a roaring wave.
Mine was then every prey that came in my race,
And free as immeasurable space my hope,
On the harbour.

But I stood at night with my staff swaying,
And the lonely wave roared,
Then I heard the hornets crocheting their loom,
In the storm through space shot.
Like the fates of the corn, the waves are surging:
Best be ready for the ride as a fall
On the harbour.

I was twenty years old - then the trouble came soon,
And the lake now demands my blood.
He knows it well, he has drunk it too
Where the hottest battle was.
The burning heart it beats so fast,
It will soon get cool and chilly place
In the harbour.

Yet I do not complain of my days' speeches:
Snar was, but good, their speed.
There is no way but to the hall of the gods;
And it better be soon.
With death song the sounding waves go:
On them I have lived - my grave I shall receive
In the harbour.

So singing on the lonely rock's hall
The shipwrecked Viking among the swells of the fires -
In the depths of the lake him rifver -
And the waves sing their song again,
And the wind vexes its playful course;
But the memory of the lost - it remains.


1. Never to drink under a sooty river, that is to say: under a roof or on land, was otherwise Viking custom.

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