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New year's morning

These are the first six stanzas of Grundtvig's "Nyaars-morgen" translated into English. "Nyaars-morgen" is 312 stanzas long and the poem was written by Grundtvig in 1824. It is considered to be one of Grundtvig's greatest works.

New year's morning

1. God's peace! where you settle
in field and on hill,
in shadow of beeches
by torrent of springs!
God's peace over forest
with growth of its trunks,
God's peace over waters
where argosies sail,
which anchor, flags flying
on days of rejoicing,
which still fly the ancestors' flag!

2. God's peace, as it rested
in ancestors’ heart,
God's peace, as we won it
by the Saviour's arm,
God's peace, as enthroning
where love has its home.
God's peace, as we hear it
in cottage of earth,
as myself I enjoy it,
I wish and I offer ,
the brothers and kin in the North!

3. God's peace and good morning!
in field and on hill!
o’ercome is the sorrow,
which pained me at nights,
in darkness of midnight,
at cockcrow from Hel,
when gloom in its vigour
did right against sun:
when night against daylight,
when Michael with dragon
I seemed to see fight for the North!
4. Whether dreaming or wakeful
I were in the night,
whether closed were the eyelids
or open the eyes,
whether mute like birds sleeping
or wakeful like rnen
I were in my cavern,
is dim to me yet;
but in me the fervour
with death surely struggled,
like dying and smouldering spark!

5. Whether day was just dawning
when shadows to me,
astir in the tree tops,
prepared for the war,
and seemed now to wander
like storm in the leaves,
whether keener, than others
I were, or else deaf,
that time will uncover,
and ever are sorrows,
which feeling makes clear, also real!

6. Whether voice to go chanting
did grow from my breast,
whether more than a fancy
was placed on my tongue,
whether sun would be keeping
some gold in my mouth,
whether place and a language
I have in the land,
whether singing or sighing
sat next to my cradle,
that is, what not yet l do know!

Source: 'New years morning', translation Kristian Schultz Petersen. Vartov: København.
 
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