Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feb. 27, 1807 - Mar. 24, 1882


King Christian

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Translated from Danish.

A National Song of Denmark. -- From Johannes Evald.

King Christian stood by the lofty mast
In mist and smoke;
His sword was hammering so fast,
Through Gothic helm and brain it passed;
Then sank each hostile hulk and mast,
In mist and smoke.
Fly! shouted they, fly, he who can!
Who braves of Denmark's Christian
The stroke?

Nils Juel gave heed to the tempest's roar;
Now is the hour!
He hoisted his blood-red flag once more,
And smote upon the foe full sore,
And shouted loud, through the tempest's roar
Now is the hour!
Fly! shouted they, for shelter fly!
Of Denmark's Juel who can defy
The power?

North Sea! a glimpse of Wessel rent
Thy murky sky!
Then champions to thine arms were sent;
Terror and Death glared where he went;
From the waves was heard a wail, that rent
Thy murky sky!
From Denmark, thunders Tordenskiol',
Let each to Heaven commend his soul,
And fly!

Path of the Dane to fame and might!
Dark-rolling wave!
Receive thy friend, who, scorning flight,
Goes to meet danger with despite,
Proudly as thou the tempest's might
Dark-rolling wave!
And amid pleasures and alarms,
And war and victory, be thine arms
My grave!

Notes to the poem:

Nils Juel was a celebrated Danish Admiral, and Peder Wessel a Vice-Admiral, who for his great prowess received the popular title of Tordenskiold, or Thundershield. In childhood he was a tailor's apprentice, and rose to his higher rank before the age of twenty-eight, when he was killed in a duel.


Longfellow's Poetical Works
Copyright 1893
Henry Frowde, London