Good Cheer

So let these songs their story tell
To all who in the Northland dwell,
Since many friends request it.
(That Finland's folk with them belong
In the wide realm of Northern song,
I grateful must attest it.)

I send these songs-and now I find
Most of them have riot what my mind
Has deepest borne and favored:
Some are too hasty, some too brief,
Some, long in stock, have come to grief,
Some with raw youth are flavored.

I lived far more than e'er I sang;
Thought, ire, and mirth unceasing rang
Around me, where I guested;
To be where loud life's battles call
For me was well-nigh more than all
My pen on page arrested.

What's true and strong has growing-room,
And will perhaps eternal bloom,
Without black ink's salvation,
And he will be, who least it planned,
But in life's surging dared to stand,
The best bard for his nation.

I heard once of a Spanish feast:
Within the ring a rustic beast,
A horse, to fight was fated;
In came a tiger from his cage,
Who walked about, his foe to gauge,
And crouching down, then waited.

The people clapped and laughed and cheered,
The tiger sprang, the horse upreared,
But none could see him bleeding;
The tiger tumbling shrinks and backs
Before the horse's rustic whacks,
Lies on his head naught heeding.

Then men and women hooted, hissed,
With glaring eyes and clenchèd fist
Out o'er the balcony bending;
With shouts the tiger's heart they tease,
Their thirst for blood soon to appease,
To onset new him sending.

The people clapped and laughed and cheered
The tiger sprang, the horse upreared;
No blood to see was given,
For fortune held the horse too dear,
To him the tiger could not near,
In flying curves hoof-driven.

To say who won I will not try;
For lo, this rustic horse am I,
And on the conflict's going;-
The city, though, where it occurs,
And where it cheers and laughter stirs,
Is known without my showing.

I fight, but have no hate or spite,
From what I love draw gladness bright,
My right to wrath reserving.
It is my blood, my soul, that goes
In every line of all my blows,
And guides their course unswerving.

But as I stand here now to-day,
Nor grudge nor vengeance can me sway,
To think that foes I'm facing.
So in return some friendship give
To one who for the
cause
would live,
With love the North embracing!

But first my poet-path shall be
With veneration unto
thee
,
Who fill'st the North with wonder;
In wrath thou dawn didst prophesy
Behind the North's dark morning-sky,
That lightnings shook and thunder.

Then, milder, thou, by sea and slope,
The fount of saga, faith, and hope
Mad'st flow for every peasant;-
Now from the snow-years' mountain-side
Thou seest with time's returning tide
Thine own high image present.

To
thee
, then, in whose spring of song
Finland's 'the thousand lakes' belong
And sound their thrilling sorrow:-
Our Northern soul forever heard
Keeps watch and ward in poet's word
'Gainst Eastern millions' morrow.

But when I stand in our own home,
One greets me from the starry dome
With wealth of light and power.
There shines he: HENRIK WERGELAND,
Out over Norway's pallid strand
In memory's clear hour.

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Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. more…

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"Good Cheer" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/4345/good-cheer>.

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