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WERGELAND, Henrik


The First Embrace

Come to me, grief, on my bosom press,

Lest it should burst with joy’s excess:

Heaven, with disaster, hell, with your pains,

Calm its commotion. For here awhile

She has lain. Strike, foes!

Your shafts but soothe, when they pierce the veins

Of a breast that lows

With the bliss of her thrill and her smile.


Sorrow and trouble have died away

Here, where her face in its loveliness lay.

Drowned she these in the deep of her eye?

Or sucked she their venom? I seemed to mark,

On her smiling lips,

How a tremulous shadow of pain passed by:

And the blue grew dark,

As her eyes’ light found eclipse.


Innocent bride, thou hast joined afresh

Soul with earth, and with God the flesh.

When on my breast, as pure and bright

As a saint’s white robe, thy perfect brow

Gently was lain,

Guilt with its tear-steins vanished quite,

And my mind is now

Like a cleansed and lighted fane.


My heart reflected an inward grace

From the sinless blush of thy maiden face:

To the waft of celestial wings was changed

The tress that wavered over me;

And, O joy, my soul,

Demoniac once, from heaven estranged,

Is, thanks to thee,

Darling, restored and whole.


I feel, where thy loving lips have pressed,

A glory shining within my breast,

And O, the paeans of love that burst,

At the touch of thy passionless, drowsy kiss.

I was fired and manned, -

While my fancy drank with a burning thirst

All the sweet of this

By a tender angel’s hand.


Love, while you lay by my beating heart,

What burgeoning blossoms seemed to start!

Blossoms that lived, and dreamed, and thought.

Almond or apple ws never so gay;

So rich a stream

Of the sun’s blood never the roses caught.

My soul its clay

Left in a blissful dram.


Cold, dark spirit, hold thee apart,

Or blend with the blood that stirs my heart;

Let it flow supreme in its pulses still,

Let nerves aquiver their passion prove,

And in ecstasy

Hark to the breast’s tense chords athrill,

Where, tranced in love,

She late at rest did lie