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OEHLENSCHLAEGER, Adam Gottlob


The Gold Horns


They peer in pages

of ancient sages,

on opened barrows

their gaze now narrows,

on shield and sword in

each castle ruin,

on runestone boulders

midst bones now moldered.


Old deeds exciting

cast spells if bidden;

but earth keeps hidden

the ancient writing.

Their gaze unseeing,

Thoughts wild and fleeing

In mists they’re groping.


“You days of glory

lost well past hoping!

when the North shone clearly

with heaven here nearly,

may we glimpse your story!”


Clouds are rushing,

Night is hushing,

Barrows sighing

Roses shying.

The heavens’ highest ceiling

pealing!

The high ones transfigured

are teeming, are teeming,

daubed red for war’s rigours,

their eyes starlike gleaming.


“You who reel and are blind

will find

a relic of bygone year

that will come and disappear!

Its sides full golden

the stamp will be wearing

of times most olden.


Its lesson’s for sharing.

With reverent bearing

our gift you repay us

Of beauties the fairest,

a maid

will this treasure discover!”

They sing and pass over.

The airborne sounds fade.


Black Rimfaxe, fawning

his mouth flecked with lather,

plunges into the ocean.

Gates of the morning

are ope’d by day’s father:

Skinfaxe in motion

with fire seems to leaven

the arch of the heavens.


The birds are all singing.

Dewdrops give showers

To petals of flowers

That breezes are swinging.

And with graceful lilt

a maiden now dances

with violet-garlands

away to the field.

Her rosy cheeks bright,

Her hands lily-white.

Light as a deer

With spirit so clear

she floats sweetly smiling;

Love-thoughts beguiling

her mind in a tumble

she stumbles!

and sees as she gazes

golden blazes,

and blushes and shivers

and lifts with a quiver,

amazed at the sight,

from the earth’s black hold

with hands snow-white

the crimson gold.


A peal of

distant thunder!

The North’s

in total wonder


With crowds soon forming

now seething, now swarming

they dig without measure

for yet more treasure.

But no more gold!

Their hope was mistaken.

They see but black mould

from which they’ve been taken.


A century dies!!


O’er summits the cry

again is sounding.

With force astounding

Storm’s floodgates break.

O’er Norway’s peaks

to Denmark’s vales

in lofty halls

once more they gather

the ancient fathers.


“For the precious few

who our gift well knew

who no earthly chains bind

but whose souls rise up

to eternity’s top

who sense what is high

in Nature’s eye

who adoringly learn

divine rays to find,

in suns, violets – in all,

the great and the small

who thirsting still burn

for the Life of Life,

who – oh great spirit

of ancient times! –

see your divine gaze

on its sacred sides,

for them is our stay!


A son of nature,

an unknown creature,

but strong and tall

as his fathers withal,

is tilling his soil,

we will honour his toil –

he’ll once more uncover!”

They sing and pass over.


Black Rimfaxe, fawning

his mouth flecked with lather,

plunges into the ocean.

Gates of the morning

are ope’d by day’s father:

Skinfaxe in motion

with fire seems to leaven

the arch of the heavens.


By woodland brow

The oxen heave

the heavy plough

and furrows cleave.

The plough seems to freeze,

and a shiver is heard

to pass through the trees.

Flocks of birds

cease to call

Holy silence

consecrates all.


The ringing of old

of ancient gold.


Second glimpse of days of yore

in later ages dazzling.

Strangly they came as before,

on crimson sides so puzzling.


Sacred mystery enshrouds

ancient runes and signs.

A holy aura trembles round

these miracles from outside time.


Honour them, for fate can falter

soon maybe no more they’ll rove.

May Christ’s blood on God’s high altar

fill them, as did blood the grove.


You see gleam as the whole story,

not what’s venerable and high!

Only show their outer glory

to a dull indifferent eye.


Skies grow dark, the storms awaken!

Certain hour, your word is law.

What they gave has been retaken.

What was sacred is no more.