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Linné on line arrow The History of Ideas arrow Linnaeus in poetry: ... arrow Linnaeus as a priest of nature arrow Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom

Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom
“Linnaea” in the cycle of poems The Flowers published in the journal Poetic Calendar in 1812.

 

 


From Captain Johan Wilhelm Palmstruch, Swedish Botany,
Part 1, (1802)
 

The dark trees shudder
From the gray mountain’s hat;
Silently asking sprites and elves,
If the heat does stifle still.
And coolness conjures them out
And through the woods there passes
A light and clear divine thought,
In the Nordic summer’s night.

Oh, tall conifer forest! Dreadful
To many is your sandy heath;
To me you are only lovely,
A home of unbroken peace.
Does this time belong to the night?
To me it seems, on all the water’s
Pleasure waves, rays form
Another airy bridge.

The beating heart of nature
I hear, warm with joy,
And under the coat of moss
I caress our mother’s bosom;
From the leaves, ever green,
I arise, to see
How happily the earth sleeps
On her benevolent arm.

Ice and snow weighed upon me,
A dire spell it was;
But o’er the waste there shone
The legacy of past summers.
Midsummar sun returned,
Crying: “Why weep, little one,
Among heather and needles?
I’m lifting my veil.”

Then my cheek was shot through
With a spark of human glow,
And nectar smoke to the wind
I spread among spruce and hills.
You call the scent enchanting?
O pilgrim, I am honest;
I want to reveal the reason,
But promise me silence!

Have you a soul content
In sacred destitution;
A will, faithfully supple
To follow God’s behest:
Then I will reveal to you,
Why my life is transfigured
In this heavenly whisp,
That is your beloved heart.

What hovers over the woods,
With the song-thrushes final call?
A venerable shadow, faithful
To the pleasures of his former home;
The seer who read me
And adorned me with his name;
The priest of nature with his pious
And happy countenance!

He seems to want to linger
At the Nordic midnight feast;
But soon with darkened brow
The lofty guest does look away.
He sighs: “The Swedish soil
Has not changed;
But alas! The Swedish heart,
Does any vestige remain?”

Wherever the heart does hide,
I know the answer true;
It may be that it is dreaming
In the still of these woods.
Full on the evening’s repast of dew,
The spirits of saga do descend
On me, to ponder
Why its sun went down.


Literature tips:
Gunnar Eriksson, Romantikens världsbild speglad i 1800-talets svenska vetenskap (1969)

Carl Santesson, Atterboms ungdomsdiktning (1929)