Carl Nielsen, “Homesickness”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted are two renditions of a beautiful song by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. Nielsen composed over 290 songs and hymns, most of them based upon verses and poems by well-known Danish authors.

The song “Hjemvee (Underlige Aftenlufte!)” (translated as Homesickness; Odd and unknown evening breezes!) is a setting of a text by the Danish poet Adam Oehlenschläger. The poem was written in 1805 and was occasioned by homesickness Oehlenschläger suffered during a four-year trip to Germany, France and Italy.

The Danish lyrics are as follows. Also below are an English translation which I generated from Google Translate and which is no doubt imperfect.

 

 

– Roger W. Smith

   January 2018

 

 

 

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Underlige aftenlufte!
hvorhen vinker I min hu?
Milde, lune blomsterdufte!
sig, hvor hen I bølger nu.
Går I over hviden strand
til mit elskte fødeland?
Vil I der med eders bølger
tolke, hvad mit hjerte dølger?

Matte sol! bag bjergets stene
luerød du daler ned,
og nu sidder jeg alene
i min dunkle ensomhed.
Hjemme var der intet fjeld,
ak! så er jeg ude vel,
skal i nat ej barnligt blunde
i min Herthas grønne lunde.

Norges søn! jeg vel kan mindes,
du har sagt med smeltet bryst,
at i hjemmet ene findes
rolighedens sande lyst.
Schweizer! som paa klippen bor,
du har talt de samme ord.
Hellig længsel drev med vælde
begge til de vante fjelde.

Tror I da, kun klipper ene
præger sig i hjertet ind?
Ak! fra disse nøgne stene
vender sig mit mørke sind.
Synger granens, fyrrens lov!
hvor er Danmarks bøgeskov?
Gustne flod, som her sig krummer,
dysser ej min sjæl i slummer.

Hjemme rinder ingen floder
i en sid og leret grav,
livets kilde, glædens moder
breder sig, det sølvblå hav,
slynger sig med venlig arm
om sin datters fulde barm,
og ved blomsten sig forlyster
på Sjølundas unge bryster.

Stille! stille! hisset gynger
båden mellem siv og krat,
sødt en mø ved cithren synger
i den tavse, lune nat.
Hvilke toner! milde lyst!
hvor du strømmer i mit bryst!
Men hvad savner jeg, og græder,
mens hun dog så venligt kvæder?

Det er ej den danske tunge,
det er ej de vante ord,
ikke dem, jeg hørte sjunge,
hvor ved hytten træet gror.
Bedre er de vel måske,
ak, men det er ikke de!
bedre, tror jeg vist, hun kvæder,
men tilgiver, at jeg græder!

Tager ej min sang for andet
end et ufrivilligt suk!
Længselsfuldt heniler vandet,
aftnen er så blid og smuk.
Mangen sådan aftenstund
sad jeg i min kære lund,
mindet vender nu tilbage,
det var årsag i min klage.

Tidlig misted jeg min moder,
ak! det gjorde mig så ve!
Danmark er min anden moder,
skal jeg mer min moder se?
Livet er så svagt og kort,
skæbnen vinker længer bort,
skal jeg med den sidste varme
slutte mig i hendes arme?

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Weird evening air!
Where do you wake up?
Mild, warm flower dust!
Say where you wave now.
Do you cross the white beach
to my beloved country of birth?
Do you want there with your waves
interpret what my heart is drowning?

Matte sun! behind the rocks of the mountain
luerød you fall down,
and now I’m sitting alone
in my dark loneliness.
At home there was no mountain,
alas! I’m fine,
shall not be childish blondes tonight
in my hertha green groves.

Norway’s son! I can remember,
You have said with melted breast,
that in the home one exists
the true desire of the zeal.
Schweizer! as on the rock,
You have spoken the same words.
Sacred longing drives with ease
both to the usual mountains.

Do you think, only cut one
Does the heart come in?
Alas! from these bare stones
turns my dark mind.
Singing the grain, the lighthouse’s law!
Where is Denmark’s beech forest?
Gustne River, which crumbles here,
do not dodge my soul in slumber.

At home there are no rivers
in a side and clay tomb,
the source of life, the mother of joy
spread out, the silver blue sea,
swings with a friendly arm
about her daughter’s full bosom,
and by the flower itself enlightens
on Sjølundas young breasts.

Quietly! quietly! lifted swings
the boat between the reeds and the crate,
sweet a cry by the cithren sings
in the silent, mellow night.
What tones! mild light!
where you are flowing in my chest!
But what do I miss and cry,
while she died so kindly?

It is not the Danish tongue,
it’s not the usual words,
not them I heard a song,
where at the cottage the tree grows.
Better are you well maybe,
Ah, but they are not!
better, I think she’s kidding
but forgive me to cry!

Do not take my song for anything else
than an involuntary sigh!
Longing the water,
The evening is so gentle and beautiful.
Many such evening hours
I sat in my dear grove,
memory now returns,
That was the reason in my complaint.

Early I lost my mother,
alas! it made me so!
Denmark is my other mother,
Should I see more my mother?
Life is so weak and short,
fate wakes farther away,
I’ll have the last heat
join me in her arms?

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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