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6. Here too are slumbering, side by side,
Their stormy hearts are still; the tongue
LIFE IN SWEDEN.
1. LIFE in Sweden is for the most part patriarchal. Almost primeval simplicity reigns over this northern land, almost primeval solitude and stillness. You pass out from the gate of the city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes to a wild, woodland landscape. Around you are forests of fir. Overhead hang the long, fan-like branches, trailing with moss, and heavy with red and blue cones.
2. Under foot is a carpet of yellow leaves; and the air is warm and balmy. On a wooden bridge you cross a little silAnon you come forth into a pleasant and sunny land of farms. Wooden fences divide the adjoining fields. Across the road are gates, which are opened for you by troops of children. The peasants take off their hats as you pass. You sneeze, and they cry, God bless you. The houses in the villages and smaller cities are all built of hewn timber, and for the most part painted red.
3. The floors of the taverns are strewn with the fragrant tips of fir boughs. In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving travelers. The thrifty housewife shows you into the best chamber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures from the Bible; and brings you her heavy silver spoons wherewith to dip the curdled milk from the pan.
4. You have oaten cakes baked some months before; or bread with anise seed and coriander in it, and perhaps a little
pine bark. Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses from the plow, and harnessed them to your carriage. Solitary travelers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. Most of them have pipes in their mouths, and hanging around their necks in front, a leathern wallet, wherein they carry tobacco.
5. You meet, also, groups of peasant women, traveling homeward, or city-ward, in pursuit of work. They walk barefoot, carrying in their hands their shoes, which have high. heels under the hollow of the foot, and soles of birch bark. Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the road. side, each in its own little garden of Gethsemane.a
6. In the parish register great events are doubtless recorded. Some old king was christened or buried in that church; and a little sexton, with a great rusty key, shows you the baptismal font, or the coffin. In the church-yard are a few flowers, and much green grass; and daily the shadow of the church spire, with its long tapering finger, counts the tombs, thus representing an index of human life, on which the hours and minutes are the graves of men.
7. The stones are flat, and large, and low, and perhaps sunken, like the roofs of old houses. On some are armorial bearings; on others only the initials of the poor tenants, with a date, as on the roofs of Dutch cottages. They all sleep with their heads to the westward. Each held a lighted taper in his hand when he died; and in his coffin were placed his little heart-treasures, and a piece of money" for his last journey.
8. Near the church-yard gate stands a poor-box, fastened to a post by iron bands, and secured by a padlock, with a sloping wooden roof to keep off the rain. If it be Sunday, the peasants sit on the church steps and con their psalm-books. Others are coming down the road with their beloved pastor, who talks to them of holy things from beneath his broadbrimmed hat.
a Geth-sem'a-ne; a Scriptural allusion to the retired garden of Gethsemane near Je. rusalem, in which Christ prayed before he was betrayed by Judas. b This superstition was also common to the ancient Romans and American Indians. c Journey; passage from this to another world of existence.
9. He speaks of fields and harvests, and of the parable of the sower that went forth to sow. He leads them to the good Shepherd, and to the pleasant pastures of the spirit-land. He is their patriarch, and, like Melchisedek, both priest and king, though he has no other throne than the church pulpit. The women carry psalm-books in their hands, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs, and listen devoutly to the good man's words.
THE SAME SUBJECT, CONCLUDED.
1. I MUST not forget the suddenly changing seasons of the northern clime. There is no long and lingering spring unfolding leaf and blossom one by one; no long and lingering autumn, pompous with many-colored leaves and the glow of Indian summers. But winter and summer are wonderful, and pass into each other. The quail has hardly ceased piping in the corn, when winter, from the folds of trailing clouds, sows broad-cast over the land, snow, icicles, and rattling hail.
2. The days wane apace. Ere long the sun hardly rises above the horizon, or does not rise at all. The moon and the stars shine through the day; only, at noon, they are pale and wan, and in the southern sky a red, fiery glow, as of sunset, burns along the horizon, and then goes out. And pleasantly under the silver moon, and under the silent, solemn stars, ring the steel shoes of the skaters on the frozen sea, and voices, and the sound of bells.
3. And now the Northern Lights begin to burn, faintly at first, like sunbeams playing in the waters of the blue sea. Then a soft crimson glow tinges the heavens. There is a
a Indian Summer; that very fine, pleasant season of warm weather that usually oc curs in this latitude, near the end of October or the first of November. b To the inhab itants north of the Arctic Circle the sun neither rises nor sets for a certain time. c Northern Lights; that brilliant light seen in the north in the colder season, supposed to be occasioned by electricity.
The colors come and
blush on the cheek of night.
go; and 4. The snow is stained with rosy light. Twofold from the zenith, east and west, flames a fiery sword; and a broad band passes athwart the heavens, like a summer sunset. Soft purple clouds come sailing over the sky, and through their vapory folds the winking stars shine white as silver.
5. With such pomp as this is merry Christmas ushered in, though only a single star heralded the first Christmas. And in memory of that day the Swedish peasants dance on straw; and the peasant girls throw straws at the timbered roof of the hall, and for every one that sticks in a crack shall a groomsman come to their wedding. Merry Christmas indeed!
6. And now the glad, leafy mid-summer, full of blossoms, and the song of the nightingales, is come! In every village there is a May-pole fifty feet high, with wreaths and roses and ribbons streaming in the wind, and a noiseless weathercock on the top, to tell the village whence the wind cometh and whither it goeth. The sun does not set till ten o'clock at night; and the children are at play in the streets an hour later. The windows and doors are all open, and you may sit and read till midnight without a candle.
7. O how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but a sunless yet unclouded day, descending upon earth with dews, and shadows, and refreshing coolness! How beautiful the long, mild twilight, which like a silver clasp unites to-day with yesterday! How beautiful the silent hour, when morning and evening thus sit together, hand in hand, beneath the starless sky of midnight!
8. From the church tower in the public square the bell tolls the hour, with a soft, musical chime; and the watchman, whose watch-tower is the belfry, blows a blast on his horn, for each stroke of the hammer, four times, to the four corners of the heavens.
a The star which conducted the wise men to the birth place of Christ.
Ho! watchman, ho!
And hostile hand!
Twelve is the clock!
9. From his swallow's nest in the belfry he can see the sun all night long; and farther north, the priest stands at his door in the warm midnight, and lights his pipe with a common burning glass."
1. ON thy fair bosom, silver lake,
The wild swan spreads his snowy sail,
2. On thy fair bosom, waveless stream,
3. The waves, along thy pebbly shore,
As blows the north wind, heave their foam,
And curl around the dashing oar,
As late the boatman hies him home.
4. How sweet, at set of sun, to view
Thy golden mirror spreading wide,
And see the mist of mantling blue
Float round the distant mountain's side!
a Burning glass; a double convex lens, used to collect the rays of the sun. lake; a beautiful lake in New York. c Swan; an aquatic bird, generally of a beautiful white color, but sometimes black.