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The following translation was undertaken from a desire to lay before the English-speaking people the full treasury of epical beauty, folklore, and mythology comprised in The Kalevala, the national epic of the Finns. A brief description of this peculiar people, and of their ethical, linguistic, social, and religious life, seems to be called for here in order that the following poem may be the better understood. Finland (Finnish, Suomi or... more...

INTRODUCTION The Kalevala, or the Land of Heroes, as the word may be freely rendered, is the national epic of Finland, and as that country and its literature are still comparatively little known to English readers, some preliminary explanations are here necessary. On reference to a map of Europe, it will be seen that the north-western portion of the Russian Empire forms almost a peninsula, surrounded, except on the Norwegian and Swedish... more...

LIFE OF KEATS Of all the great poets of the early nineteenth century—Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Byron, Shelley, Keats—John Keats was the last born and the first to die. The length of his life was not one-third that of Wordsworth, who was born twenty-five years before him and outlived him by twenty-nine. Yet before his tragic death at twenty-six Keats had produced a body of poetry of such extraordinary power and promise that the... more...

KING DIDERIK AND THE LION’S FIGHT WITH THE DRAGON From Bern rode forth King Diderik,   A stately warrior form;Engaged in fray he found in the way   A lion and laidly worm. They fought for a day, they fought for two,   But ere the third was flown,The worm outfought the beast, and brought   To earth the lion down. Then cried the lion in his need   When he the warrior saw:“O aid me... more...

KING HACON’S DEATH And now has happened in our day   What was in ancient time foretold:Beneath his hand all Norroway’s land   Has Hacon brought, the wise and bold. Full many a warrior summons he   From all the country far and near;To Scotland’s realm, with shield and helm,   Across the sea the King will steer. As many as sword and helm can bear   With him must sail across the... more...


Part 1 Upon a time, before the faery broodsDrove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods,Before King Oberon's bright diadem,Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem,Frighted away the Dryads and the FaunsFrom rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns,The ever-smitten Hermes empty leftHis golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft:From high Olympus had he stolen light,On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sightOf his great summoner,... more...

I. THE WEST Beyond the moor and the mountain crest—Comrade, look not on the west—The sun is down and drinks awayFrom air and land the lees of day.The long cloud and the single pineSentinel the ending line,And out beyond it, clear and wan,Reach the gulfs of evening on.The son of woman turns his browWest from forty countries now,And, as the edge of heaven he eyes,Thinks eternal thoughts, and sighs.Oh wide's the world, to rest or... more...

AN INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES DICKENS In the spring of the year 1853, I observed, as conductor of the weekly journal Household Words, a short poem among the proffered contributions, very different, as I thought, from the shoal of verses perpetually setting through the office of such a periodical, and possessing much more merit.  Its authoress was quite unknown to me.  She was one Miss Mary Berwick, whom I had never heard of; and she was... more...

VERSE: A LEGEND OF PROVENCE The lights extinguished, by the hearth I leant,Half weary with a listless discontent.The flickering giant-shadows, gathering near,Closed round me with a dim and silent fear.All dull, all dark; save when the leaping flame,Glancing, lit up a Picture’s ancient frame.Above the hearth it hung.  Perhaps the night,My foolish tremors, or the gleaming light,Lent power to that Portrait dark and quaint—A... more...

LITTLE ENGEL. It was the little Engel, he   So handsome was and gay;To Upland rode he on a tide   And bore a maid away. In ill hour he to Upland rode   And made a maid his prize;The first night they together lay   Was down by Vesteryse. It was the little Engel he   Awoke at black midnight,And straight begins his dream to state   In terror and affright. “Methought the wolf-whelp... more...