H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

A poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient online

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ests ; Grundtvig's tumuli, where the stones give forth a mel-
ody like Memnon's statue; here lie Holberg's towns with liv-
ing beings as we see and know them ; here is the scent of
the fresh-mown hay in Christian Winther's clover field. In-
gemann leads thee by moonlight through the sweet-smelling
beech woods, where the nightingale warbles, and the springs
tell thee of olden memories. Hertz and Heiberg will teach
thee that the Danish language has tones that it can be
forged into whistling arrows, into flaming swords. There is
life moving in the young race. Hear him who sang of Venus,
Cupid, and Pysche ; he who relates " A Brother's Life ! "
Follow him whom thou art reading here in the vessel : and
who is he ? A pseudonym, one Carl Bernhard, the younger
brother of the author of " An Every-day Story ; " the younger
brother who is rising as the elder is declining : the young tree
shoots forth new and fresh branches every time ; the one
stronger than the other. The elder-tree has lost its life's fresh-
ness, its new branches are dry and decayed ; they fall of them-
selves from the crown, which gives scent in "The Light
Nights" in "Dreams and Reality."

The passage down the Elbe is soon ended ; it is the last
evening ! How gray, how cold ! The swallows and martins
fly across the river to their nests under the house-roofs and
their holes in the declivities.

The swallow comes from the warm lands in the spring-time ;
instinct drives it toward the North ; it leads it through the
airy desert to its nest. By the yellow, rolling river with the
poor green shores, stands a small house with a blooming elder-
bush. " There I must go ! " twitters the swallow. " Desire
draws me thither, from the tall palm and the shady plantain."

The elder-bush exhales such sweet fragrance. The old
grandmother sits on the threshold, and looks at the ships ; a
little girl sits on her stool, and amuses herself with the flowers
on grandmother's gown. Poor swallow 1 thou comest again !
The flowering elder is cut down ; the old grandmother is in her



A NORTHWARD FLIGHT. 343

grave ; the little girl is out in the world with strangers. The
house itself, where thou built thy nest, is smartened up and
ornamented ; the new owner will not permit any swallows'
nests. Alas ! how changed !

It is morning. Enveloped in a cold, raw mist, the towe 3
of Hamburg stand before us. We are in the North. The
Elbe rolls its milky waves against our ugly steamer. We land ;
we drive through the dark, narrow streets. Here is music, a
great musical festival. This evening all will beam with light,
away over the Alster, and under the green avenues. Liszt is
here. I shall hear him again in the same saloon as when I
departed hear again his " Valse Infernale ! " Shall I not
think that my whole travelling flight was only a dream, under
Liszt's rushing, roaring, fuming, foaming fantasias ? Not
months, but only minutes have vanished. " No, time has ad-
vanced ! " say my many countrymen, whom I meet on the Jung-
fernstieg. " We have gone greatly forward, whilst you were on
your travels ; we have got omnibuses in Copenhagen." Yes,
it goes forward, say I to myself, as I on my wanderings see
Heiberg's name brought to the corner of Altona. Miss Sich-
lau has, with " Emily's Palpitation," brought his name to the
Elbe. There it is on the play-bill, which is plastered up at
the street-corner : an itinerant Danish company perform Hei-
berg's vaudevilles in Altona.

Music sounds ; rockets ascend ! Farewell ! Over the swell-
ing sea to the green islands !

I have never known home-sickness, unless when the heart
has been filled with a singular love at thinking of the dear
friends at home, an endless pleasure, which pictures forth the
moment that we see them again, for the first time, in the well-
known circle. Then the picture comes forth so life-like, that
tears come into the eyes ; the heart melts, and must forcibly
tear itself away from such thoughts ! Is this home-sickness ?
Yes ! Then I also know it. The first moment of arrival at
home is, however, the bouquet of the whole voyage.



THE END.



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Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 31 of 31)