Henrik Wergeland

(17 June 1808 – 12 July 1845 / Brevik)

The First Embrace


Come to me, grief, on my bosom press,
Lest it should burst with joy’s excess:
Heaven, with disaster, hell, with your pains,
Calm its commotion. For here awhile
She has lain. Strike, foes!
Your shafts but soothe, when they pierce the veins
Of a breast that lows
With the bliss of her thrill and her smile.

Sorrow and trouble have died away
Here, where her face in its loveliness lay.
Drowned she these in the deep of her eye?
Or sucked she their venom? I seemed to mark,
On her smiling lips,
How a tremulous shadow of pain passed by:
And the blue grew dark,
As her eyes’ light found eclipse.


Innocent bride, thou hast joined afresh
Soul with earth, and with God the flesh.
When on my breast, as pure and bright
As a saint’s white robe, thy perfect brow
Gently was lain,
Guilt with its tear-steins vanished quite,
And my mind is now
Like a cleansed and lighted fane.

My heart reflected an inward grace
From the sinless blush of thy maiden face:
To the waft of celestial wings was changed
The tress that wavered over me;
And, O joy, my soul,
Demoniac once, from heaven estranged,
Is, thanks to thee,
Darling, restored and whole.

I feel, where thy loving lips have pressed,
A glory shining within my breast,
And O, the paeans of love that burst,
At the touch of thy passionless, drowsy kiss.
I was fired and manned, -
While my fancy drank with a burning thirst
All the sweet of this
By a tender angel’s hand.

Love, while you lay by my beating heart,
What burgeoning blossoms seemed to start!
Blossoms that lived, and dreamed, and thought.
Almond or apple ws never so gay;
So rich a stream
Of the sun’s blood never the roses caught.
My soul its clay
Left in a blissful dram.

Cold, dark spirit, hold thee apart,
Or blend with the blood that stirs my heart;
Let it flow supreme in its pulses still,
Let nerves aquiver their passion prove,
And in ecstasy
Hark to the breast’s tense chords athrill,
Where, tranced in love,
She late at rest did lie

Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

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