When I Was Small - Poem by Jens Baggesen
There was a time when I was very small
A mere two feet was all I measured then;
And, when I think of this, tears sweetly fall,
So of it I think time and time again.
In tender mother’s arms in play I grew
And on dear father’s knee to ride I’d seek,
Of fear and brooding, grief and wrath I knew
As little as of gold and ancient Greek.
The earth much smaller then to me did seem
But at the same time much less evil too:
Then did I see the stars like bright dots gleam,
And wished for wings to seize them as I flew.
I saw the moon then slide behind the hill,
And thought: If only I were standing there!
Then I can really find out if I will
Of what it is – how big, how round, how fair!
I saw the sun then in amazement dive
Into the sea’s gold lap far in the West
And yet at early dawn once more contrive
To have the Eastern sky in crimson dressed.
And of my Heav’nly Father did I think
Who me and this fine sun created whole,
And all these nightime pearls on their great string
That span the starry vault from pole to pole.
With reverential lips did I repeat
The prayer my pious mother had me say:
O gracious God! Oh let me always seek
To be both wise and good, and You obey!
I prayed then for my father and my mother,
And for my sister and for all the town;
And for King Christian, and for the poor beggar
Who passed me by, deep sighing and bent down.
All gone, all gone, my childhood’s golden lustre!
My peace of mind, my joy with them are gone;
The memory of them is all that I can muster:
May I, please God, ne’er lose what once so shone!
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