The Death of Balder eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 71 pages of information about The Death of Balder.

Transcribed by David Price, email

An Edition of 250 Copies only will be printed. 
No more will be published.

The death of Balder
from the Danish of Johannes Ewald
translated by George Borrow

Author of “Bible in Spain,” “Lavengro,” “Wild Wales,” etc.

JARROLD & sons, 3 paternoster buildings, E.C.


The works of the late poet Ewald are deservedly popular in Denmark.  The present tragedy, and the opera of “The Fishermen” ("Fiskerne"), in which occurs the bold lyric which has become the national song of the Danes, are esteemed his best productions.

For the fidelity with which the present version has been made I appeal to those of my countrymen who understand the original, and demand whether I have given a thought or expression equivalents to which are not to be found in the Danish tragedy.

I have imitated the peculiar species of blank verse in which the original is composed, in order that the English reader may form an exact idea thereof, and though by having done so my poetry may have somewhat of a cramped, embarrassed gait, I have a firm hope that I shall not meet very severe reprehension for having sacrificed elegance to fidelity.

George Borrow.


Balder.  Hother. 
Thor.  Nanna. 
Loke.  The Three Valkyrier.

The place of action is a pine-wood on the Norwegian mountains.  Round about it are seen steep and uneven rocks.  The top of the hindermost and highest is covered with snow.


Balder and Thor are seated upon stones at some distance from each other.  Both are armed—­Thor with his hammer, and Balder with spear and sword.

Balder.  Land whose proud and rocky bosom
Braves the sky continually!

Thor.  Where should strength and valour blossom,
Land of rocks, if not in thee?

Balder.  Odin’s shafts of ruddy levin
Back from thy hard sides are driven;
Never sun thy snow dispels.

Thor.  Sure, he’ll joy in deeds of daring,
Ne’er for ease voluptuous caring,
Who upon the mountain dwells.

Both.  Land whose proud and rocky bosom
Braves the sky continually! 
Where should strength and valour blossom,
Land of rocks, if not in thee?

Balder (he springs up, but Thor remains sitting, like one in deep
thought).  Ha!  I will quickly fly from thee for ever,
Thou hated land, where everything so proudly
Upbraids me for my weakness—­for my fetters: 
Where I, pursu’d by pains of hopeless passion,
The live-long nights among deaf rocks do wander—­
Whose echoes sport with Balder’s lamentations,
Each cold, each feelingless, as Nanna’s bosom,
The fair, unpitying savage!

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The Death of Balder from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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