BOOK THE THIRD.
Bursting on Calicut’s perfidious towers.
Lusiad, Book 8.
My first bold task ——
Before him wide the dark-browed forests frown’d—
According to Pinkerton, forests are frequent in Dalecarlia. This remark seemed necessary, to obviate the objection against placing woods in a mineral soil.
Gustaf Wase, or Gustavus Vasa, was the son of Eric Vasa, governor of Halland, and was cousin-german to Steen Sture. Being the grand nephew of King Canutson, he was descended from the ancient kings of Sweden. Before his confinement by Christiern, he was one of the moving springs of the state; he assisted Sture with his counsels, which were bold and judicious, and gained a signal victory over the Danes. Christiern, receiving him as a hostage, caused him to be arrested and carried him to Denmark, where, by the request of Eric Banner, he was entrusted to the care of that nobleman. From his custody, however, he soon escaped, and traversed the various provinces of Sweden, in hopes of exciting at least some of them to assert their independence. His efforts, however, surprising and unwearied as they were, did not avail, ’till he arrived in the remote province of Dalecarlia. His unexpected appearance there among the peasants excited the whole province to revolt, and an army, assembled in haste, stormed the Governor’s castle, and destroyed the greater part of the garrison. After this beginning, his successes gradually increased, and Angermanland, Helsingland, Gestricia, and other governments almost immediately came over to his party. He sustained a war against the whole powers of Christiern for some years in a most skilful and indefatigable manner, and succeeded at last in expelling Christiern, Trolle, and Norbi, from the land of which he was now elected monarch. A task, scarcely less difficult, remained—to extirpate the Catholic religion from Sweden. This he effected, and established Lutheranism on so firm a basis, that it has resisted all attempts to shake it. After a long and really glorious reign, he was succeeded by his son Eric the Fourteenth, in 1560. In him were combined all the qualities necessary to constitute a hero; he was enterprising, vigilant, proof against pleasures, brave, prudent, and generous. He erected Sweden to a degree of power and respectability unknown before, and laid the foundation for the victories of Gustavus Adolphus and Charles the Twelfth. For the particular events of his life and reign, see Vertot, Puffendorff, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and most modern histories.
How Haquin triumph’d, or how Birger fell—
Haquin and Birger were common names among the earlier kings of Sweden.