Jonas Hallgrimsson

Bjarni Thorarensen

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Suddenly summer is over,
the swans are all leaving ---
white as the snow, they are winging
their way to the sunlands.
Singing is echoed by silence
in sad mountain valleys.
Birds of ill-omen sit brooding
above our house gables.

Suddenly God turns your good friends'
gladness to sorrow,
faithful defender of Iceland
and friend of its people!
Once you sat merry among us,
admired and loquacious;
sorrow now hosts in our houses
and haunts all our roadways.

Only one comfort: the ugly
owls cannot triumph,
jeering an age-stricken eagle
whose eyes must watch ravens
holding a caucus on hummocks ---
not hawks on the cliff-tops!
Well, you have winged to the sunlands ---
the world has grown darker.

Seeing the sudden departure
of souls that we cherish,
let us be blithe and light-hearted
and look toward our homeland!
Armies in heaven sing anthems
each time their general
summons from this world's ensnarements
a soul that he treasures.

Men here below will remember
how many you gladdened,
gentle and kind, energetic,
genius in verses!
God give you gladness yourself, now,
in gatherings of spirits;
Bjarni, goodbye! The Lord keep you,
who brought us salvation.

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Jonas Hallgrimsson