Jonas Hallgrimsson

At an Old Grave, 1841

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Hardship! though your unhappy son
lies here secure in nature's keeping,
clad in eternal night and sleeping ---
his soul's enduring weal is won.

Glazed is your eye --- how free from guile,
how kind in my young estimation!
It made me sigh with admiration,
seeing the triumph of your smile!

Stilled are your thin, deft hands (how high
their art had been! our envy lingers),
agile as winsome maidens' fingers
laying white linen out to dry.

Bide here, my old friend, in your bed
until the golden tones of seven
trumpets remold the earth and heaven!
Iceland was cold, oh Kjærnested.

Artistry knows her cue to cry:
wintertime snows lay waste the flowers,
waiting to close their tale of hours ---
the reddest rose is first to die.

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Jonas Hallgrimsson