Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

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A man in coat of ice arrayed
Stood up once by the Arctic Ocean;
The whole earth shook with proud emotion
And honor to the giant paid.

A king came, to him climbing up,
An Order in his one hand bearing:
"Who great become, this sign are wearing."
--The growling giant said but "Stop!"

The frightened king fell down again,
Began to weep with features ashen:
"My Order is in this rude fashion
Refused by just the greatest men.

"My dear man, take it, 't is but fit,
Of your king's honor be the warder;
On your breast greater grows the Order,
And we who bear it, too, by it."--

The Arctic giant was too good,--
A foible oft ascribed to giants,
Who foolish trust in little clients,--
He took it,--while we mocking stood.

But all the kings crept to him then,
And each his Order brought, to know it
Thereby renewed and greater, so it
Gave rank to needy noblemen.

Honi soit ... and all the rest;
Soon Orders covered all his breast.
But oh! they greater grew no tittle,
And he grew so confounded little.

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Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson