by: Henrik Ibsen

      EETLING rock, with roar and smoke
      Break before my hammer-stroke!
      Deeper I must thrust and lower
      Till I hear the ring of ore.
      From the mountain's unplumbed night,
      Deep amid the gold-veins bright,
      Diamonds lure me, rubies beckon,
      Treasure-hoard that none may reckon.
      There is peace within the deep--
      Peace and immemorial sleep;
      Heavy hammer, burst as bidden,
      To the heart-nook of the hidden!
      Once I, too, a careless lad,
      Under starry heavens was glad,
      Trod the primrose paths of summer,
      Child-like knew not care nor cummer.
      But I lost the sense of light
      In the poring womb of night;
      Woodland songs, when earth rejoiced her,
      Breathed not down my hollow cloister.
      Fondly did I cry, when first
      Into the dark place I burst:
      "Answer spirits of the middle
      Earth, my life's unending riddle!--"
      Still the spirits of the deep
      Unrevealed their answer keep;
      Still no beam from out the gloomy
      Cavern rises to illume me.
      Have I erred? Does this way lead
      Not to clarity indeed?
      If above I seek to find it,
      By the glare my eyes are blinded.
      Downward, then! the depths are best;
      There is immemorial rest.
      Heavy hammer burst as bidden
      To the heart-nook of the hidden!--
      Hammer-blow on hammer-blow
      Till the lamp of life is low.
      Not a ray of hope's fore-warning;
      Not a glimmer of the morning.

'The Miner' was originally written in 1851. This English translation is reprinted from Lyrics & Poems from Ibsen. Trans. Fydell Edmund Garrett. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1912.




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