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.
POEMS BY IBSEN
'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.