"Til Foraaret"


O Foraar! Foraar! red mig!

Ingen har elsket dig ømmere end jeg.

Dit første Græs er mig meer værd end en Smaragd.

Jeg kalder dine Anemoner Aarets Pryd,

skjøndt jeg nok veed,

at Roserne ville komme.

Ofte slyngede de Fyrige sig efter mig.

Det var som at være elsket af Princesser.

Men jeg flygtede: Anemonen, Foraarets Datter,

havde min Tro.

O vidn da, Anemone,

som jeg fyrigen har knælet for!

Vidner, foragtede Løvetand og Leerfivel,

at jeg har agtet eder meer end Guld,

fordi I ere Foraarets Børn!

Vidn, Svale, at jeg gjorde Gjæstebud for dig som for et

hjemkommet fortabt Barn, fordi du var Foraarets Sendebud.

Søg disse Skyers Herre og bed,

at de ikke længer maae ryste Naale

ned i mit Bryst fra deres kolde blaa Aabninger.

Vidn, gamle Træ, hvem jeg har dyrket som en Guddom

og hvis Knopper jeg hvert Foraar har talt ivrigere end Perler!

Vidn Du, som jeg saa ofte har omfavnet
med en Sønnesønssøns

Ærbødighed for sin Oldefader.

Ah ja, hvor tidt har jeg ikke ønsket at være en ung Løn

af din udødelige Rod og at blande min Krone med din!

Ja, Gamle, vidn for mig! Du vil blive troet.

Du er jo ærværdig som en Patriark.

Bed for mig, skal jeg øse

Viin paa dine Rødder
og læge dine Ar med Kys.

Din Krone maa alt være i sit fagreste Lysgrønt,

dine Blade alt suse derude.

O Foraar! den Gamle raaber for mig, skjøndt han er hæs.

Han rækker sine Arme mod Himlen,

og Anemonerne,
dine blaaøiede Børn,

knæle og bede at du skal
redde mig –

mig, der elsker dig saa ømt.


Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845)


This composition, Henrik Wergeland's poem, "To Spring," for chorus and orchestra, was written in December of last year. A few changes were made, before posting here to this forum. 



You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • I would like to point out, that the translation located at archive dot org, translates only half the poem. My rough translation of the Wergeland poem, is as follows:


    "To Spring"


    O Spring! Spring! save me!
    No one has loved you more tenderly than I!

    Your first pasture is more priceless than an Emerald at World's End.
     Your Anemones I call champions of the whole year,
    although I know, that the roses will come.

    Often their sinuous flames stretched out for me,
    and it was as though I was being loved by a Princess.
    I fled: but,  Anemone, Daughter of Spring, had my faith.

    O witness then, Anemone, before whom I have fervently knelt!
    Witness, scorned dandelion and bright Coltsfoot,
    I have valued you above Gold, because you are the Children of Spring!

    Witness, swallows, that I did feast for you as for a
    lost child come home, because you were Messengers of Spring.

    I search and pray that no longer May clouds will shake needles
    down my chest from their cold blue openings.

    I witness, old Woods, who from Spring buds have grown, buds that I have counted more eagerly than Pearls!

    You witness, that I so often embraced
    with a son of sons reverence for his grandfathers.
    Ah yes, how often have I not wanted to mix my crown with yours and be immortal!

    Yes, Old One, a witness for me! You will be believed,
    and become as venerable as a Patriarch.

    Pray for me, I pour at your feet wine
    and doctor your brow with Kisses.

    Everything of yours must be crowned fairest light green,
    Your leaves bursting forth everywhere.

    O Spring! the Old Man is hoarse, calling for me.
    He reaches heaven with his arms,  and Anemone,
    Your blue eyed Children, kneel and pray that you will
    save me - me, who love thee so tenderly. 


  • Thank you for your thoughtful remarks, Jon. MacIntosh bundles language fonts into their software. You can select a language, and it will configure the keyboard to the font language. I don't put on my resumé that I can type in Devangari, (नमस्ते !  -- namaste!), or in Russian, (Здравствуйте!), -- but I could! There is also a feature called "show character viewer" where all typing symbols are in a huge chart. From this chart, one can insert, say, a symbol, or diacritical mark. However, the foreign language keyboard is actually a faster option, particularly if one is going to work in a language for any amount of time. I'm a bit surprised however, because my understanding is that PC and Mac have been moving closer to each other in terms of technology. There should be a way for you to make diacritic marks whether you use a PC or a Mac!
  • To date, I have not located any music written to this particular poem by Wergeland. Grieg has a set of songs by Wergeland, but not this poem, (the last poem in the 6 song cycle is, "Last Spring," a different poem. There are also songs to his poems translated into German. I wouldn't be surprised if there were several compositions to this poem, however, because the poem is practically considered to be iconic of Norway. 


    It is interesting, but my music has a slightly different quality to it, when I use Spanish poetry. Would it be a stretch of the imagination, to claim that, as I developed a repertoire in Spanish, that the music was beginning to sound -- Spanish....? I consider it an important part of my development as a composer, however. The bulk of my vocal writing is in Russian. As a matter of fact, I write more vocal music in Russian, than I do in English. I have approached it, (that is, the question of writing to Russian poetry, and lyrics), very cautiously, and my writing has been very tight. Using Spanish has opened up my writing, (for instance, a freer use of intervals), and I am deeply appreciative of that. As an aside, the first time I decided to write music in Spanish, I picked up a bi-linqual book, with the poem in Spanish with an English translation of the poem. It didn't take me long to find a poem that interested me, as a subject to write music to. As a matter of fact, the second or third poem I came across, I thought, "Hmmm....this one has a good resonance (with me)..." I looked at the Spanish. The date of the poem was 1643! Finally, let me say, that, synthetic voice patches allow me to write music for voice, however, obviously, they are unable to sing words.  I apologize for the frustration. 

  • My first opera, "Ajax," by Sophocles, I translated myself -- from the Russian. When I first began translating Sophocles from Russian, I was a bit surprised at the "leanness" of the sentences, quite different from the florid language I recalled in English translations of Sophocles that I remember. It turns out that the English translation, written in the first decade of the last century, (by Gilbert Murray, Oxford University) that I was familiar with as a youth, (I directed "Oedipus Tyrannus" when I was 17), freely translated the Ancient Greek into a "King James Bible Version". Since then I have continued to be surprised to find how pliable the art and craft of translation is. As an example, the Russians love Shakespeare. It will not be unusual to find 2, 3, or more different translations of any given Shakespeare play. For instance, "Romeo and Juliet," might have three different Russian translations. "Hamlet," has about four or five different translations, one of them, written in the late 19th century, they consider a "classic," (isn't that interesting?), while the one by Nabokov in the late 1950's is famous in its own right, as well. There are actually a few reasons why I choose a play by Sophocles as a subject for my first opera. But my main purpose in selecting a Sophocles' play, was, that, I reasoned I would have no better model to learn dramatic structure from. I am no different from countless thousands of other dramatic artists who give special regard to Sophocles. While Stravinsky's oratorio of "Oedipus," is, of course, in Latin, I, myself am taking steps to write an opera, "Oedipus Tyrranus," -- in the original Greek. So, I read with interest your last comment on Mikis Theodoraki. But that is a long ways away. I don't expect my current project to yield itself for many years to come.
This reply was deleted.