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Lyr Add: Da jeg var lille (Jens Baggesen)

keberoxu 03 Sep 18 - 05:53 PM
keberoxu 03 Sep 18 - 06:27 PM
keberoxu 10 Sep 18 - 12:06 PM
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Subject: Der var en Tid, da jeg var meget lille
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 05:53 PM

This lyric has actually been around for over two hundred years.

Its Danish author was a gifted writer
who not only took Danish literature seriously
but identified profoundly with German literature,
and in his work sometimes bridged the gap between the two cultures.
His life was tumultuous.
At one point he had enough wealth to base his home in Paris;
then the money went, and he served time in debtor's prison.
Although his sons survived him, he was twice married and each spouse died rather young.
Baggesen was impulsive and passionate, and often got into ugly stinking rows with other writers,
to the point of venomous literary feuds, so he made enemies.
He comes across as something of a progressed adolescent.

Perhaps that is why his lament for the lost idylls of childhood
became so popular, and endured long after his day.


Der var en Tid, da jeg var meget lille,
Min hele Krop var knap en Alen lang:
Sødt, naar jeg den mig tænker, Taarer trille,
Og derfor tænker jeg den mangen Gang.

Jeg spøged i min ømme Moders Arme,
Og sad til Hest paa beste Faders Knæ,
Og kiendte Mismod, Uro, Grublen, Harme
Saa lidt som Penge, Græsk, og Galathee.

Da syntes mig, vor Jord var meget mindre,
Men og tillige meget mindre slem;
Da saae jeg Stiernerne som Prikker tindre,
Og ønskte Vinger for at fange dem.

Da saae jeg Maanen ned bag Den glide,
Og tænkte: gid du vaar paa Den der!
Saa kunde du dog rigtig faae at vide,
Hvoraf, hvor stor, hvor rund, hvor kiøn den er.

Da saae jeg undrende Guds Sol at dale
Lidt efter lidt i Havets gyldne Skiød,
Og glad og henrykt saae den atter male
Om Morgenen den fierne Biergtop rød.

Og tænkte paa den naadige Gud Fader,
Som skabte mig, og denne smukke Sol,
Og alle disse glade Myriader,
Som vrimle fra Hans Hænder Pol til Pol.

Med barnlig Andagt bad min unge Læbe
Den Bøn, min fromme Moder lærte mig:
O gode Gud! o lag mid altid stræbe,
At være viis, og god, og lyde Dig!

Saa bad jeg for min Fader, for min Moder,
Og for min Søster, og den hele By,
Og for ukiendte Konge, og den Stodder,
Der gik mig krum og sukkende forbi.

De svandt, de svandt, de Barndoms blide Dage!
Min Rolighed, min Fryd med dem svandt hen   --
Jeg kun Erindringen har nu tilbage;
Gud! lad mig aldrig, aldrig tabe den!

--Jens Immanuel Baggesen written 1784

from Jens Baggesen's danske Værker, anden Udgave, andet Bind, Kjøbenhavn: C. A. Reitzel, 1845. Appears in Poetiske Skrifter, anden Deel, Lyriske Digte, første Samling, Viser og Sange, pages 200 - 201.

More than one musical setting exists for this lyric, including this recent version.

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Subject: Lyr Add: There was a time, and I recall it well
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 06:27 PM

The above song lyric -- "when I was little" -- has been translated and sung in other languages.
I have yet to encounter a musical setting of the English translation, however, submitted in this post.

There was a time, and I recall it well,
When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
oh! when I think of that, my warm tears swell,
And therefore in the memory I delight.

I sported in my mother's kind embraces,
And climbed my grandsire's venerable knee;
Unknown were care, and rage, and sorrow's traces;
To me the world was blest as blest could be.

I marked no frowns the world's smooth surface wrinkle,
Its mighty space seemed little to my eye;
I saw the stars, like sparks, at distance twinkle,
And wished myself a bird, to soar so high.

I saw the moon behind the hills retiring,
And thought the while -- Oh! would I were but there!
Then could mine eye examine without tiring
That radiant thing, how large, how round, how fair.

Wondering I saw the sun of God depart
To slumber in the golden lap of Even,
And from the East again in beauty dart
To bathe in crimson all the field of Heaven.

I thought on him, the Father all-bestowing,
Who made me, and that beauteous orb so high,
And all the little stars, that nightly glowing
Decked like a row of pearls the azure sky.

To him with infant piety I faltered
The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
"Oh! gracious God! be it my aim unaltered,
Still to be wise and good, and follow Thee!"

For her I prayed, and for my father too,
My sister dear, and the community,
The king, whom yet by name alone I knew,
And mendicant that sighing tottered by.

Those days were matchless sweet -- but they are perished,
And life is thorny now, and dim, and flat;
Yet rests their memory, deeply, fondly cherished:
God! in thy mercy, take not, take not that!

- by William Sidney Walker, Trinity College, Cambridge

published in Poems, from the Danish. London: Carpenter & Son, 1815, pages 44 - 46.

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Subject: "Childhood", English translation by Longfellow
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Sep 18 - 12:06 PM

CHILDHOOD. From the Danish.

There was a time when I was very small,
When my whole frame was but an ell in height,
Sweetly, as I recall it, tears do fall,
And therefore I recall it with delight.

I sported in my tender mother's arms,
And rode a-horse-back on best father's knee;
Alike were sorrow, passions, and alarms,
And gold, and Greek, and love, unknown to me.

Then seemed to me this world far less in size,
Likewise it seemed to me less wicked far;
Like points in heaven, I saw the stars arise,
And longed for wings that I might catch a star.

I saw the moon behind the island fade,
And thought, "O, were I on that island fair,
I could find out of what the moon is made,
Find out how large it is, how round, how fair!"

Wondering, I saw God's sun, through western skies,
Sink in the ocean's golden lap at night,
And yet upon the morrow early rise,
And paint the eastern heaven with crimson light;

And thought of God, the gracious Heavenly Father,
Who made me, and that lovely sun on high,
And all those pearls of heaven thick-strung together,
Dropped, clustering, from his hand all o'er the sky.

With childish reverence, my young lips did say
The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
"O Gentle God! O let me strive alway
Still to be wise, and good, and follow thee!"

So prayed I for my father and my mother,
And for my sister, and for all the town;
The king I knew not, and the beggar-brother,
Who, bent with age, went, sighing, up and down.

They perished, the blithe days of boyhood perished,
And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!
Now have I but their memory, fondly cherished; --
God! may I never, never lose that too!

-- translated into English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A complete Edition, London: G. Routledge and Co., 1858. Appears in Translations, page 571.

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