Saturday, February 16, 2019

Poem Retrospective XVI

The Kalevipoeg, written by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald on the basis of Estonian folk legends, is the national epic of Estonia; the story of Salme is a minor episode in it. Salme and Linda are maidens born from eggs who are wooed by a number of suitors. Salme, turning down the moon and sun, marries the star; Linda marries the giant Kalev, and the epic is primarily about her children. 'Harria' is the Latin name for what is today known as Harjumaa, lying on the northern coast of Estonia.

Salme's Song

I will not love the night-lord,
nor marry the harried moon.
His work is always pressing,
his rising oft too soon.

I will not love the sun-king;
his fire I cherish not;
he blights the land with fury
and passions waxing hot.

The star I take as lover;
he shines with gentle light;
his eyes are kind and loving
and steady in the night.

Thus starry youth and Salme
shall wed in joy sublime
and waltz on Harria's shoreland
until the end of time.

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