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In June, 1839, in his sixtieth year, the angel
of death, of whom he had written so well, approached him with his sad
summons; and, amid the regrets and sorrows of a whole nation, his lofty
spirit took its flight to those purer regions, in which, in imagination,
it already long had dwelt. He was buried in the new cemetery in
Stockholm, which he himself had consecrated; and his grave is adorned
with a large and appropriate monument.

At the first anniversary meeting of the Swedish Academy, after his
death, Bishop Tegner read a memorial poem highly eulogistic of the
deceased, and which ended as follows:

"And, tire, as it speeds along,
The lightly flying Swedish song;
Then let its weary wings be rested,
Against thy grave--and soar anew
To starry realms again, to you,
With prestige by the Learned Circle vested,
Thou bard like few! Prime speaker uncontested!"[E]

[Footnote A: The Swedish Academy is composed of eighteen men, selected
from among the most learned and literary men of the country, and is the
highest tribunal to pass upon the merits of poetical essays and works of
literature in general; and the very fact, that a person has been awarded
a prize by this Academy, is alone sufficient to insure for him an
imperishable name in the annals of Swedish literature.]

[Footnote B:

"Du väktare i skyn! Är natten ännu lång?
Vi tro ej stjernans ljus, ej månans stilla gång
Vi trodde uppå dig. Så upplys jordens slägten!
Är natten ännu lång? Och kommer morgonväkten?"
]

[Footnote C: His great popularity with the masses naturally caused them
to apply to him for all sorts of information and advice, with full
confidence that he knew how to assist and advise in all matters. As an
example of his oft peculiar way of treating queer questions, and yet
satisfying the questioner, the following may be related: For about
twenty years a number of writs and fore-tellings had frightened
credulous people with the prediction that the world would perish on a
certain given date. As the time drew near that date Wallin was besieged
for information as to the validity of the said prediction. To the
constantly repeated question, "Is it true, Bishop, that the world shall
perish on Thursday?" Wallin had always the same answer: "Please call
again on Friday, and I will let you know." The questioner withdrew
consoled.]

[Footnote D: Wallin not only revised completely the old hymn-book of the
church, but composed a very large number of the divinely beautiful and
universally celebrated songs, of which the present Swedish hymn-book is
composed.]

[Footnote E: The literal translation of the last two lines (impossible
to retain while maintaining the original meter) is:

Thou first voice in the Literary Circle!
Thou poet as few! Thou orator as none!
]




ANGEL OF DEATH.


[Illustration]


Ye children, Adam's, of earth begotten,
Who unto earth shall again return!
You are my own: Be it not forgotten,
I am the penalty sin did earn!...
O man, time's guest!
With my grasp, I reach thee,
From east to west,
And by voices, teach thee
With scripture's word in the Master's name,
From air and water and earth and flame.

You build and dwell like the sparrows, building,
In sunny summer, their fragile nest:
Securely feeling, in shady shielding,
They sing so joyful in happy rest;
But sudden gust
Of the tempest shatters
The tiny crust
Of their nest in tatters--
The merry song, heard so short before,
With grief is silenced forevermore.

Like pigeons, cooing in anxious calling,
You sigh for morn, with to-day not through,
When, unbethought, like a trap-door falling,
The earth unlocketh itself for you--
You disappear
Where no light is nearing--
Soon mem'ry dear
Is no more endearing--
And new-lit moon, from its silvered sky,
Again, sees others arrive and fly.

In circling dances so lightly swinging
You follow wildly amusement's thread,
With myrtle blooming and music ringing ...
But solemn I on the threshold tread:--
The dance is checked
And the clang is wailing,
The wreath is wrecked
And the bride is paling:
The end of splendor and joy and might
Is only sorrow and tears and blight.

I am the mighty, who has the power,
Till yet a mightier shall appear.
In deepest pit, on the highest tower,
My chilling spirit is ever near:
Those plagues of night
And of desolation,
Whose breath of blight
May annul a nation,
They slay the victims, which I select,
Whom shield and armor can not protect.

I wrap the wing round the polar tempest
And calm the waves ere they reach the strand.
I crush the schemes of dynastic conquest,
And wrench the club from the tyrant's hand.
I eras chase,
Like the hour just passing;
And race on race,
With their works amassing,
Like heaving waves, in my footsteps flow,
Till, last, no ripples their murmur show.

'Gainst me in vain are your wit and letters,
'Gainst me nor weapons nor arts prevail.
I freedom give to the slave in fetters,--
His ruler's will I in irons nail.
I lead the battle--
And armies tumble,
Like slaughtered cattle,
While cannons rumble,
And never rise from their sudden fall
Until alarmed by the judgment-call.

I wave my hand--and, with whirlwinds' sweeping
All life on earth to that place doth fly,
Where not a sound to the ear is creeping,
Where not a tongue moves to make reply.
My foot meanders--
And kings and heroes,
And Alexanders,
And wicked Neros,
And princes, lofty in might and lust,
Are all transformed to--a handful dust.

In lowly earth, upon which they bother
And beg and wrangle for rank and gift,
I mix the races among each other,
I lay the centuries, drift on drift.
Forlorn and friendless
Exists no pleasure;
In shadows endless
No pomp, or treasure.
Their owners left them when on came night--
Now others claim them, with lawful right.

There is no stronghold on earth erected,
No guarded fort, that can save you, known.
Though by recorded transfer protected,
Your gained possession is not your own:
The purple hems
Of your silk-robed neighbor,
The crape, the gems,
And the yoke of labor,
Lo, other mortals their folds adorn,
On other shoulders their loads are borne!

You have arrived, you shall part in pity;
You have not here either house or home.
You soon shall dwell in that narrow city,
Where sun and moon never lit the dome;
Where crest and foil
At the gate shall crumble--
And, from his toil,
Be released the humble;
Where captives' fetters, and love's sweet band,
Shall, fragile, break by the same strong hand.

Where is your wife, and where is your mother?--
Then they have wandered away that road,
Whence none returneth to greet another,
The foot-path, soon, to _your_ last abode....
Take tender care of
The charge God left thee,
Ere, unaware of,
It be bereft thee,
Before your eyes nevermore to mount,
Till for its keeping you shall account!

"Where is your brother? Where is your equal?"
Will _then_ be questions too late to heed.
You _then_ find brethren--such is the sequel--
You spiteful rich, in the worms you feed!
And when they fattened,
Like you, expire,
A reptile battened
Shall growth acquire,
Whose stings and gnawing shall never cease.
Upon your conscience, devoid of peace.

For you it waits, you, whose greed is preying
On mishap's victims, on joy forlorn;
Who, faith and country alike betraying,
The good deride and the sacred scorn;
Who, laws repressing
And hearts decoying,
Are virtue's blessing,
For fun, destroying--
And woe is fun's and derision's prize,
When, pale, the phantoms of vengeance rise.

For you it waits, all ye lying spirits,
When, stiff, the tongue to the palate sticks.
Your tongue would poison all honest merits,
Defiling honor by artful tricks;--
But, at my bar,
There is no demurrer:
The tomb I spar,
And I gag the slurrer,--
Who next thereafter, when speech is past,
To _Him_ shall answer, who judges last!

Then search, with rigor, your minds' desire,
Then probe, in tremor, your souls' intent;
With hands and hearts clean and pure, aspire
To _Him_ who knows what, within, you meant.
Yet, thither, mortals,
Your way is wending,
Where, on the portals,
Till time be ending,
There stands this sentence, without reprieve:
Here all shall enter--and none shall leave!

The earth devours you, with your achievements,
And locks together its jaws again,
If by beneficence, or bereavements,
You cheered, or injured, your fellow men--
But of this earth
Do not ask your measure;
For, if in dearth,
Or if blest with treasure,
Your past, your present, what hence befall
_He_ only knoweth, Who knoweth all.

What God requires of man, He told thee;
He meted out, for your life's career,
What griefs should bend, and what cheers uphold thee
And what you had to accomplish here.
His power wrought you
What you transacted,
And wisdom taught you
That right you acted,
If but you heard, from submissive choice,
The great celestial spirit's voice.

Attend the voice of the spirit sounder,
With upright steps, in His errand walk;
And, then, not question if you shall founder,
Nor care for grateful, or thankless, talk!
Fulfill your calling
With courage peerless!
If even falling,
Look upward fearless!
Then there shall clasp thee an angel's hand
And gently lead to thy promised land.

Stand firm, with conscience of pure intention,
Through times of trial, of toil and pain!
Then may your happiness meet prevention,
But mind and virtue can peace retain;
Then, in the sod
Though your corpse be buried,
These words of God
On the soul are veried:
"Thou true hast labored till payments' day,
Now, faithful servant, receive thy pay!"

To all do justice, and help the needy,
And comfort sorrow, where e'er you can!
For truth's defence unto death be speedy,
And win, as christian, and fall, as man!
No worldly samples
Of honors jading
Shall wreath your temples
With laurels fading;
But bright, eternal, shall thee entrance
The blessed holies' inheritance.

What worth had faith, if it lay not resting,
A bright-eyed pearl, in the heart enclosed,
In heav'nward gazes its sparkle vesting,
When crumbling shell leaves the core exposed?
Sweet slumber follows
When pain expires....
And creak the gallows,
And flame the fires,
Lo, martyr!



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