Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Iceland
The King’s Welcome to Thingvalla
Matthías Jochumsson (1835–1920)
 
Translated by Bayard Taylor

WITH strong foot tread the holy ground,
Our snow-land’s King, the lofty-hearted,
Who from thy royal home hast parted,
To greet these hills that guard us round!
Our Freedom’s scroll thy hand hath lent us,        5
The first of kings whom God has sent us,
Hail! welcome to our country’s heart!
 
Land’s-father, here the Law-Mount view!
Behold God’s works in all their vastness!
Where saw’st thou Freedom’s fairer fastness,        10
With fire-heaved ramparts, waters blue?
Here sprang the sagas of our splendor:
Here every Iceland heart is tender:
God built this altar for his flock!
 
Here, as in thousand years of old,        15
Sound the same words, a voice unended,
As when their life and law defended
The spearmen with their shields of gold:
The same land yet the same speech giveth,
The ancient soul of Freedom liveth,        20
And hither, King, we welcome thee!
 
But now are past a thousand years,
As in the people’s memory hoarded,
And in God’s volume stand recorded
Their strife and trial, woes and fears;        25
Now let the hope of better ages
Be what thy presence, King! presages,—
Now let the prosperous time be sure!
 
Our land to thee her thanks shall yield,
A thousand years thy name be chanted,        30
Here, where the Hill of Law is planted,
’Twixt fiery fount and lava-field:
We pray All-Father, our dependence,
To bless thee and thy far descendants,
And those they rule, a thousand years!        35
 
 
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