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.
 
Introductory to Sweden
Gothland
Pierre Daniel Huet (1630–1721)
 
(From A Tour to Stockholm)
Translated by J. Duncombe

SPITE of the wind’s tempestuous roar,
We cross the Sound to Schonen’s shore.
Our host there cooked a strange repast,
Delicious to a Gothland taste:
He kindly urged us first to eat,        5
Sprinkled with saffron, salted meat:
Then on the board at once appear
Raw mutton-steaks, dried currants, beer,
Sweet-scented herbs, rice pounded, wine,
Cloves, and quick pepper, sifted fine:        10
The table, last, full many a pound
Of ginger, butter, sugar crowned;
With mustard, honey, fennel, oil,
And coriander.—All the toil
And skill of Hecaté could ne’er        15
In Stygian shades such cates prepare;
Nor worse the drugs, if fame be true,
Which unrelenting step-dames brew.
Each dish untouched, we haste away,
Resolved to travel night and day.        20
  To Helmstadt first our car proceeds,
Where, tired, we bait our dusty steeds.
Hence, ordered to his native land
(For such the queen’s severe command),
Vossius with many a tear departs,        25
But leaves his image in our hearts.
  Through fir-tree forests, large and brown,
We pass, to Gothlanders well known:
Our thirst with proffered mead we slaked;
They then brought biscuits, which, well baked,        30
With salt and cumin they prepare,
And harden in the smoke and air:
Your knife can no impression make;
Then, in its stead, a hammer take.
  Smaland’s steep rocks we clamber o’er,        35
And trace Lake Vetter’s winding shore.
Here, at our servant, as we passed,
Unnumbered jokes and jeers were cast;
While, on the coach’s summit placed,
His empty head with nightcap graced,        40
He in Marot’s melodious lay
King David’s psalms would sing or say;
For, though composed by Claude, each note
Was jargon in his raven throat.
  Now wild East Gothland’s bounds we gain,        45
Where beast-skins clothe each livid swain;
Frost-bit their faces, coarse their fare,
Caps of warm frieze the women wear;
Well jolted with the rugged way,
Each night in cottages we lay,        50
Which upright trunks of trees compose;
Grass on the turfy covering grows,
Where sheep, as on a level mead,
Undaunted, unmolested, feed:
The roof has peep-holes; so, ’t is said,        55
Thy temple, Terminus, was made.
Within are fifty beds, where rest,
On straw, wife, husband, slave, and guest.
*        *        *        *        *
  Wide-branching pines, as hence we past,
A welcome shade around us cast.        60
The night o’ertook us at a town,
Named Lidcoping, to fame well known,
Where first their breath the Magni drew,
Johannes and Olaus too.
  At Norkoping, where copper-plates        65
Are forged, the steeds our driver baits.
Large coins are here impressed, and threads
Formed of vast length from copper shreds.
To distant lands these precious wares
In loaded ships the merchant bears.        70
  At Nykoping, our next day’s stage,
Queen Leonora, worn with age,
In vain complaints her sorrow vents,
And still Gustavus’ death laments.
  Once famed, by subterraneous fires        75
Now wasted, Telga next aspires.
Each stable here reindeer contains,
The denizens of northern plains;
Two curling horns their lofty brow
Defend; like stags their bodies show:        80
O’er ice and snow, the lake, and mead,
They whirl the sledge with Eurus’ speed.
 
 
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