[The most eminent sonneteer whom Sweden has produced is Erik Johan Stagnelius, who was almost precisely a contemporary of Shelley, and slightly resembled him in temperament. He was born in 1793 in a parsonage on the island of Oland, his father becoming, in the son's childhood, Bishop of Kalmar. The poet had a brilliant if somewhat eccentric career at the University of Lund. He wrote early, and soon surpassed all that had written Swedish verse before him. He enjoyed a great success in various departments of lyrical and dramatic literature, and though he was melancholy and capricious, and of a delicate constitution, his death at the age of twenty-nine, in the beginning of 1823, was a surprise to every one. He was found dead, but how he died remains a complete mystery. The fame of Stagnelius is eclipsed, in his own country, only by that of Tegnér, and his sonnets, though exceedingly mystical and often obscure, are certainly the most original in the language. As no English version of them has ever been printed, I have attempted to translate the following examples, at the request of my friend Mr. S. Waddington]
Deep slumber hung o'er sea and hill and plain;
With pale pink cheek fresh from her watery caves
Slow rose the moon out of the midnight waves,
Like Venus out of ocean born again.
Olympian blazed she on the dark blue main;
"So shall, ye gods," — hark how my weak hope raves! —
"My happy star ascend the sea that laves
Its shores with grief, and silence all my pain!"
With that there sighed a wandering midnight breeze
High up among the topmost tufted trees,
And o'er the moon's face blew a veil of cloud;
And in the breeze my genius spake, and said,
"While thy heart stirred, thy glimmering hope has fled,
And like the moon lies muffled in a shroud."
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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1928, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.