by Henrik Ibsentranslated by Fydell Edmund Garrett
Beetling rock, with roar and smoke Break before my hammer-stroke! Deeper I must thrust and lower Till I hear the ring of ore. From the mountain's unplumbed night, Deep amid the gold-veins bright, Diamonds lure me, rubies beckon, Treasure-hoard that none may reckon. There is peace within the deep - Peace and immemorial sleep; Heavy hammer, burst as bidden, To the heart-nook of the hidden! Once I, too, as a careless lad, Under starry heavens was glad, Trod the primrose paths of summer, Child-like knew not care nor cummer. But I lost the sense of light In the poring womb of night; Woodland songs when earth rejoiced her, Breathed not down my hollow cloister. Fondly did I cry, when first Into the dark place I burst: "Answer spirits of the middle Earth, my life's unending riddle!--" Still the spirits of the deep Unrevealed their answers keep; Still no beam from out the gloomy Cavern rises to illume me. Have I erred? Does this way lead Not to clarity indeed? If above I seek to find it, By the glare my eyes are blinded. Downward, then, the depths are best; There is immemorial rest. Heavy hammer burst as bidden To the heart-nook of the hidden!-- Hammer-blow on hammer-blow Till the lamp of life is low, Not a ray of hope's forewarning; Not a glimmer of the morning.