Elsk – Love
A love poem
Founder & President
Northwest Edvard Grieg Society
A Norwegian wedding issue cannot have too many love songs, and some of the most beautiful ones were composed by Norway’s national composer, Edvard Grieg, set to the poetry of many of the great Norwegian poets of the Romantic era.
Laura Loge, founder and president of the Northwest Edvard Grieg Society and artistic director of the Mostly Nordic Chamber Music Series at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, shares here translation of “Elsk” (Love), written by Arne Garborg in his special Rogaland dialect for his epic book of poetry Haugtussa (The Mountain Maid), published in 1895 and set to music by Edvard Grieg in his cycle of the same name, published in 1898.
It is the story of Veslemøy, a young sæterjente, a mountain farm girl, who falls in love and would do anything for her beloved, as she is drawn into the world of the supernatural.
“Elsk” by Arne Garborg
Den galne guten min hug hev dåra;
eg fangen sit som ein fugl i snåra;
den galne guten, han gjeng så baus;
han veit at fuglen vil aldri laus.
Å gjev du batt meg med bast og bende;
å gjev du batt meg så bandi brende!
Å gjev du drog meg so fast til deg,
at heile verdi kom burt for meg!
Ja kund’ eg trolla og kund’ eg heksa
eg ville inn i den guten veksa;
eg ville veksa meg i deg inn,
og vera berre hos guten min.
Å du som bur meg i hjarta inne,
du magti fekk yver alt mit minne;
kvart vesle hugsviv som framum dreg,
det berre kviskrar um deg, um deg.
Um soli lyser på himlen blanke,
no ser ho deg, det er all min tanke;
um dagen dovnar og skoming fell:
skal tru han tenkjer på meg i kveld?
“Love” translated by Laura Loge
The crazy boy has charmed my heart;
I sit like an ensnared bird;
the crazy boy, he left so proud and brave;
he knows that his bird will never escape.
Oh, if you bound me with rope and bands;
oh, if you bound me with a burning leash!
Oh, if you drew me so firmly to you,
the whole world would disappear!
Yes, I could bewitch and I could cast spells
I want to call the boy forth to me;
I want to call myself forth to him,
and just be with my beloved boy.
Oh, you who have stolen my heart,
you have a magic effect over my mind;
each little fancy that stirs,
it whispers only of you, of you.
When the sun shines in the clear sky,
now it sees you, that is all I can think;
when the day lulls and the dusk falls:
shall I believe he is thinking about me this evening?
This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.