Dejlig er den himmel blå

I woke up this morning excited to keep reading about that utterly strange planet, Spain. One of the things I do not like about working here at Vichy State is that there is not enough context here to be a Hispanist and I have no colleagues to speak of; my best colleagues, really, are the senior majors and we do not have enough of these. But when classes are not in and there is time to really read, I can remember what my object of study is.

There is nothing like a quick look at Spain to make one even more seriously anti-Catholic than one may have been in the first place. I am an unbaptized heathen, of course, being a Mayan deceased long before the Christians arrived, but the study of things Spanish causes me to appreciate Martin Luther. I am countering the heavily Catholic Christmas of Maringouin with lighter-hearted Scandinavian hymns. Here is some information on Grundtvig and his Dejlig er den himmel blå, from the Royal Library. This is not a Christmas song per se, but a children’s song about the Three Kings.

Here it is sung by an elven orchestra.

I am going to reproduce all nineteen strophes so we can practice our Danish which is easy to read with English, as you will see — especially if you have read any English texts that use Danish derived vocabulary, like “strand” for “beach” and so on.

The song starts out: “Lovely is Heaven blue, bright is it to look upon; how the golden stars blink, how they smile, how they wave us from the earth up to them, us from the earth up to them.” The great star is in the third stanza: “It was in the middle of Christmas night, every star shone quietly, except for one that came into sight, one so bright in Heaven’s vault; bright as a star-sun, like a little star-sun.”

1. Deilig er den Himmel blaa,
Lyst det er, at see derpaa,
Hvor de gyldne Stjerner blinke,
Hvor de smile, hvor de vinke,
Os fra Jorden op til sig.

2. Kommer Smaa, og hører til!
Jeg for eder sjunge vil
Om saa lys og mild en Stjerne,
Jeg det veed, I høre gierne:
Himlen hører eder til.

3. Det var midt i Julenat,
Hver en Stjerne glimted mat,
Men med Eet der blev at skue
En saa klar paa Himlens Bue,
Som en liden Stjernesol.

4. Langt herfra, i Østerland
Stod en gammel Stjernemand,
Saae fra Taarnet vist paa Himlen,
Saae det Lys i Stjernevrimlen,
Blev i Sind saa barneglad.

5. Naar den Stjerne lys og blid
Sig lod see ved Midnatstid,
Var det Sagn fra gamle Dage,
At en Konge uden Mage
Skulde fødes paa vor Jord.

6. Derfor blev i Østerland
Nu saa glad den gamle Mand;
Thi han vilde dog saa gierne
See den lyse Kongestjerne,
Før han lagdes i sin Grav.

7. Han gik til sin Konges Slot,
Kongen kiendte ham saa godt,
Hørte og med Hjertens Glæde,
At det Lys var nu tilstæde,
Hvorom gamle Spaadom lød.

8. Han med Søn og Stjernemand
Flux uddrog af Østerland,
For den Konge at oplede,
For den Konge at tilbede (1),
Som var født i samme Stund.

9. Klare Stjerne ledte dem
Lige til Jerusalem,
Kongens Slot de gik at finde,
Der var vel en Konge inde,
Men ei den de ledte om.

10. Klare Stjerne hasted frem,
Ledte dem til Betlehem,
Over Hytten lav og lille
Stod saa pludselig den stille,
Straalede saa lyst og mildt.

11. Glade udi Sjæl og Sind
Ginge de i Hytten ind,
Der var ingen Kongetrone,
Der kun sad en fattig Kone,
Vugged Barnet i sit Skiød.

12. Østerlands de vise Mænd
Fandt dog Stjernen der igien,
Som de skued i det Høie,
Thi i Barnets milde Øie
Funklende og klar den sad.

13. Den var dem et Tegn saa vist,
At de saae den sande Krist,
Derfor neied de sig glade,
Offrede paa gyldne Fade
Røgelser med søde (2) Lugt.

14. Vil I Smaa ei ogsaa gierne
See den lyse milde Stjerne,
For den Konge dybt jer neie,
Som Guds Rige har i Eie,
Og vil lukke jer derind?

15. Seer I til den Himmel blaa,
Med de gyldne Stjerner paa,
Der den Stjerne ei I finde,
Men den er dog vist derinde
Over Jesu Kongestol.

16. Thi det Barn, som var paa Jord,
Blevet er en Konge stor,
Og han sidder nu deroppe,
Over alle Stjernetoppe
Hos Gud Faders høire Haand.

17. Neier eder kun, I Smaa!
Han fra Himlen seer derpaa.
Sender ham med Hjertensglæde
Lov og Pris til høie Sæde!
Det er Røgelse for ham.

18. Stjernen ledte vise Mænd
Til nyfødte Konge hen,
I har og en saadan Stjerne,
Og naar I den følge gierne,
Komme I til Jesum vist.

19. Denne Stjerne, lys og mild,
Som kan aldrig lede vild,
Er hans Guddomsord det klare,
Som han lod os aabenbare
Til at lyse for vor Fod.

Axé.


5 thoughts on “Dejlig er den himmel blå

  1. I went to the Toronto Swedish Christmas festival about two weeks ago and picked up some Swedish Christmas goodies as well as having a traditional meal. I live where you can participate in any regional activities and never leave the city.

  2. I adore the use of all the candles in Scandinavia, and especially that paganistic candle crown.

    It has always amused me that the main Christmas carol of Sweden is this Neapolitan song!

  3. So you realize that Google translate gives you a complete and reasonably good translation in about a second? A friend of ours a few years ago said this would be happening soon, and I scoffed at him. How wrong I was!

  4. Do you know about the Boynton/Quitzows, who lived up in the Berkeley Hills and gave dance classes at their house, The Temple of the Wings? She used to do a Scandanavian procession like this, and I participated once.
    I met my husband there, at the Temple of the Wings..
    Such a long time ago, 50 years.

  5. Google translate, I know, it is the bane of composition teachers.

    Temple of the Wings! My mother knows about it, I think … had heard of and wondered. How marvelous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s