Poems by Olof von Dalin translated by Alan Crozier
Said Celadon, “My shepherdess,”
as he was digging ditches,
“I’ll make of you a fair countess.
This chest must hold great riches.
And I myself shall wield such power
That no one will be stronger;
By God, I’ll never crawl and cower
In silence any longer.
“A coat of arms I’ll proudly bear
When next the lords assemble,
And I’ll make such an impact there
That hills and walls will tremble.
Farewell, my flock, these fields you roam,
You songbirds, grouse and pheasants,
The humble shack that I call home,
Farewell, you ancient peasants!
“I am no more your Celadon;
That name was too straightforward.
His Grace Lord Celadondrion
Will be my style henceforward.
My Nymph, you now have cause to cheer,
You who have stood beside me.
Come, Melicerta, dearest dear,
Good luck will now betide me.”
“O, Celadon, who would have thought,”
The Nymph replied in sadness,
“Your gentle heart would be distraught
By restless dreams of madness?
See how we live in calm and bliss,
And yet you would destroy it?
Why, monarchs long for peace like this,
Yet seldom can enjoy it.”
“But Melicerta, darling mine,
These words of yours dismay me.
You soon will be a lady fine.
Come, come, you must obey me!
One thing I beg, if they enquire
Why I am so enraptured,
Please say it was not my desire
But your wiles have me captured.
“You know a man should always blame
His wife for such ambition.
They say that it’s a woman’s game
To lust for high position.
Please say, when there are ears to hear,
’Twas your wish to rise higher.
Then I shall answer loud and clear:
‘Beware what you desire!’”
“I am your servant, Celadon,
And always seek to please you,
But it makes me quite woebegone
When silly fancies seize you!
Our life has royal quality
In peaceful fields and spinneys.
We laugh at lords’ frivolity,
“That you are loved and you are free
Is something you should treasure,
Where every bush and every tree
Responds to us with pleasure.
Our groves and springs will never fall
From favour in the palace.
We see no fawners bow and crawl
And flatter us with malice.
“Our name is simple, true and plain,
And so shall we preserve it,
And those who choose to show disdain
Are those who best deserve it.
Our days are free from care and woe,
Our nights we can spend kissing.
Great men may fall, for all we know,
Who cares what we are missing?
“Here in our palace we are spared
Charades and affectations.
Our bleating lambs are often heard,
But never supplications.
We need not fear a haughty mien,
A word that shows disfavour.
We drown all words of spite and spleen
In nectar that we savour.
“Our milk and strawberries do us good
When status leaves us shaken,
And we can end a party feud
With cabbage soup and bacon.
With eggs and bread we can discuss
Who has the greater powers,
Saint Nicholas or Mahometus,
The Sun? This Earth of ours?”
“O, Melicerta, please, I must
Implore you, stop this babble.
Why should my soul crawl in the dust
Among the lowly rabble?
Our fortune we can now reverse.
I promise milk and honey.
So hand me down my catskin purse,
I’ll fill it full of money.”
Our Celadon threw up the lid,
He needed no screwdriver.
Did he find money? Yes, he did:
A farthing and a stiver.
“My Nymph,” he said, with shameful face,
“Luck came, but went much faster.
Farewell My Lord, farewell Your Grace,
Good day, O humble pastor.”
EN Celadon gaf Frögderop,
Til nästa Riksdag låter jag
Jag är eij mer Ehr Celadon;