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The Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford, [1888], at



WHEN the marriage was completed,
When the many guests had feasted,
At the wedding of the Northland,
At the Dismal-land carousal,
Spake the hostess of Pohyola
To the blacksmith, Ilmarinen:
"Wherefore, bridegroom, dost thou linger,
Why art waiting, Northland hero?
Sittest for the father's pleasure,
For affection of the mother,
For the splendor of the maidens,
For the beauty of the daughter?
Noble son-in-law and brother,
Wait thou longer, having waited
Long already for the virgin,
Thine affianced is not ready,
Not prepared, thy life-companion,
Only are her tresses braided.

"Chosen bridegroom, pride of Pohya,
Wait thou longer, having waited
Long already for the virgin,
Thy beloved is preparing,
Only is one hand made ready.

"Famous artist, Ilmarinen,
Wait still longer, having waited
Long already for the virgin,
Thy beloved is not ready,
Only is one foot in fur-shoes,"
Spake again the ancient Louhi:
"Chosen suitor of my daughter,
Thou hast thrice in kindness waited,
Wait no longer for the virgin,
Thy beloved now is ready,
Well prepared thy life-companion,
Fairy Maiden of the Rainbow.

"Beauteous daughter, join thy suitor,
Follow him, thy chosen husband,
Very near is the uniting,
Near indeed thy separation.
At thy hand the honored bridegroom,
Near the door he waits to lead thee,
Guide thee to his home and kindred;
At the gate his steed is waiting,
Restless champs his silver bridle,
And the sledge awaits thy presence.

"Thou wert anxious for a suitor,
Ready to accept his offer,
Wert in haste to take his jewels,
Place his rings upon thy fingers;
Now, fair daughter, keep thy promise;
To his sledge, with happy footsteps,
Hie in haste to join the bridegroom,
Gaily journey to the village
With thy chosen life-companion,
With thy suitor, Ilmarinen.
Little hast thou looked about thee,
Hast not raised thine eyes above thee,
Beauteous maiden of the Northland,
Hast thou made a rueful bargain,
Full of wailing thine engagement,
And thy marriage full of sorrow,
That thy father's ancient cottage
Thou art leaving now forever,
Leaving also friends and kindred,
For the, blacksmith, Ilmarinen?

"O how beautiful thy childhood,
In thy father's dwelling-places,
Nurtured like a tender flower,
Like the strawberry in spring-time
Soft thy couch and sweet thy slumber,
Warm thy fires and rich thy table;
From the fields came corn in plenty,
From the highlands, milk and berries,
Wheat and barley in abundance,
Fish, and fowl, and hare, and bacon,
From thy father's fields and forests.

"Never wert thou, child, in sorrow,
Never hadst thou grief nor trouble,
All thy cares were left to fir-trees,
All thy worry to the copses,
All thy weeping to the willows,
All thy sighing to the lindens,
All thy thinking to the aspens
And the birches on the mountains,
Light and airy as the leaflet,
As a butterfly in summer,
Ruddy as a mountain-berry,
Beautiful as vernal flowers.

"Now thou leavest home and kindred,
Wanderest to other firesides,
Goest to another mother,
Other sisters, other brothers,
Goest to a second father,
To the servant-folk of strangers,
From thy native hills and lowlands.
There and here the homes will differ,
Happier thy mother's hearth-stone;
Other horns will there be sounded,
Other portals there swing open,
Other hinges there be creaking;
There the doors thou canst not enter
Like the daughters of Wainola,
Canst not tend the fires and ovens
As will please the minds of strangers.

"Didst thou think, my fairest maiden,
Thou couldst wed and on the morrow
Couldst return, if thou shouldst wish it,
To thy father's court and dwelling?
Not for one, nor two, nor three days,
Wilt thou leave thy mother's chambers,
Leave thy sisters and thy brothers,
Leave thy father's hills and lowlands.
Long the time the wife must wander,
Many months and years must wander,
Work, and struggle, all her life long,
Even though the mother liveth.
Great, indeed, must be the changes
When thou comest back to Pohya,
Changed, thy friends and nearest kindred,
Changed, thy father's ancient dwellings,
Changed, the valleys and the mountains,
Other birds will sing thy praises!"

When the mother thus had spoken,
Then the daughter spake, departing:
"In my early days of childhood
Often I intoned these measures:
'Art a virgin, yet no virgin,
Guided by an aged mother,
In a brother's fields and forests,
In the mansion of a father!
Only wilt become a virgin,
Only when thou hast a suitor,
Only when thou wedst a hero,
One foot on the father's threshold,
And the other for the snow-sledge
That will speed thee and thy husband
To his native vales and highlands!'

"I have wished thus many summers,
Sang it often in my childhood,
Hoped for this as for the flowers,
Welcome as the birds of spring-time.
Thus fulfilled are all my wishes,
Very near is my departure,
One foot on my father's threshold,
And the, other for the journey
With my husband to his people;
Cannot understand the reason
That has changed my former feelings,
Cannot leave thee now with gladness,
Cannot go with great rejoicing
From my dear, old home and kindred,
Where as maiden I have lingered,
From the courts where I was nurtured,
From my father's band and guidance,
From my faithful mother's counsel.
Now I go, a maid of sorrow,
Heavy-hearted to the bridegroom,
Like the bride of Night in winter,
Like the ice upon the rivers.

"Such is not the mind of others,
Other brides of Northland heroes;
Others do not leave unhappy,
Have no tears, nor cares, nor sorrows,
I alas! must weep and murmur,
Carry to my grave great sadness,
Heart as dark as Death's black river.

"Such the feelings of the happy,
Such the minds of merry maidens:
Like the early dawn of spring-time,
Like the rising Sun in summer
No such radiance awaits me,
With my young heart filled with terror;
Happiness is not my portion,
Like the flat-shore of the ocean,
Like the dark rift of the storm-cloud,
Like the cheerless nights of winter!
Dreary is the day in autumn,
Dreary too the autumn evening,
Still more dreary is my future!"

An industrious old maiden,
Ever guarding home and kindred,
Spake these words of doubtful comfort:
"Dost thou, beauteous bride, remember,
Canst thou not recall my counsels?
These the words that I have taught thee:
'Look not joyfully for suitors,
Never heed the tongues of wooers,
Look not in the eyes of charmers,
At their feet let fall thy vision.
He that hath a mouth for sweetness,
He that hath an eye for beauty,
Offers little that will comfort;
Lempo sits upon his forehead,
In his mouth dwells dire Tuoni.'

"Thus, fair bride, did I advise thee,
Thus advised my sister's daughter:
Should there come the best of suitors,
Noblest wooers, proudest lovers,
Give to all these wisdom-sayings,
Let thine answer be as follows:
'Never will I think it wisdom,
Never will it be my pleasure,
To become a second daughter,
Linger with my husband's mother;
Never shall I leave my father,
Never wander forth to bondage,
At the bidding of a bridegroom:
Never shall I be a servant,
Wife and slave to any hero,
Never will I be submissive
To the orders of a husband.'

"Fairest bride, thou didst not heed me,
Gav'st no thought to my advices,
Didst not listen to my counsel;
Wittingly thy feet have wandered
Into boiling tar and water,
Hastened to thy suitor's snow-sledge,
To the bear-dens of thy husband,
On his sledge to be ill-treated,
Carried to his native country,
To the bondage of his people,
There, a subject to his mother.
Thou hast left thy mother's dwelling,
To the schooling of the master;
Hard indeed the master's teachings,
Little else than constant torture;
Ready for thee are his bridles,
Ready for thy bands the shackles,
Were not forged for any other;
Soon, indeed, thou'lt feel the hardness,
Feel the weight of thy misfortune,
Feel thy second father's censure,
And his wife's inhuman treatment,
Hear the cold words or thy brother,
Quail before thy haughty sister.

"Listen, bride, to what I tell thee:
In thy home thou wert a jewel,
Wert thy father's pride and pleasure,
'Moonlight,' did thy father call thee,
And thy mother called thee 'Sunshine,'
'Sea-foam' did thy brother call thee,
And thy sister called thee 'Flower.'
When thou leavest home and kindred
Goest to a second mother,
Often she will give thee censure,
Never treat thee as her daughter,
Rarely will she give thee counsel,
Never will she sound thy praises.
'Brush-wood,' will the father call thee,
'Sledge of Rags,' thy husband's mother,
'Flight of Stairs,' thy stranger brother,
'Scare-crow,' will the sister call thee,
Sister of thy blacksmith-husband;
Then wilt think of my good counsels,
Then wilt wish in tears and murmurs,
That as steam thou hadst ascended,
That as smoke thy soul had risen,
That as sparks thy life had vanished.
As a bird thou canst not wander
From thy nest to circle homeward,
Canst not fall and die like leaflets,
As the sparks thou canst not perish,
Like the smoke thou canst not vanish.

"Youthful bride, and darling sister,
Thou hast bartered all thy friendships,
Hast exchanged thy loving father,
Thou hast left thy faithful mother
For the mother of thy husband;
Hast exchanged thy loving brother,
Hast renounced thy gentle sister,
For the kindred of thy suitor;
Hast exchanged thy snow-white covers
For the rocky couch of sorrow;
Hast exchanged these crystal waters
For the waters of Wainola;
Hast renounced these sandy sea-shores
For the muddy banks of Kalew;
Northland glens thou hast forsaken
For thy husband's barren meadows;
Thou hast left thy berry-mountains
For the stubble-fields and deserts.

"Thou, O maiden, hast been thinking
Thou wouldst happy be in wedlock;
Neither work, nor care, nor sorrow,
From this night would be thy portion,
With thy husband for protection.
Not to sleep art thou conducted,
Not to happiness, nor joyance,
Wakefulness, thy night-companion,
And thy day-attendant, trouble;
Often thou wilt drink of sorrow,
Often long for vanished pleasures.

"When at home thou hadst no head-gear,
Thou hadst also little sadness;
When thy couch was not of linen,
No unhappiness came nigh thee;
Head-gear brings but pain and sorrow,
Linen breeds bad dispositions,
Linen brings but deeps of anguish,
And the flax untimely mourning.

"Happy in her home, the maiden,
Happy at her father's fireside,
Like the master in his mansion,
Happy with her bows and arrows.
'Tis not thus with married women;
Brides of heroes may be likened
To the prisoners of Moskva,
Held in bondage by their masters.

"As a wife, must weep and labor,
Carry trouble on both shoulders;
When the next hour passes over,
Thou must tend the fire and oven,
Must prepare thy husband's dinner,
Must direct thy master's servants.
When thine evening meal is ready,
Thou must search for bidden wisdom
In the brain of perch and salmon,
In the mouths of ocean whiting,
Gather wisdom from the cuckoo,
Canst not learn it from thy mother,
Mother dear of seven daughters;
Cannot find among her treasures
Where were born the human instincts,
Where were born the minds of heroes,
Whence arose the maiden's beauty,
Whence the beauty of her tresses,
Why all life revives in spring-time.

"Weep, O weep, my pretty young bride.
When thou weepest, weep sincerely,
Weep great rivers from thine eyelids,
Floods of tears in field and fallow,
Lakelets in thy father's dwelling;
Weep thy rooms to overflowing,
Shed thy tears in great abundance,
Lest thou weepest on returning
To thy native hills and valleys,
When thou visitest thy father
In the smoke of waning glory,
On his arm a withered tassel.

"Weep, O weep, my lovely maiden,
When thou weepest, weep in earnest,
Weep great rivers from thine eyelids;
If thou dost not weep sincerely,
Thou wilt weep on thy returning
To thy Northland home and kindred,
When thou visitest thy mother
Old and breathless near the hurdles,
In her arms a barley-bundle.

"Weep, O weep, sweet bride of beauty,
When thou weepest, weep profusely;
If thou dost not weep in earnest,
Thou wilt weep on thy returning
To thy native vales and highlands,
When thou visitest thy brother
Lying wounded by the way-side,
In his hand but empty honors.

"Weep, O weep, my sister's daughter,
Weep great rivers from thine eyelids;
If thou dost not weep sufficient,
Thou wilt weep on thy returning
To the scenes of happy childhood,
When thou visitest thy sister
Lying, prostrate in the meadow,
In her hand a birch-wood mallet."

When the ancient maid had ended,
Then the young bride sighed in anguish,
Straightway fell to bitter weeping,
Spake these words in deeps of sorrow:
"O, ye sisters, my beloved,
Ye companions of my childhood,
Playmates of my early summers,
Listen to your sister's counsel:
Cannot comprehend the reason,
Why my mind is so dejected,
Why this weariness and sadness,
This untold and unseen torture,
Cannot understand the meaning
Of this mighty weight of sorrow!
Differently I had thought it,
I had hoped for greater pleasures,
I had hoped to sing as cuckoos,
On the hill-tops call and echo,
When I had attained this station,
Reached at last the goal expectant;
But I am not like the cuckoo,
Singing, merry on the hill-tops;
I am like the songless blue-duck,
As she swims upon the waters,
Swims upon the cold, cold ocean,
Icicles upon her pinions.

"Ancient father, gray-haired mother,
Whither do ye wish to lead me,
Whither take this bride, thy daughter,
That this sorrow may pass over,
Where this heavy heart may lighten,
Where this grief may turn to gladness?
Better it had been, O mother,
Hadst thou nursed a block of birch-wood,
Hadst thou clothed the colored sandstone,
Rather than this hapless maiden,
For the fulness of these sorrows,
For this keen and killing trouble.

Many sympathizers tell me:
'Foolish bride, thou art ungrateful,
Do not grieve, thou child of sorrow,
Thou hast little cause for weeping.'

"O, deceive me not, my people,
Do not argue with me falsely,
For alas! I have more troubles
Than the waterfalls have pebbles,
Than the Ingerland has willows,
Than the Suomi-hills have berries;
Never could the Pohya plow-horse
Pull this mighty weight of sorrow,
Shaking not his birchen cross-bar,
Breaking not his heavy collar;
Never could the Northland reindeer
Heavy shod and stoutly harnessed,
Draw this load of care and trouble."

By the stove a babe was playing,
And the young child spake as follows:
"Why, O fair bride, art thou weeping,
Why these tears of pain and sadness?
Leave thy troubles to the elk-herds,
And thy grief to sable fillies,
Let the steeds of iron bridles
Bear the burden of thine anguish,
Horses have much larger foreheads,
Larger shoulders, stronger sinews,
And their necks are made for labor,
Stronger are their bones and muscles,
Let them bear thy heavy burdens.
There is little good in weeping,
Useless are thy tears of sorrow;
Art not led to swamps and lowlands,
Nor to banks of little rivers;
Thou art led to fields of flowers,
Led to fruitful trees and forests,
Led away from beer of Pohya
To the sweeter mead of Kalew.
At thy shoulder waits thy husband,
On thy right side, Ilmarinen,
Constant friend and life-protector,
He will guard thee from all evil;
Husband ready, steed in waiting,
Gold-and-silver-mounted harness,
Hazel-birds that sing and flutter
On the courser's yoke and cross-bar;
Thrushes also sing and twitter
Merrily on hame and collar,
Seven bluebirds, seven cuckoos,
Sing thy wedding-march in concord.

"Be no longer full of sorrow,
Dry thy tears, thou bride of beauty,
Thou hast found a noble husband,
Better wilt thou fare than ever,
By the side of Ilmarinen,
Artist husband, metal-master,
Bread-provider of thy table,
On the arm of the fish-catcher,
On the breast of the elk-hunter,
By the side of the bear-killer.
Thou hast won the best of suitors,
Hast obtained a mighty hero;
Never idle is his cross-bow,
On the nails his quivers hang not,
Neither are his dogs in kennel,
Active agents is his bunting.
Thrice within the budding spring-time
In the early hours of morning
He arises from his fare-couch,
From his slumber in the brush-wood,
Thrice within the sowing season,
On his eyes the deer has fallen,
And the branches brushed his vesture,
And his locks been combed by fir-boughs.
Hasten homeward with thy husband,
Where thy hero's friends await thee,
Where his forests sing thy welcome.

"Ilmarinen there possesses
All the birds that fly in mid-air,
All the beasts that haunt the woodlands,
All that feed upon the mountains,
All that graze on hill and valley,
Sheep and cattle by the thousands;
Sweet the grass upon his meadows,
Sweet the barley in his uplands,
In the lowlands corn abundant,
Wheat upon the elm-wood fallows,
Near the streamlets rye is waving,
Waving grain on many acres,
On his mountains gold and silver,
Rich his mines of shining copper,
Highlands filled with magic metals,
Chests of jewels in his store-house,
All the wealth of Kalevala."

Next: Rune XXIII. Osmotar the Bride-adviser