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gate, and a broad avenue, bordered with trees, within it, and a large rather academic house at its termination. But there was a humbler one just within the gate, and thither the conductor conducted me; and having tried in vain to rouse up its inmates, he pushed open a door, and pushed in my luggage, and told me to enter, and went away and left me. And I was very miserable for three or four hours; and then the sun came out, and a cup of coffee revived me still more; and I went out, walked down the broad avenue, and came to a sweet little cottage, all trelliced over, and looking as quiet and poetic as a poet's home need look.
I rang the bell, and asked was that Professor Ingemann's, and if he were at home. The answers were assenting; I went in, and found a diminished likeness of what Professor Wilson once was, walking about a pretty room, with a great pipe in his hand. I had no introduction. Professor Ingemann had never heard my name. Behold me soon seated at breakfast. The Professor's wife tells me it is an understood matter that I dine there also,—spend with them the time I wish to spend at Soro.
And what is Soro? you ask. It was once a rich Bernardine Abbey, a seat of learning and of wealth, where lived and wrote the famous Saxo Grammaticus, whose tomb is in its church. At the transforming era of the Keformation, the Abbey was changed into an academy or university for the youth of Denmark. The various professors lately had their sweet little dwellings close to the beautiful lake, which once appertained to the Bernardine monks; but another change has taken place. Of the professors, Ingemann alone remains there, and he is pensioned, not employed, desirous to end his days in his poetic retreat. Soro is now a school for boys.
And after having sat some time in the studio of Frue Ingemann, who devotes part of her time to painting those religious subjects which rest in her truly religious mind—Madonna being ever a favourite one, though she is a Lutheran Protestant—the delightful Professor took me out for a walk. We went along the banks of the fine and pleasant lake, through wood-walks just such as to the monks of old were dear, and we tried to be agreeable to each other in four languages, not one of which each mutually understood sufficiently to be quite intelligible when speaking it. The highest proof, however, that I can give of the pleasure this walk and style of discourse afforded me, is to say that I was actually pleased when Ingemann asked my leave to light his cigar, and when he actually smoked it walking beside me, which at first he would not consent to do; and when I say that the puff of a cigar was to me even pleasant, I think you will say that it is a strong proof of my affection towards the quarter from whence it came. In fact> anything that could have given that dear, rosycheeked, blue-eyed old poet pleasure, would have been, for the moment at least, a source of pleasure to me.
Well! we never met but then—never before, never since. How little do Professor Ingemann and his pious wife imagine that I am writing of them now! that I am thinking of his walk with me, of her last words to me; of Soro, its sweet lake, quiet woods, old abodes, and present poetry and peace!
Hans Andersen, in his rather disappointing "Story of a Life," speaks of sailing on this lake with a poet who had an iEolian harp fastened to the mast of his boat, and says that Ingemann's life at Soro appears like a beautiful story. I wanted the Professor to get the iEolian harp and fasten it to the mast of the boat; but he smiled—one of his own bright, child-like smiles,— and said his dear friend Andersen made stories more beautiful still than his life at Soro.
At night I went back to the miserable house where I had stopped. My room was on the ground-floor, and my only solace was to look out at the moon; for if the house in which I was lodged had existed in the time of Saxo Grammaticus, I might have believed that no one had ever used the bed allotted to me since the days of the said Grammaticus.
To avoid the damp I kept at the window, waiting for four o'clock, at which hour I might expect the post-diligence which went on to Korsor. Kegretting my pertinacity in leaving the Professor's romantic abode, I was leaning from the window, looking down the silent, scarcely moon-lighted avenue, and wondering what hour it was, when a curious drawling sort of chant struck my ear. I saw a light approaching; it was a lantern carried by an old man, who had a staff in one hand, and came slowly on, singing the hour—the watchsong of Denmark.
A lady of that land gave me the original of the entire chant, and Mr. H., an Englishman, put it into our verse; but I only quote the hours I chanced to hear sung at Soro.
ONE O'CLOCK. Ho! watchmen, ho! Help us, 0! Jesu, dear,
In patience here below. Our cross alway to bear
No other help we know. Our clock has just struck one,
Thine aid accord;
We look, 0 Lord, For aid to Thee alone.
TWO O'CLOCK. Ho! watchmen, ho! Thou, Jesu, good and kind,
Who to our succour came, When we were lost and blind,
We bless thy holy name. 0! Holy Ghost divine,
May Thy bright beams,
Thy heavenly gleams, On us for ever shine. (
THEEE O'CLOCK. Ho! watchmen, ho! The night is now far spent,
And near at hand the day. 0! Lord, all harm prevent,
That might Thy fold dismay. Our clock has just struck three
Father, we pray,
Help us alway,