Til Ungdommen

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Til ungdommen (English: "For the Youth"), also known by the words of the first line Kringsatt av fiender ("Surrounded by Enemies"), is a poem from 1936 by Norwegian poet and writer Nordahl Grieg (1902–1943) . It was set to music in 1952 by the Danish composer Otto Mortensen (1907–1986). The song has been recorded by various artists and has been sung at meetings held by various organizations. After the terror attacks of 22 July 2011, it was used in many memorial gatherings and services.

History[edit]

The poem was written in 1936 by Nordal Grieg at Ny-Hellesund in Søgne for use by the Norwegian Students' Society after a request by Trond Hegna (1898–1992) who was a Member of Parliament. The poem is directly inspired by the Spanish civil war, which had broken out the same summer. It was set to music by composer Otto Mortensen in 1952, some nine years after Grieg's death.[1][2]

In 1988 it was recorded by Grex Vocalis. In 2000 it was orchestrated by Tormod Tvete Vik and sung by Norwegian actress and singer Herborg Kråkevik in her CD titled Kråkeviks Songbok. Kråkevik's version excludes verses 7-10.

The song has also been recorded by Danish rock musician Kim Larsen, first on his album 231045-0637 from 1979. However, on this album it was called 682 A rather than Til Ungdommen, a reference to the song's listing in the Danish folk high school songbook. Kim Larsen also included the song on his live album Kim i Cirkus (1985), and on the live CD and DVD En Lille Pose Støj on YouTube (2007), on these two occasions titling it by the first line in the Danish version of the poem, Kringsat af Fjender.

The song has also been recorded by Norwegian experimental band The Soundbyte. Til Ungdommen was sung by Norwegian singer Torhild Ostad on 23 November 2003 in Kleinmachnow near Berlin, Germany, as the memorial stone was unveiled at the site where the poet Nordahl Grieg died when the Lancaster bomber in which he was flying as a war correspondent hit the ground on 2 December 1943.[3][4][5]

On 24 July 2011, under enormous worldwide media coverage, the song was sung by the congregation of the Oslo Cathedral memorial service in relation to the 2011 Norway attacks.[6] It was also sung at Denmark's official Memorial Service at Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen on 27 July 2011.

Herborg Kråkevik's 2000 version of the song was re-released in 2011 immediately after the attacks, reaching #1 on VG-lista, the official Norwegian Singles Chart, in its first week of release.

Sissel Kyrkjebø sang the song as the concluding performer during the Norwegian National Memorial Ceremony on 21 August 2011 in the Oslo Spektrum arena, which was held to remember those killed in the 2011 Norway attacks. The program was broadcast on all TV channels across Norway. Ingebjørg Bratland sang the song on 30 July 2011 in the Oslo Cathedral.[7]

Text of the poem[edit]

Til ungdommen by Nordahl Grieg.

Original Norwegian[a] Poetic English[b][2]

Kringsatt av fiender, gå
inn i din tid!
Under en blodig storm –
vi deg til strid!
 
Kanskje du spør i angst,
udekket, åpen:
hva skal jeg kjempe med,
hva er mitt våpen?
 
Her er ditt vern mot vold,
her er ditt sverd:
troen på livet vårt,
menneskets verd.

For all vår fremtids skyld,
søk det og dyrk det,
dø om du må – men:
øk det og styrk det!

Stilt går granatenes
glidende bånd.
Stans deres drift mot død,
stans dem med ånd!

Krig er forakt for liv.
Fred er å skape.
Kast dine krefter inn:
døden skal tape!

Elsk – og berik med drøm –
alt stort som var!
Gå mot det ukjente,
fravrist det svar.

Ubygde kraftverker,
ukjente stjerner –
skap dem, med skånet livs
dristige hjerner!

Edelt er mennesket,
jorden er rik!
Finnes her nød og sult,
skyldes det svik.

Knus det! I livets navn
skal urett falle.
Solskinn og brød og ånd
eies av alle.

Da synker våpnene
maktesløs ned!
Skaper vi menneskeverd,
skaper vi fred.

Den som med høyre arm
bærer en byrde,
dyr og umistelig,
kan ikke myrde.

Dette er løftet vårt
fra bror til bror:
vi vil bli gode mot
menskenes[c] jord.

Vi vil ta vare på
skjønnheten, varmen –
som om vi bar et barn
varsomt på armen!

Faced by your enemies
On every hand
Battle is menacing,
Now make your stand

Fearful your question,
Defenceless, open
What shall I fight with?
Where is my weapon?

Here is your battle plan,
Here is your shield
Faith in this life of ours,
The common weal

For all our children’s sake,
Save it, defend it,
Pay any price you must,
They shall not end it

Neat stacks of cannon shells,
Row upon row
Death to the life you love,
All that you know

War is contempt for life,
Peace is creation
Death’s march is halted
By determination

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

We all deserve the world,
Harvest and seed
Hunger and poverty
Are born of greed

Don’t turn your face away
From needs of others
Reach out a helping hand
To all your brothers

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Here is our solemn vow,
From land to land
We will protect our world
From tyrants’ hand

Defend the beautiful,
Gentle and innocent
Like any mother would
Care for her infant.

  1. ^ Line breaks, punctuation and spelling as per ISBN 82-05-18666-9 – Nordahl Grieg's published poem book.
  2. ^ Not a literal translation. Several verses are omitted. Made to rhyme by Rod Sinclair.
  3. ^ Nordahl Grieg wrote "menskenes", however proper Norwegian spelling is "menneskenes".

Song recordings[edit]

  • Kim Larsen's version (in 1979) of the song is titled "682A" — a reference to its place in Højskolesangbogen, the Danish Folk High School songbook
  • The song was performed live in July 1988 by Kim Larsen, Björn Afzelius, Åge Aleksandersen and Jahn Teigen, with verses alternating between Danish and Norwegian. The song was recorded and shown live on television, but never released on CD or vinyl.
  • Anders Buaas has recorded his non vocal version of a song called Til Ungdommen on his musical work "The Witches of Finnmark" (2017).

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

Other sources[edit]

  • Andreassen, Jostein (1992) Nordahl Grieg på Sørlandet: Et studieheft om forfatterskap og miljø (J. Andreassen) ISBN 978-82-91188-01-0
  • Nag, Martin (1989) Ung må Nordahl Grieg ennå være (Solum) ISBN 978-82-560-0655-7
  • Hoem, Edvard (1989) Til ungdommen : Nordahl Griegs liv (Oslo: Gyldendal) ISBN 82-05-29946-3