Vilhelm Krag

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Vilhelm Krag 1929

Vilhelm Krag (24 December 1871 – 10 July 1933) was a Norwegian poet, author, journalist and cultural personality. Known for coining the term Sørlandet to describe a region of Norway, he was the younger brother of the novelist Thomas Krag.[1]

His first volume of poetry, which came out in 1891, included many of his best-known poems: "Fandango",[2] "Der skreg en fugl" (A bird cried), "Liden Kirsten" (Little Kirsten),[3] "Majnat" (May night), "Mens jeg venter" (While I'm waiting), "Moderen synger" (The mother sings) and "Og jeg vil ha mig en hjertenskjær" (And I will have me a sweetheart).[4]

Edvard Grieg set Krag's lyrics to music in his Opus 60, published in 1894.[5] In the early 20th century works by Krag were recorded in America by Florence Bodinoff, George Hamlin, Nathalie Hansen,[6] Eleonora Olson,[7] Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Aalrud Tillisch,[8] and Carsten Woll.[9]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Bjørn Bjørnson
Director of the National Theatre
Succeeded by
Halfdan Christensen


No Janissarian music!
Silence, you marching rhythms!
Silence, damned musicians!!

Oh the Circassians, Oh the Circassians
let them appear!
They shall dance on their delicate feet
to softened music
from distant guitars
murmuring, cooing, caressing tones
smiling tones, drifting tones, whispering tones
Tingling soothingly:

Crimson red glow in the light hearted dance
radiant draperies with silver clouds slithering
flowing arms, flowing lines, twining its softness
in dance!

A red little ear, a pale little finger
and feet, in their silence, tip-toeing swiftly
their hair, black and silken, sable fur clad
Riveting rustling, of jewels and stones
and their cheeks, and their eyes!

Zerlina, my bird, no neck is sweeter,
your eye is so black.
But yet, why is it wet, Zerlina?

Zerlina, my bird, your lips are so red,
and round is your cheek,
but why so pale, Zerlina?

Zerlina, my bird, your skin is so soft,
your mouth is like roses
but, why quivers your mouth, Zerlina?
«Oh, master, autumn beckons,
and the roses of Persia are falling.
And the mist is weeping on the mouth of the clove
and the leaves are shriveling, master»

Zerlina, my bird, thanks for your dance
and your word. Now let me be.

It shrivels, it shrivels,
it shrivels, it shrivels
the world, it is shriveling, and roses and women
my body and every trembling nerve!

And time, it is creeping slowly past me
the hours are wandering past my grave
I dare not think, I dare not live.
Dare not die

But in this mortal, deep night silence
russles an infinite plover song
It shrivels, it shrivels
it shriv . . . .
Music! Music! Janissarian so!
Bring out the big Chinese drum!

by Vilhelm Krag
translated by Jens Tandstad


  1. ^ Norwegian writers 1500 to 1900 (Dictionary of literary biography v. 354) by Lanae H. Isaacson, (Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2010) pp. 175-187.
  2. ^ Fandango: streaming audio Retrieved: 9 September 2014.
  3. ^ Liden Kirsten: streaming audio Retrieved: 9 September 2014.
  4. ^ Digte, by Vilhelm Krag, (Bergen: John Griegs Forlag, 1891).
  5. ^ Digte af Vilhelm Krag: for en mellemstemme med piano: op. 60 by Edvard Grieg, (Copenhagen: Hansen, 1894).
  6. ^ Liden Kirsten Retrieved: 11 September 2014.
  7. ^ O, Herre: streaming audio Retrieved: 9 September 2014.
  8. ^ Der skreg en fugl: streaming audio Retrieved: 9 September 2014.
  9. ^ Vilhelm Krag (author) Retrieved: 9 September 2014.

External links[edit]

Articles in Norwegian

Poetry Collections

Vilhelm Krag at the National Jukebox

Vilhelm Krag at the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project

Art song