Esaias Tegnér

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Esaias Tegnér as portraited by Johan Gustaf Sandberg, around 1826.

Esaias Tegnér (13 November 1782 – 2 November 1846) was a Swedish writer, professor of Greek language, and bishop. He was during the 19th century regarded as the father of modern poetry in Sweden, mainly through the national romantique epos Frithjof's Saga. He has been called Sweden's first modern man.


  • In Phebus realm, in knowledge as in verse,
    All things are clear, the sun of Phoebus clear,
    Clear was his crystal, the Kastalian.
    What you cannot clearly say, you don’t know:
    To tongue of man his thought brings word:
    What’s said obscurely is what’s thought obscurely.
    • "Epilog vid Magisterpromotionen i Lund 1820".

Fridthjof's Saga (1820-1825)[edit]

  • Autumn has come;
    Storming now heaveth the deep sea with foam,
    Yet would I gratefully lie there,
    Willingly die there.
    • "Ingeborg's Lament".
  • A dead father's counsel, a wise son heedeth.
    • Canto VIII.
  • A woman's honor rests on manly love.
    • Canto VIII.
  • A sense of justice is a noble fancy.
    • Canto VIII.
  • Hener was the hero-king,
    Heaven-born, dear to us,
    Showing his shield
    A shelter for peace.
    • Canto XXI. St. 7.
  • A glimpse of Breidablick, whose walls are light
    As e'en the silver on the cliff it shone;
    Of dark blue steel its columns azure height
    And the big altar was one agate stone.
    It seemed as if the air upheld alone
    Its dome, unless supporting spirits bore it,
    Studded with stars Odin's spangled throne,
    A light inscrutable burned fiercely o'er it;
    In sky-blue mantles,
    Sat the gold-crowned gods before it.
    • Canto XXIII, Stanza 13.

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