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Lastly, there is the Naturselbstdrück, or
nature's self-printing, whereby wonderful
imitations of shells and leaves are self-engraved
and self-printed in all exquisite delicacy.

Truly we are an imitative race, making
fac-similes as busily as we can.


FINLAND has her own vein of poetry; but,
having for several centuries existed only as a
province, she has had no chance of creating a
national literature. Finland has her own
mythology, totally different to that of Sweden and
Denmark. Amid her woods and moorlands,
wanders invisibly but yet felt, the good old
Wäinämöinen the god of song, with his lyre
framed from the wood of the sighing birch-tree,
strung with six golden hairs of an
enamoured maiden, and with its golden
screws dropped from the tongue of the
melodious cuckoo. Sometimes he sits on the
rocks by the ocean, and lets Ahti, the god of
the sea, and Wellamo, his goddess, hear
its enchanting tones. Again, he wanders
inland, and approaches Tapiola, the palace
of Tapio the god of the woods, that ancient
palace of stone, with its golden windows,
built in the deepest and most remote recesses
of the primeval forest. There gather round
him Suvetar, the goddess of the summer;
Etela fanning them gently with her soft
south wind; the fair Mielikki and Tellervo,
lovely nymphs of the woods; and even Ukko,
the mightiest of the powers of heaven,
thunders his applause from the dark purple cloud.
The harp of Wäinämöinen can even penetrate
with its enchanting sounds to the abode of
Kalma, the monarch of death.

Still, on summer evenings, the Finland
peasant believes that, stretched by the shore
of some forest lake, he may be heard, though
unseen, singing to the listening herdsmen and
maidens how Kullervo, the son of Kaleva,
the great ancestor of all the heroes of
Finland, served the wicked wife of Ilmarin, the
smith; how he tended her flocks and herds
in the forest pastures; how she put a stone
into his loaf, and how he avenged all her
injustice to him. He sings how Ahti, under
the name of Lemmin Käinen, pursued his
wild adventures amongst the maids of the
isles; and how he himself wooed and lost
Wellamo, the sister of Joukahainen.

Thus sings Wäinämöinen:

      And there lives not such a hero,
      Not a man so firm of purpose,
      Not a man, much less a woman,
      By his fires who is unmelted.
      Weep the young and weep the aged;
      Weep the middle-aged not less so;
      Weep the men who are unmarried,
      Weep the married men as freely;
      Weep the bachelors and maidens;
      Weep the girl, half child, half woman.
          When is heard that moving sound.
      So his tears drop in the waters,
      Tears of ancient Wäinämöinen;
      To the blue sea they flow onward,
      Onward from the wild strand flowing;
      And beneath the crystal waters,
      Spreading o'er the sandy bottom;
      Undergo a strange mutation;
      Changed are they to precious jewels
      To adorn fair queenly bosoms,
         And to gladden kingly men.

Wäinämöinen does not, however, shed his
tears only for the high born. He sends songs
and inspirations among the simple people.
They have their songs of the maidens, of the
herdsmen, of their social festivities, songs of
the cradle, and of the more stern and stirring
passages of life.

From such a race has sprung Johan Ludwig
Runeberg, the most celebrated of their
living poets. Runeberg has mingled with all
the wild and melancholy character of his
country's traditions and mythology a deep
feeling for its sufferings and its wrongs. His
poetry deals with living souls, and the hard,
stern realities of a real world; neither feigned
joys nor sufferings furnish the material for his
page; all there is real, human, unmistakable
flesh and blood, genuine bone and muscle. He
sees in Finland a country abounding with bold
features, solemn and impressive, and a people
full of strong passions, whose souls are
harrowed by deep-seated injuries.

Runeberg is a portion of the great and
stern poetic element of the north, incorporated
with the spirit of his country. Every page
is a sigh of the patriotic heart mourning over
his native land, which has been torn by brute
but overwhelming force from all its old and
cherished associations to become an appendage
of a vast, dominant, but unamalgamated

These patriotic griefs break forth more
especially in the " Songs of Ensign Stål." The
Ensign, an old soldier, is described by the
poet as living when he was a youth in the
same court with himself. He was old, and
very poor, of a tall, angular, erect figure,
with a large aquiline nose, and wore spectacles.
He maintained himself by making nets
for the fishermen, which the youth, his
neighbour, then half boy and half student, found
it very amusing to entangle. Indeed he seems
to have been the torment of the old soldier,
who often started up in a rage to drive him
away, to be pacified again by a kind word,
only again to be the butt of the lad's
mischief. He says,

      I then was wild in life's gay spring,
      An ensign he, I more than king.

Time, however, went on, winter came, and
the lad staid in doors and read. At length
one day he says:

      I took such book as first I found
         To while the tedious time along;
      'Twas written by no name renowned,
         And spoke of Finland's war and wrong.