Monday, June 20, 2022

Johan Nordahl Brun

Johan Nordahl Brun (1745—1816) is a poet, dramatist, and pastor. He was a Norwegian nationalist prior to Norway gaining independence from Denmark. In 1771 he wrote the song “For Norway, Birthplace of Heroes” which was banned by Danish authorities, and was considered Norway’s first unofficial national anthem. He also wrote two successful dramas, but his primary interest was to serve in the church.

As a theologian he opposed the narrow rationalism of the enlightenment. In 1804 he became bishop of Bergen. The portrait accompanying this post hangs in Bergen Cathedral.

In Heaven is Joy and Gladness

In heaven is joy and gladness,
But while I sojourn here,
So often, bowed in sadness,
I shed the bitter tear.
Here ills, always prevailing,
Distress the Saviour’s bride;
Here mirth is lost in wailing;
In heaven but joys abide.

I do not strive for pleasures
That fools pursue on earth,
I sow in tears for treasures
That have more lasting worth.
If, when my journey ends,
The sheaves I gather in,
The bliss the fool pretends
I do not yearn to win.

For I shall see my Jesus,
He is my Hope and Stay;
The cross that me oppresses
He then shall take away.
Then nothing more shall grieve me,
And no adversity
Shall of my joy bereave me;
Soon I shall Jesus see.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.