swedish charles king
DAHLSTJERNA, GUNNO (1661-1709), whose original surname was EURELIUS, the Swedish poet, was born September 7, 1661, in the parish of Ohr, in Dalsland, where his father was rector. He entered the university of Upsala in 1677, and after gaining his degree, entered the Government office of land-surveying. He was sent in 1681 on professional business to Livonia, then under Swedish rule, and after some time took thence a scientific journey into Germany, in the course of which, being at Leipsic, he published and publicly read, in 1687, a dissertation, De Electro, which caused such a sensation that he was offered a professorial chair at the university of that city. He refused this honour, however, and busied himself, on his return to Sweden, with carrying out the numerous commissions in land-surveying directed by King Charles XL, and in 1699 he became head of the whole department. In 1702 he was ennobled under the name of Dahlstjerna. He spent his life in travelling, and wandered over the whole of the coast of the Baltic, Livonia, Riigen, and Pomerania, preparing maps which still exist in the office of Public Land-Surveying in Stockholm. He died in Pomerania on his forty-eighth birthday, September 7, 1709, just after the disastrous news of the lost battle of Pultowa had reached him. Dahlstjerna's life was, as it might seem, fully occupied with those practical mathematical studies in which he laboured so conscientiously for his country ; but it is indisputable that his passion for poetry was still more absorbing. His patriotism was touching in its pathos and intensity, and during his long periods of professional exile he comforted himself by the composition of songs to his beloved Sweden. His genius was most irregular ; at his best he surpasses all the Swedish poets of his time, and that with ease ; but no writer of that country has sunk to lower depths of bombastic puerility. He formed his style after two thoroughly bad models, - the so-called Second Silesian School, of which Lohenstein was the leader, and the florid Italian pastoralists, Marini and Guarini. His best known original work is Kungaskald, an elegy on the death of Charles XI., published in 1697. It is written in alexandrines, arranged in ottava rinea. The poem has faults enough ; it is pompous and allegorical, but there are passages full of melody and high thoughts. The whole bearing of the work, judged from a national point of view, is noble and even sublime, and could only have been conceived at such a time, when Sweden was a great power in Europe. Dahlstjerna was a reformer in language, and it has been well said by Atterborn, that in this poem "he treats the Swedish speech just as dictatorially as Charles XI. and Charles XII. treated the Swedish nation." In 1706 he printed a volume of poems celebrating the victories of Charles XII., which, to the serious loss of Swedish literature, has unaccountably disappeared. In 1690 was printed at Stettin his translation or rather paraphrase of the Pastor Fido of Guarini, which was very much admired and often reprinted. But of all the works of Gunno Eurelius the one that has attained most living popularity is The Goth's Battle Song concerning the King and Master Peter, published in 1701. The king is Charles XII. and Master Peter is, of course, the czar of Russia. There is a proud maiden whom Peter will ravish from the king, and her name is Narva Castle. It is an exceedingly spirited and felicitous ballad, and lived almost until our own days on the lips of the people as a folk-song. In a more tasteful age, and with more leisure for poetic study, there can be no doubt that the vivid genius of Dahlstjerna would have produced works of a far higher order. As it is, there is no Swedish writer of his age who has approached him in his sublimer moments. The works of Dahlstjerna have been collected by Hansellius.