Alstahaug. Ill. K.E.Harr

illustration to The Trumpet of Nordland
Ill. H.G. Sørensen

Illustration to The Trumpet of Nordland
Ill. T. Holmboe

Fishermen. Ill. K.E.Harr

Petter Dass
(1647 - 1707)

Petter Dass was the vicar of Alstadhaug, in Nordland, and Norway's greatest 17th-century writer. Petter Dass He composed hymns and poetry, but only a small thin book, containing some of his works, was printed in his lifetime. His most renowned work was The Trumpet of Nordland. Printed as late as 1739, this is a depiction of northern Norway and Petter Dass's way of paying homage to this part of the country. He praises the people and their way of life. All of the pursuits and regions that he loved are written about in this manuscript. And everything is looked upon as God's work of creation.

All are greeted in his introduction:

I greet you, my Nordland's inhabitants, friends,
From host of the house to the poor hired man,
           Be greeted my people of Nordland.

His enthusiasm, however, is not quite the same when it comes to the weather:

If you should inquire of the climate and sky,
Then know what no northerner here can deny,
           It gives us the sorest of trials,

The fish in the sea are praised:

The fish in the water our livelihood is;
If he stays away, then our lives are amiss;
           We sigh in distress and in terror.

And, even here at the edge of the world, nature is bountiful:

It seems that, far out on the edge of the earth,
old nature has found its good way to give birth
           To rare and to splendid abundance.

His parting is similar in fashion:

A thousand farewells, and my thanks for the walk!
And herewith conclude I my nordlandish talk.
           My rooster, be done with your crowing!

The Trumpet of Nordland has resulted in numerous editions that are beautifully illustrated.


   © University Library of Tromsø - 1999.
The Northern Lights Route is part of The Council of Europe Cultural Routes. The Cultural Routes are an invitation to Europeans to wander the paths and explore the places where the unity and diversity of our European identity were forged.