1851Poetry and songs from the fatherland
Travel book: I Sverrig (In Sweden)
2nd - 20th February
Takes part in the celebrations in honour of the returning soldiers and hears first-hand stories about the conditions they experienced during the war. The poem "Landsoldaten's Hjemkomst" (The home-coming of the soldier) is printed in the newspaper Fædrelandet (The Fatherland) on 10th February and HCA himself finances 2,000 copies for distribution at a function in "Ridehuset". Fetches books of ballads, paid for by Reitzel, and distributes them amongst the soldiers.
Release of Fædrelandske Vers og Sange under Krigen (Poetry and Songs from the Fatherland during the War). HCA had gotten this idea a week earlier, on the 13th: to collect the war-time poetry of the nation and release it, using the proceeds to help "the wounded and the families of the fallen". Reitzel was enthusiastic about the idea and took the task upon himself.
Mrs Emma Hartmann (nèe Zinn, married to the composer J.P.E. Hartmann) dies. HCA's poem in memory of her is printed in the newspaper "Fædrelandet" on 13th March. On the same day, he attends her funeral and is deeply affected. The daughter, Maria, dies at 6 years of age on the night before the funeral of her mother.
H.C. Ørsted dies. HCA is present with the family during the final hours. He takes a quick walk to the Collins' and when he returns, Ørsted is dead. Has a commemorative poem published in "Fædrelandet" on 11th March. HCA feels that he has lost two of the people who understood him best and valued him most in his circle at home in Denmark. Notes in the diary on 19th: "Tired of life, thought of sickness and death, wish for death but without pain".
Release of I Sverrig. Concurrent release in Germany and England. HCA receives a fee of 200 rdl. for the German edition. The Danish edition consists of 2,000 copies, of which 500 are sold in a month. HCA is not at all satisfied with this amount of sales.
This poetic travel book contains central programmatic chapters such as "En Prædiken i Naturen" (A Sermon in a Nature Setting) and "Poesiens Californien" (Poetic California), in which HCA expresses his faith in the alliance between poetry and science.
After numerous invitations, HCA finally goes to the small farmhouse Christinelund to visit Jonna and Henrik Stampe. Dines at Nysø Estate the day after, in spite of having stayed away from here since Thorvaldsen's death, due to disagreements with the baroness.
"I was obliged then to be with the old baroness, but she was quite mild, like a newly-struck silver coin"
(letter to Edvard Collin, 9th June).
Outing to Store Hestehave.
Takes the steam-ship 'Zephyr' from Kallehave to Svendborg. Aboard, he meets Ole Bang and his family. Ole Bang bears the title "konferensråd" (a high Danish title, now obsolete). The Bang family are headed for Als to visit the son (who is the father of Herman Bang, a famed Danish novelist). Shortly after this meeting aboard the ship, Ole Bang sends HCA his latest poetry, Eva Homo, printed as a manuscript.
HCA arrives at Glorup Estate on the same day. Here he receives the German edition of I Sverrig (In Sweden). Is surprised (diary, 9th) to read in the satiric periodical 'Corsaren' from Friday 6th that it is high time the critics in Denmark discover "the sun-basked elements" of HCA's works,
"and not remain in the shadows and shoot arrows from there, sharpened with malice. Actually it is a shame that we let foreigners be more clear-sighted in this regard than we ourselves are".
HCA is in charge of the decoration of the tent for the party to be held 7th July in honour of the returning soldiers from the estate. During the preparations, the writer M.A. Goldschmidt turns up, which annoys HCA ("There was a kind of arrogance, of haughtiness over the little man, as always, almost impudence", the diary, 6th). For the celebrations, HCA organises a tent on the avenue as well as one on the small island out on the artificial lake. In a letter to Henriette Wulff dated 15th July he comments on this:
"I was the Bournonville of the party, in charge of the entire affair, thereby winning the admiration of everyone, from the cattleman and the milk-maids right up to the highest ranking..., and it was quite splendid [...] It was quite delightful to see the magical effect all this had on the farm folk: 'To think that we should live to see the likes of this!' said one, 'I never would have thought there was such luxury in the world' - 'The man who organised this must have a mighty fine head on his shoulders! - yes, I'd say the duke would be providing him with a nice tip for all this!' - 'This is the heaven of heaven!' said the old Gardener, as he entered the room. What more can I ask for? None of my books have won such admiration".
June-July and once again in September
Reads Steen Bille's book: Beretning om Korvetten "Galatheas" Reise omkring Jorden (The Story of The Corvette "Galatheas'" Journey Around the World) (released in 1849-51). HCA knew Bille personally, as he had met him on Föhr (in September 1844). In appreciation of the book, HCA does a paper-cutting for Steen Bille which depicts the corvette Galathea, anchored in the harbour of Constantinople - which HCA of course had seen for himself on the journey of 1841.
Travels from Glorup Estate via Svendborg, where Viggo Drewsen arrives with the steam-ship, to Als and on from here via Flensborg to Slesvig. Sees the positions and the traces from the war, meets Goldschmidt again in Slesvig (writes a letter for him to Dickens). Also visits Dannevirke.
Travels alternately by train and ship through Altona, Magdeburg and Dresden to Leipzig with Viggo Drewsen.
Here he sees his old friends, the painter Dahl, Mrs von der Decken, and the Serres at Maxen (accompanies Mrs Serre to see "Andersens Baum" (tree), which he had planted out on the edge of the cliff 7 years earlier).
From Leipzig by train via Teplitz to Prague. On 2nd August along the river Elbe back to Dresden. From here, Viggo Drewsen travels back to Copenhagen on the 8th. On the next day, HCA is lodged at Maxen, where he stays until the 19th. Then it's back to Dresden (at Mrs Serre's a cast of his hand is made). Continues to Leipzig on the 21st and visits Lorck. The return journey is commenced on 23rd.
HCA arrives at Glorup Estate, where he remains until 9th September. The return journey to Copenhagen is via Nyborg.
Following the advice of Edvard Collin, HCA did not go to Weimar on this trip. In a letter written before the trip, he had asked Sir Carl Beaulieu-Marconnay (chamberlain) whether the political feelings towards Denmark were such that he might expect unpleasantness.
Beaulieu answered (letter dated 29th May) that if HCA was so nationalistically disposed that he could see rightfulness on the Danish side only, then he had better stay away. And not just on this occasion but forever. But if HCA was not so disposed, then he would be received as:
"den lieben braven Poeten und Freund [...] mit dem man eben nicht über Politik spricht". [German for; "the charming good poet and friend [...] with whom one does not discuss politics"]
Edvard Collin is furious about Beaulieu's letter, but HCA responds diplomatically, although he does point out that something in Beaulieu's letter had saddened him:
"Much will be healed by time, and I am sure that Germans and Danes will be the best of friends; may the noblest be the first to reach out and shake hands! May truth and beauty build a bridge between us! [...}although I as a true Dane - which I am - feel deeply affected, it is the friend who suffers. No more talk, therefore, of politics, but only of matters of the heart and spirit" (June 1851).
The result was, however, that HCA did not visit Weimar.
Arrival in Copenhagen. The trip had cost HCA approx. 200 rdl.
The evening is spent at Sorgenfri Castle with the queen.
HCA is appointed titular professor.
First performance of Hyldemoer. Phantasiespil i een Act (The Elder-Tree Mother. Fantasy Play in One Act) at the Casino theatre. The play is performed a total of 60 times in HCA's lifetime.
Hyldemoer is released as a book.