Shine over Sea and Land Christmas song, translated from Swedish “Gläns över sjö och Strand”.

Johan Ludvig Runeberg, (1804 – 1877 ) Finno-Swedish poet is generally considered to be the national poet of Finland. His works, which express the patriotic spirit of his countrymen, were written in Swedish and exercised great influence on Swedish literature as well. Besides the Finnish national anthem (Vårt land) and “Fänrik Ståls sägner”, he wrote the lovely Christmas poem “Gläns över sjö och strand”, a song I always loved to sing as a child at Christmas. It had a piano accompaniment written by the Swedish music teacher Alice Tegnér, most famous for writing children’s songs, which she published. The song was stuck in my brain from childhood days, so ten years ago I made a translation of the song into English. Here it is, enjoy:

Shine over sea and land, star in the distance,

Born by the Lord’s command for man’s assistance

Bethlehem’s Star whose rays

Lead where our Savior stays.

Shepherds behold the sight

In the midwinter night

Of that deep guiding light

Star shining clear and bright.

 

Night over Bethlehem, night over Zion;

Over in Western rim sets the Orion.

Shepherds that watch their sheep;

Child in a dreamless sleep –

Wakes with a glorious

Chorus of voices

God’s host victorious

With us rejoices.