The historical records and traditions of Denmark, as well as the modern productions of Danish genius, are almost equally unknown to the general reader is England. While German, Swedish, and Italian works of any recognised merit, readily find translators, and the ancient ballads of Spain have received their English dress from an able and poetic pen, it appears somewhat singular that so little notice has hitherto been bestowed on the literature of a country, whose rich historical recollections are so closely interwoven with those of Anglo-Saxon England.
Though but little known in other lands, the ancient traditional lore of Scandinavia is nevertheless the source from which some of the most distinguished Danish writers of the present day, have selected their happiest themes, and drawn their brightest inspiration. The influence of the Saga, or traditional romance of Scandinavia, and of the “Kjœmpe Visé,” or heroic ballad, is peculiarly apparent in the works of M. Ingemann.
The close adherence to historic outline—the development of character by action and dialogue—the delineation of scenery by brief though vivid sketches, in preference to elaborate description, are characteristics of Saga romance which M. Ingemann has been eminently successful in imparting to his own delineations of the chivalrous age of Denmark.
The Kjœmpe Visé, or heroic ballads which succeeded to the S aga in the North, and bear the impress of a kindred spirit, contain a store of historic tradition, and poetic incident, equally valuable to the antiquary who delights to trace the customs and manners of a remote age, and to the poet who seeks his inspiration from the historic muse of his Fatherland.