Sylvian joululaulu / Sylvia's Christmas Song

Often cited as the most beautiful Finnish Christmas song,
Sylvia's Christmas Song was written by school teacher
Zachary Topelius (1818-1898), in the 19th century.  He
was in Italy during Christmas-time, and acutely missed his
homeland. If you want to make a Finnish expatriate cry, this
is the song.  The original is in Topelius' mother tongue,
Finland's Swedish, and was translated shortafter into Finnish.
My translation used both versions. Please note that I am not
a singer, and the sound file may hurt those with sensitive ears.
I promise to do my best to find an actual singer as soon as I can,
and cease inflicting my voice on the unwary. —A. Jokinen

Sylvian joululaulu
San. Zachary Topelius (1818-1898)
Säv. Karl Collan (1828-1871)
Käännös M.Korpilahti

Ja niin joulu joutui jo taas Pohjolaan
joulu joutui jo rintoihinkin.
Ja kuuset ne kirkkaasti luo loistoaan
jo pirtteihin pienoisihin.
Mut ylhäällä orressa vielä on vain
se häkki mi sulkee mun sirkuttajain,
ja vaiennut vaikerrus on vankilan;
oi, murheita muistaa ken vois laulajan!

Sä tähdistä kirkkain, nyt loisteesi luo
sinne Suomeeni kaukaisehen!
Ja sitten kun sammuu sun tuikkeesi tuo,
sä siunaa se maa muistojen!
Sen vertaista toista en mistään ma saa,
on armain ja kallein mull' ain' Suomenmaa!
Ja kiitosta sen laulu soi Sylvian
ja soi aina lauluista sointuisimman.

  Sylvia's Christmas Song
Lyr. Zachary Topelius
Mus. Karl Collan
Tr. Anniina Jokinen

And now it is Christmas in my lovèd north,
Is it Christmas as well, in the heart?
And bright Christmas candles do spread their light forth,
To each little cabin and hearth.
But up in the rafters there hangs high above,
The cage that imprisons my soul's turtledove;
And quiet are now all the prisoners' groans,
But oh, who pays heed to a prisoner's moans?

Oh shine you, the brightest of stars in the sky,
On my Finland so far, far from here;
When finally your light in the darkness doth die,
Oh, bless you that land, oh so dear!
I never will find one of equal worth,
My dearest will always be my land of birth;
My country to praise, I sing Sylvia's song;
It e'er will remain as a song pure and strong.

"Singing" by Anniina Jokinen, ©2006.

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Translation and song file ©2006 Anniina Jokinen. All rights reserved. Write for permissions.