The Army of Truth

Words? Those sounds the world despises.
      Words in poems?
Even more to be disdained!
Ah, how feeble are your powers
      to defend
all the truth that man denies!

Thunder crack and lightning flash
      at its presence!
Hosts of angels should come swooping
down from heaven to the rescue
      far and wide
spread the knowledge of its glory.

Oh, why can it not come winging
      from on high?
Truth, that with a starry birth
wears a helmet brightly gleaming
      wielding swords
fiercely sharp instead of feathers.

Oh, why then does it not pitch camp 
      tent on tent
white on every mountainside?
Oh, why then are not its heroes
      strongly ranged
to keep mastery over life?

The fort of darkness is well guarded.
rests secure on stony columns.
Numerous as Egypt's serpents
      round truth's temple
range the black-clad guards of error.

Forward, though, you feeble lines!
      Words are armies!
On this earth your victory
was promised by the Lord, Light's father, 
      when you serve
Truth itself, his child, alone.

Onward, words, you sons of truth!
      En avant!
In the end the hearts of men
will be your victorious home.
      Then your light
will with courage bear them on.

Forward, with your boldest faces
      Words of truth!
For the greatest power on Earth
has been granted you by God:
      Because never
Could you die in Truth's pure mouth!

Courage take then, all you small ones!
      Truth's great cause
Only triumphs in defeat.
Storm the bitter heights of lies!
Raze them to the ground with Truth!

From The Army of Truth: Selected Poems by Henrik Wergeland. Copyright © 2003 by Henrik Wergeland. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.