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. Superstition 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.