Henrik Wergeland (17 June 1808 – 12 July 1845 / Brevik)
The Army of Truth
Words, the world so light esteemeth?
words in poet’s stanza set!
O how frail your power seemeth,
to be fighting
for the truth mankind is slighting.
Truth should come with thunder pealing,
To her succour sent from Heaven,
angel hosts their cohorts wheeling,
should escort her advent splendid.
Ah! Why comes she not, th’exalted,
With a helm about her brow,
fashioned of the sky star-vaulted,
swords her radiant pinions pluming?
Why are not her white tents planted,
far and wide,
gleaming on the mountain side?
why are not her warriors granted,
in their striving,
mastery over life and living?
Bastioned night is steep for storming;
rests secure on columns high;
like Egyptian serpents swarming,
round her temple,
error’s black-robed guards assemble.
Onward yet, brave words, undaunted,
Earthly triumph has to you
by the God of light been granted,
who are serving
truth, his child, with faith unswerving.
Forward, words, the truth’s selected
Soon in human hearts shall stand
your victorious tents erected;
sunlit folds above your sleeping.
Forward, then, with fearless faces,
truth’s firm line!
Yours shall be, by pledge divine,
power no earthly might displaces;
death can never
still thee, voice of truth, for ever.
Cease then, puny host, your quailing,
truth her cause
through defeat to triumph draws:
Falsehood’s desert heights assailing,
see, your powers
dissipate those phantom towers!
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