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Henrik Wergeland

The Army of Truth

Words, the world so light esteemeth?
Lower yet,
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,
flashing Levin:
To her succour sent from Heaven,
angel hosts their cohorts wheeling,
wide extended,
should escort her advent splendid.

Ah! Why comes she not, th’exalted,
hither now?
With a helm about her brow,
fashioned of the sky star-vaulted,
fiercer looming,
swords her radiant pinions pluming?

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The First Embrace

Come to me, grief, on my bosom press,
Lest it should burst with joy’s excess:
Heaven, with disaster, hell, with your pains,
Calm its commotion. For here awhile
She has lain. Strike, foes!
Your shafts but soothe, when they pierce the veins
Of a breast that lows
With the bliss of her thrill and her smile.

Sorrow and trouble have died away
Here, where her face in its loveliness lay.
Drowned she these in the deep of her eye?
Or sucked she their venom? I seemed to mark,
On her smiling lips,
How a tremulous shadow of pain passed by:
And the blue grew dark,
As her eyes’ light found eclipse.


Innocent bride, thou hast joined afresh

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To a Pine Tree

Crowned, lofty scion of the pine
Whence Gothic architect’s design
Derived the grace and power
For churches planned in noblest style,
For Notre Dame’s majestic pile,
Westminster Hall, or Münster’s aisle,
Or Pisa’s leaning tower, -

In this dark valley laid aside,
Thou in thy grief thy crown of pride
Dost in the clouds retire;
And far thy somber glance ahs flown
To spires like pine-trees shaped in stone,
Perceiving, with a wistful groan,
The portrait of thy sire.

The dastard axe awaits thy wood:
Like Hercules in dragon’s blood,
Thou in slow flames must die.
Yet perish proudly, pine, for know

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Juleaftenen (Christmas Eve )

Hvo minnes ikke
et vær, han tror, ei himlen mer kan skikke?
et vær som om hver sjel, fra Kains til den,
Gud sist fordømte,
den jord forbannet, fra helvete rømte,
som fristet dem å svike himmelen?....
Et vær, hvis stemmes
forferdelser ei mere kan forglemmes?
Thi alle tenkte: det må være sendt
for min skyld ene;
orkanens tordner meg kun meg de mene;
min synd er blitt åndene bekjent...
Et vær, hvis styrke
kan lære prest og troende å dyrke
demoner i det element, hvis brak
den gamle høre
fra barnsben kan i sitt bemoste øre
et skyens jordskjelv, luftens dommedag?
Et vær, som rystet
den sterkes hjerte i dets skjul i brystet,

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