Battle song

Battle song

Originally published in Fram magazine in October 1903

To arms, comrades! Look, the guards are singing,
and the storm clouds roll over, fiery red, heavy
from the east, where just now a brightness was seen.
Out of the alleyways, out of the wilds;
to arms! to put violence in eternal chains
establishes our tribe fighting for freedom.

You failed me, you praising dream of reconciliation.
Well, let there be a fight without mercy and forgiveness!
for death or freedom is all I ask.
It is not like him to be found among the slaves
and slave with his tongue cut out of his mouth,
that the blood of the North bears in its veins.

I went there and toiled and King Frode I gave birth.
With sweat and with heart's blood his spawn I fattened,
it out of my bone pipes marrowmust sucked.
However, I suffered it patiently and thought: at last
there will be brighter, rarer times,
then all become brothers and all have enough!

But then came the tyrant with the whip and the shackle
and invited me to be like the dog at the hut
and crawl and lick the oppressor's foot;
then surely fortune would not fail me,
I would get bread and a piece of herring as well
and the poor institution last receive me.

I would a "home" and a "wife" me win;
get the slave whisperer's disgraced "handmaiden"
and bestow my name on a fatherless child.
And after the necessity of the slave trade
I would conceive and she would give birth
and fill vacancies at the Gold King's mill.

I would be free-born longing to drown
and only a godly thought may think,
...who managed to get past the prelate's censorship:
that, since gold was not given me by inheritance,
I had no right at all in this life,
but ranked below the animals of the stables.

Who? Me? I, who took the first steps on the journey
at the hand of grandfather, who fought with the world
once, when the battle of Dennewitz stood;
who had a father, who bowed to nothing,
and uncle, as numb in the pool of blood lingered,
when the freedom of the Negroes sprang from blood.

I was going to be a slave! No, that's fucking rude!
If car trains and breadless I become do the same,
but freedom will fight for the land of the fathers;
as long as a man can open an eye,
as long as a cloth is left of the high,
the defiant, foam-spattered cliffs of the north.

I salute you, the drunken leaders of freedom!
It is coming to battle, let me get among you
a place under the red banner of freedom.
I'm suffocating in the disgusting hiding place of inertia,
wants out! where the seething drops empty
itself out of my heart on the battlefield down.

And the day when I fail to be free
and out of its ranks for a superpower folds,
and cowardly or faithless out of the battle is seen to flee.
Then may the shadows of my fathers curse me,
and the light of thought is extinguished from my forehead,
and the terns me like a plague-ridden cloud.

And if I fail, justice does not fail,
the wonder, but only for a moment, turns away
...and in the wilderness, they get men to fight.
And if we all fall, not the truth falls -
it breaks shackles and booms and bars
and gathers a crowd for battle again.

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