To a youngster

Poem published in 1810 in Journal för Litteraturen och Theatern, to which Tegnér sent this poem and the poem The eternal.

Break the flower, O youth; tomorrow it shall
      on the grave sprinkled.
A smiling virgin is life to you yet;
      its girdle loose!

The day you live your Genius is,
      kiss his mouth happily;
but he looks up at you, angry and cross,
      break your covenant.

And roll away the stone from the grave of the future,
      see the angel there,
and play not, but lean on the rod of hope,
      and think and learn.

And rise up and fight for the good of mankind
      with sword, with voice,
be disliked, be hated, and yet press them
      to wounded breasts.

And hope for rescue, for victory yet
      in the storm's breach,
but you'll be sailing too, like we're doing now,
      on the wrecks of time.

And all that you insist on listening to, my son,
      to the valley of memory.
Well you every evening you hear from there
      a nightingale.

For soon the evening will come and beckon you
      with a withered hand,
from the light of the sun, from the trees of the grove
      to a starless beach,

where Cerberus barks with three-pronged roar
      in deserted rooms,
and Furies whip the coward from
      Elyseum.

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