Our free word

Our free word
1905: Man at Iron Age grave and settlement area in Ljunga, Skönberga parish, Östergötland. Photo: Ture J. Arne / Riksantikvarieämet

From Collected Works of Literature, Part One, 1877. The poem was first published in 1856.

It has no homeland, which sets
All equally high - so true I believe,
It has no love, nor shall it,
Who does not love above all his mother.
Does not the mother tongue sound most beautiful?
Do not bind our home with double yarn ?
Does not even the tongue shine brighter
On the turf where we played as children?

But our country is not the land alone,
Or the language, which we learned so quickly,
That's the idea too, the Swedish one, clear,
And our freedom instinct, our soul instinct,
And our good right to consider
What us openly, openly, unreservedly,
To see our safe sentence say
To all the world, free and untainted.

Why then had war been declared
Against our free word unprepared?
Was it because it revealed
Someone oiled, which also happened, right?
Flee to the night then, as courtly tiger,
Death, who knows of no tongue,
For where life moves and the sun rises
Will there be noise - but also activity!

The servant's pride makes him chastise
Every open-hearted word he hears,
For he knows his feathers less,
When he thinks as his master does.
But a people, who have inherited to link
His fate itself, and undisputed,
Love his own thoughts think,
And it must say them out freely.

The bailiff seems to be singing the song of his longing,
If he is only fed in his cage,
But the interior, which a people possesses,
Open only in a free nature;
What it feels is not something alone,
But a flash of heavenly reason,
What it thinks, it thinks together,
And it shrinks, if it is not given air.

Therefore woe to the hand that cuts off the tongue
To the people who once had a voice!
Woe to him who willfully wounds the lung
In the broad bosom of the public!
It's good to add weight to the battle,
When you have a blade in your hand,
Even more to have a word in the team
Once, when it comes to people and country.

Do not give it away, Sweden, as a penny.
Neither cut it off, as an abscess,
For what the fate of others takes a turn,
Will it become for your bosom a noble shield.
Hold its copper roundel against the djerfva,
As at liberty commit a theft,
Hold it high in the air, like Minerva
Kept his dreaded Medusa shield!

The wound of an old cross is sore
For a while yet, and cannot be healed soon;
But we don't dream such difficult dreams
And we are not scratched, as of old.
See how our forests nod
Day by day its delight, and, even more,
See how our fathers kindly look
Through the winter street window down!

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