Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Esaias Tegnér, Swedish poet (1782-1846)

The eternal

The strong man may well with the sword form his world,
like eagles his fame well be skying;
but sometimes the sword can get shattered when twirled
and eagles brought down from their flying.
What force would create is both fleeting and short,
like storms in the desert it soon comes to nought.

But truth will live on. Amidst axes and blades
her calm, gleaming brow she uncovers.
She guides through the nocturnal world’s shady glades,
and constantly points to some other.
What’s true is eternal: round heaven and earth
its words will re-echo from birth to new birth.

What’s right is eternal: its lily though crushed
can ne’er be completely uprooted.
Should evil prevail and the world end as dust,
what’s right can be willed unrefuted.
Though round you with cunning and force it’s oppressed,
it still has a refuge concealed in your breast.

And will which in flaming breast refuge did seek
takes mandom like God, becomes action.
What’s right now gains arms, what’s true now can speak,
and all see a world that’s re-fashioned.
Each hazard you faced and each sacrifice made
like stars rise from Lethe and never will fade.

And poetry lasts, unlike flowers’ passing scent,
or rainbows in clouds someone glances.
The beauty you fashion as dust will not end,
its countenance old age enhances.
For beauty’s eternal: with mind keen and brave
we fish up its gold-sand from time’s mighty wave.

So grasp all that’s true, so dare all that’s right,
the beautiful fashion with pleasure!
The three will for ever be mankind’s delight
and from time do we plead for such treasure.
What time gave you once you must give back as well,
the eternal alone in your heart may still dwell.

To see the original poem, go to here.

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