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Battle

The Teuton's Battle-Song by H.P. Lovecraft


THE UNITED AMATEUR FEBRUARY 1916

The Teuton's Battle-Song by H.P. Lovecraft

"Omnis erat vulnus unda
Terra rubefacta calido
Frendebat gladius in loricas
Gladius findebat clypeos?
Non retrocedat vir a viro
Hoc fuit viri fortis nobilitas diu?
Laetus cerevisiam cum Asis
In summa sede bibam
Vitae elapsae sunt horae
Ridens moriar."
Regner Lodbrog

The mighty Woden laughs upon his throne,

And once more claims his children for his own.


The voice of Thor resounds again on high,

While arm'd Valkyries ride from out the sky:
The Gods of Asgard all their pow'rs release
To rouse the dullard from his dream of peace.


Awake!

ye hypocrites,
and deign to scan
The actions of your "brotherhood of Man."
Could your shrill pipings in the race impair
The warlike impulse put by Nature there?


Where now the gentle maxims of the school,

The cant of preachers,
and the Golden Rule?


What feeble word or doctrine now can stay
The tribe whose fathers own'd Valhalla's sway?


Too long restrain'd,
the bloody tempest breaks,

And Midgard 'neath the tread of warriors shakes.


On to thy death,
Berserker bold!

And try
In acts of Godlike bravery to die!


Who cares to find the heaven of the priest,

When only warriors can with Woden feast?


The flesh of Sehrimnir,
and the cup of mead,

Are but for him who falls in martial deed:
Yon luckless boor,
that passive meets his end,

May never in Valhalla's court contend.


Slay,
brothers,
Slay!

And bathe in crimson gore;

Let Thor,
triumphant,
view the sport once more!


All other thoughts are fading in the mist,

But to attack,
or if attack'd,
resist.


List,
great Alfadur,
to the clash of steel;

How like a man does each brave swordsman feel!


The cries of pain,
the roars of rampant rage,

In one vast symphony our ears engage.


Strike!

Strike him down!

Whoever bars the way;

Let each kill many ere he die today!


Ride o'er the weak;
accomplish what ye can;

The Gods are kindest to the strongest man!


Why should we fear?

What greater joy than this?


Asgard alone could give us sweeter bliss!


My strength is waning;
dimly can I see
The helmeted Valkyries close to me.


Ten more I slay!

How strange the thought of fear,

With Woden's mounted messengers so near!


The darkness comes;
I feel my spirit rise;

A kind Valkyrie bears me to the skies.


With conscience clear,
I quit the earth below,

The boundless joys of Woden's halls to know.


The grove of Glasir soon shall I behold,

And on Valhalla's tablets be enroll'd:
There to remain,
till Heimdall's horn shall sound,

And Ragnarok enclose creation round;

And Bifrost break beneath bold Surtur's horde,

And Gods and men fall dead beneath the sword;

When sun shall die,
and sea devour the land,

And stars descend,
and naught but Chaos stand.


Then shall Alfadur make his realm anew,

And Gods and men with purer life indue.


In that blest country shall Abundance reign,

Nor shall one vice or woe of earth remain.


Then,
not before,
shall men their battles cease,

And live at last in universal peace.


Through cloudless heavens shall the eagle soar,

And happiness prevail forevermore.

H.P. Lovecraft




Author's Note.


The writer here endeavours to trace the ruthless ferocity and incredible bravery of the modern Teutonic soldier to the hereditary influence of the ancient Northern Gods and Heroes. Despite the cant of the peace-advocate, we must realise that our present Christian civilisation, the product of an alien people, rests but lightly upon the Teuton when he is deeply aroused, and that in the heat of combat he is quite prone to revert to the mental type of his own Woden-worshipping progenitors, losing himself in that superb fighting zeal which baffled the conquering cohorts of a Caesar, and humbled the proud aspirations of a Varus. Though appearing most openly in the Prussian, whose recent acts of violence are so generally condemned, this native martial ardour is by no means peculiar to him, but is instead the common heritage of every branch of our indomitable Xanthochroic race, British and Continental alike, whose remote forefathers were for countless generations reared in the stern precepts of the virile religion of the North. Whilst we may with justice deplore the excessive militarism of the Kaiser Wilhelm and his followers, we cannot rightly agree with those effeminate preachers of universal brotherhood who deny the virtue of that manly strength which maintains our great North European family in its position of undisputed superiority over the rest of mankind, and which in its purest form is today the bulwark of Old England. It is needless to say to an educated audience that the term "Teuton" is in no way connected with the modern German Empire, but embraces the whole Northern stock, including English and Belgians.

In the Northern religion, Alfadur, or the All-Father, was a vague though supreme deity. Beneath him were among others Woden, or Odin, practically the supreme deity, and Woden's eldest son Thor, the God of War. Asgard, or heaven, was the dwelling-place of the Gods, whilst Midgard was the earth, or abode of man. The rainbow, or bridge of Bifrost, which connected the two regions, was guarded by the faithful watchman Heimdall. Woden lived in the palace of Valhalla, near the grove of Glasir, and had as messengers to earth the Valkyries, armed, mailed and mounted virgins who conveyed from the earth to Asgard such men as had fallen bravely in battle. Only those who fell thus could taste to the full the joys of paradise. These joys consisted of alternate feasting and fighting. At Woden's feasts in Valhalla was served the flesh of the boar Sehrimnir, which, though cooked and eaten at every meal, would regain its original condition the next day. The wounds of the warriors in each celestial combat were miraculously healed at the end of the fighting.

But this heaven was not to last forever. Some day would come Ragnarok, or the Twilight of the Gods, when all creation would be destroyed, and all the Gods and men save Alfadur perish. Surtur, after killing the last of these Gods, would burn up the world. Afterward the supreme Alfadur would make a new earth or paradise, creating again the Gods and men, and suffering them ever after to dwell in peace and plenty.


H.P. Lovecraft











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