2.3—Read Gustavus Adolphus Farewell Address

ASSIGNMENT:

  1. Read the farewell address of King Gustavus Adolphus from May, 1630.
  2. Write an essay or discuss with your instructor the following questions: For what reason is he fighting? Of what does his character consist?
SELECTION: “Farewell Address” of King Gustavus Adolphus.

I call on the all-powerful God to witness, by whose providence we are here assembled, that it is not by my own wish, or from any love of war, that I undertake this campaign. On the contrary, I have been now for several years goaded into it by the imperial party, not only through the reception accorded to our emissary to Lubeck, but also by the action of their general in aiding with his army our enemies, the Poles, to our great detriment. We have been urged, moreover, by our harassed brother-in-law [the elector of Brandenburg] to undertake this war, the chief object of which is to free our oppressed brothers in the faith from the clutches of the pope, which, God helping us, we hope to do.

But even as the pitcher that goes daily to the well must sometime break, so will it be with me; for though, for the welfare of the Swedish kingdom, I have already gone through many dangers and seen much shedding of blood, and have come through it all so far-thanks to God’s gracious protection- without bodily harm, yet the time will come when all is over for me and I must say farewell to life. Therefore I have desired before my departure to see you all, from far and near, subjects and estates of Sweden, gathered about me, that we may together commend ourselves and each other, in body, soul, and estate, to our all gracious God, in the hope that it may be his will, after this weary and troublous life, to bring us again together in the heavenly and everlasting life that he has prepared for us. 

Especially do I commend you, counselors of the kingdom, to the all-powerful God, desiring that you may never fail in good counsel, that you may uphold your office and rank to the honor of God, that his holy word may remain undefiled to ourselves and our descendants in the fatherland, so that peace and unity may blossom and flourish, and discontent, discord, and dissension be unknown, and that your counsels may ever bring safety, quiet, and peace to the fatherland. Finally, may you strive to bring up your children to respect the laws and in every way to serve and strengthen the government of the kingdom. This is the wish of my whole heart.

You of the knight’s estate I likewise ardently commend to the Most High God, with the hope that you may stand by your traditions, and that you and your descendants may regain for yourselves and spread abroad through the whole world the undying renown of the Goths, our forefathers, whose once famous name is now, alas, long forgotten-yea, well-nigh despised-by foreigners, but whose spirit has already, during my reign, shone forth again in your manly behavior, your unfailing courage, your sacrifices of blood and life. May our descendants once more glory in the might of their forefathers, who subjugated various kingdoms and ruled through hundreds of years to the welfare of the fatherland. May their name again win undying fame and be feared by kings and princes, and may you of the noble class gain world-wide renown. This do I hereby wish you.

You of the priestly class I would, in parting, remind of your duty to admonish your hearers (whose hearts are in your keeping) to be faithful and true to their rulers and perform their duty obediently and cheerfully. Strengthen your flocks, that they may live together in peace and concord and not be led astray by the counsels of evil men. But it is not enough that you instruct them in these matters-it is my wish that you should walk before them in blameless rectitude, offending none, so that not only by your teaching and preaching, but by your example as well, they may become a useful and peaceful people.

For you, burghers, I wish that your little cottages may grow into big stone houses, your little boats into great ships; and that the oil in your cruses may never fain This, for you, is my parting wish.

For the rest, I wish for you all that your fields may wax green and bring forth fruit a hundredfold; that your chests may overflow, and your comfort and well-being grow and increase, so that your duty may be done with joy and not in sighing. Above all, do I commend you, each and every one, in soul and body, to God Almighty.

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