One enduring reminder of the Hussite Wars is the continuing popularity of the “Hussite Hymns,” penned in the Czech tongue and embraced by soldier and citizen alike. Centuries later, Antonin Dvorak, himself a Roman Catholic, would nonetheless find inspiration from the words and melodies of the Hussite patriots. Stories survive that tell of the Emperor’s army breaking and fleeing at the very sound of the Hussite troops approaching in full song. While the text of what may be the most popular of these hymns does lose something in the translation, perhaps if we imagine an army of thousands, shields adorned with the image of the cup, raising their banners and their voices, we can gather some sense of the terror they must have inspired….
Ye who are God’s warriors and of his law,
Pray to God for help and have faith in Him;
That always with Him you will be victorious.
Christ is worth all your sacrifices, He will pay you back an hundredfold.
If you give up your life for Him you will receive eternal life.
Happy is he who believes this truth.
The Lord commandeth you not to fear bodily harm,
And commandeth you to even put your life down for the love of your brothers.
Therefore, archers, crossbowmen, halberdiers of knightly rank,
Scythemen and macebearers from all walks of life,
Remember always the Lord benevolent.
Do not fear your enemies, nor gaze upon their number,
Keep the Lord in your hearts; for Him fight on,
And before enemies you need not flee.
Since ages past Czechs have said and had proverbs which state,
That if the leader is good, so too is the journey.
Remember all of you the password which was given out.
Obey your captains and guard one another.
Stay sharp and everyone keep formation.
You beggars and wrongdoers, remember your soul!
For greed and theft don’t lose your life.
And pay no heed to the spoils of war.
And with this happily cry out—saying, “At thee! Have at thee!”
Savor the weapon in your hands and shout, “God is our Lord!”