Protest Poetry #5: “Elegy”

03.08.2013 § Leave a comment

Bilingual poetry in support of the protests in Bulgaria. English translation is mine.

Elegy

Tell me, tell me, o unhappy people,
Who lulls you in the cradle of slavery?
Is it the one who our Saviour speared
On the cross in the ribs without pity,
Or the one who for years sang to thee:
“Endure, for it is your duty.”

Was it he, or someone at his bidding
Son of Loyola and brother of Judas,
Faithful traitor, harbinger living
Of new trials for the battered,
A new marauder in fits to subdue us,
Who sold his brother, killed his father?!

Was it he? Tell me. The people are mute.
Horribly, dully thunder the chains,
No “Freedom!”, no call resolute
They only point with their heads in disdain
To the hyenas – a horde unrestrained,
Dressed in their finery, blind to our pain.

The people are pointing, and from their brows
Bloody sweat on a gravestone drips.
Into a living body driven is the cross
And rust the gnawed-on bones destroys.
A giant snake our life force sips,
Made up of foreigners and our old boys.

So we slaves endure, we pitiful folk,
Without shame or reproach, we are counting the years
Since the day we were strapped in the yoke,
Since the day we started dragging chains,
We count and with trust in that horde of hyenas
We wait for our turn to be saved.

Hristo Botev

Елегия

Кажи ми, кажи, бедний народе,
кой те в таз рабска люлка люлее?
Тоз ли, що спасителят прободе
на кръстът нявга зверски в ребрата,
или тоз, що толкоз годин ти пее:
“Търпи, и ще си спасиш душата?!”

Той ли, ил някой негов наместник,
син на Лойола и брат на Юда,
предател верен и жив предвестник
на нови тегла за сиромаси,
нов кърджалия в нова полуда,
кой продал брата, убил баща си?!

Той ли? – кажи ми. Мълчи народа!
Глухо и страшно гърмят окови,
не чуй се от тях глас за свобода:
намръщен само с глава той сочи
на сган избрана – рояк скотове,
в сюртуци, в реси и слепци с очи.

Сочи народът, и пот от чело
кървав се лее над камък гробен;
кръстът е забит във живо тело,
ръжда разяда глозгани кости,
смок е засмукал живот народен,
смучат го наши и чужди гости!

А бедният роб търпи и ние
без срам, без укор, броиме време,
откак е в хомот нашата шия,
откак окови влачи народа,
броим и с вяра в туй скотско племе
чакаме и ний ред за свобода!

Христо Ботев

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