Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/From "Sonnets of Unhappiness"

France Prešeren2707438Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse — From "Sonnets of Unhappiness"1919Paul Selver




'Mid wastes of Africa a wanderer sped:
He finds no pathway; night was now afield.
Through clouds no stealthy glimmer was revealed,
Craving the moon, he made the grass his bed.

The heavens opened, moonbeams then were shed;
He sees where poison skerpents are concealed,
And where their brood of cubs the tigers shield,
He sees the lion upraise his wrathful head.

Thus 'tis the wont of youth perforce to view
What now befalls, so long the veil yet drapes
The future from the road he doth pursue.

Clearer has grown the night, and from it gapes
Loathing of life; of pangs and griefs not few,
The deep abyss from which none e'er escapes.


Life is a jail, and time grim warder there,
Sorrow the bride made young for him each day,
Woe and despair serve faithfully his sway,
And rue his watcher with unwearied care.

Sweet death, O do not overlong forbear,
Thou key, thou portal, thou entrancing way
That guideth us from places of dismay
Yonder where moulder gnaws the gyves we wear.

Yonder where ranges no pursuing foe,
Yonder where we elude their evil plot,
Yonder where man is rid of every woe.

Yonder where, bedded in a murky grot,
Sleeps, whoso lays him there to sleep below,
That the shrill din of griefs awakes him not.

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1970, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 53 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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