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Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/Last Will and Testament

< Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse



Call not the surgeon,—he'll avail me naught,—
It was a goodly wound,—a devilish stripling,—
But only prop my head, that I may set
Last things in order,—As a keep-sake, have

My steeds, lieutenant,—and be worthy of
The spirits of the beasts,—Corporal, receive
My sword,—'tis full of stains,—but cleanse them not,
They're the renown of it,—No priests for me,—
Too late for that,—and where's the need, at all?—
The emperor's captain hath his place in heaven,—
Yea, sure a thousand,—two, 'tis very like,—
Czech pike-men[1] I converted to the faith
Of Rome,—likewise dispatched to hell,—for so
Need sometime was,—Upon my breast I have
A wallet with a brace of thalers,—wait
Give 'em the priests for mass,—not for my soul,—
That hath, so said I, warranty in heaven,—
But for a pike-man,—Once,—'tis years agone,—
Father Ignatius with me, I did swoop
Upon a village,—heard the creed out,—well,
'Tis thus we drave the straying herd unto
Salvation's fount,—Inside a building sat
An aged pike-man,—he was stubborn,—laid
Hands on the book,—and on its print,—Stood out
Shook his old pate,—a lime-tree stood within
The courtyard,—and thereon I bade them hang
This errant soul,—And as they led him forth.—
He gazed at me,—Thou art a murderer,
Sir Captain,—and some day or other, at
The hour of death,—thou shalt remember me,—
—I do remember,—how the eyes he had
Were like to withered cornflowers,—yet it was
No murder,—for therein ne'er shifted ground

Father Ignatius,—Yet for safety's sake,—
Give ye the thalers,—that they read a mass
For that same pike-man's soul,—that when my foot
Is set in heaven,—the carrion may not
From flames of hell lock forth upon me with
Those eyes of his,—the ending,—Yea,—because—

"The Apostles" (1911).

  1. Probably a mistake, Czech original talks about Picards, members of a religious sect. (Wikisource contributor note)