Open main menu

Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/The Hideous Spectre

< Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse

2. THE HIDEOUS SPECTRE.

 

Ugh. . . 'tis a hideous phantom!
So say the justices of the golden city,
So says the sage leader of the people,
Patriot ladies shake their dainty heads,
So says Rothschild and Gutman, Count Laryš and Vlček,
And his Lordship Marquis Géro,—
When from the throng of the seventy thousand
I rose up aloft. So did they smite me with a whip!
Like to the Vitkovice furnaces blazed my single eye,
A bloodstained gown fluttered from my shoulders,
Upon one I bore the German school,
Upon the other I bore the Polish church,
In my right hand the heavy hammer I bore
(My left was struck off by a boulder of coal,
My eye was scorched out by the plaze of a flame)

And in my heart were the curses and hatred of seventy thousand.
God knows, I am hideous!
From me the stench of a corpse is wafted,
Upon hand, upon foot, my flesh is bursting;
Knowest thou the forges at Baška? So my eye blazes,
A bloodstained gown flutters from my shoulders,
In my right hand the pitman's hammer I bear,
My left was struck off by a boulder of coal,
My eye was scorched out by the blaze of a flame—
Upon my back squat a hundred murderers from Modrá
(Like savage rats they gnaw into my neck)
Upon my hips squat a hundred Jews from Polská—[1]
Jeer ye, my God, jeer ye! Such my array,
I, Petr Bezruč, Bezruč of Těšín,
Bard of an enslaved nation.
Why are the youth of Vltava[2] becomes as a captive flittermouse?
Did not the Romans upraise Spartacus as leader.
So shall I stand,—long since have perished my nation,—
A hundred years shall I stand with my brow upraised to the skyline,
With my smitten neck shall I touch the azure,
I, Petr Bezruč, Ahasuerus of the Czech conscience,
Hideous phantom and bard of a bygone nation.

 
  1. Galicia.
  2. The Moldau, on which Prague is situated.