Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/The Song of the Dead
1. THE SONG OF THE DEAD.
To Laza Kostić.
We have perished, 'tis said, and now are no more. . .
Ruthlessly time all life bears away.
Over our bones sleep the days that are o'er,
And all that is left,—a mere phantom of gray.
But we wot it better, and smile at the race
Of beings that live. Man, a moment abide.
We know, thou would'st deem that thy life's fleeting space
Was lavished from heaven itself to thy side.
—But lo, it was I who gave thee thy hair;
—And mark thee, thine eyes, were they some time not mine?
—With my lips thou the mind of a maid did'st ensnare.
—'Tis my youth within thee doth blossom and pine.
From us thou hast all that is much thy delight,
For thou art our fruit. With the past do not atrive,
Because upon tombs thy tapers burn bright,
We are not in the tomb,—we are in thee alive.
Each step that thou takest, beside thee we stay:
And behind thee, as true as thy shadow we throng.
While with space and with time thou art waging the fray,
Unnumbered to conquest we bear thee along.