2676422Cheskian Anthology1832John Bowring

Waslaw Hanka.

Born 1791.

WENESLAUS HANKA was born on the 10th of June, 1791, at Hořěnowes. In 1818 he was appointed librarian of the national museum at Prague. His poetical productions are not numerous, but flowing and national. It is to him that the literature of Bohemia owes the great debt of the discovery and elucidation of the Kralodworsky MSS., which may, without hesitation, be deemed the most remarkable contribution modern times have made to the ancient literature of Bohemia. He is a thorough master of the literary antiquities of his country, and by his Starobylá Skládanie has admirably filled one of the blanks in the history of letters.

His father (he tells me) was a farmer, whom, up to his 16th year, he assisted in the labours of the field, and had no time for study but the wintry hours which he could dedicate to the school. From the spring to the autumn he kept his father's sheep. The elements of the latin tongue he learned at home, and afterwards completed his knowledge of it at Hradeckrálowé (Königgratz). He studied philosophy at Prague—law at Vienna: his mother-tongue was always the object of his admiration, and in early life he "moralized in song." Polish and servian troops had been quartered on his father's farm, and from them he learned their native idioms. Having excited some notice, Dobrowsky became his patron and his instructor. His literary discoveries were the signal to his welcome into many distinguished societies—obtained for him the gold medal of the russian academy—marks of imperial favour from the emperor Alexander—and the most deserved respect and gratitude of all who feel any interest in slavonian antiquities.


Gak se ten mēsjček.

Now the moon is rising

O'er the forest trees,

Fain would I inform me

Where my lover is:

For he made me promise,

Ere the moon should smile,

Here to wait his coming—

What a weary while!

All the cows—I've milk'd them—

O, the ling'ring hour:

I have wreath'd the arbor

With each fragrant flower.

Wherefore does he tarry?

Welcome would he be ;

Many a kiss should meet him,

Come, O come to me!

O! he comes—I hear him,

Yes! I hear him now—

No! it was the breezes

Rustling in the bough.

What can have detained him—

Has some maiden's song?

Else he had not linger'd,

Linger'd there so long.

I had scatter'd flow'rets,

Flow'rets for his bed:

I had hung up ivy

Garlands o'er his head.

Has some lambkin wander'd—

Does he track it now

Down the craggy mountain

To the deeps below?

O thou silver planet—

Thou of palest beam!

Tell him that Lelida

Weeps—and weeps for him.

But if wolves have seiz'd him,

What have I to do,

Desolate Lelida—

But to perish too!

This song is in the second number of a collection published at Prague in 1816, entitled Dwanáctero Pjsnj. Professor Zimmermann has translated it into german.


Gednau sme w neděli

Once seated with my love,

Upon the sod beneath

The blossom'd boughs above,

I stretch'd my hand to tear

Sweet flow'rets for a wreath,

And gave it to the fair.

I gave a burning kiss—

I said, what ails thee? tell,

And hind thy brows with this.

The winds were whispering while

Her tears unwanted fell:

She saw my raptur'd smile.

She utter'd pensively,

O! how it pain'd my ear—

"I cannot smile like thee."

"My maid! what ails thee now—

What means the averted eye?

I'll punish thee, I vow—"

"Silence—for shame"—she said,

"I saw thee secretly

Embrace another maid!"[1]


Ye wild and savage rocks,

Ah! listen to my songs;

To ye that tower so high,

Gigantic, towards the sky;

I will confide my wrongs.

And yet ye know my wrongs;

Ye know my secret woe—

The struggles of thy souI—

My griefs—my doubts—the whole

Of sorrow's strife ye know.

Ye know how blest I seem'd,

When love was beaming o'er—

Ye know his solemn oath,

That bound—that pledg'd us both—

He broke the oath he swore.

And who can help me now?

Life's flowers and fruits are gone—

My roses are decay'd:

Ah! who shall help the maid,

Left with despair alone!

Částo zamyšlenȳ.

When slumbering I found me

Within the deep grove;

Sweet dreams gather'd round me,

Of thee, mine own love!

I saw thee before me,

All blooming as spring;

Thy smiles beaming o'er me—

A joy-giving thing.

Thy cheeks, they were glowing

With blushes all bright;

Thine eyes, they were flowing

With love and delight.

What bliss kindled thro' me—

Thy hand when I prest;

Thy lips smiling to me,

Said, lov'd one! be blest!

Yes! then thou wert seated—

Thy lips bore my kiss;

Thy kisses repeated

The rapture of bliss.

Of blessings, best blessing!

O joy! while I deem

My lips thine are pressing—

O joy!—'Twas a dream.

This is another of the Dwanáctero Pjsnj. There is a german translation by Hanslik.

  1. See Dwanáctero Pjsnj—Prague, 1816. There are two german translations of this song; one by Professor Zimmermann—the other by Hanslik.