Page:A Book of Czech Verse.pdf/25

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Jan Kollár (1793–1852)





Before my weeping eyes extends the land,
My people’s cradle once, their coffin now.
Stir not, for where you tread is holy ground.
O Tatra’s son, lift up your eyes to heaven,
Or turn towards that mighty oak
Which yet can spurn the ravages of time.
Yet worse than time is man, that in these lands
Has fastened, Slav, upon your neck a yoke.
Still worse than fierce war, more fierce than fire
Or thunder, is that blinded man who turns
In anger striking down his kin.
O ages past, around me like the night!
O land that mirrors all our pride and shame!
From traitor Elbe unto the eastern plains
That touch upon the faithless Vistula,
From Danube to the Baltic’s gulping foam,
Where once was heard the talk of Slavic men,
Today that tongue, by hate oppressed, is still.