J. Neruda (1834–1891)
“Sure, but the folk are like the land.
If all the saints, to teach you, came,
(Should Czechs pay heed) be thankful, saints,
If blows at you they would not aim.
As well to thresh a sheaf of straw.
Try what I will—a day or two,
And all is turned about again.
Such rank return I have of you.”
Yet raised he to his lips the cup
And drank: his fine wide eyes now gave
A stealthy glance towards his friend:
Bushek sat silent as the grave.
And, but to find a thing to do,
He wet his lip the cup along
And to his palate pressed the wine,
And rolled it slowly round his tongue.
“Aye, wretched,” said the king, and quick
He helped himself to wine the while,
So quick, as barring argument,
But round his lips now played a smile.
“Shall I then die of thirst? By heaven
Thou’rt blind, good page. Dost thou not see
An empty glass before me lies?
And let thy measure generous be!”