Page:Modern Czech Poetry, 1920.djvu/25

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7
PETR BEZRUČ

3. I. (i i i).

 

I am the first of the Teschen people,
First bard of the Bezkyds who uttered his strains.
Of the foreigner's plough and his mines they are bondsmen.
Watery, milky, the sap in their veins.
Each of them has a God in the heavens,
Greater the one in their native land.
In the church they pay him on high their tribute.
To the other with blood and a toil-seared hand.

He, he upon high, gave thee bread for thy life's sake,
Gave flowers to the butterfly, glades to the doe;
Thou, thou who wert bred on the Bezkyd mountains,
To him the broad lands beneath Lysá dost owe.
He gave thee the mountains and gave thee the forests,
The fragrance borne by the breeze from the dale;
At a swoop the other has taken all from thee,
Speed unto him in yon church, and wail.

Honour God and thy masters, my son from the Bezkyds,
And this shall yield fair fruit unto thee.
Thou art chased from thy forests by guardian angels,
So humbly to them thou bendest the knee:
„Thou thief from Krásná! Is this thy timber?
Thou shalt sink down meekly, and earth shalt thou kiss!
Quit thy lord's forests and get thee to Frýdek!“
Thou upon high, what sayst thou to this?

But thine ugly speech is a bane to thy masters,
To those guardian angels it is a bane.
Have done with it, thou shalt fare the better,
Thy son shall be first thereby to gain.
Thus it is. The Lord wills it. Night sank o'er my people
We shall perish before the night has passed.
In this night. I have prayed to the Demon of Vengeance,
The first of the Bezkyd bards and the last.

“Silesian Songs” (1909).