The Soul Of A Century/A dream of Praha

The Soul Of A Century  (1943) 
A dream of Praha
by Karel Hynek Mácha, translated by Roderick Aldrich Ginsburg


What is this, a city I envision?
You say Praha? The nation’s crowning glory?
It is Praha, but what change transformed her.
Years ago a famous castle towered
Yonder, formerly the seat of royal grandeur.
Other bridges spanned the ancient river,
While today, all dwellings are deserted,
Where the noisy throngs once rolled and thundered
All is steeped in horror stricken silence.
In this city neither man nor creature,
Everything is desolate and barren.
Doors ajar to every silent dwelling,
And the rooms stand open and unguarded,
With the household implements still standing,
Left by men who seem to have just vanished,
For there is no trace of man nor movement.
Ancient towers still point to the heavens,
And the altar cloths are still spread out,
As if services were just concluded.
Lifeless, deathlike stands the ancient city,
Like a wasted grave now Praha stands,
Like the grave of a nation’s former splendor,
A nation’s grave bedecked with blooming flowers.
Speeding Labe and Vltava’s waters,
Blend their voices like a distant bugle,
As they chant the nation’s dirge of sorrow.

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) between 1928 and 1977 (inclusive) without a copyright notice.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1987, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 35 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.