The Wife of Hasan Aga
Heroic Ballads of Serbia
George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon
(1) What shows white in the wood? A flock of swans or a bank of snow?
Swans would have flown and a snow bank would have melted long ago.
It is not snow, nor a milk-white swan, but Hasan Aga’s tent;
Sore wounded was he. His mother and sister to him went;
For very shame his wife came not. (2) When his wounds were healed aright,
He charged his faithful wife withal:
“Come not into my sight;
Await me never, woman, my fair white house within;
Nor yet do thou abide me in the houses of my kin.”
When the faithful woman heard it, sad was her heart indeed.
Suddenly from the house she heard the trampling of the steed.
To the window she ran, to break her neck by leaping down from the tower;
But the daughters of Hasan Aga pursued her in that hour:
“Return to us, dear mother! Our father comes not,” said they;
“It is thy brother, our uncle, Pintórovich the Bey.”
The wife of Hasan Aga, to her brother’s breast she came:
“Ah, brother, from my children five doth he send me! It is shame!”
Naught said the bey; in his silken pouch forthwith his hand he thrust
For a bill of divorce that granted her her dower held in trust, (3)
And bade her go to her mother. When the purport thereof she wist,