The Death of Marko Krályevich

The Death of Marko Krályevich

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Prince Marko rose up early on Sunday before the sun,
On Mount Úrvina by the seacoast. And as he rode thereon,
Dapple the stallion staggered sore; from his eyes ran bitter tears.
Marko it grieved. He spake to the steed:
“A hundred and sixty years,
Dapple, my gallant stallion, are gone since I came on thee.
Never hast thou staggered; yet to-day hast thou staggered under me,
And thou sheddest tears. God knoweth there is no good from the sign:
The one of us is in danger; thy life it is or mine.”
 While Marko spake, a vila on Úrvina’s steep side
In summons to Prince Marko lifted her voice and cried:
 “Knowest thou, Marko, my brother sworn, why stumbles Dapple, thine horse?
He sorrows for thee, his master, since soon will ye part perforce.”
 Said Marko to the vila:
“May thy throat ache for this!
How should I part with Dapple? Cities and emperies

Marko Drinks Wine in Ramazán

Marko Drinks Wine in Ramazán

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

There was an edict sent abroad by the Tsar Suleymán
That none should drink the yellow wine in the month of Ramazán,
That none should wear green tunics, nor silver-inlaid dirks,
And that none should dance, moreover, with the women of the Turks.
But Marko dances among them, and inlaid with silver wan
Is his blade, and green is his tunic, and he tipples in Ramazán.
And the Turkish priests and pilgrims, he maketh them drink likewise.
And the Turks go to the palace unto Suleymán’s assize:
 “Father and mother of us an art thou, Tsar Suleymán.
Saith not thine edict: none shall drink liquor in Ramazán;
And that none shall wear green tunics, nor silver-inlaid dirks;
And that none shall dance, moreover, with the women of the Turks?
Now Marko dances among them; and inlaid with silver wan
Is his blade; and green is his tunic; and he tipples in Ramazán.
Wine he may drink and welcome, if it seem good in his eyes,

Prince Marko’s Plowing

Prince Marko’s Plowing

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

With his mother, Yévrosima, his thirst did Marko slake
On the red wine. When they had drunk, to him his mother spake:
 “O thou, Prince Marko, prithee cease from the ravage and the raid;
Never on earth is evil with a good deed repaid.
Weary is thy mother of washing from thy shirts the crimson stain.
But do thou now yoke ox to plow, and plow the hill and the plain.
Sow thou the white wheat, little son, that thou and I may sup.”
 Marko harkened his mother, and he yoked the oxen up;
He plows not the hill, nor the valley; but he plows the tsar’s highway.
Some janissaries came thereby; three packs of gold had they:
 “Plow not the tsar his highway, Prince Marko,” said they then.
 “Ye Turks, mar not my plowing!” he answered them again.
 “Plow not the tsar his highway, Prince Marko,” they said anew.
 “Ye Turks, mar not my plowing!” he answered thereunto.
 But Marko was vext; in anger he lifted ox and plow,

Prince Marko and the Daughter of the Moorish King

Prince Marko and the Daughter of the Moorish King

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

His mother asks Prince Marko:
“Marko, my little son,
So many monasteries wherefore hast thou begun?
Hast thou sinned before God? Or by good hap hast thou won the gold abroad?”
 Marko of Prilip answered:
“I will tell in the name of God.
Once, when I was in the Moorish land, at dawn to a cistern fair
I went, that Dapple might drink thereof; and behold, at the water there,
Were twelve Moors. Out of my due time I wished to water the steed;
The twelve Moors would not let me, and a battle did we breed.
Thereat I drew the heavy mace, and smote a black Moor down.
We smote against each other, eleven against one.
Two I smote down, and ten of them came furiously at me.
Then nine of them must I abide, for I had stricken three.
The fourth fell; eight were the champions against me that did drive.
But I struck again; on the red ground lay ruddy corpses five.

Prince Marko and Bey Kostadin

Prince Marko and Bey Kostadin

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Prince Marko and Bey Kostádin, brothers in God were they;
They rode their steeds together. Outspoke Kostádin the Bey:
 “Prince Marko, now I prithee, thou art my brother sworn;
Come to me in the autumn, on St. Demetrius’ morn,
The feast day of my patron saint. Much honor wilt thou see,
And a fair feast and a welcome becoming my degree.”
 Said Marko:
“Boast not of thy feast! When I sought for my brother born,
Ándriya, I dwelt in autumn with thee. On St. Demetrius’ morn,
The feast day of thy patron saint, I saw the feast of thy pride,
And also in the selfsame hour three cruel deeds beside.”
 Said Bey Kostádin: “Marko, my brother sworn art thou;
Say to me of what cruel deeds thou speakest to me now.”
 Said Marko:
“The first cruel deed after this wise befell.
There came two orphans unto thee that thou mightst feed them well

Prince Marko and Mina of Kostur

Prince Marko and Mina of Kostur

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Pricne Marko and his mother had sat them down to dine;
On the dry bread they feasted, and they drank the yellow wine.
And unto the prince Marko came letters three that day:
One was from Bajazét the tsar, in white Stamboul that lay;
One from the town of Budim, from the king thereof had come;
And one from Yanko the voývoda, in Sibin that had his home.
The letter from Stamboul city, that was written of the tsar,
To the army summons Marko for the keen Moorish war.
In the letter out of Budim, the second of the three,
The king with the wooers bids him that the groomsman he may be,
That the king may lightly marry the queen of whom he is fain.
The letter from Sibin the city, it beareth a message plain,
That as godfather he shall christen the children of Yanko twain.
Marko speaks to his mother:
“My mother, old art thou;
Council me, mother, shall I go to the tsar’s army now?

Prince Marko and Alil Aga

Prince Marko and Alil Aga

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

There once were two sworn brothers; through Tsárigrad (1) rode they:
The one is the Prince Marko, the other Kostádin the Bey.
Said Marko:
“Bey Kostádin, sworn brother of mine own,
Now that I ride in Tsárigrad some woe may strike me down.
Mayhap they will summon me to the lists; a sickness will I feign,
Heartache, the evil illness, that is so fierce a pain.”
So Marko feigned a sickness, though none he had indeed;
Of his grievous cunning he bowed him on the back of Dapple the steed;
He leaned his breast on the saddlebow, through Tsárigrad he rode.
Good meeting befell him. Before him one Alil Aga strode,
The tsar his man, and thirty were his janissaries there.
Said Alil Aga to Marko:
“To the lists now let us fare,
Thou hero good, Prince Marko; with the shafts let us make play.

The Marriage of Prince Marko

The Marriage of Prince Marko

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Prince Marko with his mother one evening sate alone.
Said his mother:
“Marko, my little son, old is thy mother grown;
No more can she prepare for thee the meal whereon to dine;
She cannot light a torch for thee or serve the ruddy wine.
Marry, my son, a woman forthwith to take my place.”
 Marko unto his mother shortly he spake apace:
 “In God’s name, my ancient mother, I have been nine realms around,
And a tenth, the Turkish empire. When a girl to my taste I found,
She would not have been to thy liking; when I found a friend for thee,
Then she was not to my liking, nor desirable to me.
Except for one, my mother, in the Bulgarian land;
I saw her in Shíshmanin’s palace; by a cistern did she stand.
When I looked on her, my mother, the grass swam under me;
There is the maid for me, mother, and a dear friend for thee.
Get me food for the journey; I will ask for the maiden’s hand.”

Prince Marko and the Eagle

Prince Marko and the Eagle

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Marko lay on the tsar’s highway, and green was all his gear.
A silver cloth was on his face; by his head was planted his spear.
By the spear stood Dapple, but on it a great white eagle stayed;
It spread its wings above the prince and gave the hero shade,
And water in its beak it bore, the wounded hero, to slake.
But a vila of the mountain unto the eagle spake:
 “In the name of God, white eagle, how hath Marko stood thine aid,
That thou spreadest thy wings above him to give the hero shade,
And bringest water in thy beak, the wounded hero to slake?”
 But thereupon the eagle unto the vila spake:
 “Be silent, vila, and hold thy tongue. What, good hath come to me,
Hath aye come at Prince Marko’s hands. Keepest thou the memory
Of the day the army perished on the field of Kósovo,
And both tsars, Lazar and Murad, died in the overthrow?
Up to the stirrups of the steed that day the red blood ran,
Unto the silken girdle of many a fighting man;

Prince Marko and the Sword of Vukáshin

Prince Marko and the Sword of Vukáshin

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

The sultan with an army is come to Kósovo;
An hundred thousand men had he where Sítnitsa doth flow.
With a saber of Damascus his herald goeth forth,
And full three hundred ducats the naked blade is worth;
And likewise was the scabbard worth ducats fifteen score,
And the cost of the cord of the scabbard three hundred ducats more.
No one was found for money to buy that scimitar,
But chance brought the Prince Marko on the herald of the tsar.
Said Marko: “The Damascus blade, thou herald, show to me.”
The herald heard and gave over the blade, but not a word said he.
Marko said to the herald, as he looked on the saber cold:
 “Forty-five score of ducats will I give thee of yellow gold;
But harken, herald, let us go to some safe place hereabout,
That I may count before thee the yellow ducats out,
For I would not ungird me of the three gold belts this tide,
Since I am much in the Turkish debt in the camp on every side,