Starína Novak and the Bold Rádivoye

Starína Novak and the Bold Rádivoye

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Starína Novak drank the wine on Romániya the green hill,
And Rádivoye, his brother, drank with him with a will;
And Grúitsa, Stárina’s son, Rádivoye sat before;
With Grúitsa was Tátomir and thirty hayduks more.
When the hayduks in good fellowship had drunk the liquor cold,
Then spake unto his brother Rádivoye, called the bold:
“Hearest thou, brother Novak? I will leave thee behind me now.
Thou canst not go a-raiding; too grievous old art thou.
Thou dost not love to gallop on the highway any more,
To lie in wait for traders that come from the seashore.”
So spake bold Rádivoye. He leaped from the ground to his feet,
He seized on Breshka by the waist; the thirty followed fleet.
Rado (1) went over the black mount; ’neath a green fir Novak lay,
With his two young sons. Brave Rado came to a crossing in the way.

How Starína Novak Became a Hayduk

How Starína Novak Became a Hayduk

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Novak and Rado drank the wine near Bosna the river cold,
With Bógosav. When they had drunk as much as they could hold,
Prince Bogosav began to speak:
“Starína Novak,” said he,
“My brother sworn, now speak the truth, so may God prosper thee!
Why didst thou join the outlaws? What constraint on thee was laid
To go to the wood to break thy neck, and to ply a wretched trade?
And in thine age, moreover, when thy season was past and sped?”
 Starína Novak spake to him:
“Prince Bógosav,” he said,
“My brother sworn, since thou askest me, I will even tell thee the truth;
But it was through a hard constraint that I fled, in very sooth.
Thou mayst remember, when Yérina did Sméderevo rear,
She made me a day laborer. I labored there three year.
Wood and stone did I haul for her with my oxen and my wain,

The Maiden Márgita and Rayko the Voývoda

The Maiden Márgita and Rayko the Voývoda

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

(1) Not yet the dawn had whitened, nor the day star shown its face;
Men thought not of day—forth Márgita the maid walked in the place,
In Sriyem over Slánkamen; (2) barefoot the damsel sprang
Over the stone so early. In delicate wise she sang,
But Rayko in the song she cursed:
“Rayko, may God thee slay!
The Turks have plagued us grievously in Sriyem, since the day
When thou becamest voývoda. When Mirko ruled the land,
We heard of no Turk, nor ever saw one before us stand;
But now they plague us grievously. Their horses’ feet are sore
For riding night and morning in our country evermore.
The very fields on their horsehoofs are lifted and stolen away,
And the air is full of javelins and their throwing-darts to-day.”

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.