The Captivity of Stoyan Yánkovich

The Captivity of Stoyan Yánkovich

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

WHEN the Turks took Kotári, great havoc did they make
With the house of Yánkovich Íliya Smílyanich did they take
And likewise Stoyan Yánkovich; bereft was Íliya’s bride
Of fifteen days; ungently from his wife’s youthful side
Was Stoyan taken also, ere a week they had been wed.
The Turks to Stamboul city captive the husbands led.
To the tsar whom all men honor, with the prisoners of their spears
Came the Turks; and the two were holden for the space of nine long years
And seven months. And Moslems the tsar hath made them there,
And likewise built them houses beside his palace fair.
 Spake Íliya Smílyanich: “Stoyan, dear brother,” did he say,
“To-morrow will be Friday, the Turkish holiday;
The tsáritsa walks with the Turkish dames and the tsar with the Turks at heel.
Do thou steal the key of the treasury, and the stable key will I steal;
Let us gather the guardless treasure and take two steeds amain,
And run to level Kotári and see our wives again,

The Marriage of Stoyan Yánkovich

The Marriage of Stoyan Yánkovich

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

While still men dreamed not of the dawn, the gates were opened wide
In Údbina, and from the town a squadron forth did ride.
Four and thirty friends are there; before them is Mustay Bey,
The lord of Lika; (1) to Kunor wood he went to hunt that day.
For half a week he hunted, but nothing came to hand;
To Údbina and Lika he went homeward through the land;
When down through the fir forest to a spring be turned aside,
To drink and rest. He cast his eye ’neath a green fir that tide;
But when Mustay Bey of Lika came, the twigs of the fir tree shone.
A drunken warrior lay asleep in the fir wood alone;
All in the pure gold was he clad and in the silver fine;
On his head he wore a splendid cap with silver feathers nine,
And set beside the feathers a great wing silver-wrought;

The Death of Ivo of Senye

The Death of Ivo of Senye

Heroic Ballads of Serbia

translated by

George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon

Ivo’s mother dreamed that darkness was risen Senye (1) around,
That the clear sky was broken and the bright moon fell to the ground
On Rúzhitsa church in Senye, and the stars fled far and wide,
And the daystar rose up bloody, and the cuckoo to her cried—
In Senye’s midst on the holy roof of Rúzhitsa did he perch.
The woman awoke and took her crutch and hastened to the church,
And told the Archpriest Nédelko what dream was come to her,
And to her the priest made clear the dream as an interpreter:
“Hearest thou, mother! Ill hast thou dreamed and evil soon will be.
In that darkness rose round Senye, ’twill be desolate for thee.
In that the sky was broken and the bright moon fell to the ground
On Rúzhitsa, Ivo will perish; he hath reached his term and bound.
In that the stars fled far and wide, will many a widow moan.
In that bloody rose the daystar, thou wilt be as a cuckoo alone.

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.”