Prince Marko and Bey Kostadin
Heroic Ballads of Serbia
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.”
“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.”
“The first cruel deed after this wise befell.
There came two orphans unto thee that thou mightst feed them well
With the white bread, and give them the ruddy wine to drain.
But thou saidst: ‘Ye mere scull of the earth, now get you hence amain!
Ye shall not defile the wine before my gentlefolk this day.’
Bey, I pitied the orphans and with them went away;
And I took them to the market and fed them on white bread,
And gave them to drink of the ruddy wine, and clad them in satin red,
And in green silk moreover. Unto thy house again
I sent them, and looked to see thee, how them thou wouldst entertain.
One thou tookest on either hand; to the table thou leddest them then:
‘Eat and drink,’ thou saidst, ‘ye sons of gentlemen!’
“Thy second cruel deed was this. When ancient squires forlorn
Came there, who had lost their money, and whose scarlet was outworn,
Thou evermore didst set them at the foot of the table there;
But whoso of the younger squires at thy festival that were,
Who had gained new hordes of money, and whose scarlet was fresh and new,
Evermore thou broughtest them the head of the board unto;
Thou didst pour the wine and brandy before them fast and free;
There was a feast and welcome, befitting thy degree.
“This is thy third cruel deed, O bey. Father and mother are thine;
Neither is ever at thy board nor draineth first the wine.”