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,

And the Turkish janissaries he slew thero at a blow,
And their three packs of treasure to his mother he bore away:
 “Lo, mother, what my plowing hath won for thee to-day!”