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PRESEREN, France


A Toast

The vintage, friends, is over,

And here sweet wine makes, once again,

Sad eyes and hearts recover,

Puts fire in every vein,

Drowns dull care

Everywhere

And summons hope out of despair.

To whom with acclamation

And song shall we our first toast give?

God save our land and nation

And all Slovenes where'er they live,

Who own the same

Blood and name,

And who one glorious Mother claim.

Let thunder out of heaven

Strike down and smite our wanton foe!

Now, as it once had thriven,

May our dear realm in freedom grow.

Let fall the last

Chains of the past

Which bind us still and hold us fast!

Let peace, glad conciliation,

Come back to us throughout the land!

Towards their destination

Let Slavs henceforth go hand-in-hand!

Thus again

Will honour reign

To justice pledged in our domain.

To you, our pride past measure,

Our girls! Your beauty, charm and grace!

here surely is no treasure

To equal maidens of such race.

Sons you'll bear,

Who will dare

Defy our foe no matter where.

Our hope now, our to-morrow -

Our youth - we toast and toast with joy.

No poisonous blight or sorrow

Your love of homeland shall destroy.

With us indeed

You're called to heed

Its summons in this hour of need.

God's blessing on all nations,

Who long and work for that bright day,

When o'er earth's habitations

No war, no strife shall hold its sway;

Who long to see

That all men free

No more shall foes, but neighbours be.

At last to our reunion -

To us the toast! Let it resound,

Since in this gay communion

By thoughts of brotherhood we're bound.

May joyful cheer

Ne'er disappear

From all good hearts now gathered here.

Translated by: Janko Lavrin


O'er thee, Misfortune, I have ceased to wail

O'er thee, Misfortune, I have ceased to wail,

I'll utter no reproaches any more.

Thank God, I'm used to griefs thou hast in store

And to the sufferings in life's strong jail.

No burden can now hurt my shoulders frail;

My lips are used to bitter drinks of yore;

My feet, like leather, are no longer sore,

I dread no thorny path, no irksome trail.

Stiff are my limbs and joints as if confined.

My heart, once sensitive, is hard as stone,

The claims of sorrow have subdued my mind.

All fear is fled; with it all hopes have flown.

Should Fate caress or beat me, it will find

Insensibility of flesh and bone.


Gazelle

Let my poem, like a shrine, contain - your name;

In my heart shall ever proudly reign - your name;

Let my cuntrymen hear echoes, east and west,

Of the music in that joyous strain - your name;

On this shrine shall nations henceforth read your fame;

Here it stays to glow and glow again - your name.

When both you and I have crossed in Charon's boat,

Even then the glory will remain - your name.

More than Cynthia, Laura, Delia and Corrina,

Time will ever hallow my refrain - your name.


A Wreath of sonnets 4/14

These tear-stained flowers of a poet's mind,

Culled from my bosom, lay it wholly bare;

My heart's a garden: Love is sowing there

Sad elegies each with my longing signed.

You are their sun whose radiance, purblind,

I seek in vain at home and everywhere,

In theatre, on promenade and square,

Midst revels where the chains of dancers wind.

How often through the town with watchful eyes

I wander, praying for a fate more kind,

Yet catch no glimpse of that elusive prize.

I shed my tears to loneliness confined:

Hence all these songs which from my love arise;

They come from where no man can sunshine find.


A Wreath of Sonnets 6/14

Unblest by soothing winds of warmer days,

My songs remain, since from you, haughty maid,

They never won the word that might be said -

The word that neither saddens nor dismays.

As you were bred upon the German phrase,

Like many a Slovene girl, they were afraid

That from such flowers on our Parnassus laid

With cold disdain you would avert your gaze.

Our Muses were not loved in our own land:

They were but spinsters doomed to lonely ways,

While foreign beauties won both heart and hand.

Like flowers that bud within the glacier's maze,

Our songs are sparse, as though by nature banned,

Above them savage peaks the mountains raise.


A Wreath of Sonnets 7/14

Above them savage peaks the mountains raise,

Like those which once were charmed by the refrain

Of Orpheus, when his lyre stirred hill and plain,

And Haemus' crags and the wild folk of Thrace.

Ah, would, to cure the dearth of these our days,

An Orpheus dowered with song of native strain

Were sent to us that all Slovenes might gain

Fresh fire to set their frozen hearts ablaze.

His words might kindle thoughts that would remind

Us of lost pride of race; discord would cease;

Our people in one nation then combined

Would see that feuds no longer did increase.

His strains would bring the rule of joy and peace,

Where tempests roar and nature is unkind.