I'll Vanish Like Smoke
I'll vanish like smoke drifting up in the air,
And no one will miss me at all!
Like thousands who lived once and sank in despair,
Whose names now can no one recall!
Like waves of the seas or a man's restless thought
This world's deeds are changing with time!
Where's Sardis? Or Athens? The Romans who sought
To reach in their works the sublime?
Then what is my misery or inspiration?
Those flashes revealing my soul?
A stir of my blood or my heart's trepidation –
The grave soon will swallow it all!
My songs soon will die! Yet a fond aspiration
Will make other poets fly high!
The same distant star will arouse admiration,
They'll suffer bedazzled like I!
And what is the glory in song so exalted?
A shadow that's tuning along!
When man is no more, all the dreams he has haunted
Will fade soon like thick crimson dawn!
Song of Antiquity
Word is here, from as far as Vilnius: Saddle the steed.
In Marienburg Teutonic knights move to destroy us.
Goodbye, dear heart, my sister! Be still. Wait for me.
If I not perish, I shall return, joyous.
A long time now, Teutons gather their precious wealth:
gold spires, and chests of silk, soft to the feel.
Dear love, you'll have a silk scarf and a belt of gold,
and I, a Prussian sword of tempered steel.
Spring's dawn has broken, and the lark sings on forever.
Where is my lad, my love? Why does he not return?
At sunset there was battle. Blood poured down and wasted.
My love fell for his homeland. And I mourn.
Ladies, companions, sing their joy, adorned in silks.
My tears burst out and shine. I see the graveyard stand.
Dearest one, you'll not speak small words of love to me,
nor slip the golden ring on a white hand.
The Nemunas flows in strong repose
And waters our native soil.
Birutė's song in our brother's tongue
Can lighten the ploughman's toil.
As our rivers cross the eternal strand,
So shall our songs resound in every land.
Where the jewels gleam, where the rue is green
And graces a maiden's wreath,
Where the cuckoo's cry fills the forest high,
Our cottages stand on the heath.
Where the rue blooms and speckled birds rejoice,
There our mother awaits the wanderer's voice.
When the sun of spring scatters shades from the ling,
When the hay meets the reaper's hand,
When the stubble-corn is all cold and torn —
Ever fair is our native land.
In winter's snows, in summer's ecstasy,
None is dearer, lovelier than thee.
In the sun's bright rays or in clouded days
Our heart returns to our home,
Where our fathers rest and their memory is blest,
Where our sweat has watered the loam.
In joy and hardship, quietude and strife,
Be the land beloved more than life.
There the boyars rode to their Prince's abode
And made the Teuton flee.
Our homage is due and our hearts are true
To the land of our liberty.
In her cause our fathers strove and bled,
In her cause our blood shall yet be shed.
May the Lord of grace defend the place
Where the bones of our ancestors lie. May
Thy powerful hand protect the land
Where Thy children suffer and die.
Shed still upon our home Thy mercy's light;
Still hear us, Lord of everlasting might.