The Hanging of Levski
O you, my Mother, my Native Land,
Why is your cry so sad and heart-rending!
And you, O Raven, accursed bird,
On whose grave croak you of ill impending?
I know, ah I know, you weep, my Mother,
Because you're a slave in bondage lying,
You weep because your sacred voice
Is a helpless voice in a desert crying.
Weep on, weep on! Near Sofia town
A ghastly gallows I have seen standing,
And your own son, Bulgaria,
There with dreadful force is hanging.
The raven gives its grim hoarse croak,
Dogs yelp, wolves howl, the sky is bleak,
Old men in prayers their God invoke,
Women shed tears, the children shriek.
The winter sings its evil song,
Squalls chase the thistles in the plain,
And cold and frost and hopeless tears
Wring and twist your heart with pain.
To My Youth
Put aside that song of love,
do not fill my heart with pain -
I'm young but I don't know of youth
and if I did I wouldn't claim
the thing I trample underfoot
before you, and begin to hate.
Forget about the time I craved
a gentle glance, a sigh or two:
you had me chained up like a slave -
and for a single smile from you
the world filled me with wild disgust
and I cast my feelings in the dust.
Forget the madness of those times,
there's no lovelight within this breast
and no way you can make it shine,
there, where a heavy sadness rests,
where everything is lacerated
and a hating heart is wrapped in hatred.
You have your youth - your voice enchants -
but do you hear the forest singing?
Do you hear the poor lament? -
That voice is the spirit longing
and there my wounded heart is called,
where blood is spattered over all.
O, don't say bitter things to me.
Hear the woods and foliage moan,
hear the thunder of past centuries
and, word by word, how they intone
tales which long ago took place
and songs of hardships yet to face.
I'd have you sing that song as well,
to sing it, girl, and make it ache,
to sing how brother, brothers sell,
how strength and youth but run to waste
and how a widow mourns her lover
and little homeless children suffer.
Sing - or, silent, go your way.
My heart is trembling - it will fly
it will fly, beloved - come, awake -
to where malignant, terrifying cries
and a monstrous litany of death
break from the rumbling, shaking earth.
There - the storm tears trees aside
and a sword enfolds them in a wreath;
terrible chasms are gaping wide
and through them leaden bullets shriek;
and there death comes with smiling face
and sweet rest and a chilly grave.
O, those songs, that smiling face.
Whose voice will call and sing of me? -
My toast - a cup of blood - I'll raise
to drink that love pass silently,
and then, alone, I'll make my song
of what I love, for what I long…