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PETŐFI, Sandor



The National Poem


On your feet, Magyar, the homeland calls!

The time is here, now or never!

Shall we be slaves or free?

This is the question, choose your answer! -

By[3] the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!


We were slaves up til now,

Damned are our ancestors,

Who lived and died free,

Cannot rest in a slave land.

By the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!


Useless villain of a man,

Who now, if need be, doesn't dare to die,

Who values his pathetic life greater

Than the honor of his homeland.

By the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!


The sword shines brighter than the chain,

Decorates better the arm,

And we still wore chains!

Return now, our old sword!

By the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!


The Magyar name will be great again,

Worthy of its old, great honor;

Which the centuries smeared on it,

We will wash away the shame!

By the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!


Where our grave mounds lie,

Our grandchildren will kneel,

And with blessing prayer,

Recite our sainted names.

By the God of the Hungarians

We vow,

We vow, that we will be slaves

No longer!



I'll Be a Tree


I'll be a tree, if you are its flower,

Or a flower, if you are the dew-

I'll be the dew, if you are the sunbeam,

Only to be united with you.


My lovely girl, if you are the Heaven,

I shall be a star above on high;

My darling, if you are hell-fire,

To unite us, damned I shall die.


The End of September

The flowers still bloom in the valley gardens.

The tree is still green outside our window.

But in the distance can you see winter’s world?

Soon the snow will cover over the rooftops.


Yet in my young heart a ray of summer still burns,

And deep within me lives the unending spring.

But behold, my dark hair is already streaked with gray.

The winter frost already strikes my head.


Soon the flowers will die, life hurries on.

Come my wife, sit here on my lap.

You who now place your head against my heart,

Will you one day gaze tearfully at my corpse?


If I should die before you,

Will you kneel down at my grave?

Or will you one day bring a young lover with you,

For whom you have forsaken my name?


If you cast aside your widow’s veil,

On my grave post hang a dark flag.

I will rise up for you from my earthly grave

In the depths of winter’s night and take it down.


To wipe from my eyes the tears shed for you,

Who so easily forgot her devotee,

And to bind up the wounds in the heart of one,

Who still loves you for all eternity.