Emine

Emine

By Aleksa Šantić

Last night, returning from the hammam,
I went past the garden of an old imam;
Lo! In the cool shade of white jessamine,
With a jug in her hand there stood Emine.

Oh, handsome maid! By iman I can swear
Worthy of sultan’s court is this damsel fair!
As she walks along and her hips sway free
Not even khojah’s amulet can protect me!

I greeted her with a salaam. Upon my din,
She would not greet me back, the fair Emine,
Instead, she filled her jug amid the bowers
And went off to water her fragrant flowers;

A sudden wind blew and plaits of her black
Hair dropped loose down her graceful back.
That hair which smelled of hyacinth soon
Made my head so dizzy and all aswoon!

I almost stumbled and fell, upon my din,
Yet she came not to me, the pretty Emine.
Only once did she give me a sullen glare,
I could die for her, but what does she care!

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

hammam-a Turkish bath
Imam-the officiating priest of a mosque
Khojah-a teacher in a Muslim school
Din-religion, especially the religious observances of a Muslim
Salaam-a salutation meaning “peace”

EMINA

Sinoć, kad se vratih iz topla hamama,
prođoh pokraj bašte staroga imama;
Kad tamo, u bašti, u hladu jasmina,
s ibrikom u ruci stajaše Emina.

Ja kakva je, pusta! Tako mi imana,
stid je ne bi bilo da je kod sultana!
Pa još kad se šeće i plećima kreće…
– Ni hodžin mi zapis više pomoć neće!…

Ja joj nazvah selam. Al’ moga mi dina,
ne šće ni da čuje lijepa Emina,
no u srebren ibrik zahitila vode
pa po bašti đule zalivati ode;

S grana vjetar duhnu pa niz pleći puste
rasplete joj one pletenice guste,
zamirisa kosa ko zumbuli plavi,
a meni se krenu bururet u glavi!

Malo ne posrnuh, mojega mi dina,
no meni ne dođe lijepa Emina.
Samo me je jednom pogledala mrko,
niti haje, alčak, što za njome crko’!…

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