To a Ruthless Rich Man

To a Ruthless Rich Man

By Aleksa Šantić

You live a life of luxury for
In silk you bask like a tsar,
Tho’ a wealthy man of yore,
Nothing but dust you are!

Poor men moan and cry,
Their days pass in woe;
Tho’ in that silk you lie –
Man, into dust you shall go!

A roar comes to your ear
Of the poor’s anguish, tho’
You resent what you hear –
Man, into dust you shall go!

Away you chase it, but see
Not that you already mourn;
Man, tho’ mighty you may be –
Into dust you shall return.

Not for long, o, mortal soul,
Will you be in this world so,
Not for long, o, mortal soul,
For into earth you shall go.

All luxury will fade like dew,
You shall leave your court;
They will turn into dust, too
Their time will be cut short.

Be kind! Be a man ever!
May your deeds praise you,
Thus, you shall live forever –
When into dust you return, too.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Nemilosrdnom bogatašu

Popô si se sred milina,
dvor ti zlato, svila krasi;
Bogataš si od davnina –
al’, čovječe, prašina si.

Sirotinja tuži, cvili,
u jadu joj teku časi;
A ti ležiš u toj svili –
al’, čovječe, prašina si.

Do ušiju dopiru ti
sirotinjske muke glasi;
Ti prezireš taj glas ljuti –
al’, čovječe, prašina si.

Ti je goniš, a ne vidiš
kako suzom lice kvasi;
Ti si silan, ti s’ ne stidiš –
al’, čovječe, prašina si.

Zamalo ćeš, oj smrtniče,
na svijetu tako biti,
zamalo ćeš, oj smrtniče,
jer ć’ i tebe zemlja skriti.

Preminuće sva milina,
ostavićeš svoje dvore;
I oni će bit prašina,
vremena će da ih sore.

Imaj srca! Budi čovjek!
Nek te djela dižu svude,
pa ćeš tako živit dovijek’ –
i kad tijelo prah ti bude.

aleksasantic_01

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