Fatherland

Fatherland

By Djura Jakšić

E’en this rock of the land of Serbia
That, defying the Sun, tears thro’ a cloud,
By the grim lines of its gloomy brow
Evokes its long, tumultuous past,
Showing, reticent, with silent mime
The deep furrows of its cheeks.

Of dark centuries these are the traces –
The obscure wrinkles, murky caverns;
And this rock rising like a pyramid
From the dust towards the sky –
‘Tis a pile of decaying bones that
In combat against their bitter foe
Your forefathers willfully heaped,
Bonding with the blood of own hearts
Of their arms the broken bones –
To form an ambush whence, scornful
Of the foe, their grandsons would
Boldly waylay its rampaging hordes.

But, only up to that place, that rock,
That rampart, –
Haply shall your hostile feet tread.
If you venture further, you shall hark
The mighty roar of thunder rip thro’
The silence of the free land;
Your fearful heart will comprehend
What its audacious voice’s telling you,
Then, gripped by horrendous fear,
You shall be banging your bare head
Against this rock all solid and hard…
Yet, mid the horrific clamour of combat,
One phrase, one thought you shall hear:
“’Tis the fatherland of the Serbs!…”

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Otadžbina

I ovaj kamen zemlje Srbije,
Što, preteć suncu, dere kroz oblak,
Sumornog čela mračnim borama
O vekovečnosti priča dalekoj,
Pokazujući nemom mimikom
Obraza svoga brazde duboke.

Vekova tavnih to su tragovi —
Te crne bore, mračne pećine;
A kamen ovaj, kô piramida
Što se iz praha diže u nebo,
Kostiju kršnih to je gomila,
Što su u borbi protiv dušmana
Dedovi tvoji voljno slagali,
Lepeći krvlju srca rođenog
Mišica svojih kosti slomljene, —
Da unucima spreme busiju,
Oklen će nekad smelo, preziruć,
Dušmana čekat čete grabljive.

I samo dotle, do tog kamena,
Do tog bedema —
Nogom ćeš stupit, možda, poganom.
Drzneš li dalje?… Čućeš gromove
Kako tišinu zemlje slobodne
Sa grmljavinom strašnom kidaju;
Razumećeš ih srcem strašljivim
Šta ti sa smelim glasom govore,
Pa ćeš o stenja tvrdom kamenu
Brijane glave teme ćelavo
U zanosnome strahu lupati…
Al’ jedan izraz, jednu misao,
Čućeš u borbe strašnoj lomljavi:
„Otadžbina je ovo Srbina!…“

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