By Djura Jakšić

Before me now two paths out are spread:
One of flowers, the other of spines;
My feet of iron are strong to tread
On the thorny path beyond confines.

I cede the path strewed with flowers sweet
To the ones whose step is soft and frail;
Trodden be flowers by ladies’ feet,
Men are made for the thorny trail!


Dve preda mnom staze stoje:
Jedna s cvećem, druga s trnjem;
Gvozdene su noge moje:
Idem trnju da se vrnem.

Ja ustupam cveća staze
kojima je noga meka;
Nek po cveću žene gaze,
a trnje je za čoveka!


The Falling of Leaves

The Falling of Leaves

By Jovan Dučić

She walked silent, cold, beside me,
With no silver tear in her bleary eye;
All around us dead vervains lay free,
An old river was wholly enveloped by

The falling eve. Her stride was like
A step of solitude, sad and gentle so.
Sorrow-laden we were, beset by like
Tearless anguish and the same woe.

The dark ill night with dust did smear
Alleys of plane-trees and the lakeside;
Our frail hearts were all filled with fear
Yonder where everything quietly died.

When the eve ever dimmer did grow,
And in cold silence our lips gently met
All terrified we felt that each kiss, woe!
Meant the death of another minute yet.

With ev’ry heartbeat something dies, o!
Ev’ry wish fears it will quench a breath!
And this November, grey and dreary so,
There is no Life other than in Death!

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Koračaše nema, hladna, pored mene,
Bez srebrne suze u mutnome oku;
Kraj nas behu mrtve ruže i vrbene,
Padalo je veče na vodu široku

Stare jedne reke. Njen je korak bio
Kô korak samoće, nečujan i setan.
Besmo tako tužni; nas tištaše tiho
Isti jad bez suza i bol istovetan.

Mrak bolesne noći zasipaše prahom
Platane po vrtu, jezero prozirno;
Naša srca behu ispunjena strahom
Tuda, gde sve tako umiraše mirno.

I kad u to veče što sve većma mrači,
Približismo usta što ledeno ćute,
Vaj, mi osetismo, s užasom, da znači
I taj svaki poljub smrt jedne minute.

Svaki udar srca, smrt nečeg što živi!
Svaka želja strepi da će nešto strti!
U ovaj novembar čamotni i sivi,
Ne postoji Život drugde neg u Smrti.

After the Funeral

After the Funeral

By Laza Kostić

I buried my love
Deep into the ground,
Spirits and demons whereat
Their abode have found.

Seraphim all flew thereat
And kissed her wholly so,
Cherubs and seraphs, yet
She quietly sleeps below.

The rays of sun fell anon
Her grave to kiss in her sleep,
And the clouds settled on
Bitter tears to weep.

Seraphs and cherubs thereat,
Kissed her wholly so,
So did rays and clouds, yet
She quietly sleeps below.

Another seraph came nigh,
A new ray from the godly shroud,
Another cherub from up high,
And another weeping cloud.

The seraph on her lips,
The godly ray on her breast,
The frail cherub upon her hips,
In her eyes the cloud doth rest.

She bowed her head
‘Fore the grave kneeling down,
The dew she softly shed
On the grass and flowers around.

Beneath that seraphic dew,
Beneath the dew of grace,
Can the late maiden true
Be asleep in that holy place?

She’s not asleep at this hour
How could she be asleep? –
Suddenly burst the divine power
To smash the grave down deep.

Seraphs came nigh as they did start
To chant to her and applaud:
“Transfigured thou art,
Have mercy, o dear God!”

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Sahranio sam ljubav
duboko u zemlju,
de dusi i vampiri
svoj konak uzimlju.

Prileteše zefiri,
celivaše je svi,
zefiri i lepiri —
al’ ona mirno spi.

Prileteli su zraci
da grob celivaju,
a siđoše oblaci
da suze livaju.

Zefiri i lepiri
celivaše je svi,
i zraci i oblaci
al’ ona mirno spi.
Još priđe jedan zefir,
još jedan božji zrak,
još jedan loman lepir
i isplakan oblak.

Na usti’ noćni zefir,
u grudma božji zrak,
u struku loman lepir,
u očima oblak.

Priklonila je glavu
i klekla nad grobom,
orosila je travu
i cveće pod sobom.

Pod tom anđelskom rosom,
pod rosom milosti,
zar može pokojnica,
zar može još da spi?

Ta kako bi još spila,
ta kako, kako bi? —
prekipnu božja sila
i grob se razdrobi.
Prileteše zefiri,
zapojaše joj svi:
„preobrazil sja jesi,
o Bože milosti!”


Good Night

Good Night

By Vojislav Ilić

Good night, good night,
The sun’s setting o’er the hill,
And the last ray fades away;
Thro’ the meads and dales so still,
The night sneaks up on the day.
Tranquility all around,
The even dew wets the ground,
Good night!
Like the hum of a calm sea
A soft voice disturbs the still,
‘Tis an angel coming, free
Descending from o’er the hill…
Good night, good night.
Before the crack of fair dawn
Before the first light of day,
Let the sleep carry us on
Thro’ oblivion and away,
All is calm. Soft as a sigh,
The holy voices out shall die…
Good night!

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Laku noć, laku noć,
Sunce tone za planine,
I posljednji trne zrak;
Kroz poljane i doline
Prikrada se crni mrak.
Svud spokojstvo tiho vlada,
Lahor šumi, rosa pada,
Laku noć!
Kô šuštanje mirnog mora
Kroz tišinu bruji glas,
To anđeo povrh gora
Tiho slazi među nas . . .
Laku noć, laku noć.
Dok ne svane zora plava.
Dok ne grane beli dan,
Po pučini zaborava
Nek nas vodi slatki san —
Mir je. Tiho kô uzdasi
Izumiru sveti glasi…
Laku noć!

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I Love Thee, Darling!

I Love Thee, Darling!

By Vojislav Ilić

Silence descends as in draws twilight,
All universe is sinking into tranquility.
The evening star is glimmering bright:

Everyone is merry – everyone but me!
Disquiet is sealed within my heart, alas,
My woeful heart that beats so lovingly!

Thro’ quiet meads my heart shall pass
Towards a more wonderful land far away:
From her sleep to wake my darling lass

To the tune of a flute, with a sigh no gay.
Or to whisper to her like a fair breeze:
I love thee, darling, more than I can say.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Sumračak pada; tišina se svija,
U milu tone vasiona sva;
Večernja zvezda treperi i sija:

Veselo sve je – samo nisam ja!
Nemir mi stiskô umorene grudi,
Nesrećno srce što ljubiti zna!

Kroz tiha polja srdašce mi žudi
Daleko tamo, u bajniji svet:
Da zlato svoje iza sanka budi

Uz glasak frule, uz uzdisaj klet…
Il’ da joj šapne povetarcem blagim:
Ljubim te, dušo, više nego svet.

The Old Maid

The Old Maid

By Veljko Petrović

When I see you in a black, dowdy gown,
With dim eyes and sagging breasts, too,
At a dull party as look’d on with a frown
Of disdain and contempt,  I so pity you!

They grasp not what those lines mean:
No worthy libertine and no wanton fair.
Intact, pure, a sweet bud in an icy ravine,
Undaunted you bear their wicked stare.

With those eyes of a sleepy nightingale,
And the soul of a pure child you stride,
Stiff and funny, as the vile men your frail
And unloved form scoff at and deride.

Calmly you walk, your grey hair loose is let,
You superfluous virtue amid many a wrong,
Like the doleful odour of a faded mignonette,
Like, at the time of the cancan, an old song.

As you walk thro’ the chorus of wicked grins
You are deeply imbued with an air of gloom.
That is your supremacy o’er the world of sins,
The powerful beauty of an untouched bloom.

Eternal virginity, your sadness has no end!
O victorious power, how futile you may be!
O object of general pity, victim, sister, friend,
O princess married to a lily, do forgive me!

O in that tiny lap of yours let me now lay
This silly heart that will not long endure,
Whipp’d by the wind of passion day by day,
Like yourself it is still innocent and pure.

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Kada te u crnom, starinskom odelu,
S ugašenim okom i prsima spalim,
Vidim na dosadnom kako te poselu
Podrugljivo motre, – ja te silno žalim!

Ne shvataju oni tu tragiku bora:
Ni pustolov vrsni, ni bludnica časna.
Nedirnuta, čista, cvet ledenih gora,
Ti ne primaš rđu pogleda prelasna.

S očima slavuja što u mraku kunja
Ti hodiš sa dušom malokrvnog čeda,
Ukočena, smešna, – dok se porok šunja
I negrljen stas ti sa grohotom gleda.

No ti hodiš mirno, gladiš svoje sede,
Izlišna vrlino u orgiji mana,
Kao tužni miris uvele rezede.
Kao stara pesma u dobu kankana.

I dok hodiš kroza šibu zlobnog smeha
Oreolom tebe ozarava seta.
To je tvoja nadmoć nad kalugom greha,
Ta snažna lepota netaknutog cveta.

Devičanstvo večno, o duboka tugo!
O pobedna silo, čista jalovosti!
O žalosti opšta, – žrtvo, sestro, drugo,
O krinom venčana kneginjo, oprosti!

I daj da u krilo to položim usko
Ovo ludo srce što prestaje biti,
Što ga vihor strasti vekovima pljusk’o,
Al’ što osta časno, naivno k’o i ti.


O Autumn Mine!

O Autumn Mine!

By Aleksa Šantić

O, autumn mine, I greet thee! Come
Follow me through a flowery meadow,
And take me to beautiful places some,
Where murmur my desires of long ago.

Yonder there are roses of my native town
That have not wilted in th’ ice-clad dells,
Bright ways and sprightly springs around,
Where the keen soul still lives and dwells.

The sweet-scented flowers wave to me
Their pure, silky buds in the verdant lea
Lie filled with juice and with nectar rife.

A wreath I shall weave of their bloom
And say a prayer as I lay it to the tomb
Of my dead summer and my young life.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović


Jeseni moja, pozdravljam te!… Hodi,
I pođi sa mnom preko rodnih strana,
Po lijepijem mjestima me vodi,
Gdje šume čežnje mojih davnih dana.

Onamo ima ruža zavičajnih,
Što nisu svele od studena inja,
I vrela živih i putanja sjajnih,
Gdje duša ljuta još rudi i tinja.

Milo cvijeće otuda mi maše,
Njegove čiste i svilene čaše
Slatkim napitkom prepunjene stoje.

Jedan vijenac od njega ću sviti,
I s molitvom ga na grob položiti
Svog mrtvog ljeta i mladosti svoje.

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