Over Belgrade

Over Belgrade

By Vojislav Ilić

O, silent monument to times foregone,
Why’s your brow sullen and grim always?
Haply you recall the gory battles bygone
Which gave your name a glorious praise?

Or you count the graves of foreign sons
That all fell beneath your walls so grand,
Enthralled by dreams of conquest once,
Far from the bosom of their fatherland?

Even now as oft I behold you at night,
Gigantic human shadows before me fall:
With chests crushed and brows so white,
With lips cold and coated in blood all.

And I hark some unintelligible sound,
A susurrus that fades and dies away…
Haply ‘tis an echo of a pain profound?
Or haply ‘tis a curse that these lips say?

Oh, so many a dream, hope and woe,
Deeply engraved in your stone appear,
Shattered by the deadly hand of the foe
In its rage during many a glorious year!

But you live on!…Your grey hair has not
Been laid to rest by such turbulent time!
To restore your fame you may’ve sought,
That pale shadow of a future sublime.

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

NAD BEOGRADOM

Spomeniče nemi prohujalih dana,
Zašto ti je čelo sumorno i tavno?
Da l’ se sećaš, možda, krvavih megdana,
Što digoše u zrak tvoje ime slavno?

Il’ grobove brojiš tuđinskih sinova,
Što padoše redom pod zidine tvoje,
– Zaneseni čarom osvajačkih snova
Daleko od krila domovine svoje?

Jest, i sada često, kad te kroz noć gledam,
Ukažu se ljudske gorostasne seni:
S razmrskanim grudma, sa čelima bledim,
I usnama hladnim u krvavoj peni…

I ja slušam šapat nepojmljivog zbora,
Šapat koji tiho umire i tone…
To je, možda, izraz dubokoga bola?
To su, možda, reči koje kletvom zvone?

O, koliko snova, nadanja i muka
Zariveno leži u kamenju tvome,
Što ih sruši smrti oružana ruka
U danima slave, u pomamu svome!

I ti jošte živiš!… Tvoju sedu glavu
Ne položi u grob tako burno vreme!
Možda čekaš snova poništenu slavu,
Taj bleđani prizrak budućnosti neme?

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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, 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

LjUBIM TE, DUŠO!

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.

Ovid

Ovid

By Vojislav Ilić

In faraway Pontus where the ancient pines adorn
The Tomitan grim country, the land of mist and snow,
Publius sits pensive. As his grey hair limp does flow
Down the harp, he broods forlorn.

O’er his grey head, as the waves sullenly roar,
An eagle boldly soars and spreads its wings, yet
Thro’ the snow-clad cliffs, chasing a terrible boar,
Courageously glides a Geat.

The sky, earth and sea, all is veiled by the haze…
And with him the wind blowing from the sea sighs;
While the grey-haired exile, with a pining gaze,
Of the Tiber and noble Rome does fantasize.

The sun dies in the mist. The wind whistles shrill,
And with its chilly wings ruffles his grey hair,
And softly touches the strings as they dolefully trill,
Like a dying voice, thro’ the air.

O proud, lecherous Rome! His tears you did not see,
Yet, he eternally lives and you are but a mummy.
O, empress of the gloomy ages, where’s his tomb blest?
Under the dull, sullen sky of the barbarian Geats,
Is his place of eternal rest.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Ovidije

Na surom dalekom Pontu gde borje stoletno krasi
Tomitske predele mračne, u zemlji magle i snega,
Publije zamišljen sedi. Na harfu, pored njega,
Sede mu pale vlasi.

Vali sumorno bruje. Nad sedom njegovom glavom
Orao odvažno kliče, šŷmi i širi lêt;
A kroz urvine snežne, goneći strašnoga vepra,
Junački zviždi Get.

I nebo, zemlja i more, sve se u magli skriva…
I vetar, što s mora dŷše, uzdiše tiho s njim;
A sêdi prognanik, zanet, tibarske obale sniva,
I s njima gordi Rim.

Sunce se u magli gasi. A vetar zviždi i tone,
I mraznim krilima svojim leluja sedu vlas,
I tiho dotiče strune, i strune sumorno zvone,
Kô umirući glas.

O gordi, razvratni Rime! Ti suze vidô mu nisi,
No zato on večno živi, a večna mumija ti si.
Carice vekova tavnih, gde mu je grobnica sveta?
Pod mračnim, sumornim nebom varvarskih
i divljih Geta.

 

To Petrarch

To Petrarch

By Vojislav Ilić

To celebrate th’ immortal Lada, by the flowery shores,
Hailing the merry world with a carol, doleful and light,
You sang, all forlorn, of the hopeless love of yours,
And covered the fair mountain bloom in glory bright,
In immortal eternal splendor.

Now, in late days, as waves are ruffled by the breeze,
Above shines Hesperus and murmur the myrtle trees,
O’er your blue lake a tender
Tune is hummed. ‘Tis a fisherman, lonesome quite,
That trailing his shabby net praises Laura’s beauty fair,
And the song echoes oddly and long in the May night
His voice booming thro’ the air.
I drank up a cup of love and Edenic joy on a gone day,
And dropped it on the ground. The lustful nights of July,
The golden dream of youth and the brilliant eves of May,
Supplanted were a sweltering day by.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Petrarki

Kraj pustih obala cvetnih, u praznik besmrtne Lade,
Bolnom i čistom pesmom zdraveći burni svet,
Ti si pevao ljubav u kojoj ne beše nade,
I slavom pokrio svetlom vokliski bajni cvet,
Besmrtnom večnom slavom.

I sad, u pozne dane, kad vetrić talase nija,
I mirta sladosno šumi I Vesper na nebu sija,
Na tvome jezeru plavom
Čarobni stihovi šume. To ribar, u samoći,
Vukući ubogu mrežu, Laurin slavi kras;
I pesma treperi čudno, i dugo, u majskoj noći,
Hori se njegov glas.
Davno sam ispio pehar ljubavi I sreće rajske
I bacio ga o tle. Mladosti zlatni san,
I strasne julijske noći, i svetle večeri majske,
Zameni žarki dan.

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At the Forum

At the Forum

By Vojislav Ilić

Hark! From the Forum echoes a merry cheer,
As ‘fore the Roman crowd Tiberius does appear.
The ecstatic applause roared like a raging sea
To inspirit young Gracchus. At Cornelia’s court, in glee,
On a gold cart, encircled by the cheering Roman crowd,
A tribune’s toga and a wreath he receives all proud.
The vicious senators and dreadful lictors silent keep,
Whilst, sly and devious, a road to victory they seek.

Hark! From the Forum echoes a merry cheer,
As ‘fore the Roman crowd vile Nasica does appear.
O’er the Forum a curse looms. A wood of spears high
Up is lifted and all glistening it threatens a grim sky.
A wild Gaul, Sarmatian and Hellene, and many a slave
Like statues of Chronos their spears frantically wave
And in wild rapture, with no fear or a pang of remorse,
Like black ravens cry as they drag Gracchus’ corse.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Sa foruma

Čuj, sa foruma, eno, vika se radosno hori,
Pred silnom svetinom rimskom to Tiverije zbori.
Šumno se pljeskanje širi podobno burnome moru,
Hrabreći mladoga Graha… U Kornelijinom dvoru,
Na zlatnoj kolesnici, okružen svetinom Rima;
On togu tribuna rimskog i venac od mirte prima.
A senatori podli i strašni liktori ćute,
Lukavo, u zboru svome, tražeći k pobedi pute.

Čuj, sa foruma, eno, vika se radosno hori,
Pred silnom svetinom rimskom to podli Nasika zbori.
Prokletstvo s foruma grmi. I šuma kopala njini’
Preteći k nebu se diže i blista na visini.
I divlji Gal, i Jelin, i Sarmat, i sila roblja,
Kô tučne statue Krona pomamno stresaju koplja
I već, u divljoj strasti, bez nežne tuge i straha,
Kô crni gavrani kliču i buku lešinu Graha.

Tiberius-Gracchus-

In the Night

In the Night

By Vojislav Ilić

The day hides behind the yonder hill,
And the shadow of night bends low;
As if dreaming of eternity, the wood still
Throbs deep…Awake, I plod slow

To its shade the narrow lane down,
Harking the hum thro’ the gloom there,
Beholding the bloom-adorned ground,
And insatiably drinking the odorous air.

Before me winds and runs the stream,
Like a radiant streak, clear and bright,
On young twigs it shoots the gleam,
On colourful flowers and leaves light.

All around me only deep silence reigns,
A pale moon hangs the boughs behind,
I carry on, but where to? Which lanes?
Ignorant is the heart, tacit is the mind!

The land and men in repose are blest,
I can clearly feel the breathing of night;
But this heart of mine, but my chest,
Know not of sweet quietude the might.

Yet, I would roam so till the daybreak,
And drift softly in the still of the night.
Harking the branches touch and quake,
And faintly echo a secret hum of delight.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

U noći

Za daljna brda beli dan se skriva,
I tavne noći povija se sen;
Dubrava nema, kô da večnost sniva,
Potmulo huji… U zasenak njen

Po uskoj stazi ja se budan krećem,
I slušam šumor kroz duboki mrak,
I gledam zemlju, okićenu cvećem,
I žudno pijem mirišljavi zrak.

Preda mnom potok vije se i krade
Kô sjajna pruga, svetao i čist,
I baca iskre na grančice mlade,
Na šaren cvetak, na zeleni list.

Uokrug mene tišina je samo,
Kroz brsno granje bledi mesec sja
Ja bludim dalje… Al’ kuda? i kamo?
Nit razum kaže, niti srce zna!

Počiva zemlja, počivaju ljudi,
Osećam čisto kako diše noć;
Al’ moje srce, ali moje grudi,
spokojstva slatkog ne poznaju moć.

Pa ipak, ja bih do zorice rane,
Bludio tako po tišini toj.
Slušajuć kako dotiču se grane,
I tiho šire tajni šapat svoj…

night