“From bough to bough the songbird flies:
From lip to lip sweet songs arise;
Grass o’er the ancient tomb doth grow;
The song wakes heroes from below.”

John Arany.



Sixth Canto of John Arany’s Epic Poem,
“The Death of Buda.”

From bough to bough the songbird flies;
From lip to lip sweet songs arise;
Grass o’er the ancient tomb doth grow;
The song wakes heroes from below.

To chase the game that wildly runs
Come sweet-faced Eneh’s daring sons;
Twin brothers they, Hunor, Magyar;
Of Menrot they the children are.

The bravest youth served in their train,
An hundred knights o’er whom they reign,
And clad in mail as if to fight,
They went, and not in chase delight.

They leave the prey which they have slain,
Nor bucks nor does their freedom gain;
And after they have killed the hart,
To slay the hind they eager start.

Onward they chase the hind, and reach
At last the “Salt-Seas” barren beach;
A region where no wolf, no bear,
Had thought to seek a sheltering lair;

Where leopards hunt, and lions roar,
And soak the deserts’ sand with gore;
And where the tigress bears her young,
Which she devours, by hunger stung.

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave sons’ praise;
From bough to bough the warbling bird;
From lip to lip the song is heard.

The sun begins to sink to rest;
He sets ablaze clouds in the west;
And yet they still pursue the deer
Till game and sunlight disappear.

The night set in. The chase was o’er,
They just had reached the “Kur’s” green shore.
The flowing river’s friendly meads
Invite to graze their worn out steeds.

Hunor exclaims: “Let us here rest;
This stream and field good sleep suggest.”
Magyar doth say: “The rising sun
Shall see our homeward trip begun.”

“Behold, ye knights, ye braves behold!
Who can this mystery unfold —
That here the sun, not in the west,
But in the east, doth sink to rest?”

One hero says: “The south doth seem
To be where last the sun’s rays beam.”
“Look there!” another one exclaims;
“The north doth show the sunset’s flames.”

They rested near the river’s brink,
And while they sleep their horses drink,
That in the morn the rising sun
Might see their homevard trip begun.

At early dawn cool zephyrs sigh,
And crimson gleams the morning sky;
When there, upon the other shore,
They see the deer they chased before.

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave sons’ praise;
From bough to bough the warbling bird;
From lip to lip the song is heard.

“Companions, up! Be quick I vow
The hind shall not escape us now!”
And, whether willing, whether not,
To further hunt becomes their lot.

Soon they have gained the further shore,
The plains are wilder than before;
Not e’en a blade of grass here grows,
Nor sweet, refreshing streamlet flows.

The barren earth’s broad branches show
The rifts with shining salt aglow;
No sparkling water fresh is here,
But deadly sulphurous pools appear.

From bubbling wells oil flows around,
And here and there glows on the ground;
Like fires that guard the darkening night,
The flames shine fitful — dark, now bright.

And every eve they sadly rue,
That they their hunt must still pursue,
That still the doe doth draw them on,
While only gloom they gaze upon.

And yet, when morning brightly breaks,
The sun again their zeal awakes;
They chase as zephyr chaff doth chase.
As shadows chase the bird’s swift race.

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave sons’ praise.
From bough to bough the warbling bird,
From lip to lip the song is heard.

They chase beyond the Don, and reach
The Maeot’s sandy ocean beach,
And, fearing not the treacherous sands,
They reach an island’s beauteous lands.

Behind them rise dense mists and drear;
Before, the fog doth hide the deer;
They follow still — at last they yield —
The deer has vanished from the field.

“Halloo! halloo! Where is the deer?”
One knight doth cry: “I see it here.”
“No, no,” another calls; “this way.”
“’Tis gone,” a third cries in dismay.

They search in every recessed nook;
Through tangled underbrush they look;
They fright the fowl and lizard there,
But nowhere find its hidden lair.

Saith Magyar: “Who can tell when we
Again our happy home shall see?
The heavens no bright beacon show —
O mother dear, to leave thee so!”

“Oh, here in peace now let us stay,
And make our home,” doth Hunor say;
“The grass is silk, the water sweet,
The hollow tree with sweets replete.”

“The stream’s blue flood holds dainty fish,
And deer shall be our choicest dish;
Our weapons here shall bring us spoil,
The gift of fortune, for our toil.”

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave sons’ praise;
From bough to bough the warbling bird,
From lip to lip the song is heard.

But soon they tire here to stay,
To hunt and fish from day to day;
They long for new adventures bold,
And seek what joys the plain may hold.

The sound comes floating o’er the plain,
Of reed and drum in soft refrain;
The music wraps them in a dream,
And like a spirit-spell doth seem.

There fairy maidens dance and sing,
And float along like birds on wing;
Amid the fairy clouds aloft
They dance, and sing in accents soft.

No man is nigh, but virgins fair,
Virgins, Belar and Dul did bear.
To learn their fairy spells to weave,
Their fairy sports they never leave.

The two of Dul are prettiest;
And old Belar with twelve is blessed!
An hundred maids and two in all,
To learn like sirens to enthrall.

Severe the test: ’tis men to kill —
Nine youths they with their charms must thrill,
Must them ensnare to love, although,
Themselves, they must all love forego.

And learning thus the fairy art
That leads man on to break his heart,
They pass the night in dancing gay,
And tell the ventures of each day.

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave sons’ praise;
From bough to bough the warbling bird,
From lip to lip the song is heard.

They meet the wind, forward they glide,
The sounds of song, the light their guide;
They move with care, as one who tries
To catch some flitting butterflies.

Magyar exclaims: "The flute, it thrills
My soul; my heart with passion fills;"
“The virgin’s dance.” Hunor replies,
“Causeth my heated blood to rise.”

“Up, warriors! Let not one abstain!
Let each of us a maiden gain,
And homeward bear as wife!” All trail
The breeze dispels of this mad rail.

With spurs they drive their horses on:
With loosened reins they onward run;
On rider’s knee the maids in haste
Are lifted by their slender waist.

The maidens shriek with piercing cry:
Each to escape doth vainly try;
With streams in rear and flames in van,
Useless to struggle against man.

The fairies disappeared from view —
Having swift wings, away they flew.
But what shall of the maids become?
Sink into earth ere they succumb?

They know they cannot any more
With virgin pride learn fairy lore;
Onward they speed, and o’er the plains
The vast, dull night silently reigns.

The songbird flies, and sweet its lays
In fair-faced Eneh’s brave son’s praise;
From bough to bough the warbling bird,
From lip to lip the song is heard.

Dul’s daughters two, fairer than all,
The leaders as their wives install;
And of the hundred knights, each one
A wife unto himself hath won.

The proud maids soon were reconciled,
And bore with ease their fate so mild;
For their old home they longed no more;
Unto their husbands children bore.

Their isle a cosy home became,
Their tents as their fair home they name;
Upon their couch in bliss they rest,
Naught lives that could their peace molest.

Their sons grow into warriors bold.
Their daughters lovely to behold;
The warrior stem shoots out anew,
In their own place sweet virgins grew.

Their knightly sons have sons again;
The leaders, too, are blessed twain;
And each becomes head of a state;
Their brandies count one hundred eight.

To Hunor’s branch the Huns we trace,
The Magyar springs from Magyar’s race.
So fast increased the population
The island could not hold the nation.

O’er Scythia’s fair and rich domain
It spread, until to-day the twain
Are known in song, as well as story,
The heroes of immortal glory.



John Arany.

Edward the King, the English King,
    Rides over hills and vales.
“For I must see” — is his decree —
    "How fares my land of Wales. "

“Are fresh the streams, is moist the soil,
    Has grass there richly grown,”
“Since washed and soaked by traitor’s blood
    Whose souls have lately flown?”

“And are the people happy there?”
    — So Edward cruel spoke —
“As happy as the oxen are
    They burden with the yoke?”

“Your Majesty, thy crown knows not
    A rarer gem than Wales;
The stream and field rich harvests yield
    In verdant hills and dales.”

“Yea, happy are your people there,
    With happiness you gave,
They live in peace, their dwellings, sire,
    Are silent as the grave.”

Edward the King, the English King,
    Rides over hills and dales,
And where he goes the silence grows,
    Death’s silence there prevails.

Montgomery, the castle’s name
    Where tarried he o’er night;
And feasts are spread for Edward by
    Montgomery, the knight.

And fish and game in plenty came
    Upon the festive board.
Whate’er the lovely land can yield
    Served by the vassal horde.

With viands rich and good to taste,
    The board is fair to see;
With wines that came from distant lands —
    From lands beyond the sea.

“Sir knight, Sir knights, and will not one
    Drink to my health, now here?
“Will none of you, you dogs of Wales,
    Your sovereign Edward cheer?”

And fish and game in plenty came
    Upon the festive board,
But yet the looks of all around
    No fear but hate record.

“Have you, ye knights, ye wretched curs,
    For Edward not one cheer?
Will none here sing my deeds? let quick
    A bard of Wales appear.”

And all the knights, the guests around
    Grow deathly pale, and yet
No fear, it is upon each,
    But hatred deeply set.

No voice is heard, no man hath stirred,
    No single breath one hears,
When, at the door, with spectral mien,
    A hoary bard appears.

“Ay, here is one, O, Edward. King,
    Who dares of thee to sing,
Swords clash and armors crash, awaked
    By minstrel’s tuneful string.

“Yea, swords do clash and armors crash,
    And blood-red is the sun,
And birds of prey descend to stay:
    Edward! this thou hast done.

“A thousand of our race are slain
    In gory battle lost,
Who lives to-day- may sadly say:
    ’This is thy holocaust.”

Then angrily the King commands:
    “He shall die on the stake,
For I will hear but words of cheer!”
    Then came a youth who spake:

“Soft breezes blow, yet charged with woe,
    From Milford’s bay; they bring
The widow’s sighs, the orphan’s cries
    Upon the zephyr’s wing.”

“Welsh mothers no more slaves shall bear,
    Nor bring to manhood’s state.”
“He, too, shall die!” the King now shrieks
    With voice that breathes but hate.

But fearless, bold, unbidden e’en,
    A third bard now appears,
And thus the minstrel tunes his lute,
    And this the King now hears:

“Our braves have died on battle-fields;
    Take heed, beware, oh, King,
There lives no bard of Wales, who e’er
    Will Edward’s praises sing.

“Upon our lutes their memories weep,
    King Edward hear me well.
All bards of Wales for thee, have but
    One song, a curse most fell.”

The King in wrath arises now.
    And harsh and loud his cry:
“All bards of Wales who laud me not,
    Upon the stake shall die!”

All o’er the land his vassals ride
    Until his ire has ceased;
And thus ends in Montgomery
    The famous royal feast.

Edward the King, the English King,
    Rides over hills and vales,
But round him rise red flames, as if
    One fire now raged through Wales.

Five hundred bards go with a song
    To meet a martyr’s death,
Not one, to save his life, e’en once:
    “Long live King Edward!” saith.

“What! still this blatant song at night,
    Upon my London’s streets
The city’s mayor dies, if such
    The song that here me greets.”

Mute as the graves, like abject slaves
    All to their houses creep,
“Who dares to make a sound shall die,
    The King doth wish to sleep.”

“Ho, ho! bring forth your fifes and drums,
    With music fill my ear!
The bards I killed my ears ave filled
    With curses dread to hear.”

Above the noise of fifes and drums,
    Above all trumpets’ blare,
Five hundred voices sing aloud
    The martyr’s glorious air.



Alexander Endrődi.

It happened long ago, what now I tell,
Perhaps it never happened; some weird spell
May have inscribed it on my window-pane,
And lying on my couch with restless thought,
The story may have read which fancy wrought.
Again, it might not quite unlikely seem
That all my tale was but a simple dream.
The dark and gloomy night descends with grace
O’er woods, fields, hills, upon the water’s face;
Mists’ silvery wreaths encircle all below,
The earth benign, majestic calm doth know;
The silken, verdant grass heaves not a sigh;
Like ocean billows sways the golden rye,
Or, like the clouds which move in heaven’s height,
It slowly ripples, bends, in tremblings slight.
Shadow has cast away its darker veil,
The silent light spreads over hill and dale,
And through the fragrant air, ray after ray,
Breaks the full mystery of the dawning day;
While from the water slowly doth arise
The water-nymph whose blown locks wreathe blue eyes;
And with her distaff, made of brightest gold,
She quickly spins and weaves the thousand-fold
Fine threads that make the web of golden dream.
But all at once, as dawn’s first silvery gleam
Breaks through the foliage and on the verdure’s green,
A sound, a song, is heard — the most serene
That e’er was heard below the starlit sky.

Save Israfel, none could this sour supply;
’Tis to his harp that tunefully he sings
Songs that seem borne form heaven on zephyr’s wings.
Almighty God, with hallowed smile, amazed
As one whom charm or dream on wings has raised,
Casting aside the sorrows of his soul,
Lists to the heavenly melodies that roll.
The angels, too, are moved, and silent stand
There on the cloud-stairs of His throne called grand!
Soon tears within their eyes will brightly gleam;
And even He, the Purest, most Supreme,
As if He were by feelings overcome,
Or would to hallowed tenderness succumb,
To hide a tear just bursting forth doth seem.
The lay being o’er, saith He: “O Israfel,
How for thy song shall I reward thee, tell;
It gladdened me to listen to thy song,
Its voice has carried me far, far away;
Perhaps thou dost for my crown’s diamonds long?
Or wilt thou have a star of brightest ray?”
The angel, bowing low, with doleful face,
Replieth thus:
            “O Lord my God, Thy grace
E’en boundless as Thyself; too good Thou art
To praise me lavishly with generous heart.
And should I dare to take rewards from Thee?
Gavest Thou not my heart and harp to me?
Forgive me, I wish no reward at all!
And yet (although my song’s desert be small)
If still Thou thinkst rewarded I should be,
I humbly pray, my Lord, grant unto me
From time to time permission down to go
Unto the purifying flame below.
That with this song, this soft and mellow lay,
The agonies of hell assuage, I may;
“Lighten the burden of hell’s curse; relief
Hear those unhappy ones so plunged in grief.”
“Angel,” saith He, “not one of my stars gleams
As brightly as thy heart with goodness teems.
I marvel at thy heart so good and true!
What thou hast asked I give thee leave to do.”

Upon a cloud, rose-hued and airy-light,
Israfel flew at once down through the night.
The could cleaves swiftly through the mighty wall
Of the mysterious depths; shrieks that appall
Assail his ears with agonies most fell
When he at last has reached the depth of hell.
O horror! grief! O home of dreadful awe!
A million souls that once dwelt in men's frames
He now sees burn and writhe in scorching flames.
Misshapen demons fiery scourges sway,
And mercilessly the poor souls they flay;
Scorched, bleeding wounds he sees, and everywhere
From all around hears cries of deep despair.
The angel pales; but soon recovering,
He touches soft his harp’s must tuneful string
And from the magic cords a song doth swell
As charming and as sweet as ever fell
E’en from his lips and lute. A marvelous balm
Pervades the depth. All listen, soothed and calm;
It seems as if all sorrows now are eased,
Forgotten is all sadness, wound and pain.
The demons hatred, even, is appeased,
As they draw nigh to hear the sweet refrain.
The woes and shrieks change into mellow sighs,
With tears suffused are all the sufferers’ eyes.
All seem to gain relief, breathe happiness,
And for a time forget their great distress;
All from their hearts the heavenly minstrel bless.

But only one, a young and beauteous fey,
Remains unmoved by the celestial lay.
She tears her dress, the thick strands of her hair;
Shrieking she wanders through the flamefilled air.
“Camille! Camille!” heartrendingly she cries.
The angel lays his hallowed harp aside.
And, stepping up to this woe-stricken maid,
He gently asks: “Wilt thou in me confide
The cause that maketh thee within this shade
Of horrors full more than thy fellows all
Unfortunate, whose ever fearful call
Of that one name, which even my song does not
From out thy sad pain-stricken memory blot,
Whose shrieks betray the utmost direful lot?”
“I am the most grief-tortured spirit here,”
In faint and tearful voice the maid replied.
“I cared naught for myself, I did not fear
My God! I was Camille’s most happy bride!
The love was boundless which to him I bore;
Eternal love to me he hourly swore.
I left him then with sorrow filled and care,
Wrapt in deep gloom and weeping in despair
That side the grave; I left my love behind.
This region’s tortures I would bear resigned,
But, ah! I know that my beloved Camilla
Suffers e’en more than I and ever will,
Because his love to me was holy, pure;
I feel he cannot my decease endure.
“This thought inflicts more pain than hell-fire can!”
But Israfel breaks forth: “You know a span
Of time has gone by since you saw Camille;
Are you quite sure that he must suffer still?”
“All that which to his life was joy and bliss
He found in my embrace and loving kiss;
Could it be that his anguish is not sore
While he the loss of my love must deplore?”
“Your fate,” saith Israfel, and shakes his head
With glory circled, “is most truly dread;
And yet believe, and heaven my witness be,
Most cheerfully I would bring help to thee.
Alas! I fear I cannot; tell me, though,
On thy soul’s quiet can I balm bestow?”
And on the eyelids of the girl a tear
Glitters as she replies:
                “Oh, angel, dear,
Grant me, I pray thee, if ’tis in thy power,
That I return to earth for one short hour,
Or till what time the sun’s first dawning ray,
Greeting the earth, proclaims the breaking day,
That I my own soul’s anguish may forget,
May consolation to his heart bring yet.
Permit me once more to caress his face,
And make him happy with one fond embrace.”
“Ah! foolish is thy wish; thou knowest not
How great a price thy awful wish has got.
If one small hour I grant, thou must, oh hear,
Endure hell-fire another thousand year.”
“And if ten thousand years I must remain
And suffer still, thy warning is in vain.
Since my Camille I love devotedly,
What are a thousand years of pain to me?
Give me one hour! Returning to this sphere
For aye, I’ll look upon that hour with cheer;
Light will my burden afterward appear.”
With trembling heart the angel Israfel
Looks up to heaven from out the depths of hell;
Its glory he alone from thence can see.
He asks what may the Almighty’s answer be.
“Fulfill her wish!” The answer seemeth fair;
Israfel says aloud: “I grant thy prayer.”

’Tis night in summer time. A sea of light
Floods Camille’s palace; splendid, gay and bright
Appears the scene. A festive dancing throng
Moves ’neath the brilliant lamps that deck the hall;
The glasses clink; music enlivens all
With joyous strains; the air is thrilled with song.
Within the hall the bounteous boards are set,
Laden with viands choice; more splendor yet
This gives the scene. Ladies and gallants gay —
A goodly company here laugh and play.
In golden cups the servants bear around
The most delicious wines that can be found;
Behind the screen that shields the glad display
Delightful shade prevails, wherein one may
Frescoes behold, and statuettes most rare,
And flowers that fill with sweetest scent the air.
Soft canopies invite you to a seat
Whereon a pillowed ease makes long hours fleet.
The scene is graced with brilliant flowers, whose scent
The air with perfumes rich makes redolent,
And seems to be on zephyrs ambient.
Bevies of queenly women masked now pass;
It seems a dream, a vision in a glass.

Another tableau comes before the view,
Gay knights, in brilliant garbs of lively hue;
Then Naiads in a tripping troupe appear,
Dancing; the airy creatures drawing near
Whirl now in waltzes on the floor, which seems
A mirror as the floor of Scylla’s streams.
O! what a night of joy is this for all,
How brilliant and how blithe a festival!
The great hall’s mighty doors are open wide
Which to the splendid gardens parterres guide,
The sheltered alleys and the shady bowers
And broad walks, bordered all along with flowers,
Whose varied hues light gently all around,
While sculptured marble angels, garland-bound,
Guard the approaches; to the left there lies,
Protected, half in shade, from prying eyes
A charming spot within a bosky dell
Where fresh spring fountains everlasting well.

Within this sheltered nook two beings sit
And to each other whisper low and sweet.
Camille and Magdalene in them we trace;
With fevered passion doth the youth embrace.
’Mid laugh and talk, the form magnificent
Of this fair girl of youth and beauty blent;
With ardor kisses her on lips and eyes,
And, stammering like a boy, confession sighs —
“I love thee, I am thine, my peerless prize.”
“Ah, fickle one," the girl at once returns,
“For me no passion true within you burns.
Thou hast forgot thy sweetheart in a day.
And me thou willst forget the self-same way.”
“Nay, nay, I felt for her no faintest zest
Since, angel mine, my eyes on thee did rest.
Thou reignest, shinest in my heart alone,
Thou art, indeed, my life, my dream, my own.
O dream most happy, golden without peer,
O dream of mine most sweet and fair and dear,
As long as life shall last I live for thee,
Come, give embraces, kisses give to me.
And leave the dead at rest where they should be.”
He, speaking thus, with ardor clasped again
The breathless maiden.
                Just at that moment, then
A something stirs within a bush close by,
And right behind them sounds a heavy sigh.
The girl, affrighted, whispers: “Didst thou hear?
Some one hath spied us, some one sighed quite near,
And see how wan have grown the moon’s bright rays!”
Camille looks back with strained and pallid gaze,
Intently tries to pierce night’s darkness there.
“’Twas but a shadow sigh that cleft the air.”

Sad, broken, weary, did the spirit creep
Back to the subterranean labyrinth’s deep,
And, weeping, on her knees she straightway fell.
“Poor creature!” pityingly said Israfel,
“The hour is passed for which with fearful pain
Thou now must pay for seeing him again
For one brief hour a thousand years of woe!”
“Ah!” cries the ghost, “had I refused to go
And stayed amid this grief and anguish dire,
Amid this everlasting burning fire!”
This hour which I passed through upon the earth —
Ah, me, who am so outcast of love’s dearth —
This hour was far more fearful, Israfel,
Than any tortured thousand years in hell!”



Michael Vörösmarty.


The hunter sits in ambuscade
    And, with bent bow, awaits his game
While, high and hot. above the glade
    The noonday sun doth brightly flame;
In vain he waits in shady groves;
By cooling streams the wild herd roves.

Anxiously wails the hunter yet,
    Trusting good fortune soon to gain,
When presently the sun shall set.
    And lo! he does not wait in vain —
But ’tis no game; a butterfly,
Chased by a fair maid, passes by.

Fair insect, golden butterfly,
    O, let me catch you; on me rest,
Or lead me to what place you hie,
    Where the sun sinks within the west.”
She speaks, and, like a chamois light,
Graceful and charming is her flight.

Arising quick, the hunter cries,
    “Now, this is noble game, God wot!”
And straight, forgetting all, he hies
    After the fair maid, lagging not;
In sportive pastime thus they vie;
He follows her and she the fly.

“I have you!” says the girl with glee.
    And, having caught her prize, doth stand;
“I have you!” gayly then says he,
    And on her shoulder lays his hand.
The scared girl lets her captive go,
Thrilled by his eyes’ admiring glow.


Does Péterdi’s house stand to-day?
    Does he still live, the hoary knight?
The house still stands, but in decay;
    Oe’r wine he sits with heart grown light.
The maiden’s eyes, those of the guest
Love’s ardor in their glow suggest.

The wine-cup has been quaffed in toast
    To Hunyadi, the fallen brave;
For his gray chief, his country’s boast,
    Hot tears the hero’s eyeballs lave:
Freely the burning tear-drop falls
As erst his blood at Belgrade’s walls.

“Here’s to my good old chief’s young sun!”
    Says the old man, “Long live the king!”
The hunter of his wine tastes none.
    His cheek the warm flush reddening;
“What is this? wherefore drink’st not thou?”
Up, youth, thy father follow now!

“For I could twice thy father be,
    Worthy is he, I pledge in wine;
From head to heel a noble, he,
    Nor will he shame his noble line!”
Rising, the youth his cup doth raise,
Moved by the old man’s earnest praise.

“Long life then to the hero’s son,
    While for his country he doth stand;
But may his life that day be done
    When he forgets his fatherland.
Better no king than one who reigns
In sloth and with oppression’s pains!”

The merriment more loud doth grow;
    In jovial speech the hours pass.
The maid doth on the guest bestow
    Admiring looks, and thinks, alas!
“Who is he and where does he dwell?”
Yet fears to beg him that to tell.

"Thee, too, fair flower of the wood,
    Thee, too, I pledge in this last cup;
Thy huntsman waits thee, if God should,
    With thy gray grandsire, bring thee up,
Where in proud Buda’s mighty fort
I can be found at Mátyás’ court!”

He speaks and, rising, says farewell;
    Outside the huntsman’s horn doth call;
He cannot with his hosts now dwell
    In spite of their entreaties all.
“Do not forget us; come once more.
Should we not seek you out before.”

Thus modestly fair Helen now
    Speaks, on the threshold standing there,
And, kissing her upon the brow,
    He goes and through the night doth fare;
Still is the night, but, ah! no rest
Visits her love-invaded breast.


Péterdi and his grandchild fair
    Now go to visit Buda’s fort;
The gray beard marvels everywhere
    To witness sights of new import;
The yearning girl with sighs is fain
To meet the huntsman once again.

Great is the crowd, and joy ran high;
    From triumphs new returns the king;
From wrathful vengeance he draws nigh,
    Which at Vienna he did wring.
A thousand eyes expectant wait;
Fair Helen’s face grows not elate.

“Where is our charming stranger, say?
    What fortune did he chance to meet?
Does he return, or far away
    Hunts he again the chamois fleet?”
She asks her heart, the while, in turn,
Her cheek doth pale, anon doth burn.

’Mid victory’s shouts Ujlaki comes,
    He and the Gara friends again;
The king majestic also comes,
    All the land’s magnates in his train.
Old Péterdi his guest doth see;
“Long life to him; the king, ’tis he!”

“Lustre and blessing on his life!”
    The countless voices shout around,
An hundred-fold, with echoes rife,
    The hills and vales and ramparts sound.
Than any marble bust more white.
Silent fair Helen views the sight.

“Shall we, dear child, to Mátyás’ hall
    To see the hunter now proceed?
I think, for peace, ’tis best of all
    Back to our home to go indeed!”
Thus speaks, with half-suspicious pain,
The graybeard; sad, they turn again.

If thou hast seen a blossom fair
    Die from some canker hid within —
Thus beauteous Helen faded there,
    Pained, shrinking from the loud world’s din,
Passion, remembrance sore, hope dead,
Ever are her companions dread.

The brief but anguished life is done;
    Fair Helen in the grave is laid
Like lily-leaves that one by one,
    In purity and sadness fade —
Once more, when endlessly they rest,
Stands in the house their kingly guest!



Joseph Eötvös.

The tempest rages o’er the sea,
    A boat is tossed on its wild tide
In which doth sit a hoary king,
    A youthful minstrel by his side.

Upon the monarch rests a crown,
    His white hair floating out beneath;
Upon the fair youth’s clustering curls
    There hath been placed a laurel wreath.

Sadly the old king lifts his voice —
    “What is my vaunted prowess now?
I, who such glorious fights have won,
    To death inglorious here must bow.”

“Prone are the people to forget
    Kings who have reigned and now are dead;
Only on benefactors true
    Is life’s immortal radiance shed!”

“Farewell, my love,” the minstrel sings,
    “My love, I give thee now good-bye;
God’s blessing guard thee evermore,
    For I, thy loving youth, must die.”

“If once again thou singest sweet
    The songs that I have taught to thee,
When mute beneath the waves I lie,
    O, sometimes think, my love, of me."

“I have enjoyed this life, my dear,
    So do not weep for me or sigh;
I was a lover and I sang —
    That is enough for such as I.”

And on the ocean madly raves
    And still the tempests rage around;
The frail boat strikes upon a reef;
    Monarch and minstrel both are drowned.

The storm is stilled, the ocean’s face
    Is smooth to see, and calm once more.
The rising moon’s bright silver beam
    Its placid surface gildeth o’er.

The minstrel’s fresh, green laurel wreath
    Floats on the water buoyantly;
The golden circlet of the king
    Lies at the bottom of the sea.



John Arany.

The night is dark and close,
The south-wind fiercely blows;
O’er Buda’s tower high
The weather-cock doth cry
    And sharply shriek aloud.

“Who’s there, what’s that I see?”
“My Lord, my King, prithee,
Be calm and sleep in peace;
The tempest soon will cease
    That stirs thy window-pane.”

The clouds will burst, it seems,
And issue flames and streams;
And from the iron spout
In floods the rain pours out
    From Buda’s towers high.

“Why murmurs then this band?
Does it my oath demand?”
“The crowd, Lord, King, naught crave;
All’s silent as the grave;
    The thunder only rolls.”

Hearken! The chain and ball
From off the captives fall!
And each one whom the cloud
Of Buda’s walls did shroud
    Himself now lowers down.

“Hunyad’s two sons I spy
Their fetters break and fly” —
“Fear not, my Lord; not so!
László is dead, you know.
    The boy is captive still.”

Beneath the fort’s high wall,
A silent crowd and small
Steal quiet as the grave.
And so their lives do save,
    Kanizsa, Rozgonyi.

“Increase the guard before
Hunyadi Mátyás’ door!”
“Mátyás was left behind;
No captives can we find —
    It seems they have escaped.”

At last the rain has ceased,
The storm’s rage is appeased;
All o’er the Danube’s bright;
And soft, calm shines the light
    Of myriad stars’ array.

“Let’s flee the land; why chafe?
Bohemia is safe!”
“Why be possessed by fear?
All things are calm and clear
    Between the earth and sky.”

While some in slumber bide
The fugitives do hide.
If one leaf stirs they fear
That spies do follow near,
    Kanizsa, Rozgonyi!

“Say, is the frontier nigh?
Slowly the moments fly.”
“Now did we cross it o’er,
My Lord, and with us bore
    Safely the captive boy.”

While calm the sleeper sleeps
The fugitive upleaps.
No wind soughs — yet it blows,
No cloud — yet thunder rose
    And lightning from afar!

“My true Bohemian, pray;
Give me to drink, I say.”
“Here is the cooling cup,
My Lord, King, drink it up;
    It quiets — as the grave.”

Now vengeance stays its hand;
The boy’s safe in this land.
And here, too, in this soil,
The King sleeps after toil —
    The prisoner returns!



William Győry.

At midnight some one knocks aloud. “Who’s here?”
The second wife demands, trembling with fear.
A dream or vision this? “Who’s in the room?”
In sombre shroud, a figure from the tomb.

“What dost thou want who hast departed life?”
“To ask some things of thee, thou second wife.
I had a sweet, blonde-headed daughter fair,
My pet, angelic babe; where is she, where?”

“I — Believe me, I was good to her,
Her troubles grew; she’s in the sepulchre.”

“The dead can see, who live must toll no lie!
No secret of the earth not known on High!
She wept, and thou her weeping would not bear,
Thou gavest her a drug thou did’st prepare.
That drug hath closed her beauteous eyes for e’er,
Thou can’st not sleep for this in thy despair!”

“Begone! torment me not! Thy speech is death,
Go from my sight! Thy presence stifles breath.”

“I had a boy, I dearly loved that lad
With heart of purest gold. I never had
Sorrow from him and as a gentle blade
O’ grass to zephyr bends, my bids obeyed.”

“Headstrong he grew, — I begged, — I tried to tame
His moods, — he ran away, — I’m not to blame.”

“The dead can see, who live must tell no lie!
No secret of the earth not known on High!
Thou persecuted him. At dead of night
Drov’st him from home; to flog him thy delight;
Before the door he fell upon his knees.”

And cried in vain: “Pray, let me in, oh, please!”
The living mother would not give him room,
He came to me, the dead one in the tomb.
I heard his sob and moan down in my grave,
I brought him sleep and peaceful rest him gave.

“Begone! Torment me not; thy speech is death;
Go from my bed, thy presence stifles breath.”

“My husband whom I loved, my children’s sire,
Where is he now? Did’st of him also tire?”

“Who knows where is he now? He all night long
Carousing goes, enjoys wine, women, song!”

“The dead can see, who live must tell no lie!
No secret of the earth not known on High!
Grief is an awful weight, ’tis hard to bear.
Not fiery wine, — cool waves cured his despair.
Look up to distant Danube river’s shore,
The pale moon shines on him! — He is no more!”

“Back! back! into thy grave! Begone from here,
Death is more welcome than thy speech to hear.”

“Death is the happy ending of all woe.
But thine, shall not such blissful ending know.
Thy years of life, may God prolong, increase!
I’ll nightly come! Thou shalt no more have peace!
Each night, for thy great crimes, I’ll haunt this house.”
And ask: “Where are my daughter, son and spouse?”



Joseph Eötvös.

’Tis late and cold; who totters there
    Yet in the graveyard lone?
Mute is the earth, and, long ago,
    The sun to rest has gone.

And orphan child it is, whose heart
    Sorrow and pain make sore,
For she who loved him dearly once,
    Alas! will rise no more.

The child kneels at his mother’s tomb.
    His tears the grave bedew;
“O, my beloved mother, thou
    Wast ever kind and true!”

“Since they entombed thee, dead for aye
    Are all my joy and bliss;
None in the village offers now
    Thy loving child a kiss!”

“And no one tells me now, ’My child,
    To me how dear thou art!’
And cold and hunger give me pain;
    I am so sick at heart!”

“O, that I could escape the storm,
    Find rest beneath this grave!
The winter is so fierce to me,
    To me, poor outcast waif!”

The child in agony laments;
    Fierce is the North’s cold breeze,
While in the tempest die his moans,
    His tears to crystals freeze.

And, shivering from the cold, he stares
    Around with icy face.
Terror and fright come over him,
    He feareth now the place.

For dread and quiet are the graves;
    Horror glares in his eye,
The wind with force sways bough and twig,
    And snow falls from the sky.

He tries to rise, but is too weak,
    Falls back upon the grave
Of the beloved one who to him
    Life and all pleasures gave.

But see! The child is happy now,
    He feels both light and free,
For sleep has brought to him a friend
    To banish misery.

His pale lips smile, his heart doth seem
    To throb with gleeful joy;
For gone to his eternal rest
    Is the poor orphan boy!



John Arany.

Mistress Agnes in the streamlet
    Comes to wash her linen sheet;
Downward is the blood-stained cover
    Carried by the current fleet.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“Mistress Agnes, what thing wash you?”
    Boys now ask her from the street.
“Children, go away, keep quiet;
    Chicken’s blood hath stained my sheet.”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Neighbouring women then come asking:
    “Where’s thy husband, Agnes, say?”
“Why, my dears at home he sleepeth;
    Go not in and wake him, pray.”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“Mistress Agnes,” says the sheriff,
    “Come to prison now with me.”
“O, my dove, I cannot go till
    From all stains this sheet is free.”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Deep the prison, one ray only
    To the darkness bringeth light;
This one gleam its day illumines;
    Ghosts and visions crowd the night.
        God of mercy, forsake me not!

All day long poor Mistress Agnes,
    Fronting this faint glimmer sits;
Looks and glares at it unceasing
    As before her eyes it flits.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

For, whene’er she looketh elsewhere,
    Ghosts appear before her eyes;
Did this one ray not console her;
    Sure, she thinks, her reason flies.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

In the course of time her prison
    Opened is, and she is led
To the court; before the judges
    Stands she without fear or dread.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

She is dressed with such precision
    One might almost think her vain;
Even her hair is smooth and plaited
    Lest they think she is insane.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

In the hall around the table
    Sit the judges in concern;
Full of pity they regard her,
    None is angry, none too stern.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“Child, what hast thou done? Come, tell us
    Grave the charge against thee pressed;
He, thy lover, who committed
    This fell crime, hath now confessed.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!”

“He will hang at noon to-morrow.
    Since thy husband he hath killed;
And, for thee, a life-long captive
    Thou shalt be; the court hath willed.”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Mistress Agnes, seeking clearness,
    Striveth to collect her mind;
Hears the voice and knows the sentence;
    Clear of brain herself doth find.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

What they say about her husband
    Well she cannot comprehend,
Only understands that homeward
    More her way she may not wend.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Forthwith she commences weeping,
    Freely flow her tears as showers;
Like the wet from swans down rolling,
    Dew-drops from the lilac flowers.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“O, dear Sirs and Excellencies,
    Look to God, I pray of you;
I cannot remain in prison,
    I have work at home to do.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“For a stain is on my linen,
    Blood that I must wash away
God! if I should fail to do it,
    Dread things happen to me may.”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Then at this appeal the judges
    At each other look aghast;
Silent all and mute their voices;
    By their eyes the die is cast.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

“Thou art free; go home, poor woman;
    Go and wash thy linen sheet;
Wash it clean and may God strengten
    And with mercy thee entreat!”
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

And poor Agnes in the streamlet
    Goes to wash her linen sheet;
Downward is her now clean cover
    Carried by the current fleet.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Snow-white long has been her linen;
    Trace is none of red blood-stain;
Yet poor Agnes ever sees it,
    Blood-red still she sees it plain.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

From the early dawn till evening.
    Sitting there, she laves the sheet;
Waves may sway her trembling shadow,
    Winds her grizzled tresses greet.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

When the streamlet in the moonlight
    Shimmers, and her mallet gleams,
By the streamlet’s bank she washes,
    Slowly beating as in dreams.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Thus from year’s end unto year’s end,
    Winter, summer, all year through,
Heat her dew-soft cheek doth wither,
    Frosts her feeble knees make blue.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

And the grizzled hair turns snowy,
    Raven, ebon now no more;
While the fair soft face of wrinkles,
    Sad to see, augments its store.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!

Mistress Agnes in the streamlet
    Washeth still her ragged sheet;
Downward are the cover’s remnants
    Carried by the current fleet.
        Father of mercy, forsake me not!



John Arany.

In Radwán’s wood’s most gloomy part
    Benjamin Bárcz lay ’neath a tree,
A poniard pierced his youthful heart;
    Lo! before God, ’tis plain to me
    Foul traitor’s force hath murdered thee.

Home to his own ancestral hall
    His father bears his son’s cold clay;
Unwashed, uncovered with a pall;
    On the plain bier, day after day,
    The corpse in the cool palace lay.

As guards he calls four halberdiers,
    “Watch at this door with strictest care!
No one must enter! heed no tears
    Of mother or of sister fair;
    To brave my will let no one dare!”

The women in their own dull halls
    Wander about, their grief suppressed,
While he unto the or float calls
    All he suspects, to view the test
    Which must the guilt make manifest.

The hall with black is shrouded o’er;
    The run no radiance seems to send;
The crucifix is placed before
    The corpse, while priest and sheriff bend;
    The yellow tapers soft light lend.

“Let now the dead man’s foes appear!”
    Calls out the father, but in vain:
Those whom he names approach the bier;
    The hands of none increase the stain;
    He is not here who Bárcz has slain!

The father cries in accents stern,
    “Vengeance on him who dared to kill;
My grave suspicion yet must burn,
    My dearest may incur it still —
    Who breathes may fear my anger’s will.”

“Let now his youthful friends appear.”
    Proudly steps forward many a knight.
With pain they view the hero’s bier
    Who fell not in the open fight —
    Yet Bárcz’s son bleeds not in their sight.

“Let now my vassals, old and young,
    In order pass and touch the dead;
I will, must, know who did the wrong!”
    All pass, while burning tears they shed —
    Still at no touch the wound has bled.

“Mother and maiden, sister fair,
    Go to the corpse,” sounds the command.
With woeful shrieks is filled the air,
    The mother’s grief is touching, grand —
    But still the wound does not expand.

At length there comes his darling bride,
    Fair Abigail, he loved so well;
She sees the dirk, her eyes glare wide,
    She stands as stricken by a spell —
    The flowing blood her guilt doth tell.

In tears or cries she does not bow;
    Her two hands only press her brain.
What sudden thought appals her now?
    It seems her heart would break in twain —
    “Girl, thou this youth hast foully slain!”

’Tis told her twice, but she is still,
    As if bewitched; then utters slow:
“Benjamin Bárcz I did not kill.
    God and his angels hear me, though
    I gave the dirk that dealt the blow.”

“My heart in truth, he did possess;
    He should have known it; but, ah, woe!”
He still besought another ’Yes.’
    ’Or,’ said he, ’to my death I’ll go.’
    “Here, take my dirk, and end it so!”

Wildly the dirk she snatches forth;
    She laughs and weeps, the steel gleams bright,
Her eyes to glowing fire give birth.
    Like a wild hawk she screams outright.
    None stays her in her speedy flight.

And through the village streets so long,
    Dancing, she sings from house to house.
“Once lived a maid” — thus runs her song —
    “Who dealt in such wise, with her spouse,
    As the cat trifles with the mouse.”



John Arany.

The sun hath almost run his course;
    Over hill and vale is shade —
Bor the hero mounts his horse,
    “Farewell, sweet and pretty maid.”

Over hill and vale is shade,
    Chilly winds the dry twigs sway;
“Farewell, sweet and pretty maid,
    Bor the hero rides away.”

Chilly winds the dry twigs sway,
    Lo! a singing lark is near.
Bor the hero is ’away,
    Freely flows the maiden’s tear.

Lo! a singing lark is near,
    Whither goes it, whither has fled?
Freely flows the maiden’s tear;
    Saith the father: “Thou must wed.”

Whither goes it, whither has fled?
    O’er the wood hath crept the night:
Saith the father: “Thou must wed!”
    But the maiden flees troth-plight.

O’er the wood has crept the night;
    Ghastly seems each bush and tree;
But the maiden flees troth-plight,
    Hero Bor says: “Come to me!”

Ghastly seems each bush and tree.
    Life, it seems, the scene invades.
Hero Bor says, “Come to me.”
    Spirit knight from land of shades!

Life, it seems, the scene invades,
    Spirit lips now chant a song.
“Spirit knight from land of shades,
    My dear spouse, take me along.”

Spirit lips now chant a song.
    Then a bridal train draws near.
“My dear spouse, take me along,
    Thou mad’st oath to wed me, dear.”

Then a bridal train draws near,
    Now a ruined church they pass:
“Thou mad’st oath to wed me, dear;
    All are met for holy mass.”

Now a ruined church they pass,
    Brightly lit as e’er before;
All are met for holy mass,
    Festive robes the dead priest wore.

Brightly lit as e’er before,
    Brightly gleam a thousand lights:
Festive robes the dead priest wore,
    “Hand in hand,” the vow unites.

Brightly gleam a thousand lights,
    Darkness rests o’er hill and vale;
“Hand in hand,” the vow unites,
    White the bride’s face, deadly pale.

Darkness rests o’er hill and vale;
    Shrieks an owl in wild dismay,
While the bride’s face, deadly pale —
    In the ruins dead she lay.



Eugene Rákosi.

A yellow spectre, clad in black,
    Haunts now Bethulia’s wall,
And they who from war’s strife came back,
    Now from its dry and foul breath fall,
        By pest, by famine overcome.

“Fair virgin, break thy water-ewer;
    Sweeter than water from the lakes
Our wine; thy loathsome home abjure,
    Deny God, who his fold forsakes,
        And we in prayer will bow to thee!”

“Let not from thy own fairy face
    This ghastly death the roses tear;
Far greater is my own God’s grace;
    Our songs fill tunefully the air.
        More pleasant than the shrieks of death!”

“Forget the youth for whom thine eye
    With tears is filled of vain regret;
Cast off all thought of him, and I
    Will be thy lover truer, yet;
        Thy face lean on my heaving breast.”

“Let now the voice of harps resound
    And sing the very sweetest lay;
    The cup shall freely pass around
        Until the dawn proclaims the day,
        To battle calls the bugle’s sound.”

“Forget the past, my sweetest maid.
    The present veils thy future days;
Toss off the glass!” — And she, full glad,
    Doth raise it high with cheerful face,
        While from her lips comes merry speech!

“The cup which to my lips I raise
    Be thine! I drink, my lord, to you!
And to the idols of your race;
    To worship them I never knew,
        But now to them I raise this cup!

“Pleasure and joy and passions strong
    And lust fill up thy yearning soul.
Drink, drink! Hark to this sweetest song!
    Thy own God’s curses now may roll
        Over my former home! Drink, drink!”

“Ay, let us drink!” — "Oh, sweetest love!"
    Then deathly silence reigns supreme;
A dagger shines, raised by a dove —
    “Hail to Jehovah!” is the theme
        Bethulia’s choir sings gratefully.



John Arany.

    The garden of the queen
    Blooms over night all green;
Here a white rose, there a red rose —
    Brown maids and blonde are seen.

    “Dame Queen, my sister dear,
    For heaven I pray thee, hear;
This brightest red rose of thy maids
    My heart I would hold near.”

    “Ill is my heart for her,
    For her doth beat and stir;
If I should die. this fairest flower
    Hath caused my sepulchre.”

    “Hear, Casimir, I say;
    I cannot give away
Her for a hundred — I am wroth —
    Some woe I dread to-day.

    “Now must I wend my way
    At early mass to pray.
If thou art sick, thy heavy head
    Here on my cushion lay.”

    The queen thus goeth straight
    Unto the church in state;
The lovely flowers, her virgins fair,
    Attend on her to wait.

    Fain would she pray, but, lo!
    She cannot now do so.
Her rosary she hath forgot;
    Who now for it will go?

    “Go, bring it Clara dear,
    It is my cushion near.
Or in the oratory which
    My daily prayer doth hear.”

    Clara for it hath been
    Gone full an hour, I ween;
And in the church, while she doth search,
    In vain doth wait the queen.

    She cometh back no more
    Unto the virgin corps:
Rather would she among the dead
    Lie cold and shrouded o’er.

    Rather into the tomb,
    Into black earth’s gloom,
Than in her gray-haired father’s hall
    Would she her place resume.

    “My child, my daughter, say.
    What troubleth thee, I pray;
Come to my breast and there confide.
    And wipe thy tears away.”

    “Father, it may not be;
    Ah, what shall come to me!
Let me embrace thy feet, and then
    Cast me off utterly.”

    The noon bell’s strident peal
    Calls to the royal meal;
Just as Felician goes to meet
    His King, but not to kneel.

    His King indeed to meet,
    But not with him to eat.
A direful vengeance he hath vowed,
    His sword gleams as with heat.

    “O, Queen Elizabeth!
    I come to seek thy death
For my child’s wrong” — her fingers four
    He cuts as this he saith;

    “For mine, thy children twain,
    Louis and Andrew, slain
Shall be!” But then Gyulafi stays
    The sword from further stain.

    “Quick to the rescue, men;
    Cselényi, come!” and then
Felician soon the minions round
    Seize and disarm and pen.

    “Thy fingers bleed I see,
    For naught this shall not be!
What dost them ask, most gracious queen,
    For this hurt done to thee?”

    “For my first finger there
    I ask his daughter fair,
And for the next his knightly son’s
    Dread death shall be my care.

    “Then for the other two
    His son-in-law shall rue
And daughter; in his race’s blood
    My hands I will imbrue.”

    An evil day draws nigh;
    Ill stars gleam in the sky;
Protect our Magyar fatherland
    From ill, O God on high!



Paul Gyulai.

Three orphans sit weeping alone
    And dark and forsaken the room;
Without is the night rude and cold,
    Their mother, too, lies in the tomb.

“Dear mother, O darling, pray come!”
    Cries one, “I am heavy with sleep;”
“Pray, sing me to sleep as you used!”
    Still sighing, she calls and doth weep.

“And, mother, dear, I am so sick;
    Where art thou, dost think not on me?”
The second doth moaningly weep,
    And poignant her woe seems to be.

“Dear mother, my eyes seem to see,
    A spirit form floating in here!”
Cries the child, and all three mingle tears.
    A grave in the churchyard gapes near.

In silence the tomb opens wide,
    And forth doth the fond mother come.
And stealthily now doth she seek
    The children who want her at home.

She covers one gently, with care,
    And one in her arm doth caress,
With lullabies soothes one to rest —
    Angelic and radiant to bless!

By their beside she watches and wails.
    Till sleep has o’ertaken all three.
And then her gaze wanders around
    The old charming order to see.

With deft hands she settles the room,
    Their dresses arranges with care.
Then fondly doth gaze on each face,
    A thousand times kisses them there.

A cock crows; her hour is near.
    As morning approaches she goes;
With lingering yearning looks back.
    The grave opens — then it doth close.

The grave covers all things, alas!
    Love, pleasure, and hatred and pain;
But mother-love cannot be bound
    By even the sepulchre’s chain!



Anthony Várady.

— “And as ye go, preach; ... freely ye
have received, freely give. Provide neither gold,
nor silver, nor brass in your purses".

— St. Matthew X., 7-9.

Dark and gloomy is the charnel cave;
    The rays avoid its foul and mouldy air;
    The ghosts of flying time alone dwell there,
And on the stones sad legends they engrave.
O’er the cathedral’s proud and mighty porch
    A dreary silence reigns. The vaults of Death
Below, the saints of stone within the church,
All, all are mute. No whisper, sound, nor breath!

Lo! from the dusk a figure clad in white,
    A marble statue come to life, it seems,
Glides forth. His grave, sad face, in infinite
    Love and sublimity, with lustre beams:
As if devotion, hope, and faith more great
Than ever here in prayer most passionate
    Found utterance. God had with life imbued:
    Thus show His eyes divine beautitude.

Each vault a grave; above each grave a stone;
    Yet He their proud inscriptions readeth not:
    He goeth toward an ancient sacred spot.
To Him, alas! it is but too well known
That oft is undeserved the flattering praise
    Which upon stones men often thus engrave.
Though now ’tis sad, soon brighter grows His face,
    Standing at the Apostle Peter’s grave.

He gently lays upon the stone His hand:
    The church and porch receive a mighty shock;
    The granite columns of the tomb unlock
The sleeping corpse beneath, at His command,
    Shakes off the dream of eighteen hundred years,
    And, stepping forth, trembling with hopes and fears,
    He recognizes in the dawning light
    His Master Great, Divine and Infinite.

He falls upon his knees and, bowing low
    His hoary head, he kisses on the feet
And hands the scars of wounds got long ago.
    Falls on the breast, winch is with love replete.
“O Saviour mine! Master of earth and sea!
Master of all!” ... He beckons: “Come with me;
    Come, let us find how men commemorate
    My Resurrection, falling on this date.”

They leave the church. Without, the failing night
    Wageth fierce conflict with the rising sun;
    The dawn’s white angel soon the fight hath won:
A seeming blood-stream marks a demon’s flight:
    With victory flushed, bringing the breaking day,
    The sun, as tribute, sends down his first ray
    On the Messiah, who, in rags arrayed,
    Stands there like one who begs for alms and aid.

“Thou clad in rags!” saith Peter, in amaze.
    But He replies: “Wealth did I ever own?”
Was I not poor, the poorest, all my days?
    Thou knowest that peace and love were mine alone.
With these, nigh on two thousand years ago,
    The world I did redeem. Come, thou shalt know
Whither the blood I sacrificed did flow
    And what fruit from this dew divine did grow!

“Come, let me see the way our heirs now wend,
    Whence so much pain and grief rise from this sphere.
Each curse and shriek which to my heav’n ascend
    Here in its cradle thou shalt surely hear;
Let us see how is my behest obeyed:
    ’Be simple, plain and with the poor be found;
Love thou each man for his own sake, and aid,
    Sharing his suff’rings when they most abound.”

The bells ring out, proclaiming holiday,
    In regal splendor all the churches seem!
A golden cassock which bright gems array,
    A sparkling ring and chain where beauties gleam.
These, with a pastoral staff, where diamonds blaze,
Mark one whom the obeisant crowd do raise
Upon their shoulders on a throne all red,
While on each gem a ray of sun is shed.

Standing erect, the Master waits close by,
    To watch the passing of the Magnate’s show.
“Down on your knees! Kneel down!” irate, they cry;
    A halberdier calls: “Ragmen, beggars, go!”
Pushing Him rudely with his coarse, base hand.
    That touch ...a drop of blood from out His side
Falls to the earth. “And who is this so grand?”
    “Know you not? ’Tis Christ’s Vicar sanctified!”

“But Christ was poor!” “In wealth His Vicar rolls!”
    “Christ walked afoot!” “But borne aloft by men
Is he we saw, who Christendom controls!”
    “And Christ drove not away the beggars, when
They came to him. He still allayed their groans
    And cured and blessed them, filling them with hope:
Blessed even those who threw at him with stones.”
    “Well, He was Christ; but this — this is the Pope.”
“Come, Master, let us go. Around us all is gay;
We are not wanted here.” The twain then go their way.

Evening has come. The priests go home to dine;
    In all refectories bounteous boards are spread,
Laden with delicacies and fine wine,
    All the world’s good things to their splendor add.
An appetizing fragrance forth doth flow,
    Inviting to their doors a hungry horde.
At one of these the Master knocketh low.
    “Give, and it shall be given thee,” said the Lord.
“To hell! Go hence, ye lazy beggars all.
    Wait for the kitchen-scraps, were you not told?”
In golden letters graved is on its wall;
    “One shepherd there shall be then and one fold.”
And, sick at heart, He goes away, and sees
    Upon the walls the works of masters old,
    Which many pictured deeds of saints unfold,
Martin, the Saint, who gave his cloak away;
    Elizabeth, who alms did never spare;
The loaves and fishes famous from His day;
    The fig-tree, cursed because it did not bear;
And then the Lord Christ, toiling ’neath the cross.
How beautiful all this! He, at a loss,
Asks Peter: “What is this place? Tell me! Come!”
And he replies: “This is the Jesuits’ home!”

Without, upon the hot stones of the street,
    A mendicant and wretched crowd await;
Tarrying till, feasting o’er, they get their treat,
    Their thirst and hunger all the time are great.
One of the crowd, a most unhappy wretch,
    Standeth alone, while tears roll down his face.
Into this crowd, which hardly man can sketch,
    Stopped the Messiah, with bland, Godlike grace.

“What ails thee?” asks He of this wretched one.
    “I for my children sinned. Denied to me
    Was absolution!” "Sure, ’tis known to thee
That God forgives!” “Yea, but when feasting’s done,
    I shall to-day for this get naught to eat,
    Naught fur myself or for my children sweet.”

Now come the priests... The banqueting is o’er...
    “Then let us go,” the beggar said; “for we
Will be driven off.” But Jesus Christ doth say:
    “I have no home.” “Then come along with me.
No bread have I, but where thy head to lay,
    That which I have I will divide with you.”
    The Master at this bidding happy grew.

Therewith the mendicant conveyeth Him
    Through many a devious, dark, and lonely street.
    A hundred sounding bells their ears do greet,
Which celebrate Christ’s rising. Eve grows dim,
    And far above, upon the distant sky
    Bright, gleaming stars shine forth to beautify,
    Flags float unfurled; from every quarter round
    The hallelujahs (seeming satire) sound.

“This is my hut,” the beggar now doth say;
    Within, four almost naked children cry.
The Master then his cloak doth cast away —
    Five bleeding wounds his person glorify.
His forehead bleeds, the thorns one may descry:
“Know me,” He calmly saith, “Lo! it is I!”

“O Master, I believe! My hands I fold
    In reverent prayer! I love and I believe!
    For ours Thou art! From Thee we now receive
Aid in this wretched home, so bare and cold!
But not for wealth or earthly joy crave I.
    These are but vain and paltry. Grant me this:
Before Thy bleeding, nail-scarred frame to die.
    That were, indeed, to me the greatest bliss.”

In grief profound the Master then doth speak.
    “Yea, he is right. His bliss, indeed, excels
Who on his soul’s clean wings to Heaven is borne;
    Not his who on the earth uncertain dwells.”
. . . “Come with me, then, and testimony bear
    That precepts holy, for which wrong I bore,
For which, two thousand years ago, I died.
    To-day are scouted from the rich man’s door;
That on this earth, redeemed by grace divine,
The hut and sepulchre alone are Mine!”



John Arany.

Bende, the hero, holds his nuptial feast,
The first day this; it lasts for weeks at least.
    The music plays, trumpet and bugle sound;
Dancers blithely move and fast.
Bende calls: “This cup’s the last!
    My dry, parched lips shall soon have found
    Fair lips where sweets abound!”

The hero by the bridesmaids straight is led
Unto the chamber where these sweets are spread;
    Silence and gloom the castle-halls endow.
Lo! by the couch a steel-clad knight
Standeth, whom Bende knows by sight,
    While, from his visor, o’er his brow,
    A weird light falleth now.

“Bende, I come to fight with thee once more;
I was the victor, and not thou, before.
    Let us begin anew; the bout was; rough;
Ha, ha, again thy armor don.
And servile hirelings trust not one.
    This maid is surely prize enough,
    To make our struggles tough.”

The knight doth rise — “What, ho! quick bring my sword
And harness!” “Whither goest thou, sweet lord?”
    “To fight for thee!” Soon in the armory hall
The fight is heard — the weapons’ clash,
Armor on armor’s conflict crash,
    Cries, groans and curses that appal,
    And foemen’s feet that fall.

The fair bride cannot even close her eyes;
Alarmed about her spouse, she doth arise,
    And with her trembling hands a lamp doth light.
Then goeth forth her lord to seek
And, by his side, till dawn doth shriek.
    Where, as though dead, in grievous plight,
    He lieth through the night.

“Bende, the hero, holds his nuptial feast,
The second day of mirth has almost ceased.
    The music sounds, the wine cup passeth free,
Bende doth reckless seem and gay;
He dances, drinks, in a forced way;
    And the fair bride — what thinketh she? —
    Shall this like yes’re’en be?”

That night the hero drinks of wine too deep
And by his men is borne to heavy sleep;
    His pretty bride doth fear his couch to share,
But lest her secret she disclose.
Straight to another couch she goes,
    And in her fear she breatheth there,
    Crossing herself, a prayer.

Bende awakes at midnight, sober, pale;
There in the door a knight stands, clad in mail.
    “Ha, Robogány!” — Reluctantly he cried.
“Come, thou destroyer of my love;
To fight, the hour now strikes above;
    Till thou hast conquered me, thy bride
    Lieth not by thy side.”

Again that night is heard a fearful fight,
And Bende seemeth dead at morning fight,
    Nor can he rise till noon-day waxeth late;
Till, when arrived hath every guest.
Of him his servants go in quest —
    “Where art thou, lord? the people wait;
    Haste to the banquet straight.”

Bende, the hero, holds his nuptial feast.
But on this third day sadness hath increased;
    It seems as if the music mirth outran,
The dance drags wearily and slow,
Most of the guests make speed to go;
    Never a nuptial feast began
    In blood without God’s ban.

The kindred of the pair, a bishop one,
Ask what has happened, what misdeed been done
    Bende is silent, but his bride doth weep,
Shakes like a dew-drop in storm-stress.
Confesseth she dare not confess.
    Then, when all else are sunk in sleep,
    Biddeth the guard watch keep.

Unto the armory then, a strong guard haste;
And Bende laughs — “The honey I will taste.”
    And hurries late into his lady’s bower,
Just as the barnyard chanticleer
His second summons soundeth near.
    And when above, from the high tower,
    Tolleth the midnight hour.

“Knight Bende, come; this last bout now maintain,
The morn shall see thy nuptial bonds in twain;
    So once more come, and if my dying groan
Thou hearest not, then will I slay
Thee and thy soul most sure, I say.
    Let the false one her sins atone,
    And all her life bemoan.”

Bende, the hero, with eyes aglow
Hastily to the armory doth go,
    And there a fearful sight the guards descry;
Their master raves; with naked blade
The air he pierces, smites a shade,
    He yells and curses; three men die,
    Who to control him try.

Chained in a dungeon, out of sight,
Bende doth still shriek, rave and fight;
    The fair bride wedded none shall ever see;
“The first I was not worthy of,
The next did not deserve my love:
    Lord Bishop, may it fall to me,
    One of Christ’s brides to be.”



Michael Tompa.

Through the night a silent woman hies;
In her trembling arms an infant lies;
    One is quite alert,
    Sleep the other sways;
    Both are orphaned here,
    In a strange land’s ways.

Sad the moon its way through heav’n doth take,
With a scream the dreaming babe doth wake;
    And to still its cry
    On its mother’s breast,
    In deep tunes of pain
    These words are expressed:

“My poor little orphaned one, be still;
Not much longer travel now we will;
    For a new world waits;
    Peace abideth there,
    And the homeless ones
    Find a home to share.

“There, as at thy birth, thou wilt be free;
Peaceful neighbors will encircle thee.
    There in narrow bounds
    Safe thy nights will be;
    If on thee one treads
    Thou shall never see.”

Night to Ostrolenka’s confines drear
Returns with shadows of despair and fear.
    Who alone doth stand
    In the graveyard’s gloom?
    Ah, her only child
    Here she would entomb.

“On this field of blood my husband fought;
Here for thee, sweet land, his fall was wrought;
    For a sire like this,
    In a cause so dear,
    Surely doth the son
    Claim a refuge here.”

“Take him; I give willingly; I know
Not in rags, nor hoary will he grow;
    Henceforth aimless he
    In the ancient home
    With a beggar’s staff
    Will not need to roam.

“Better that I know him in the grave
Than to bow to tyrants as a slave;
    Yea, let him be dead;
    Better is it so
    Than that he should learn
    Cringing to sloop low.”

And the funeral dirge the tempests blow,
Like a mourning army’s strains of woe
    While her loving child,
    Crazed, she doth entomb;
    At the awful deed
    All is storm and gloom.

Nightly, at this grave so piteous here,
Doth the mother quietly appear:
    In its new-found home
    Like a night-bird wild,
    She doth visit still
    Her dear sleeping child.



John Garay.

Thirty knights toward Buda march.
    Well prepared to die are all.
And in front of them there strides
    Kont, the hero, strong and tall.

Heroes they and noble men,
    Patriots striving to be free:
Their conspiracy betrayed
    By the recreant Vajdafi.

Facing Hilda’s angry King
    Calmly, proudly, there they stand;
In their eyes resentment glows
    And the power of sinews grand.

From his throne the haughty King
    Utters wrathful words like these —
“Bloody traitors, straightway fall
    Here before me on your knees!”

In revenge and ire he spoke;
    Each then scanned his comrade’s face,
Till the thirty all to Kont
    Questioning glances did retrace.

And be cries: “Not so, O King!”
    As he shakes his hoary head,
Even as the tree-tops shake
    When o’er them the wind has sped.

“Nay, O King, my Heaven nay;
    Thou the traitor art most great,
Since unto this land thou’st brought
    Grievous curse and heavy weight.”

“Blood and life and land hath spent
    Freely for thee and thy throne,
And requited is with hate —
    Why is known to God alone.

“Either we our ancient rights
    Will by strength of arm regain,
Or, dear comrades, we will fall
    Fighting for it might and main.

“But, since thou hast wronged our land.
    None of these will bend the knee;
Nor will Kont of Hedervar
    Ever, tyrant, bow to thee.”

Thus did Kont, the hero, speak,
    Filled with wrath and courage now;
Rather would he go to death
    Than before the tyrant bow.

Wrathfully the King replies —
    Great and fearful is his ire —
“Death be thine, as dire a death
    As thy treason hath been dire.”

“Death be thine, who even here.
    Stubborn leader, dost incite!”
And behind the thirty knights
    Stands the headsman dark as night.

Pales the crowd; the hero stands,
    Likewise does his knightly ring,
While the stern eyes scan them o’er
    Of Zsigmund, the tyrant King.

Now the thirty nobles pass
    Singly to the place of doom,
Till the headsman, tired, paused,
    Soon his rude work to resume.

With the calm, still air around
    From them not a murmur blends;
But from out the watching crowd
    Now a smothered groan ascends.

Who is this that now appears,
    Last of thirty, last of all?
He, the glorious one, is kept
    Till he sees his comrades fall.

As the pride of ancient woods
    Stands he, like the giant oak;
And the very herdsman quails,
    Fears to deal the fatal stroke.

Waits the oak the woodman’s blow;
    Thus the hero stands to wait,
Gazing in the headsman’s eye —
    Kont, the powerful and great.

As a hero, as a man,
    Thus it is he fain would die:
Patriot he, not criminal,
    Standing on the scaffold high.

For a mean and paltry life
    Criminals their God deny;
To the hero death but comes
    Glory’s wreaths to beautify.

“My death and the death of these
    Is a bloody martyrdom,
Whence the land will gain much good,
    But to Zsigmund curse will come!”

Thus the hero spake; the day
    Darkens at the headsman’s blow;
So with thirty nobles died
    Kont, the brave and mighty foe.

With the calm, still air around
    From them not a murmur blends;
But from out the watching crowd
    Now an ominous cry ascends.

And the tyrant Zsigmund’s blood
    Freezes straightway in his heart:
“Since thy sentence is unjust
    Thou the people’s prisoner art!”



John Arany.

Beneath the window’s shade
    A Whitsun rose doth bloom;
Its lovely buds begin
    To open and perfume.
To choose from them doth come
    A blue-eyed maiden fair,
Flowers for the bridal wreath
Which she next morn must wear.

There on a leaf doth sit
    And sighs a little bee:
“O, pretty bride, I pray.
    This one bud spare to me.
Just when it opened first
    I chose it for my own.”
“O, foolish little bee.” —
    Light is the maiden’s tone —
“Thou wilt find roses here —
    An hundred and not one.
Come when they open fresh
    To greet to-morrow’s sun
But do not ask of me
    This loveliest rosebud there.”
Then saith the little bee:
    “Sweet virgin, blonde and fair,
God bless thee now, I pray,
    With lover fond and true.
O, do not pluck my love
    Is all I ask of you.”
“Pluck it I surely shall,”
    The blue-eyed maid replied.
“Without that blossom fair
    I will not be a bride.
Into my bridal wreath
    I’ll weave it first of all.
So on my wedding morn
    Me, decked thus, they will call.
She stretched out for the bud
    Just as she made reply.
Straightway the little bee
    Upon her hand did fly;
To kiss her band in love
    Was all the deed he meant.
“Pshaw murderous little thing!
    To sting me thou art bent.
The rosebud I have broke,
    Here now it is for thee.”
“Fair bride,” — the bee thus spoke —
    “What use is it to me?
Rather preserve it thou,
    And keep it in its place,
Else might thy bridal wreath
    Miss its sweet fragrant grace.”
In bitterness he spoke,
    For, though his form was small,
His love indeed was great.
    The rosebud was his all.
He said and set his sting
Beneath the fair bride’s eye,
Who wept to feel the pain,
    While he lay down to die.
        He laid him down to die
        Upon the odorous leaves
        Of a rosemary tree.

Meanwhile the pretty maid
    Doth scream in pain and woe;
To plight her wedded vows
    Next morn she cannot go.

Until the moon grew full,
    Swollen her eye remained,
And when at last it healed
    Her lover’s faith had waned.



Joseph Kiss.

At Simon’s house — he is a Jew — each year
A tiny infant lies upon the bier:
A tiny coffin, scarce a yard in length —
Poor little worm, for life it had no strength.

Judith, his wife, hath hair worth gems of gold.
Weeping, her hands smooth out each braided fold.
She takes the shears — ah, pity that ’tis so! —
Then to the rabbi stealthily doth go.

“My hair, far-famed in seven lands, I shore;
My beauty famed shall now exist no more:
’Tis wept away. O, tell me, priest, one thing
May ever I a child to mandhood bring?”

The holy man his eyes lifts from his book,
And Judith chills beneath that piercing look.
“Ah, now a child you wish. Was’t so before?
Where, tell me, is the first child that you bore?”

Whiter than snow turns Judith Simon’s face;
In her two hands she hides it in disgrace,
And ’mid her sobs, in whispers doth confess —
“I slew by babe. I am a murderess.”

“Its father, my betrayer, left me lone,
A weak young maid, in shame to weep and moan.
I drew the deed upon a stormy night —
Ah, if within the graveyard sleep I might!”

The holy man consults his book to see
What punishment for such a crime might be.
“Rise, Judith, rise; cast off thy mourning veil
For thy great sin that was of no avail.”

“Greater its price; to this atonement bow;
But hast thou strength to make an awful vow?
This I forbid: that you should ever kiss
Your own sweet child — should know a mother’s bliss.

“Go now, be wretched till you make amends.
On your child’s wedding day the penance ends.”
At Simon’s house — he is a Jew — ’tis bright
As for a wedding; ’tis the naming night.

While Simon chants aloud the psalms, there flow
From Judith’s eyes the burning tears of woe.
An hundred times her babe she longs to kiss.
And lifts it, but she dares not risk such bliss.

At Simon’s house — he is a Jew — ’tis still,
And shades hang over every window-sill.
Her hands doth Mistress Judith wring and cry
Despairingly, “All, must this one likewise die?”

“My forehead burns, it burns; dear mother, feel;
If you would kiss it surely well would heal.”
“Keep still, dear child, and quiet slumber lake;
Close now thine eyes — Oh, God, do not forsake!”

“Parched are my lips, dear mother, is it this
Which keeps you, dear, from giving me one kiss?”
Purple with anger Simon’s face doth grow:
“Untrue art thou, my wife, untrue, I know!”

“I have heard many rumors; all are true.
Deceitful is the soul that dwells in you,
If not as mother, surely then as wife.
I now disown you, by my dear child’s life.”

The years roll on; they come and still pass by.
At Simon’s house the festal mirth runs high.
Guests crowd the rooms, the wedding feast is spread
To Nathan, Simon’s daughter now is wed.

In yonder nook a beggar woman stands,
Pushed right and left by careless strayers’ hands;
Impatient, wistful, through the crowd she breaks,
To see the lovely bride, a prayer she makes.

Now comes the bride. The rabbi loud doth pray.
The beggar woman wails, “One moment, stay!
My child!” and round the bride her arms doth throw,
In death her first and last kiss to bestow.
Thus ends poor Judith Simon’s life of woe!



Alexander Petőfi.

A single mother bore these two —
    The poet and the angry fate —
And thus this life they journeyed through
    Sworn friends and ever intimate.

Trees then, as now, grew all around.
    And many rested in their shade:
It served the minstrel, too, who found
    A branch, of which a staff he made.

These were the only friends he knew —
    The beggar’s staff, the angry fate.
All else were faithless and untrue,
    But each of these was his true mate.

But what had of his lute become?
    Do minstrels not possess a lyre?
Ay — ay — he had one, too, nut dumb,
    That gave forth strains to charm and lire.

Once of his lute he grasped the string —
    Once in a stormy, thundering night —
And mute became the thunder’s ring
    To hear his song far up the height.

And when the angry, murky sky
    Had listened to his song divine,
It looked with smiling, starlit eye
    Down on the bard in calm benign.

But, lo! when hunger to him came
    He went the sons of men to greet,
Thinking the hardest heart to tame
    With strains so marvellously sweet.

That which had lulled the tempest’s roar
    And made the dark sky smile again,
In mighty chords he did outpour
    With mellow and melodious strain.

But what the storm and sky obeyed
    Fails utterly men to impress:
And when his songs in vain he played
    The shamed lute breaks in pained distress

Such is the lyre’s unhappy tale,
    But of the bard’s career who knows?
None can tell when misfortune’s gale
    Brought his long suffering to a close.

Before a younger race he stood,
    After the lapse of many years:
The grizzled locks beneath his hood
    Had scanty grown through cares and fears

“A few small pence for charity!”
    His piteous, faint voice then demands,
While, like a sere twig, quiveringly
    He stretches forth his trembling hands.

Then sympathetic voices ask:
    “Who art thou thus with grief bowed down.
Whom fate hath set so hard a task
    And on whom God doth seem to frown?”

He pleads again and tells his name;
“A few pence,” when. O, strange to hear!
The answer comes. “Stop, child of fame.
Thou dost not need to beg: good cheer!”

“Thy name shines brightly as, by night,
    The starry heaven glows in fire.
The songs men once despised, delight
    The world which now applauds thy lyre!”

“Hail to thee, great one; haste to change
    Thy rags and be in velvets dressed.
A bounteous board we shall arrange,
    A laurel wreath on thee shall rest!”

“I thank ye for this speech so fair,
    But hunger’s pangs I feel no more;
For velvet garb I have no care,
    But wear these rags which long I wore.”

“A goodly thing it is to see
    The laurel wreath a proud youth crown;
But sprouts and leaves can no more be,
    When sapless trunks are crumbling down.”

“But still a few pence I require,
    And grateful for them I shall be;
The coffin-maker waits his hire
    Who fits my final home for me!”



Louis Tolnai.

Calm is the evening, lulled are grass and tree,
From Bana’s pond songs echo cheerily;
While the flax-beaters pound
    From Bana’s pond one hears
Full many a new and well-known ditty sound.

“Now, girls, good girls, who beat the flax-shears here.”
Begins Eliza “to my song give ear.”
Their strokes become more slow
    Upon the pound’s damp flax
“Yes; now. Eliza, let thy cadence flow!”

“Upon a berry bush no rose we find,
To no stepdaughter’s lot was ever kind.
How sad she did not wait —
    Poor Sarah whom I sing —
How sad she spoke to Aleck, her fit mate!”

“Her hateful stepmother felt envy’s thrill;
She was a witch, a demon if you will;
One stormy night and dread
    She took poor Sarah out
And in a well next morn they found her dead!”

A frog exclaimeth from the marsh near by:
“Who saith so in his soul doth lie;
She so disgraced her name,
    ’Twas known the village through;
And so I killed the girl who had no shame.”

Then on the shore a willow’s bough is stirred;
“God knows that I am pure,” sings a sad bird.
“For, being wicked, she
    Did my true love desire,
And so in envious spite she murdered me.”



Michael Vörösmarty.

His battle’s oe’r, the warrior gray
To his retreat now wends his way.
Scanning with hopeless, weary gaze
His youthful and adventurous days;
His youthful years and loves are done.
His fights are fought, his victories won.

Fatigued, disabled, dreams alone
The son of wars’ and laurels’ own.
Vague are his dreams, unsound his sleep;
His soul alone its strength doth keep.
He yearns to rest beneath the ground,
In marble and in song renowned.

After the long day follows night,
The cloud-veiled moon withholds its light.
At midnight when sad dreams appall,
A voice sounds through the ancient hall,
The bugle calls to war once more
The old man with his strength’s proud store.

The bugle sounds forth loud and shrill;
The night its strident echoes fill;
And boldly he pursues the sound
For pleasure bids to danger’s ground;
Pursues the loud, awakening tone
Through deathly quietude, alone.

He hears the distant battle’s clash —
The shriek, the turmoil and the crash:
The noise of serried ranks that break,
The battle-song that night awakes:
Swords clang, drums beat, the horse doth fly,
Its wounded rider trampling by.

Still on and on the hero hastes
Through dim night’s wild unpictured wastes;
The din has ceased, the field blood-red
No more resounds with war-song dread.
And sudden silence straightway falls
Where late the noisy fight appalls.

A third time is the bugle blown,
Then sadly dies its lingering tone;
A sudden lightning flash makes clear
A pedestal the warrior near —
The hero’s grave o’er which doth stand
A sorrowing statue — Fatherland.

So after many a strife and quest
The hoary hero here finds rest:
The night succeeds that lasts always.
His soul gains rest, his valor long
Lives on in everlasting song.



Joseph Kiss.

Nigh holy Calvary, a beauteous spot,
    In meadows green, beside a shady lane,
I live within a straw-thatched wooden hut,
    And cheerfully my loneliness maintain.
The dawn His face doth goldenly make shine;
Methinks He smiles on me kindly, benign!
    Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

With single heart and an abiding faith
    A village painter wrought this image rude;
Self-taught, his painful art could not but be
    Pathetically awkward, simple, crude:
Dew, frost and rain the painting washed away
The eyes alone are bright, He smiles all day:
    Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Thou can’st be happy here, thou suffering God,
    Who hast with death atoned for mankind’s sin;
Not heard are here the moans of those downtrod
    And poor and pleading: silent is all din
Of human cries. Sweet scent and song arise
To Thee, instead of Misery’s groaning sighs,
    Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

The world which I have known, the world out there
    Is otherwise, is sadly otherwise!
Why shall I speak? Thou art of it aware,
    For Thou omniscient art and wholly wise;
Still smite the Pharisees their hollow breasts.
Still Pilate, smiling, sends to death the best —
    Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

The sons and the sons’ sons of those who cried:
    “Crucify, crucify Him!” still abound.
The ancient plea which ancient sorrow sighed
    Throughout the world doth sadly still resound.
Come, awful Judgment, on the world descend;
Of shameless and successful sin make end —
    Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!



Ladislaus Torkos.

Where through the glade a streamlet flows
    A carved stone saint stands ’neath green boughs;
Around stretch meadows rich with grain,
    O’erhead the lark its praise avows.
The busy peasant wields his scythe,
    The treasure of the fields doth glean;
The earth is glad, the heaven is brightly blue,
    The while the saint still smiles serene.

O’er the horizon darkness broods
    And clouds on clouds above appear;
The storm comes on, and with him brings,
    As comrades, death, destruction, fear.
The tempest rages; man and beast
    And timid birds seek sheltering screen;
In swelling moans the streamlet calls —
    The while the saint still smiles serene.

With thunderous clamor rules the storm.
    The rains pour downward, ice congeals;
With death-pale face a woman comes,
    With wail that loudlier still appeals.
Kneeling, she cries: “O holy saint,
    Do guard the orphan’s portion lean!”
Her heart doth throb, her hot tears flow —
    The while the saint still smiles serene.

There is no mercy, neither grace;
    The elements still blindly waste.
With maniac shout and bloodshot eye
    The woman springs away in haste;
With foaming lips she curses loud,
    Spits on the saint and smites him clean;
The tempest howls with dire force —
    The while the saint still smiles serene.

The thunder rolls; one lightning flash —
    The maddened heart is still for aye;
Mute, motionless, she lieth there,
    The wide, glazed eyes behold not day;
In the cold breast all cares are tombed
    Where peace hath made his calm demesne;
The pain, the curse, the moan are o’er —
    The while the saint still smiles serene.



Ladislaus Névy.

The chamois hunter tracks his game
O’er mountain peak and vale the same;
O’er highlands, by the calm blue mere,
Where browse the goats and dappled deer,
And where the sheep girl’s song sounds near.

The hunted chamois speeds away,
In silence dies the maiden’s lay,
The lake reflects the heaven’s light,
Love in the eye is mirrored bright;
“Dearest, be my sweetheart this night.”

The eager youth says yearningly:
“My little maiden, come with me;
Be mistress of my humble cot,
Where in the woods I cast my lot;
A paradise, ’twill be, I wot.”

The playful maiden answers straight:
“To gain this hand the cost is great.
Behold, on yonder mountain’s brow,
That ruby which doth glisten now;
That ruby is the price, I vow.”

Bright gleam the chamois hunter’s eyes;
None, as a marksman, with him vies.
His arrow spans the bent bowstring,
Then, like a lightning flash, doth wing,
And quick the ruby down doth bring.

“I have it! Nay, where hath is sped?”
The ripples of the lake show red!
The water fairy smiling cries:
“Come for the stone; see, here it lies:
Surely the bride the gem will prize!”

Into the deep descends the youth,
No more to rise again, in sooth.
The mermaid who doth own the place
Loves him, and in her charmed embrace
Holds him; the ripples leave no trace.

The bride doth wait and wait in vain,
Her bosom filled with anxious pain.
With dread her broken heart is rent,
Till, all its hope and treasure spent,
To seek the youth she also went.



Anthony Várady.

As though his words, who on the earth did pray
Turned into stone upon their heavenward way,
The venerable Strassbourg minster stands
And by its ancient wall respect commands;
Prayer charmed to earth by some mysterious power —
The melody that once infused it rolls.
As still the bell so timeworn tolls, tolls, tolls,
As if to say that all, above, below,
Of wealth or want or rank is but vain show.

It marks decidouos centures growing old;
It marks them with regard, calm, earnest, cold;
In any newborn age that meets its face
It findeth nothing strange and no new grace.
Only as if a mournful plaint were pressed
Out of the stony and most rugged breast —
The olden pain of centuries — there rolls
As still the bell so timeworn tolls, tolls, tolls,
As if to say that all, above, below,
Of wealth or want or rank is but vain show.

While crowns and sceptres fell into decay
And nations without vestige died away,
As though upgrown from earth, untouched of time,
And knowing that its mission is sublime,
It stood erect, that coining tribes might see
The lessons of eternal truth that be,
And while they live proclaim with voice that rolls,
As still the bell so timeworn tolls, tolls, tolls,
As if to say that all, above, below.
Of wealth or want or rank is but vain show.

While on its brow a century new doth rest
And looks around from the could-mantled crest,
While at its foot another people ’bide,
Have labored, joyed, destroyed, created, died.
From past to future still its voice doth sound —
Its olden voice, mournful yet profound.
That over all the wheel of change still rolls.
That all things lie, it tolls, it tolls, it tolls.
As if to say that all, above, below,
Of wealth or want or rank is but vain show.

And on a night begirt with calm and cloud.
Just as the old year doth prepare his shroud,
All his bells clang aloud in unison —
No human hands — none knoweth how ’tis done!
By unseen agency it seems to touch the spring
Of all earth’s sorrow, and to all men’s eyes
The tears of grief spontaneously arise,
As still the bell so timeworn tolls, tolls, tolls,
As if to say that all, above, below,
Of wealth or want or rank is but vain show.



Cornelius Ábrányi Jr.

From the fort’s ramparts o’er the placid sea,
    Where, with a nymph-like smile, the country lies.
The king beside his bard sits silently,
    Watching the sunset in the western skies.
Up from below the evening zephyrs bear
    A sound, half song, half water’s murmuring flow;
A half-unconscious sigh breathes on the air,
    The soul’s responsive secret answer low.

At length he speaks, and thus the king doth say:
    "Behold, how beauteous all things are and fair!
None on the harp such melodies could play
    As might compete with this quiescent air;
Ah, in such songs a king’s self-unconsciousness
    Is lost and soareth to an unknown sky;
To be but mortal causeth sore distress!"
    The poet answers: "Sire, we all must die!"

Again the other: "Listen well, I pray,
    And note my wishes when I shall be dead:
High on the peak which looks far every way,
    Where weary eagles to their rest are led,
Where the chance lightning, if it come at all,
    Srikes only rocky headlands bleak and bare;
Where no malign earth-vapors can appall,
    Let me be laid in Death’s last slumber there.

"Let some old mountain-cavern be my grave,
    Which ever echoes to some hidden voice,
At whose command there issues many a slave
    To do their ruler’s will and ask his choice;
My sword in hand, my crown upon my head,
    While all my battle-flags my pillow form,
So the pale moon, looking on me with dread,
    Shall touch the harp to weave my dreamful charm."

"And after I have closed my dying eyes,
    Those whom in life I loved shall come with me.
My dog, my falcon, my true steed, my prize,
    And none on earth their owner yet shall be;
And last of all the one who ruled my heart,
With whom alone my kingship was forgot,
Upon whose breast no care with me had part,
    My fair young queen behind me I leave not.

"So, when the grave-pit yawns, with them I go
    To dream, to steep, until the spirit-hour
Allows me revel till the cock’s shrill crow
    Driveth me back to Death’s uncanny power.
The land o’er which I ruled shall never know
    For one year’s term a single joyous day;
All shall be dark and dismal, full of woe!
    Now, poet, what is thy wish; prithee say!"

The poet answers: "When I die, my king,
    I wish a peaceful valley for my grave,
Where gracious forest streamlets ever sing
    And where the songbirds come to drink and lave;
Where joyously they start their jocund lay,
    A rivalry with zephyrs murmuring low,
And where the wanderer; resting on his way,
Sits down and sings a song ere he doth go,

"And those I loved, to whom it will be pain
    To know at last that I am called by death
Although entombed, to them shall yet remain
    My heart, my songs, which were my hearts’ true breath.
May life, for them be beautiful and long,
    May fate disburse to them all choicest store;
My falcon free shall soar on pinions strong,
    My steed shall hear commanding words no more.

“And her I loved, and from whose kisses sweet
    I drew the inspiration of my song,
I would not have my loss with tears to greet,
    But wait for me, nor deem the waiting long.
Nay, may she not my very grave-place know,
    Yet, resting there by chance, pluck up a flower
And dream that from my heart its root did grow
    When sleep brings dreams of love’s eventful hour.”