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...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Poetry

As I am waxed nostalgic all this weekend and beyond, I went on a little web search and I found some of my country's most beautiful poetry online. The following are two poems every Hungarian schoolchildren knows by heart: one is our national Anthem, originally an early 19th. century poem; the other is almost as dear to our hearts, another 19th c. poem called 'Appeal'. The translations I give here do a really good job in conveying just how deeply a brooding nation we were, are, and unless something profound happens, will be...

Hymn
Ferenc Kölcsey
(1790-1838)


O, my God, the Magyar bless
With Thy plenty and good cheer!
With Thine aid his just cause press,
Where his foes to fight appear.
Fate, who for so long did'st frown,
Bring him happy times and ways;
Atoning sorrow hath weighed down
Sins of past and future days.

By Thy help our fathers gained
Kárpát's proud and sacred height;
Here by Thee a home obtained
Heirs of Bendegúz, the knight.
Where'er Danube's waters flow
And the streams of Tisza swell
Árpád's children, Thou dost know,
Flourished and did prosper well.

For us let the golden grain
Grow upon the fields of Kún,
And let Nectar's silver rain
Ripen grapes of Tokay soon.
Thou our flags hast planted o'er
Forts where once wild Turks held sway;
Proud Vienna suffered sore
From King Mátyás' dark array.

But, alas! for our misdeed,
Anger rose within Thy breast,
And Thy lightnings Thou did'st speed
From Thy thundering sky with zest.
Now the Mongol arrow flew
Over our devoted heads;
Or the Turkish yoke we knew,
Which a free-born nation dreads.

O, how often has the voice
Sounded of wild Osman's hordes,
When in songs they did rejoice
O'er our heroes' captured swords!
Yea, how often rose Thy sons,
My fair land, upon Thy sod,
And Thou gavest to these sons,
Tombs within the breast they trod!

Though in caves pursued he lie,
Even then he fears attacks.
Coming forth the land to spy,
Even a home he finds he lacks.
Mountain, vale - go where he would,
Grief and sorrow all the same -
Underneath a sea of blood,
While above a sea of flame.

'Neath the fort, a ruin now,
Joy and pleasure erst were found,
Only groans and sighs, I trow,
In its limits now abound.
But no freedom's flowers return
From the spilt blood of the dead,
And the tears of slavery burn,
Which the eyes of orphans shed.

Pity, God, the Magyar, then,
Long by waves of danger tossed;
Help him by Thy strong hand when
He on grief's sea may be lost.
Fate, who for so long did'st frown,
Bring him happy times and ways;
Atoning sorrow hath weighed down
All the sins of all his days.

Translated by WILLIAM N. LOEW (1881)



Appeal
Mihaly Vorosmarty, 1836

Oh, Magyar, keep immovably
your native country's trust,
for it has borne you, and at death
will consecrate your dust!

No other spot in all the world
can touch your heart as home -
let fortune bless or fortune curse,
from hence you shall not roam!

This is the country that your sires
have shed their blood to claim;
throughout a thousand years not one
but adds a sacred name.

'Twas here brave Arpad's mighty sword
ordained your land to be,
and here the arms of Hunyad broke
the chains of slavery.

Here Freedom's blood-stained flag has waved
above the Magyar head;
and here in age-long struggles fell
our best and noblest, dead.

In spite of long calamity
and centuries of strife,
our strength, though weakened, is not spent;
our country still has life.

To you, O nations of the world,
we call with passioned breath:
"Should not a thousand years of pain
bring liberty - or death?"

It cannot be that all in vain
so many hearts have bled,
that haggard from heroic breasts
so many souls have fled!

It cannot be that mind and strength
and consecrated will
are wasted in a hopeless cause
beneath a curse of ill!

There yet shall come, if come there must,
that better, fairer day
for which a myriad thousand lips
in fervent yearning pray.

Or there shall come, if come there must,
a death of fortitude;
and round about our graves shall stand
a nation washed in blood.

Around the graves where we shall die
a weeping world will come,
and millions will in pity gaze
upon the martyrs' tomb.

then, Magyar, keep unshakeably
your native country's trust,
for it has borne you and at death
will consecrate your dust!

No other spot in all the world
can touch your heart as home;
let fortune bless or fortune curse,
from hence you shall not roam!


translated by Watson Kirkconnell

2 Comments:

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous rufel said...

whoa... dark...

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger Annamaria said...

Yeah; ever wonder why am I the eternal sunshine on The Husband's horizon? I used to go to poetry contests with some of these poems...as soon as possible I'll get the anthology with some of them in it so you can see what was I really like when I was 14...::grin::

 

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