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Take me to the open fields the desert ;
Bind thy sister to the tails of horses ;
Let four horses tear my limbs asunder.”
But the brother trusted not his sister :
Furiously he seized her white hand-bore her
To the distant fields—the open desert ;-
To the tails of four fierce steeds he bound her,
And he drove them forth across the desert;
But, where'er a drop of blood fell from her,
There a flower sprung up,-a fragrant flow'ret;
Where her body fell when dead and mangled,
There a church arose from out the desert. Poetical justice, however, awaits the jealous Jelitza-she falls into a grievous sickness
'Midst her bones the matted dog-grass sprouted,
And amidst it rested angry serpents
Which, though hidden, drank her eyelights brightness. She at length requests, as a relief, the punishment which had been inflicted upon her unfortunate sister-in-law.
Wheresoe'er a drop of blood fell from her,
There sprank up the rankest thorns and nettles.
Where her body fell, when dead, the waters
Rush'd and form'd a lake both still and stagnant.
O'er the lake there swam a small black courser :
By his side a golden cradle floated :
On the cradle sat a young grey falcon :
In the cradle, slumbering, lay an infart:
On its throat the white hand of its mother :
And that hand a golden knife was holding. The “ Brothers," is a little romance, also of the tragical kind, but of a more amiable cast. Predrag and Nenad were the sons of a happy mother, who
Nurtur'd them through years of dearth and sorrow,
Ever toiling at her restless spindle. As soon as Predrag could ride, and brandish his weapon, he left his home, and joined the robbers in the mountains. The younger Nenad knew nothing of his brother's fate, but, it appears, followed bis example, as soon as he could run, and ride, and strike.
Three long years he dwelt among the bandits;
He was full of wisdom and discretion,
And in every fray him fortune favoured. At length a huge longing to see his mother seized Nenad, now become captain of his band-he proposes a division of booty, at which he refuses his share, and gallops to his “ aged mother." At mealtime he takes the liberty of putting rather a singular question to the ancient dame :
Cordial was the greeting, great the gladness;
Hospitality made cheerful welcome :
And, while seated at the feast together,
Nenad whispered to his aged mother :
“ Mother mine! thou venerable woman !
If it be no shame before the people,
If it be no sin in God's high presence,
I will ask one question, O my mother!
Tell me why thou gav'st me not a brother?
Tell me why I had no little sister ?
When we each received our treasure-portion,
Each in earnest and in eager language
By his brother swore, or by his sister ;
I could only swear by my good weapon,
By myself, and by the steed I mounted.”
Then his mother laugh’d, and laughing answer’d,
Thou, my son, dost talk a little wildly;
For, indeed, a brother have I given thee;
Long before thy birth Predrag had being :
Only yesterday the sad news reach'd me,
That he is become a highway robber,
In the verdant forest Garevitza,
Where he is the leader of the bandits.” As soon as Nenad heard this, he prepared a dress of green, to make himself look like a tree, and immediately sets off to find his brother, in the forest of Garevitza. He encounters the banditti, and routs a troop of thirty of them. Predrag, their captain, comes to their assistance, and shoots his unfortunate brother through the heart with an arrow. As he is shot
Like a falcon springs Nenad, loud screaming.
Loudly scream'd he to his starting courser :
“ Woe! woe! woe! thou hero of the forest !
Brother! brother! woe! the Lord will smite thee !
Thy right hand shall be struck dead with palsy;
That right hand which sped the arrow forward !
Thy right eye shall leap forth from thy forehead!
That right eye which saw my heart blood sprinkled !
Let the impassioned longings for a brother
Trouble thee as they a brother troubled !
O'er the weary world, a lone one, wandering,
Now has stumbled on his own perdition!”
When Predrag had heard these words unwonted,
Lo! he sprung up from the pine, inquiring,
“Who art thou, and who thy fathers, hero?"
Then the wounded youth thus feebly answer'd:
“ Ask'st thou who I am, and who my fathers ?
Wilt thou own me? wilt thou claim my kindred ?
I am young Nenad—a hapless hero!
I had once one venerable mother,
And one brother, too, Predrag-one brother:
He my elder and my only brother,
Whom to seek through all the world I wander
Forth, to still my soul's impassion'd longiogs;
But to-day 'tis ended—and I perish!”
When Predrag thus heard bis brother's language,
Misery-stricken pull'd he forth the arrow;
Bent him o'er the young and wounded hero;
Took him from his horse, and gently seated
Nenad on the grass :-" And is it, brother!
Is it thou, indeed !--Thine elder brother,
Thy Predrag, am I:—but sure not mortal
Are thy wounds:~0 let me tear asunder-
Let me tear thy shirt-and let me bind them!
Let me bind thy wounds-0 let me heal them!" It is in vain-Nevad dies; and Predrag plunges a dagger in his own bosom,
And sank down in death beside his brother. A translation of the ballad of Ajkuna's marriage, lias already been given in the Quarterly Review. It is an interesting story of an clopement, admirably well told; and in its circumstances closely resembles
the ballad of “ Young Lochinvar.” Both the translation of the Review, and that of Mr. Bowring, are in the metre of the original; but by the aid of poetical embellishment, and some adaptation, the translation in the Review is more likely to attract the attention of the mere English reader. In this ballad of Ajkuna's marriage, as well as in the one which follows, the “ Illness of Prince Mujo," the Turkish and Servian manners are blended in a way which tells the event that had taken place as plainly as history.
The “ finding of the head of Lazar,”, is one of the many Servian ballads that allude to the last conflict on the plain of Kossora, which completed the subjugation of the Servians, under the Turkish yoke. The Servian Krall or Despot Lazar, was taken prisoner, and put to death in the camp of sultan Amurath. Many miracles were wrought on his body, according to the superstition of his country. This “ finding of the head” records one of them :- A caravan halts on the plain of Kossova; a party of the travellers seeing something shine on the fountain, drew it out—it is the holy head of the Servian monarch. They threw it on the turf, quenched their thirst, sate themselves round it, and “ looked about them,” when, lo! the holy head is seen making off across the plain, and marches on until it joins the “ untainted body.” In the morning, all the dignitaries assemble, to ask the corpse where it chooses to be buried. Lazar selects “ his beauteous Ravanitza,” a convent he had himself founded.
They had quenched their thirst, and all were seated-
Seated round the head, and look'd about them.
On the verdant turf it lies no longer,
O'er the field the head is slowly moving-
Holy head seeks out the holy body;
Joins it, where that body lay untainted.
When the dawning of the morn had broken,
To the aged priests the youths reported—
To the aged priests, the wond'rous story.
Lo! a crowd of priests are hasteving thither-
Crowds of ancient priests-above three hundred,
And twelve high and dignified archbishops,
And four patriarchs, the most exalted :
Him of Pechki, and the Tzarigrader
Of Jerusalem, and Vassiljenski.
All were habited in priestly vestments ;
Camilanks their holy heads enshrouded :
In their bands they held old sacred writings-
And they pour'd their fervent prayers to heaven,
And perform’d their holiest solemn vigils
Through three days, and through three nights of darkness
Nor for rest they stopp'd, nor for refreshment,
Nor for sleep, nor any interruption :
And they asked the holy dead, unceasing,
Where his grave should be-his corpse be buried ;
In Opovo, or in Krushedoli,
Or in Jāssak, or in Beshenovi,
Or Racovatz, or in Shisatovatz,
Or in Jivski, or in Kurejdini,
Or in distant Macedonia rather.
But Lazar will choose no foreign cloister;
He will lie among his own lov'd kindred.
In his own, his beauteous Ravanitza,
On the mountain forest, broad kushaja,
In the convent he himself erected ;
In his days of life and youthful glory,
He erected for his soul's salvation ;
With his bread and with his gold he raised it;
Not with tears nor wealth from poor men wrested. The ballad of Hassan Aga's wife's lament, is one of great pathos and beauty. Hassan's wife neglects him, when he is sorely wounded; in his wrath he threatens to repudiate her. The haughty dame takes him at his word-she is fetched home by her brother; and her hand being sought by many, she is compelled, by him, to marry one of her suitors. As the bridal procession passes the habitation of her former husband, she beseeches to be permitted to see her children. She had prepared little presents for each, even to the poor baby in the cradle
For the time to come, a little garment. Hassan is present, with a breaking heart. He calls his children from the caresses of their mother, and tells them, in her presence, that her heart is of iron. Her children leave her, looking at her with changed looks—and as they leave her,
On the ground she fell, all pale and trembling,
Till her spirit burst her heavy bosom
At the glances of her orphan children.
HASSAN AGA'S WIFE'S LAMENT.
What's so white upon yon verdant forest ?
Is it snow, or is it swans assembled ?
Were it snow,
it surely had been melted;
Were it swans, long since they had departed.
Lo! it is not swans, it is not snow there :
'Tis the tent of Aga, Hassan Aga;
He is lying there severely wounded,
And his mother seeks him, and bis sister ;
But for very shame his wife is absent.
When the misery of his wounds was soften'd,
Hassan thus his faithful wife commanded:
“ In my house thou shalt abide no longer--
Thou shalt dwell no more among my kindred.”
When his wife had heard this gloomy language,
Stiff she stood, and full of bitter sorrow,
When the horses, stamping, shook the portal,'
Fled the faithful wife of Hassan Aga-
Fain would throw her from the castle window,
Anxious two beloved daughters follow'd,
Crying after her in tearful anguish-
These are not our father Hassan's coursers;
'Tis our uncle Pintorovich coming."
Then approached the wife of Hassan Agam
Threw her arms, in misery, round her brother-
“ See the sorrow, brother, of thy sister :
He would tear me from my helpless children."
He was silent-but from out his pocket,
Safely wrapp'd in silk of deepest scarlet,
Letters of divorce he drew, and bid her
Seek again her mother's ancient dwelling-
Free to win and free to wed another.
When she saw the letter of divorcement,
Kisses on her young boy's forehead, kisses
On her girls' red cheek sho press'd-the nursling-
For there was a nursling in the cradle
Could she tear her, wretched, from her infant ?
But her brother seized her hand, and led her-
Led her swiftly to the agile courser;
And he hastened with the sorrowing woman
To the ancient dwelling of her fathers.
Short the time was—not seven days had glided-
Short indeed the time--and many a noble
Had our lady—though in widow's garments-
Had our lady asked in holy marriage.
And the noblest was Imoski's Cadi;
And our lady, weeping, ayed her brother :
“Iexhort thee, on thy life exhort thee,
Give me not, oh, give me not in marriage !
For the sight of my poor orphan'd children
Sure would break the spirit of thy sister!"
Little car'd her brother for her sorrows;
He had sworu she should espouse the Cadi.
But liis sister pray'd him thus unceasing ;
Send at least one letter, () my brother!
With this language to Imoski's Cadi:
Friendly greetings speeds the youthful woman;
But entreats thee, by these words entreats thee,
When the Suates* sball conduct thee bither,
Thou a long and flowing veil wilt bring me,
That, in passing Hassan's Jonely dwelling,
I may hide me from my bapless orphans.'
Hardly had the Cadi read the letter,
Than he gather'd his Suates together,
Arm'd himself, and hasten'd t'wards the lady,
Home to bring her as his bridal treasure.
Happily lie reach'd the princely dwelling,
Happily were all returning homeward,
When toward Hassan's house they were approaching,
Her two daughters saw her from the window,
Her two sons rush'd on her from the portal ·
And they cried, " Come hither! O come hither!
Take thy night's repast with thine own children!"
Sorrowfully Hassan's consort heard them ;
To the Surisvat she thus address'u her:
Let the Suatey stay, and let the horses
Tarry here at this beloved portal,
While I make a present to the children."
As they stopped at the beloved portal,
Presents gave she unto all the children.
To the boys, boots all with gold embroider'd;
To the girls, long and resplendent dresses ;
And to the poor baby in the cradle,
For the time to come, a little garment.
Near them sat their father, Hassan Aga,
And he call'd in sorrow to his children :
" Come to me, poor children! to your father ;
For your mother's breast is turn'd to iron,
Closed against you, harden'd 'gainst all pity.”
When these words were heard by Hassan's consort,
On the ground she fell all pale and trembling,
Till her spirit burst her heavy bosom
At the glauces of her orphan children. Of these ballads we can only speak of one more : it is, the “ Building of Skadra," a curious specimen of superstition. The mythology of the Servians seems to be nearly a-kin to our notions of fairies,
* Conductors of the marriage festival.