Bohemian legends and other poems/The Gentleman From Lkouše

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THE GENTLEMAN FROM LKOUŠE, 1571.

Šamonice’s bells are gladly ringing—
The farmers mourn, but their lords are laughing.

From out the castle to the church they go,
Lorecký Lkouše has two sons, you know.

Carriage on carriage drive from out the gate.
The gentleman of Lkouše looks elate.

He oft had thought to die without an heir,
Now he drives through the village with a pair.

But see, the way is blocked with village men,
And Peter Dulík stops the steeds just then.

Širák bows, and fain would now have spoken.
Šamonický waits not, calls out “Open!”

Coachman, beat the knave! Whip him from the way!
Let my horses tramp them down this glad day.”

But Peter Dulík will not loose his hold,
But calls out in a voice both loud and bold:

God has given you twins—will you mercy show,
Mercy, for God’s sake, mercy to us show.

Free us from the tenth part—lighten our way,
For we starve and fast, as on Good Friday.

Faint we are with labor—toiling for you—
Oh, bless us this day—twins God gave to you!”

Yes, God gave me twins!” Lorecký now cried,
They will be whips for your lazy hide.

They will help me drive you rascals, low born—
To help me in this task, see, they were born.

Two God gave to me, one was not enough—
To dare to speak of mercy, and such stuff.

Wait till they grow up—Clear the way I say,
And take care that we meet no more to-day.”

Dulík dropped the reins and all turned aside;
Dazed he looked around, wrath he could not hide.

Then he quickly spoke in the common speech,
Never as whips will your son’s manhood reach.

No more we will murmur—this we will do,
Cut your whips before they grow strong and true.

For our children’s backs scorpions we’ll not rear—
Nor see them made to cripples—have no fear!”

Šamonice’s bells are gladly ringing—
The lords mourn, but the farmers are laughing.

The castle is in flames—blood is flowing,
On a cask Peter Dulík is judging.

With pitchforks round about him stood the men,
It was the farmer’s sigh of justice then.

Beneath him in a pool of blood there lay
Šamonice’s lord, with his sons that day.