The Ballads of Marko Kraljević/Marko Kraljević and Philip the Magyar

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Ballads of Marko Kraljević  (1922)  by Unknown, translated by D. H. Low
Marko Kraljević and Philip the Magyar


Thirty captains sat at wine together,
In white Karlovatz town.
Amongst them Philip the Magyar,
And beside him Vuk the Firedrake[1].
And when they had well drunken,
And were flown with wine,
The thirty captains boasted themselves
How many slaves each had taken,
How many heads each had smitten oflr.
And Philip the Magyar spake:10
"Brothers—ye thirty captains,
Ye see white Karlovatz,
How there are thirty and three towers therein?
I have garnished each with a head,
Save only the tower on the bridge,
And that too I shall presently garnish
With the head of Kraljević Marko."
Thus spake Philip the Magyar,
For he thought that none heard him,
None that was a faithful friend to Marko.20
But Vuk the Firedrake heard him,
Pobratim to Kraljević Marko,
Right so he sprang lightly to his feet,

He seized paper and inkhorn,
And wrote a letter withal,
To Prilep the white town,
To Kraljević Marko his pobratim.
And thus saith Vuk to Marko:
"Hear me, my brother-in-God!
Thou hast an ill enemy at Karlovatz,30
To wit, Philip the Magyar.
He hath sworn, brother,
That he will smite off thy head,
And garnish a white tower therewith.
Therefore, brother-in-God, keep thee well
Against false treason on the part of Philip."
And Vuk sent him the letter.
When the letter came to Marko,
And he saw what his brother wrote to him.
He leapt to his light feet,40
And made him ready in his white manor.
He girded on his rich-wrought sabre,
He cast his wolf-skin cloak about him,
He descended down to the stable,
And made ready stout Sharatz.
He covered him with a grey bear-skin,
And bridled him with a bit of steel;
He hanged his heavy mace on him,
With a sword on either side,
And flung himself on the back of Sharatz. 50
On his own back he slung his war-spear,
And straight through Kosovo plain he fared,
From Pazar by rugged Vlaha Stara,
And descended to the country round about Valjevo.
Straight athwart Mačva plain he fared
Until he came to Mitrovica town.
And there Marko ferried the Sava.
Straight athwart the Syrmian plain he fared,
And when he came to Karlovatz town.
He went down through the new market-place 60

Until he came to Philip's dwelling.
He caused enter Sharatz into the marble courtyard
And rode up before the white manor;
But Philip was not within,
For he was gone to the hills on hunting,
And his wife, Andjelija, stood before Marko.
About her were four handmaidens
Upholding her sleeves and the hem of her garment.
And when Marko came thither,
He cried greeting to her: 70
"God aid thee, dear sister!
Is pobratim Philip within?"
But Philip's wife made answer:
"Get thee hence, starveling dervish[2],
Philip is no brother to such as thee!"
When Kraljević Marko heard that,
He smote her in the face with the palm of his hand.
Now a golden ring was on his hand,
And it did scathe upon her visage,
And put out three sound teeth from their place.89
Then he took from her three rows of ducats[3],
And cast them into his silken pocket,
And said to the wife of Philip:
"Give greeting to Philip the Magyar
When he cometh down from the hills.
Let him come to the new tavern,
That we may drink red wine and be merry,
Not with my gold nor yet with his
But with thy golden necklace."
He turned about the fiery Sharatz90
And went straightway to the new tavern.
He lighted down from Sharatz and tied him before the tavern,
Then he sate him down to drink red wine.
No long time, nay, but a short time thereafter,
Came Philip to his white manor.

Andjelija his wife met him,
Adown her fair face tears rolled,
And in her hands she held a blood-stained kerchief.
Philip the Magyar asked her:
"What aileth thee, my faithful wife, 100
That thou sheddest down tears from thine eyes,
And holdest a bloody kerchief in thy hands?"
His wife went to him and said:
"Lord and master, Philip,
When thou wentest to the hills on hunting,
And I remained behind by the white manor,
The Devil brought a certain dervish,
He wore a cloak of wolf-skin,
His sabre was girded on above his cloak,
A war-spear he bore behind him on his shoulders, 110
And he rode a piebald horse.
The horse he urged before the white manor,
And thus he gave me greeting:
'God aid thee—my dear sister!
Is pobratim Philip within?'
But I would none of his greeting.
And thus did I answer him:
'Get thee hence—thou starveling dervish!
Philip is no brother to such as thee!'
Forthwith he urged his piebald steed 120
And smote me on the face with the palm of his hand.
On his hand was a golden ring,
Sore scathe it did upon my fair visage,
And put out three sound teeth from their place.
He took from me the three rows of ducats,
And gat him forth to the new tavern.
And this greeting did he leave thee,
That thou shouldst get thee to the new tavern,
For to drink deep of the red wine,
Not with thy gold nor yet with his,130
But with my golden necklace."
When Philip the Magyar heard it,

To his wife Andjelija he said:
"Peace, weep not, faithful wife!
Philip will straightway seize him,
And will bring him to the white manor,
To rock thy son in his cradle."
He turned his grey Arab mare about,
And forthwith went down through the market-place
Until he came before the new tavern.140
But Sharatz was tethered by the door.
Philip urged his grey Arab mare,
For he would have her enter into the new tavern,
But the war-horse Sharatz suffered it not,
But with his hoofs smote her in the ribs.
Philip the Magyar waxed wroth,
He seized his studded mace
And made to smite Sharatz before the tavern;
But Sharatz lift up his voice in lamentation before the tavern:
"By the merciful God—woe is me! 150
That I should perish this morn before the tavern,
At the hands of mighty Philip the Magyar,
With my illustrious master nigh at hand!"
But from within Marko spake to him:
"Suffer him to pass, Sharatz!"
When Sharatz heard Marko,
He suffered him to pass into the new tavern.
And when Philip entered into the tavern,
He gave no "God aid thee,"
But grasped his heavy mace 160
And smote Kraljević Marko,
Smote him on his hero's shoulders.
Little enough recked Marko,
And to Philip the Magyar he said:
"Sit thee down in peace, thou Magyar bastard!
Wake not the fleas on my skin,
But light down from thy horse that we may drink wine.
There will still be time for fighting."
But Philip hearkened not unto Marko,

But he smote him on the right hand, 170
And brake his golden goblet,
And spilled out the red wine.
When Kraljević Marko saw it,
He leapt to his feat from the ground,
And made assault on the Magyar.
He seized his sabre,
And smote him with it,
He smote him on the right shoulder
And clave him in twain even on the saddle.
Through him went Marko's sword,180
Even unto the door of marble stone,
And in twain it hewed him.
And when he had looked at the keen blade,
Quoth Marko:
"Dear God, a mighty marvel!
Good steel for an evil knight."
And he strake with it again and cut off his head.
Into Sharatz's corn-bag he flung the head,
And straightway went to Philip's dwelling.
Into the white treasure-chamber he went,190
And took therefrom the treasure.
Then Marko went on his way singing.
But Philip lay in the throes of death[4].
And his young wife kept wailing.

  1. Змај-Деспот Вук: lit. "Dragon-despot Vuk." He is a well-known hero in the folk-ballads, where he is often referred to as змај огнени or "the firedrake." Cf. Krauss, Sl. Volkforschungen, p. 332: "tiernament kommen bei den Süslaven ungemein häufig als Familien- und noch mehr als Personennamen vor. Am gewöhnlichsten sind vuk (Wolf), zmaj (Schlange, Drache), selten kun (Marder). Als Toteme sind diese Tiere international. Der südslavische Bauer benennt sein Kind mit einem solchen Namen, um ein frühzeitiges Sterben des Kindes zu verhüten. . . .Es kommt indessen auch eine Kombinierung zweier Totemnamen vor, so vuk-zmaj, oder vuk-zmaj ognjeni = Wolf-Feuerdrache." See Appendeix, p. 180.
  2. гола дервишино. Dervish is a word of contempt.
  3. A necklace composed of three rows of gold coins.
  4. Оста Вилип ногом копајући: lit. "Philip remains digging the ground with his feet." This is a vivid picture of a man in his death-agony.