Page:A history of Hungarian literature.djvu/15

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Francis Rákóczy, Prince of Transylvania; its theme was the patriotic but vanquished Kuruc, or national army.

In the nineteenth century, while the poets of England were singing songs of triumph over the downfall of their country's foe, Napoleon, Hungary's sons trembled for their fatherland as they saw the signs of approaching danger, and foresaw a day when they might share the fate of Poland and be obliterated from among the nations. In the poem Szózat (Appeal), which became as popular a national song with the Hungarians as Rule Britannia with the English, the poet Vörösmarty drew the pathetic picture of a great day of burial when the nations of Europe would stand around the grave where the Hungarian nation had been entombed.

About the middle of the nineteenth century John Arany was Hungary's greatest poet His dominant note, like that of Lord Byron, was one of profound melancholy, but how differently were the two poets circumstanced. Byron wrote after Waterloo, while on the heart of Arany was stamped the tragedy of Világos, where the Hungarian army was compelled to lay down its arms, after the whole country had been flooded by the Russian allies, called in by Austria to crush those who dared to struggle for liberty.

It must not be thought, however, that Hungarian literature is exclusively national in its contents and character. Just as the country itself is open to the waters of the Danube, rolling down from the west, so too, from the time of the Middle Ages, its literature received a stream of western ideas. Every epoch in Hungary's intellectual development was closely related to movements in Western Europe. Each new wave of impulse