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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Appeal to Poland
By Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859)
 
From ‘Temptation’: Translation of Martha Walker Cook

O MOTHER, many times murdered! When thou shalt waken from sleep, and again … feel thy youth returning upon thee, thou wilt remember thy long night of death, the terrible phantoms of thy protracted agonies. Weep not then, O mother! weep not for those who fell in glorious battle, nor for those who perished on alien soil: although their flesh was torn by the vulture and devoured by the wolf, they were still happy! Neither weep for those who died in the dark and silent dungeon underground by the hand of the executioner: though the dismal prison lamp was their only star, and the harsh words of the oppressor the last farewell they heard on earth, they too were happy!  1
  But drop a tear, O Mother! one tear of tender pity for those who were deceived by thy murderers, misled by their tissues of glittering falsehood, blinded by misty veils woven of specious deceptions, when the command of the tyrant had no power to tear their true hearts from thee! Alas, Mother, these victims have suffered the most of all thy martyred children! Deceitful hopes, born but to die, like blades of naked steel forever pierced their breasts! Thousands of fierce combats, unknown to fame, were waging in their souls; combats fuller of bitter suffering than the bloody battles thundering on in the broad light of the sun, clashing with the gleam of steel, and booming with the roar of artillery. No glory shone on the dim paths of thy deceived sons; thy reproachful phantom walked ever beside them, as part of their own shadow! The glittering eye of the enemy lured them to the steep slopes of ice, down into the abyss of eternal snow; and at every step into the frozen depths, their tears fell fast for thee! They waited until their hearts withered in the misery of hope long deferred; until their hands sank in utter weariness; until they could no longer move their emaciated limbs in the fetters of their invisible chain; still conscious of life, they moved as living corpses with frozen hearts—alone amidst a hating people—alone even in the sanctuary of their own homes—alone forever on the face of the earth!  2
  My Mother! When thou shalt live again in thy olden glory, shed a tear over their wretched fate, over the agony of agonies; and whisper upon their dark and silent graves the sublime word, PARDON.  3
 
 
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