Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Our Country
By Sándor Petőfi (1823–1849)
Translation of Sir John Bowring

THE SUN went down, but not a starlet
  Appeared in heaven,—all dark above;
No light around, except the taper
  Dim glimmering, and my homely love.
That homely love’s a star in heaven        5
  That shines around both near and far,
A home of sadness—sad Hungaria!
  Where wilt thou find that lovely star?
And now my taper flickers faintly,
  And midnight comes; but in the gleam,        10
Faint as it is, I see a shadow
  Which half reveals a future dream.
It brightens as the daybreak brightens
  Each flame brings forth a mightier flame;
There stand two figures in the nimbus,—        15
  Old Magyar honor, Magyar fame.
O Magyars! look not on your fathers,
  But bid them hide their brows in night;
Your eyes are weak, those suns are dazzling,
  Ye cannot bear that blasting light.        20
Time was those ancient, honored fathers
  Could speak the threatening, thundering word;
’Twas like the bursting of the storm-wind,
  And Europe, all responsive, heard!
Great was the Magyar then: his country        25
  Honored, his name a history
Of glory,—now a star extinguished,
  A fallen star in Magyar sea.
’Twas long ago the laurel garland
  Was round the Magyar forehead bound;        30
Shall fancy, eagle-pinioned, ever
  See Magyar hero-brow recrowned?
That laurel crown so long has faded,
  So long thy light has ceased to gleam,
Thy greatness seems a myth, thy story        35
  A fable of the past—a dream!
Long have mine eyes been dry and tearless,
  But now I weep; and can it be
That these are dews of spring—the dawning
  Of brighter days for Hungary?        40
And can it—can it be a meteor,
  That for a moment burst and blazed,
Lighted with brightness all the heavens,
  And sunk in darkness while we gazed?
No! ’tis a comet, whose returning        45
  Is sure as is the march of doom;
Hungary shall hail it, blazing, burning,—
  It cannot, will not fail to come.

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