Nagyszalonta-Hungría, 1817 - Budapest, 1882


Antiguamente en las batallas

no había normas ni principios,
pues simplemente el poderoso
robaba todo al indefenso.
Ya no es así, las conferencias
de las naciones determinan
de qué manera el más fornido
podrá imponer sus nuevas trampas.


I have no shame, no regret 
That born Hungarian, I write 
As one, that I can never let
My words beyond this soil take flight. 
No ‘Wonder of two worlds,’ my song 
If charm it has, is due to them,
My people; I am theirs, belong
To one land wholly, root and stem. 

Let tongues of the mighty propagate 
Their own language, sovereignty 
Their god, a roaring flood in spate 
That washes all, destructively.
But let the poet of a small nation 
Placed in destruction’s very path, 
Find at home his true station, 
Death, else, the aftermath.

Or is our glory here so small
It needs must sink into the grave 
Along with the nation? Do you call 
Us inferior, that neighbours gave 
No heed to us? Is there no test 
Worthy of our strength at home, 
Subject for song, no native quest? 
Must we crave Albion’s loan?

Be a „world poet;” if you can, 
Stir up the whole lazy west.
The cradle that rocked me Hungarian 
Is one that I must still call blessed. 
A thousand threads bind me - I deal 
With motherland, with this one spot. 
I sing of no abstract ideal,
Voice such, I’d rather not.

And what becomes of this sad mistake? 
His race, his nationality
Have left a mark he cannot shake: 
Will the great poet despise them, he? 
I have scanned the pages of the best, 
Contemporaries of mine as well; 
All were mirrors, each confessed 
People and land he alone could tell. 

Pray do not think that a people stricken 
Are extinguished, blotted out suddenly, 
While poet and homeland in harmony quicken 
With a national, endless melody.
And were you to picture some future danger, 
Or should its semblance in fact appear, 
Would you desert like any stranger
The holy flag, its peril near? 

Oh, with a worthier lute to sing 
As Homer did, a land reborn, 
No longer a poet sorrowing
For a land of griefs now left forlorn. 
But should its fate indeed be death, 
Then let me be an Ossian dwelling
In a place that fades, no mongrel breath 
Intoning, but a live song swelling. 


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