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A Poem by Sandor Petofi: The Thought Torments Me




The thought torments me sore, lest I
Upon a pillowed couch should die, –
Should slowly fade like the fair flower
Whose heart the gnawing worms devour;
Or, like the light in some void room,
Should faintly flicker into gloom.
Let no such ending come to me,
Oh God! but rather let me be
A tree, through which the lightning shoots,
Or which the strenuous storm uproots;
Or like the rock from hill out-torn
And thundering to the valley borne!
When every nation wearing chains
Shall rise and seek the battle plains,
With flushing face shall wave in fight
Their banners blazoned in the light:
“For liberty!”
Their cry shall be –
Their cry from east to west,
Till tyrants be depressed.
There shall I gladly yield
My life upon the field.
There shall my heart’s last blood flow out,
And I my latest cry shall shout.
May it be drowned in clash of steel
In trumpets’ and in cannons’ peal;
And o’er my corse
Let tread the horse,
Which gallops home from victory’s gain
And leaves me trodden mid the slain.
My scattered bones shall be interred
When all the dead are sepulchred –
When, amid slow funereal strains,
Banners shall wave o’er the remains
Of heroes who have died for thee,
O world-delivering Liberty!

Sándor Petőfi

Sandor Petofi

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