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A Poem by Hristo Botev: St. George’s Day

Hristo-Botev-circa-1875

St. George’s Day

 

‘Rejoice, o people! Old and young
Praise God today, and praise the king!
‘Tis Saint George’s Day,’ the sheep gave tongue
As they trotted along behind their king,
The shepherd (as foolish a king and carefree
As all earthly kings are wont to be),
When, crook in hand, he led them away,
By wise dogs assisted, his ministers true
Without portfolios and without pay;
Any real king would exclaim at that view,
‘What luck for the sheep such a life to lead,
Better than that of my people indeed.’
And on went the flock with its lambkins small,
So tired and wayworn they trudge and they plod,
The young next day to be put to the knife, –
For whom? – for Saint George – that brigand God…
That poor rotten corpse, so long without life,
Is it victims he wants? It’s the shepherd’s demand,
Of gaping gullets and the drunken priest;
So on you, the people, the king of the land
Makes demands his vile harem to feat
And all those by whom you’re racked and stripped;
Their welfare with sweat and with blood you secure
And dance to them even when you’re whipped!
Look, over there, both rich and poor,
All drunk with wine they merrily sing
And with the priests praise the Lord and the king…
Rejoice, o people! The sheep bleat so
When they with the dogs in their shepherd’s steps go.

 

Hristo Botev

Христо Ботев

The monument of Hristo Botev in Kalofer

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