ŠIJU ZA ŠIJU A NECK FOR A NECK
Jan Radyserb-Wjela trans. Robert Elsie (from Sorbian)
Je pachoł třĕlił jelenja -
su w lĕsu jeli pachoła.

Su ćisnyli joh do kłódy,
je pan joh sudźil k šibjeńcy.

Ta rjana Hilža sylzojta
je na kolenach prosyła:

"Ach, smil so, smil so, paniko,
mi pušć toh rjanoh lubeho!"

"Chceš słódku nócku při mni spać,
chcu lubeho ći z klódy dać.

A jeli so pak wobaraš,
joh zajtra na šibjeńcy maš."

Tón šĕry škraholc pojimnu
tu wbohu bĕlu hołbičku.

Hdyž Hilža ranko z hrodu dže,
jej luby na šibjeńcy je.

"Ow, pano, duša pohanska,
ma dźeć so tebi wot čerta!"

Jej błyski z wočow sapaju -
ju wjedže puć na dračinu.

"Hej, dračowski ty wotročko,
chcu tebje mĕ ć za lubeho.

Ty zarunaj tom zemjanej,
kaž zwinował je na mni sej!"

A njedžlu rano hladaju -
tón pan tam wisa na šmrĕku.
A fellow shot a stag in the forest
but the marksman was soon caught.

They threw him in the stocks,
the earl sentenced him to hang.

Beautiful Hilza sobbed and moaned
and fell upon her knees:

'Oh, have mercy, have mercy, my lord, I beg you,
and free my handsome lover!'

'If you will be mine for but one night,
I will let your lover go free.

But if you refuse, I promise you
He'll hang on the gallows tomorrow.'

Thus the poor white dove was snared
in the talons of the old grey hawk.

But as Hilza left the castle next morning
her lover was already hanged.

She cursed the earl: 'Oh heathen dog,
may the devil take your soul.'

Lightning and fury flashed in her eyes
as she strode towards the gallows.

'Oh, hangman, dear hangman,' she said to him,
'It is you I want as my lover.

The only recompense I ask of you
is that you break his neck for me.'

At the first rays of dawn on Sunday morn,
The earl was found swinging from the spruce tree.

Trans. Copyright © Robert Elsie 1990 - publ. Forest Books


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