NJESWĔRNY LUBY THE FAITHLESS LOVER
Handrij Zejler trans. Robert Elsie (from Sorbian)
Na zahrodźe pčźołki bórčźa,
doma moja maćerka:
Malo sym ji lenu plĕła,
mólčźke brĕmjo přinjesla.

"Njeswar, njeswar, luba maći,
hdyž je dešćika so šło.
Postejała sym pod lipu,
spĕwaše tam ptačźatko."

"Njełži, njełži, dźowka moja,
znaju twoje ptačźatko
po křidleškach, po pjeričźku -
znaju lesne spĕwančźko.

Z hołbjom kurčźa, z lišku mĕnja,
złote hory nalubja.
Do jich wohnja woda bĕži,
hrajki su jich lubosća."

šwórčźi woda po přĕrowčźku,
njese z chwatom pjeričźko:
Moja mać je prawie mĕła,
pjeričźko bĕ pacholo.

Z wĕtrom, z wodu je mi wušoł,
hdyž sym chuda słužobna.
Mĕła kubło, wjcle pjenjez,
by zas přišol nazajtra.

Přelĕzl by najwyše hory,
čorne rki přepłuwał,
z łastojčkami by so wróćił
a mi jasny pjeršćen dał.
In the garden the bees were humming,
my mother was at home.
I have weeded too little flax
and have brought home but one bundle.

'Do not scold me, mother dear,
for it began to rain.
I took refuge under a linden tree;
a little bird was singing there.'

'Tell me no lies, daughter of mine,
those little birds I know too well
by their wings, by their feathers,
and by their enticing song.

With the coo of a dove and the thoughts of a fox
they promise piles of gold,
but their ardour soon is watered down,
love's but a game to them.'

A gurgling stream flowed by the path
carrying a feather as it sped.
Indeed my mother spoke the truth:
these lads are feather-light.

He disappeared with the wind and the water,
how wretched to be but a maid.
Had I land and money galore,
he'd be back the very next day.

He would have climbed the highest peaks,
crossed the murkiest torrents,
he would have returned with the swallows
and brought me a sparkling ring.

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


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