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Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński - SONG V - ON FRIDRUSZ, SLAIN BY TARTARS AT THE BATTLE OF SOKAL IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1519
ON FRIDRUSZ, SLAIN BY TARTARS AT THE BATTLE OF SOKAL
IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1519
Who from God hath a mind that's firm
And in virtues deep, to saints lives eaual;
Not just fate's cruel wrath he'd endure,
But its good graces he's auick to spurn.
Examples, a thousand! But my words'
Full witness be brave Fridrusz alone,
Who less a scar's shame made us feel,
A mishap we own through obduracy.
When to Sokal but a handful of sad army
He'd drawn from the Infidel's hand most
Cruel, once free, his unfearing heart
He bared, these memorous words proclaiming:
"A Bug water's hue, I marked, our own blood,
Hath altered, with no harm unto the Infidel;
Below noble corpses the fields lay covered,
But I, alas, who to these earthworks drove me?
To my heart vile cowardice comes not;
But alive, I'm of use, to die 'vails not,
Tho the place beckons, and my just soul
With blood, flesh and steel would buy fame.
Still the exchange lingers! Up the gate,
Up with it, a wall's defence doth shame me;
Let the treasonous Infidel now handsomely pay
For seeing my heels as alive and armed I be."
Having so declared, like a deadly cannon's
Stone spewn on a blast of fiery flame,
As in a frail breeze, onward through flesh
He climbs headlong, bringing ruin unto all!.
Bold Fridrusz, fired by his noble wrath,
With knightly cries now sprang from the castle
And passed clear through a detachment untold,
Soaked to the quick by his and Tartars' gore;
There, as midst hunters a Tigress minds
Its young, tho above a thousand arrows soar,
To the thick he plunges, plotting not rescue
But revenge, wounding yet as he expires.
Thus he was, as his own he saw slain,
Others yet in bonds, til his fine spirit
And blood withdrew, and he fell. A godless host
With its captives cried, tho in cries contrary...
O gallant Knight! Not only doth thy spirit
Abide now in bliss midst Heroes extoled,
But here, for such time as silent Bug brings
To Vistula her waters, til then thy name
On the lips of the Knightly caste shall linger;
And well sayeth the man of courage fair:
"If, Lord eternal, for the Homeland's good it be,
Such quick demise wouldst Thou set for me!"
Translated by Richard Sokoloski