Hristo Botev Died 139 Years Ago Today

In the Tavern

It’s hard, it’s hard, so give me wine.
Drunk, I can forget the face
the thing you fools cannot define:
where lies glory – and disgrace.

Forget the country of my birth,
my father’s dear homely nest,
and those whose souls were never curbed,
whose fighting soul was their bequest.

Forget my family in their need,
my father’s grave, my mother’s tears,
and those who’d steal a crust of bread
with all the aristocratic airs.

The rich man with his crookedness,
the merchant thirsting for his plunder,
the priest reciting holy mass,
rob from the people who must hunger.

Rob them. All you wanton band.
Rob them. Who will make a fuss?
Soon they’ll be too tight to stand:
every hand holds up a glass.

We drink, we sing with recklessness,
we snarl against the tyrant foe,
the taverns are too small for us –
we shout: “To the mountains we shall.”

We shout, but when we’re sober
we forget our pledges and our phrases
and say no more, and roar with laughter
at the people’s sacrifices.

While all the time the tyrant rages
and ravages our native home,
slaughters, hangs and flogs and curses
then fines the people he has tamed.

So fill the glass and let me drink.
Bring my soul its soothing gift
and kill the sober way I think
and let my manly hand grow soft.

I’ll drink, despite the enemy,
despite all you, great patriots.
There’s nothing near and dear to me,
and you… well. You are idiots.


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