Hadji Dimiter

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He lives, still he lives! In the mountain fast,
soaked in blood, he lies and groans,
a rebel, wounded in the chest,
a rebel, young and with a manly strength.

To one side he has thrown a gun,
to the other a sword in broken pieces,
his head rolls, his eyes are dulled,
his mouth describes the universe with curses.

The rebel lies, and in the sky
there burns a motionless and angry sun;
a harvester sings in field nearby,
and faster still his lifeblood runs.

It's harvest now. Slave girls - chant
your songs of grief. And you, sun, shine
upon this land of slaves. My heart
be hushed. One rebel more will die

He who falls while fighting to be free
can never die: for him the sky
and earth, the trees and beasts shall keen,
to him the minstrel's song shall rise…

By day he's shaded by an eagle,
a wolf licks gently at his wounds,
above, a falcon - bird of rebels -
tends to this rebel as a brother would.

The moon comes out and day grows dim,
on heaven's vault the stars now throng,
the forest rustles, quiet stirs the wind,
the mountains sing an outlaw song.

Wood-sprites, in their white-hued dress,
fair and beautiful, take up the tune,
hushed their footfall in the grass,
as all about him then sit down.

One sprinkles coolness over him,
another binds his wound with herbs,
a third's quick kisses touch his lips
and softly smiles as he looks up at her.

Where is Karadja? - sister, say.
Where is my faithful company?
Tell me, then bear my soul away -
sister, this is where I want to die.

Enraptured then they all embrace
and heavenwards fly, still singing on
they fly and sing till morning overtakes
their quest to find Karadja's soul…

On the mountainside - as day has dawned -
the rebel lies, his lifeblood runs,
the wolf licks at his bitter wound
and the sun, again, now burns - and burns.

© Hristo Botev