The Struggle

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In sorrow youth passes, in sorrows and pains,
Angrily boils the blood in the veins;
Lowering brows - the mind cannot see,
Is it good or evil that is to be.
Memories weigh on the soul like lead,
Its rancorous broodings will not stop.
In the breast no love - of faith not a drop,
Nor a hope that from the sleep of the dead
A decent man can yet be waken -
With us to be decent is madness' token;
The fool is honoured everywhere,
"He's rich" they say, and do not care
How many men he has burnt alive,
How many orphans he's robbed to thrive,
How often he's tricked his God at the altar
With prayers and oaths and lies that ne'er falter.
And priest and church both faithfully serve
This public hangman, and never swerve;
To him the rabid teacher bows,
And with the journalist sagely avows
That fear of the Lord is only one root
Of every wisdom - 'twas first said by a brute,
By a pack of wolves in skins of sheep,
To lay the foundation stone firm and deep.
Or holy lies, and the human mind
Forever in heavy chains to bind.
Solomon once, that tyrant of vice,
Long since packed off to Paradise
Along with his proverbs, where the saints caw,
A fool among fools, spoke this saw,
Which after him the peoples sing:
"Fear the Lord and honour of king."
Sanctified nonsense! Age in, age out
Reason and conscience have tried to fight it,
Rebels have died in pain and doubt.
But tell me, how could they hope to fight it?
The world is used to dragging its burden,
To evil and tyranny as its sole guerdon.
It kisses the iron hand of the thief,
From lying lips takes its belief;
Be quiet and pray when you are beaten,
Let you flesh by beasts be eaten,
Let the snakes suck up your blood,
Trust, and firmly trust, in God.
"God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"
Go on, repeat it, then this truth waits;
"God never punishes whom he hates."
That's how the world runs, lies and slavery
On this cursed earth are they only bravery,
And as a pledge from father to son,
Day and night, are handed on.
But in this realm of blood and sin,
This realm of knavery, vice and disgrace,
This realm where sorrow and evil win,
The struggle's afoot, and with quick pace
Approaches its appointed end…
Our cry is "Bread or a bullet send!"

© Hristo Botev