Adam Mickiewicz

The Three Brothers Budrys

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Doughty Budrys the old, Lithuanian bold,
He has summoned his lusty sons three.
"Your chargers stand idle, now saddle and bridle
And out with your broadswords," quoth he.

"For with trumpets' loud braying in Wilno they're saying
That our crmies set forth to three goals;
Gallant Olgierd takes Russia and Kiejstut takes Prussia
And Scirgiell - our neighbours the Poles,

"Stout of heart and of hand, go, fight for your land
With the gods of your fathers to guide you;
Though I mount not this year, yet my rede ye shall hear:
Ye are three and three roads ye shall ride you.

"By Lake Ilmen's broad shores where fair Novgorod lowers
One shall follow 'neath Olgierd's device:
There are sables' black tails there are silvery veils,
There are coins shining brightly like ice,

"With Kiejstut's hordes ample the next son shall trample
That dog's breed, the Knights of the Cross;
There he amber thick-strown, vestments diamond-sown,
And brocades al a marvellous gloss,

"In the barren, stripped land beyond Niemen's wide strand
Where goes Skirgiell, the third son shall ride;
Only buckler and sword will he get as reward,
But from there he shall bring him his bride.

"For 'tis Poland the world over that's the land lor a lover:
All the maids are like kittens at play;
Faces whiter than milk, lashes soft as black silk,
And their eyes - like the star-shine are they!

Fifty years are now sped and my bride is long dead,
The bright Pole I brought home from a raid:
And yet still when I stand and gaze out toward that land,
I remenber the face of that maid."

So he ends and they turn, he has blessed them their journey:
They've armed them, they've mounted and fled:
Fall and winter both pass, never word comes, alas,
And old Budrys had thought his sons dead.

Through the high-piling drift comes a youth riding swift,
'Neath his mantle rich booty doth hide:
"Ah, a Novgorod kettle full of silver-bright metal!"
- "Nay, my father, a Polish bride!"

Through the high-piling drift comes a youth riding swill,
'Neath his mantle rich booty doth hide:
"Ah, amber, my son, in the German land won'"
- "Nay, my father, a Polish bride!"

Through the high-piling drift rides the third. Ah, his gift,
'Tis the pride of the west and the east!
But while yet it is hidden, old Budrys has bidden
His guests to the third wedding feast.

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Adam Mickiewicz