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Khristo Botev

Botev's life and death has striking similarity in the deeds of two other poets and revolutionaries. In Hungary, Shandor Petjofi and in Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, fought also with pencil and sword their nations' oppressors. The motherland of these three poets and revolutionaries was nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, partitioned among three empires: the Russian, the Habsburg, and the Ottoman one. Two strong movements, Nationalism and Romanticism influenced strongly their poetry and belletristic.
Botev's life followed the blueprints for a nineteenth-century National revolutionary in Eastern Europe. Born in 1848 (the year of revolutions throughout Europe), raised with the living traditions of hayduks (guerilla fighters), studied in Russia (influenced by narodniks), taught in his home town, and eventually joined the revolutionaries across Danube to cross the river again in 1876 and find his death and immortality. 
(more about Botev in Manning, Clarence Augustus. The history of modern Bulgarian literature. Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press,1974.)

Christo Botev
 

Moyata Molitva/A Prayer
"Blagosloven bog nash..."

 

 

 

 

O, moy boje, pravii boje!

O, my God, Thou Lord of Justice-

Ne ti, sto si v nebesata,

Not the one in far off heaven-

a ti, sto si v mene, boje-

But thou, God, who dwell'st within me,

men v sqrzeto i dushata...

in my heart and in my doing.

ne ti, kojto si napravil

Not the one who out of mud balls

ot kal mqjut i jenata,

Made a man and then a woman,

a chovekqt si ostavil,

Whom he left, enslaved, to suffer,

rob da bqde na zemyata;

Bound in chains and bent in labor.

ne ti, koyto uchish robqt

Nor the one who asks submission,

da tqrpi i da se moli

Makes us cringe and say our prayers,

i hranish go dor grobqt

Feeds our hearts with empty stories

samo sqs nadejdi goli.

Of gold mantions and white stairs.

A ti boje na razumqt,

But my God of mind and reason,

zashtitniche na robite

Champion bold of slaves and pris'ners

na kogoto ste praznuvat

Whose Great Day of liberation

denyat skoro narodite!

Soon shell dawn for all the nations,

Vdqhni vsekimu, O, boje!

Kindle in me, God Almightly,

lyubov zhiva za svoboda-

Burning love for human freedom,

da se bori koi kak mozhe

Help me fight with dauntless courage

s dushmanite na naroda.

The enslavers of my people

Podkrepi i men rqkata,

Strenghten my right hand, O Father,

ta koga vqstane robqt,

When the slaves arise from slumber;

v redovete na borbata

Make me one of Thy bold warriors;

da si nayda i az grobqt.

Take my life-give other freedom.

Ne ostavjai da istine

buyno surze na chuzhbina,

i glasqt mi da premine

tiho kato prez pustinya.

R.H. Markham, Meet Bulgaria, p. 216

(Stanzas 2,4,6,10 omitted)


Last modified: September 25, 1997

p-miltenoff@nwu.edu