You're Here : Home English Of Hungarian History Sándor Petőfi: National Song (March 15, 1848)

Sándor Petőfi: National Song (March 15, 1848)

This famous poem, delivered to a revolutionary gathering from the steps of the national Museum of Hungary by the poet on March 15, 1848 has been translated
by variously notable translators without capturing the fervent spirit and inimicable beat of this great poem. It has taken 150 years and another revolutionary poet embued with the right spirit to do it justice. My opinion.




Up on your feet! The country calls!
Now or never – the time has come!
To be free men or prisoners?
‘Tis the question – give your answers!
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

Up to now we lived in fetters,
Blaspheming our great ancestors:
Those who lived and died as free men –
Cannot rest in an enslaved land.
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

Vagrant blackguard the sordid knave
Who dares not die when we must dare,
To whom means more his worthless end
Than the honor of his homeland.
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

Unlike chains, swords shine more brightly,
It is swords that make arms mighty --
Yet we carried chains all over?
Out with you, our ancient saber!
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

Our name will be noble once more,
Worthy of our past, our great lore.
Centuries besmirched our good name –
Time to cleanse us of their deep shame!
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

Over revered burial hills
Grandchildren will fall on their knees
And, citing our names in prayer,
They will bless us all forever.
To the God of the Magyars we
Truly swear,
Truly swear, that we shall not live enslaved. No,
Not ever!

(Translated by Frank Veszely, Kamloops, April 24, 2006)

Add comment


Security code
Refresh