Obligatory May First Mácha Post

I've posted the first eight lines of Mácha's May several times. The poem is long, so here's a new and almost-as-famous-if-you're-Czech bit. It's often cited by nationalists to prove that Mácha wasn't only a damn fine poet, he was also a damn fine patriot in everything he did. If you were a Surrealist you'd also cite this passage to prove that Mácha was a damn fine Surrealist. Look at the incestuous longings for the motherland here!

I'm skeptical of the nationalists and the Surrealists, but I do think it proves that Mácha was a damn fine poet. Unfortunately, to really appreciate it, you need to read Czech.

You, who in your far-reaching course
Embrace the earth as with a mysterious arm,
Dissolved stars, blue sky’s shades,
Mourners, who, grieving yourselves,
Dissolve entire in silent teardrops,
You out of all I have chosen as messengers.
Wherever you float in your great course,
Where you find your destination’s shore,
There on your journey greet the earth.
Ah, fair earth, beloved earth,
My cradle and my grave, my mother,
My only homeland, for inheritance given,
This wide earth, this single earth! -
And when on your course you see the cliff,
Where on the lake shore - weeping a maid -

Translated by James Naughton


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