Serbia in Light and Darkness - With Preface by the Archbishop of Canterbury, (1916)
by Nikolaj Velimirovic
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This slavish spirit, which is a disgrace to a nation in the most tragic and decisive events of the world's history, makes the Bulgarian people in peace very happy and fit for peaceful organised work, when obedience and subordination are required. This slavish spirit is the greatest virtue and the greatest sin of the Bulgarian nation.

Yet, I am speaking of our own sins, and I confess that our greatest sin has been the too greatly developed love of personal independence. It is the truest spirit of the Serbs. From this spirit originated all our fortunes and all our misfortunes. From the point of view of this spirit consider, please, all our sins in modern times: the killing of our kings, the internal disturbances, and all the irregularity in the political and social life of our country, and you will understand us better; and if you understand us better, I am sure you will forgive us more easily.


Serbia has sinned, Serbia has prayed. If you put on one side of the scales Serbia's sins and on the other Serbia's sufferings and prayers, I am sure the latter will send the balance down.

Again I must come back to the Serbian village. Prayer is there considered not only as an epilogue to a sin but as a daily necessity. The first duty after one's ablution in the morning is prayer. That is a sanctified custom. Many songs on our national hero, Marko, begin as follows:

"Marko got up early in the morning, Washed his face and prayed to God."

And all the songs begin, I repeat it, with the verse:

"Dear God, we are thankful to Thee for all."

But not only the songs begin with prayer, every work and every pleasure begins with prayer as well, every day and every night, every feast, every rest and every journey. This custom has been partly broken and abandoned only in the towns under the influence of the central European materialistic civilisation. In the villages unbelief is unknown. In our green fields, under our dark-blue heaven, in our little white houses and wooden cottages, on the banks of our murmuring brooks and magnificent rivers, atheism is unknown. Every family in a house is regarded as a little religious community. The head of the family presides over this community and prays with it. When I tell you that, I tell you my personal experience. I was born in a village, in a family of forty-five members. We prayed together every Saturday, after the weekly work was over. In the evening my grandfather, the head of the family, called us to prayer. We had no chapel in the house. In bad weather we prayed in the house, in fine weather out of doors, in the yard. The starry heaven served as our temple, the moon as our guardian, the silent breath of the surrounding nature as our inspiration. My grandfather took a chalice with fire and incense, and sprinkled every one of us. Then he came forward, stood before us and bowed deeply, and his example was followed by us all. Then began a silent prayer, interrupted only here and there by a sighing or by some whispering voice. We crossed ourselves and prayed, looking to the earth and looking to the stars. The prayer ended again with deep bowing and with a loud Amen.

When I recall this prayer in my memory, I feel more piety, more humility and more comfort than I ever felt in any of the big cathedrals in either hemisphere where I have had the opportunity of praying. This prayer of the Serbian peasants, beautiful in its simplicity and touching in its sincerity, survived generation after generation, and has been victorious over all crimes that the strangers of the Asiatic or of the European faith have committed on us. Our tenacious and incessant prayer is an evident sign of our tenacious and unbroken hope. We pray because we hope; we hope still more after we have prayed.

Everything can be disturbed in Serbia except prayer. The invasion of the Kaiser's troops in Serbia disturbed and perturbed everything in Serbia, but the prayer of the Serbian people still continues. Enslaved in Serbia, dispersed as the refugees are all over the world, we pray to the God of Justice, now as always. Our prayer means our hope. The Kaiser's subjects and the Bulgarian slaves can kill everything in Serbia—and the purpose of their coming into Serbia is killing—but they never can kill our hope. Martyred Serbia, your loyal ally, oh noble sons and daughters of Great Britain, is now silent and powerless. Enemies and friends can now laugh her to scorn. She will remain silent. I am sure you will respect this silence of the Crucified. I am sure everyone of you will do his best to redeem Serbia. Well, Serbia can now give, after all, her cause to God and can wait the end hopefully. She can now say to the Kaiser, her conqueror and lord, the words of one of your great poets:

"I have lost, you have won this hazard yet perchance My loss may shine yet goodlier than your gain When time and God give judgement."

A C Swinburne (Faliero).


Delivered before the English Soldiers.

I propose to-night, gentlemen, to describe to you Serbia, my native country, my dream of the past, my dream of the future, and one of your Allies, loyal and faithful in life and death. I will try, of course, to give you only some glances at and slight insight into what Serbia has represented with her soul, her efforts, ideals and hopes. The time is short, yea, our time to-day is more empty than the events which surprise us every day, every night, and overwhelm us like an avalanche of snow and ice from the Alps. How poor and insufficient is our human language to-day, even the language of the most eloquent mortals from this island like Burke, Macaulay and Carlyle, to describe the events which our eyes are seeing and our ears listening to at the present moment! Do not expect from me an equivalent description of Serbia, which has been one of the greatest factors in this world-war during many months, and which has disturbed your hearts for so long and attracted thousands of your sons and friends over the seas, to take the sword from Serbia's mangled hands and continue the struggle for the same cause for which she fought until death. All that I can tell you consists in some poor instances and remembrances which will be sufficient to show you that Serbia has been worthy to live and to be your ally, and consequently that she is worthy of your great sympathy with her and of your helping her resurrection.

Serbia has been at war since 1912.


King Peter of Serbia consecrated his church of white marble, built in Topola, the birthplace of his grandfather, Karageorge, the protagonist of Balkan liberation. On the same hill, on which Karageorge took the resolution to begin one of the greatest things that ever happened on the troublesome Balkan soil, on the hill of Oplenaz, Karageorge's grandson, King Peter, erected a beautiful church and then declared war on Turkey. It was one of many wars that we had with Turkey, one of many—known and unknown to you—during five hundred years. We have had our old accounts with the Turks. We despised them as the slaves will despise their lords, and they despised us as the lords will despise their slaves. Yet we respected their virtues, and they recognised some of ours. With the sword they conquered our country, and we knew that only with the sword we could reconquer it from them. Our Christian drama with the Turks in the Balkans began with blood, and we all believed it must finish with blood. In our bloody conflict with the Turks we, the Christians, lost three kings—one of them was King Constantine of Byzantium, and two were the Serbian kings, Vukashin and Lazare—during a period of seventeen years. As well as Serbia and Greece, Roumania also offered great resistance to the Turks. It is a historic fact, that after the decisive Balkan battle on the field of Kossovo, the Roumanians also fought against the Turks. In the battle of Rovina between the Turks and Roumanians, our epic Serbian hero, Marko Kralevich, the last king of Macedonia, called Marko of Prilep, also participated, and was killed there. He was the third Serbian king killed in the defence of Christian freedom in the Balkans. That was the time when the Albanians, too, showed their virtues more than ever before. Under Skenderbeg, the prince from Croya, they resisted the Mussulmans very bravely. But they fell into slavery in the same way as Serbia, Greece, Roumania and Croatia. The only country in the Balkans which surrendered without any resistance was Bulgaria. The only country in the Balkans that never was conquered by the Turks was Montenegro. Poor Montenegro, a skeleton of rocky mountains, has shown during five hundred years more heroic beauty and idealistic enthusiasm than many great empires in Asiatic and European history, which fought their selfish battles for power and comfort, and have been respected and adored merely because of their numbers and dimensions.

Now, in the year of our Lord, 1912, two Serbian kingdoms, Serbia and Montenegro, with two other Christian kingdoms, Greece and Bulgaria, declared war on the Turks. The Roumanians were with their sympathies on the side of the Christian allies. The Albanians, degenerate and disorganised, very different from Skenderbeg's contemporaries, standing now under the influence of Austria, were pro-Turks and against the Christian warriors.

Shall I remind you of the results? I suppose the surprising fact is fresh in your memories even now that only two months after the Balkan war had been declared the delegates of the belligerents for peace stayed in Hyde Park Hotel in London. Turkey lost and the Christians won.

The Serbian troops crossed the frontier and fighting proceeded in three different directions, towards Skoplje and Prilep, towards Adrianople and towards Scutari. A foreigner never can realise what a Serbian soldier thought and felt at that time. Skoplje had been the centre of our mediaeval kingdom; in Prilep lived and ruled king Marko, our national hero; under the walls of. Adrianople King Vukashin, Marko's father, was killed resisting the Turkish invasion; Scutari was the last free dominion of the Serbian kings Balshic before universal darkness covered the whole of the Balkans, except Montenegro. In every direction the Serbian soldiers faced their own history. Their past glory has been revived; their heroes of old excited their imagination; many saw them in visions or in dreams, all imitated them in heroic deeds and in sufferings.

Here succumbed the Saint King Lazare! exclaimed our soldier in the field of Kossovo. Here fell the Duke Milosh after he killed the Turkish Sultan Murad! Here lived Marko of Prilep! From this fortress he protected the remnants of the Serbian people and their past glory after the fatal battle of Kossovo! Here on the stones the hoofs of Shiraz, Marko's cherished horse, are to be seen. There are churches built by King Urosh, or Stephen, or Milutin, or Dushan, or Lazare! Here on the Mariza River fell Vukashin with sixty thousand of the most splendid Serbian warriors defending the freedom of the Balkans. There on Scutari stand lofty walls constructed by the same King Vukashin. This is the way by which the Byzantine princesses had come to be the wives of our kings or dukes. There is the town where King Dushan, in allegiance with Kantakusen and the Greeks, fought against the first Turkish invaders. On this lake of Ochrida was a beautiful church with a Serbian archbishopric. That is the mountain where the villas (fairies) lived and from which they flew down to help our heroes or to preserve the Serbian down-trodden rights. In this town King Nemanja met the Crusaders from the West proceeding to the East and gave them hospitality. In that town our greatest king proclaimed the famous codex of laws, Zakonik, which is comparable with the best codexes of that kind. Here are the tombs of our patriarchs, who led and protected the nation during centuries of oppression and slavery. There are the towers built from the skeletons of the Serbian leaders, who were slaughtered for their ideals of freedom; and there again is the spot where were hanged several voivodas and bishops. Bones upon bones, blood upon blood, sin upon sin, heroism upon heroism! Kossovo, Scutari, Kumanovo, Skoplje, Prilep, Bitolj, Adrianople—all these names were well known by every Serbian soldier. In their childhood and boyhood they sang these very names, they sang them and knew the historical events and heroes connected with them. And so they came now not as guests and strangers, but they returned home after a long absence. It seems to every one of them like a dream: the land which has been for generations and generations the topic of poetry now stood before the Serbian warriors as a reality. The Serbian brothers from Austria-Hungary came to Macedonia, kissed the sacred soil, and each one took a handful of the sacred dust from the tombs of our kings and heroes of old. Two months after the outbreak of war King Peter returned to Topola and prayed gratefully in his white church to God and to Saint George. This democratic king, who has been elected by the Serbian Parliament (Skupshtina), thanked God that he with his people had finished the work of liberation from the Turkish yoke, which work was started by Karageorge, his grandfather, who also was elected by the people to be their leader.


The war with the Turks was a short one. Yet the war with the Bulgars was still shorter. The Bulgars attacked us in a dark night. Austria suggested such an attack, and this quite suited the Bulgarian spirit. It is a slavish spirit, full of slavish ambitions and slavish abject methods.

When I tell you that, believe me, I tell it neither as a chauvinist nor even as a Serbian patriot, but as a man who has studied very carefully the history and psychology of the Balkan peoples.

The Bulgarian attack against the Serbian army was resisted not only by the Serbs, as the Bulgars hoped, but by the Greeks and Roumanians as well. I visited the battlefield afterwards. I have been in Stip, a town on the Bregalniza river, where the attack began. I saw the tree on the bank of the river, under which the Serbian and Bulgarian officers rested together the very day before the treacherous night. The Bulgarians smiled and chatted with their Serbian colleagues; they spoke about the everlasting brotherhood between the Serbian and Bulgarian nations; they ate and drank from the same plates and glasses with the Serbs, their allies, while the order of the night attack lay in their pockets. It happened nineteen hundred years after a treacherous apostle ate and drank in the same manner with his Master.

The unnatural ambitions of the Bulgars were repudiated by all the Balkan nations. Therefore the Bulgars saw one day against them, not one enemy as they expected, but three. Serbs, Greeks and Roumanians marched together towards Sofia. The Bulgars asked for peace. In the conference of Bucharest, as you remember, the new frontiers of the Balkan States were marked. Serbia came out from this war victorious, it is true, but with a broken heart, for she had been forced to fight against her ally of yesterday—with a broken heart, with many thousands of her best sons killed and crippled, and with still many more swept away by cholera, which was raging in the summer of 1913.


is Macedonia. It must have been once a charming country worthy of the great men like Philip and Alexander, worthy of Saint Paul's mission to it, worthy of Byzantium's effort to save it from the Slavs, worthy of all the Turkish sacrifices to conquer it, worthy of several Serbian kings who gave their lives defending it. It was a rich and beautiful spot on this earth. It was the centre of the Serbian mediaeval state and power, the very heart of the Serbian glory from the time when the Serbs became Christians till the tragedy of Kossovo, and after this tragedy till the death of King Marko of Prilep in the beginning of the fifteenth century. Even during the time of slavery under the Turks, Macedonia was the source of all the spiritual and moral inspirations and supports of the enslaved nation. It happened only accidentally that the northern part of Serbia, was liberated a hundred years ago while Macedonia remained still in chains. In the north, in the dense forests and the mountains around Belgrade and Kraguievaz, the guerilla war started a great insurrection which succeeded.

This guerilla war meant a gradual destruction of the Turkish dominions in the whole northern part: in Shumadija, Bosnia, Croatia and Dalmatia. But I say the guerilla war in Shumadija, around Belgrade and Kraguievaz, was a success. Karageorge liberated a part of the Serbian country in the north, and this part was finally recognised by the great powers of Europe and called Serbia. But neither Karageorge nor anybody in Serbia has forgotten Macedonia. Macedonia was not only a part of our history, but it has become a part of our soul. The principal and the greater part of our national poetry, which means our Shakespeare and which meant our Bible, describes Serbian Macedonia, her heroes, her historic events, her struggle with the Turks, her slavery, and her customs and hopes. Serbian children know the names of the towns like Skoplje, Prilep, Ochrida, and the heroes' names, Urosh, Stephen, Milutin, Dushan, Marko and Ugljesha, before they learn in the school to write these names. Our national poetry is our national education, our education is our soul. Macedonia represents a great part of our poetry, which means that she forms a great part of our soul. To say Macedonia does not belong to Serbia means the same as to say, the Serbian soul does not belong to the Serbians. Could you imagine England without Stratford, the birthplace of Shakespeare? I don't think you could. So we cannot imagine a Serbia without Prilep, the source, yea, the birthplace of our national poetry. Every people must have some sacred soil in their country, a part more sacred than other parts, which binds them more to their fatherland, which excites their enthusiasm, and which obliges them to defend and to die for it. I was born in Northern Serbia, in a town which has been very important in our modern history. But I must tell you that it was not Valve, my birthplace, which inspired me to be a Serb in soul, but rather Prilep, Skoplje and Ochrida, the places where our spirit and our virtues of old flourished, together with Kossovo, where our national body was destroyed. Valevo has been very little mentioned in our national poetry, Valevo and even Belgrade, in comparison with Macedonia. Northern Serbia has been in our Middle Ages more a part of our body than of our soul. But Macedonia.... A Bulgarian diplomat formerly in Rome once ironically told a Serbian sculptor in a discussion about Macedonia: 'We Bulgars know that King Marko of Prilep is a Serbian. Well, give us Prilep, that is what we want, and keep King Marko for yourselves!' That is the true Bulgarian spirit. The Greeks have understood us better. They have many brothers of their own in Monastir and Ochrida, and still they recognised the Serbian rights in the central and northern parts of Macedonia, claiming for themselves only the southern part, and giving to the Bulgars the eastern part of it. Yet they could claim Macedonia not with less rights than the Bulgars did. Why? Because Macedonia never was the centre of a Greek Empire, as it never was the centre of a Bulgarian Empire. It was a provincial country of the old Byzantine Empire. It was a country temporarily conquered by the Bulgars, the centre of the Bulgarian kingdom being Tirnovo and its neighbourhood. But it was quite a centre of all the best things that we Serbs created and possessed in our past. Our national soul cannot live without this part of our national body. I remember a conversation in Nish between a French sailor and a Serbian writer. The French sailor said: "But you will perish if you do not give Macedonia to the Bulgars?" The Serbian writer replied quietly: "Let us perish for the sake of our soul!" An English gentleman asked me the other day: "Why have you been obstinate in not yielding Macedonia to the Bulgars, while we even are ready to yield to the Greeks, offering them Cyprus?" "Yes," I said, "we can well appreciate your sacrifice, but still Prilep for us is rather what Stratford—and not Cyprus—is for you. And even I, not being an Englishman, could never agree that you should offer Shakespeare's birthplace to anybody in the world."

Perhaps the Bulgars would not have attacked us in this war if we had given Macedonia to them, although it is not certain, because the frontiers of their ambitions are in Constantinople, Salonica and on the Adriatic. Still Serbia could not barter her soul like Faust with Mephistopheles. Five hundred years ago the Serbs and Greeks defended Macedonia from the Turkish invasion. In 1912 it was Serbia with Greece again who liberated Macedonia from the Turkish yoke. Bulgaria never defended Macedonia from the Turks. Her first fighting for Macedonia was in 1913 against Serbs, Greeks and Roumanians. And Serbia sacrificed not only many things and many lives for Macedonia, but twice even her independence—once five hundred years ago, and for the second time at the present moment. Yes, Serbia is now killed because of Macedonia. Indeed, all Serbia's fighting and suffering have been because of Macedonia. She fought against the Turks because of Macedonia. She fought against the Bulgars because of Macedonia. And she now is losing her independence because of Macedonia. Because she could not give Macedonia, which means her glory, her history, her poetry, her soul, she is now trodden down and killed. Serbia could not live without Macedonia. Serbia did what she could—she died for Macedonia. And if one day, God willing, from this blessed island should sound the trumpet for the Resurrection for all the dead, killed by the German sword, I hope Serbia will rise from her grave together with Macedonia, as one body and one soul.

Serbia and the World-War.

In three years Serbia got three decisive victories which attracted attention to her in both hemispheres. She got a decisive victory at Kumanovo, against the Turks, in 1912. She got the second decisive victory on the Bregalniza, against the Bulgars, in 1913. She got a third decisive victory at Rudnik, against the Austrians and Magyars, in 1914. But finally she perished, in 1915, under the blow of the allied Turks, Bulgars, Austrians and Magyars with their common lord and leader against Serbia, the Germans.


"Because she caused this world-war. That is a just punishment which she well deserves," so say the Germans and their dupes. And saying so, they think of the assassination in Sarajevo. A Serbian boy killed the Crown Prince of Austria. Therefore Austria pretended to think that Serbia must lose her independence. To punish Serbia for the crime in Sarajevo, Austria sent the famous ultimatum to Serbia in the summer of 1914, asking nothing less than what Shylock asked from Antonio—his life. To punish Serbia, Germany made an alliance with the Bulgars, and sent her troops and her iron—the best product of their culture—to destroy the Serbian state, to devastate the Serbian country, and to take more than a million of human lives for the life of the Austrian Crown Prince. And this has been done with an unprecedented perfection. And this destructive deed has been praised with eloquent words in all the parliaments, churches, schools and papers all over Central Europe.

We could reply to this German accusation: "Did not your greatest national poet, Schiller, glorify William Tell, who killed Gesler, the Austrian tyrannous ruler in Switzerland? Why do you, who adore Schiller, and who praise William Tell's deed, blame the Serbian boy, Princip, who did the same thing in killing Franz Ferdinand, the tyrant of Bosnia, his fatherland? And after all, shall a whole nation, which was as surprised by the affair in Sarajevo as anyone in the world, be crushed because of the crime of one man? Is that the principle of Frederick the Great, or Leasing, or Kant and Schiller?"

The Magyars said through their leading men: "Serbia must be punished not because of the affair in Sarajevo, but because she is making a propaganda to liberate and unite all the Southern Slav people, which means a great blow for the Magyar interests and for the crown of Saint Stephen." Therefore the Magyars, rushing into Serbia in the first invasion, in August 1914, devastated a northern district of Serbia, the district of Drina, in such a way that only the Bulgars could compete with them. Henri Barby, the French publicist, has visited this district after the invasion. His description of the Magyar atrocities and the original pictures taken on the spot of the crimes committed make one ashamed to be the contemporary of such a nation.

We could reply to the Magyar accusations: Not so much is it that Serbia has been making a propaganda to liberate her brothers from your yoke, as that they themselves have made this propaganda. Before the Crown Prince was killed in Sarajevo there were several outbursts in Agram on the Bans of Croatia, who were Magyar agents and tyrants just as Gesler was in Switzerland many hundred years ago. All the outbursts and all the tragi-comic high trials in Croatia, Bosnia and Dalmatia, all the successes of the Hapsburg Monarchy in the south and all the protests prove two things:

First, that the Southern Slavs, Serbia's brothers, have suffered and have been abased very much by the Magyar's brutal rule, and;

Second, that they have grown to be free and to live independently from a nation which showed itself very inferior in many respects to the nation ruled by it.

The Bulgars even mocked the Serbs for allying themselves with the "degenerate" French, with the "faithless traders," the English, and with the "barbarians," the Russians. They mocked us that we have not been "real" politicians, that we have been stupid and could not foresee the German victory. They accused us even in their declaration of war of being "the felons" who caused the "world's conflagration." And they regarded as their mission to rise "in the name of civilisation" to punish "a criminal nation."

We Serbs have nothing to reply to this Bulgar mockery, since they distinctly claimed that they are not Slavs but Mongols; since they condemned the English, French and Russian civilisations, and declared themselves to be the champions of the true civilisation. I will tell you only how they fulfilled their "mission" in defending the human civilisation from the Serbs. I will not speak myself, but I will repeat what a well-known English gentleman reported from Salonica:

"About five o'clock in the afternoon, while we still waited for orders where to take our guns, we saw coming out of the town towards us a long, straggling procession of Serbian soldier prisoners, about 300, surrounded by a strong escort of infantry. They were of all ages, some young boys of 15, some old men, bowed of back, with grey in their beards, hungry-looking, ragged, bearing the marks of their long fight in the pass. They shambled along, evidently without any idea as to what their fate was to be, till they came close to where this newly-dug pit lay open. There the command to halt was given, and they stood or sat, surrounded by their guards, for about an hour.

"At the end of that time another body of men could be seen coming out of the town. They were Bulgarian cavalry, about eighty of them, with a captain in command. At a deliberate walk they came on towards the throng of prisoners and guards at the pit-side. When they were still several hundred yards away, a young Serbian soldier evidently grasped what was preparing. Making a sudden dart, he sprang through the cordon of guards, and was off, running at a surprising speed. The guards shouted, but their rifles, though with bayonets fixed, were not loaded, and it looked for the moment as if he might get clear away. Then the captain of the cavalry troop caught sight of him, turned round in the saddle, and shouted an order to his men. Half a dozen spurred their horses, and left the ranks at a gallop. It was a short chase. Hearing the thud of the horses' hoofs behind him, the young Serbian turned his head for an instant, then ran on faster than before. The galloping cavalry were soon close up with him. As the first man, with a shout, raised his sword, the fugitive doubled like a hare, and was away at right angles. Two more horsemen were close behind, though. The first rode him down; the second leaned out of his saddle and pierced him through, as he scrambled to regain his feet. By this time the guards with the rest of the Serbians had loaded their rifles, and stood round them in a ring, with levelled bayonets, while, huddled together, their prisoners embraced each other or sank in apathy to the ground.

"The cavalry captain rode up to the miserable throng. 'Each man will bind the eyes of his neighbour,' he shouted in Serbian. They did so. It took a long time, and was a pitiable sight. Some young boys were crying. Many of the men shouted defiance at the guards, who looked expectantly on, and at the cavalry, whose swords were drawn ready for the butchery. They blindfolded each other with strips torn from their waistcloths, or whatever else they had. 'Now kneel down,' came the harsh order, and one by one the victims crouched on the ground. The captain turned again to his troopers. 'Start work,' was the order he gave. The infantry guards, still keeping a circle to drive back any who might try to flee, drew off a little to give more room, and passing through the intervals of their line, the Bulgar cavalry rode in among the kneeling throng of prisoners at a canter. With yells of cruel delight they pushed to and fro, slashing and thrusting at the unarmed victims. Some of the Serbians tried to seize the dripping sabre blades in their hands. An arm slashed off at the shoulder would fall from their bodies. Others, tearing off the bandages that blindfolded them, attempted to unhorse their executioners, gripping them by the boot to throw them out of the saddle. But even the 300, though brave, could do nothing against eighty armed men.

"I could see the living trying to save themselves, crawling under the little heaps of dead. Others rushed towards the line of infantry, surrounding them, as if to break through to safety, but the foot soldiers, intoxicated by the sight of the deliberate bloodshed going on before their eyes, ran to meet them with their bayonets, and thrust them through and through again with savage cries. 'We are doing this in charity,' shouted some of the Bulgarians. 'We have no bread to feed you, so if we spared you it would be to die of hunger.' The massacre went on for half an hour. At the end of that time there was little left to kill, and the troopers were tired of cutting and thrusting. A few of them dismounted, and, sword in hand, walked here and there among the bleeding groups of dead, pricking them to see if any still lived. Some, though badly wounded, were still alive, but the Bulgarian captain did not give time for them all to be finished off, and at his orders the whole pile of murdered prisoners, whether breathing or extinct, were pushed by the infantry into the grave dug earlier in the afternoon, and earth shovelled at once on top of them." [4]

"England betrayed the White Race!" So exclaimed the other day Herr Dernburg, the former German minister for the colonies. Why? Because England mobilised all the races, including the black and yellow, Negroes, Indians, Maoris and Japanese, against the Germans. Herr Dernburg thinks that England has very much damaged European civilisation by so doing. That is a very curious conception of the present world situation. I could reply to Herr Dernburg's objection:

First, the history of mankind does not report that the Negroes enslaved anybody and kept him enslaved through a bloody regime five hundred years long as the Turks, the German allies, did with the Balkan Christians.

Second, I never have been told that the Japanese are more barbarous people than the Magyars.

Third, I doubt very strongly that there is any madman in the world who will even try to make a comparison between the noble soul of India and a blood-thirsty subject of Ferdinand of Coburg.

And fourth, if Kaiser William with the Prussian junkers should govern Europe through the superman's philosophy and Krupp's industry, let us hurry to open the door of Europe as soon as possible for the Chinese and Japanese, for Indians and Negroes, and even for all the cannibals, the innocent doves, who need more time to eat up one fellow-man with their teeth than a trained Prussian needs to slaughter ten thousand by help of his "kultur."

If England is doing anything right she doubtless is doing right in mobilising all the nations, yea, all the human beings upon this planet, cultured or uncultured, civilised or uncivilised, of every colour of skin, of every size, to protest in this or another way against a military and inhuman civilisation which is worse than the most primitive barbarism of man. All the races of the world who are fighting to-day with England against Germany may not understand either each other's language or customs, religion or traditions, but they all understand one thing very well, i.e. that they must fight together against a nation which despises all other nations and tries to conquer them, to govern them, to suppress their language, their customs, their traditions and their belief in their own worth and mission in this world.


A Serbian detachment from the VIIth regiment had been ordered one night to cross the river Sava to make explorations about the positions and vigilance of the enemy. The soldiers prepared themselves to fulfil their task with silence and depression. The commander of the detachment remarked that and said:

"Yes, our task is very dangerous, my friends; we may die to-night, but remember that English lords on the battlefield to-night are in danger of death too for the same cause as we."

On hearing that the soldiers became cheerful.

* * * * *

An officer said to his private: "If I should be killed in the battle, don't leave my body here, but carry it to Kraguievaz, where my wife is, and bury it there."

It happened indeed that the officer was killed. The private asked permission to transfer the body as he was told. The permission was not given. In the night he took the dead body on his back, and after a journey of three nights brought it to Kraguievaz and buried it. Therefore he was judged by the military court and sentenced to a very heavy punishment. But he showed himself very satisfied, saying:

"I did what I was ordered and what I promised to do. Now you can sentence me even to death; at least I will not be ashamed in the other world meeting my commander."

* * * * *

In the offensive against the Austrians in December 1914 a Serbian company found in a trench three Magyar soldiers. They laid down their arms.

"Would you kill them, Andrea?" asked the officer of one of his men to prove him.

The man replied with astonishment:

"Marko of Prilep never killed a disarmed man"

* * * * *

A peasant one day dug the ground behind his home. It was after the Austrian army had been beaten and repulsed, and the Serbian refugees returned home. The peasant was asked:

"What are you digging for?"

"Our tricolours. I put it three weeks ago under the ground. I was afraid the Austrians would spit on it, and it means the same as to spit in one's face."

* * * * *

In the battle on Krivolak a Serbian was wounded in the chest. He could scarcely breathe. He was sent to the hospital. Moving slowly, he came to a spot where he saw a wounded Bulgarian lying down among the dead and crying with pain, his legs being broken. The Serbian stood thoughtful a minute, then he took the enemy on his back and brought him to the hospital, both very exhausted. He was asked:

"Why did you take such a burden, since you are a burden to yourself?"

He kept silent for a moment and then replied:

"You know, sire, I have been shooting with all the others. Who knows, perhaps I wounded him."

* * * * *

"Why should not I believe in Fate?" an under-officer once asked me. "Should somebody relate to me what I am going to tell you, I could not believe it. But it happened to me. Once in my boyhood I cut the branches of a tree; a gipsy woman saw me and said:

"'Don't injure the tree; a tree may once save your life when all your hopes are gone.'"

"Now, listen! I was taken prisoner by the Austrians. In their retreat they let me go with their column. We went through a thick forest. I thought myself lost. All my past life came before my eyes. I remembered the gipsy woman and her advice. I looked around. In a few moments I jumped aside and found myself on the top of a tree. Nobody saw me. Hours and hours the Austrians marched close to my protecting tree. At once two Magyar hussars rushed back looking around, evidently searching for me. They went. Then came our first advance guard, and I slipped down from the tree and surprised them. Is that not Fate?"

* * * * *

Typhus fever raged most in Valevo, where the Austrian troops came first and brought it, a worse enemy of Serbia than even the Austrians themselves. A Serbian women's association in Nish held a meeting and consulted a doctor how they could help.

"Don't go to Valevo," advised the doctor. "Whoever enters the hospital over there must die."

The president, a well-known woman, kept silent, went home, packed her luggage and took the first train for Valevo. After two weeks she was brought home infected by typhus, and died soon afterwards.

* * * * *

A patrician mother fled before the Bulgars with two girls. For several days they had nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat. As they reached the rocky frontier of Albania, the girls asked the mother:

"And now, whither?"

The mother smiled and said:

"I will give you now the last bit to eat, and then we will go where we will be perfectly safe from enemy and hunger."

And she gave to the girls and she herself took—poison.

* * * * *

In spring 1913 the Montenegrins took Scutari after immense sacrifice of lives. Yet they were forced by the Great Powers through Austria's intrigues to leave the very dear town. Soon afterwards a Serbian from Montenegro travelled from Cattaro to Fiume. An Austrian officer saw him in his picturesque costume, and said to him with irony:

"You see after all you must yield Scutari to us."

"Yes," replied the Montenegrin, "we Montenegrins and you Austrians are as different as lions and foxes. There are many dens of lions where the foxes creep in and not one den of foxes where you could find a lion."


Serbia suffered shipwreck, and her broken pieces are now dispersed all over the islands in the Mediterranean. A little island of the Serbian refugees is formed in Greece, and also in Italy, in France, in England and in America. And what happened with the ship of the Serbian nation? She plunged to the bottom of a hell of darkness and suffering. The people from the neutral countries coming now from Serbia describe Serbia as a silent grave, her towns with deserted streets, with plundered or shut-up shops, her villages under a nightmare of starvation. There are only children and women at home, and very soon there will be no more either children or women. The Russian and Italian prisoners are brought to Serbia to make roads, railways and fortifications for Serbia's enemies, and all the males from Serbia have been taken away—who can divine where? The Serbian bishops and priests, and all the leaders of the nation have been carried away too. There are neither leaders nor nation in the Serbian country. I don't exaggerate when I say that all the sufferings of poor and sorely stricken Belgium is still only a shadow of what Serbia sutlers in that dark corner of the world which is called the Balkans, far off from all friendly eyes, friendly ears and hearts. Yet I will not compare the sufferings of all these nations crucified and martyred by the Germans. I will say only that martyred Serbia, with Montenegro, has been recently ranked among the other martyred nations: Poland, Belgium and Armenia. Her cross is very heavy, her wounds very deep, her bleeding deadly. I know, gentlemen, how your generous hearts are now quite open for Serbia. But, unfortunately, Serbia is now closed to your generosity. Between your generosity and Serbia's suffering, between your medicaments and her wounds, between your bread and her hunger, there stands a hedge of Germano-Bulgar bayonets. All that you can do is to save Serbia on the islands, and, if possible, to hurry to liberate Serbia's country from the darkest slavery in which she was ever plunged. Serbia on the islands—it seems so—will be the only population of the future Serbia. Those who escaped from the Germano-Bulgar annihilation will be the people who will enter into the Promised Land, into free Serbia. I am sure you will save in time these remnants of the Serbian nation, which is now as always the faithful English ally and admirer. I am sure you will give protection to them who have given you, in the time of light and in the time of darkness, their friendship and devotion. By this protection of Serbia, as well as of all the little and oppressed nations in Europe and Asia, you will do more for the glory of your country than by any extension of its frontier or accumulation of riches. Serbia suffers and still hopes. Serbia's hopes go to God, crossing this island of yours, crossing your hearts and souls, as the bridge between her and God. Serbia hopes to be free with all her brothers, who are suffering under the manifold yokes of merciless strangers. Serbia militans did every possible thing you expected her to do. She has been for you, not only politically and militantly, correct, but childish, sincere and devout. Now she is sitting on your threshold and looking towards you with shining tears in her eyes. And the God of Heaven knows Serbia and knows England. He waits to see what you are going to do for Serbia. Who dares to doubt that you, descendants of Shakespeare and Pitt, of Carlyle and Gladstone, will show yourself less chivalrous towards the little Serbia than Serbia has shown herself chivalrous towards you?

I dare not doubt it.



Be as patient as an ox, as brave as a lion, as industrious as a bee, and as cheerful as a bird.

Help the beggar. He is not a beggar because God cannot feed all His children, but because He placed him as a beggar on the street to test your heart.

Every penny that you give to a beggar, God counts double as His debt to you.

What is the first principle for humanity?

Some say to eat, others not to eat.

Some say to speak, others to remain silent.

Some say to hasten, others to go slowly.

Some say to work, others to idle.

Some say to pray, others not to pray.

Some say to destroy life, and others to preserve it.

What, then, is this first principle?

It is Life and Death, and God over both.

The moonlight accentuates the silence of the churchyard, the sunshine the clamour of the market-place.

By our good works we help God very little, and by our evil deeds we do Him no harm. But by our good works we help ourselves, and by our evil deeds we harm ourselves. Nevertheless, do good not for your own sake, but for God's, so that your joy may be greater and your determination more lasting.

Sin is worse than failure. Vice is worse than sin. Obstinacy in evil is worse than vice.

To be a drunkard means making an alliance with Satan, to steal means to do Satan's work, and to kill means to become Satan's slave.

Whether you go slowly or quickly, Death keeps his appointment.

There are three kinds of men: first, those who plough and sow with the devil; second, those who plough with the devil and sow with God; and third, those who plough and sow with God.

The riddle of life is so mysterious that the more we try to solve it the deeper seems the mystery, but the more we work and pray, the nearer seems the solution.

Scrutiny magnifies the enigma of life, prayer lessens it.

Whether righteous or unrighteous, you must die; but if you die righteous you will be mourned, but if unrighteous you will be scoffed at.

* * * * *

If I see your eyes, I know you a little. If I hear your voice, I know you still more. If I see your actions, I will know you altogether.

When Christ Crucified was contemptuously asked by His executioners why His followers were not trying to avenge Him, He answered: "They will not remove your sin by committing one of their own."

When St. Peter was asked why he would be crucified head down, he answered: "Because in leaving this life I wish to look toward heaven, not toward you."

A man, asked what two things he did not like, said a worm in the ear and an enemy at the door.

A man, asked what things he disliked, said an old bachelor telling love stories of his youth.

A hermit, asked what excited his compassion most, said an ox with a thorn in his foot and a man whose feet have never felt the thorn; or a thirsty eagle in a desert and a man who has never felt thirst.

There are two brotherhoods among men, that of purity and that of impurity.

Be as courageous as the days which come and go, even when they know that men are waiting to fill them with impurity.

If a man casts clay at the sun, it falls back on his face; if he casts stones against God, they fall on his head.

The man who utters lies defiles not only the air, but his own heart. The man who counts gold pieces in the dark has only gold for his sun and is miserable.

* * * * *

Both man and the air are purified by movement.

By using our hands we become strong; by using our brains, wise; and by using our hearts, merciful.

When the cow lies down to ruminate and a man goes to do evil, the cow is better than the man.

When an oak turns towards the sun to enjoy its life, and a man comes with an axe to cut it down, the oak is better than the man.

A gold piece lying shining in the dust is better than the man attempting to steal it.

Life has silken wings, but Death uses iron scissors.

Our disappointments prove only that Fate refuses to further our projects in life.

* * * * *

Happiness forgets many, Death nobody.

Life allures us with a full glass, and in the end casts us and the glass together into the grave.

Life and Death are each other's heirs.

Living, we see the bright side of life and the dark side of death, but afterwards we will see each reversed.

As many tears and sighs are caused by life as by death.

A man cannot understand his father until he has experienced fatherhood, nor can a woman understand her mother before she herself becomes a mother.

Our birth is a mingling of pleasure and pain; the pain sanctifies the pleasure.

Although opposed, the pleasure and the pain lend strength to one another.

Even the thief pays for what he steals, for in getting an inch of good for his body he loses an inch of his soul.

In this life God follows you as your shadow, in the next you will go as God's shadow.

Seeing, suffering, and death are three teachers of men. Seeing makes men wise, suffering makes them wiser, and death makes them wisest of all.

The finest music of hearts and stars is heard only in the silence of death.

In every humble superstition there is greater beauty than in any vain-glorious wisdom.

Man's greatest wisdom is nearer the wisdom of the horse than it is to the wisdom of God.

Our bodies are only bridges over which our souls communicate with one another.

Our eyes are windows of our souls, Hypocrisy is a curtain covering these windows.

* * * * *

What is Death?

If you are freezing on a winter night, it is a warm couch.

If you are hungry, it is a place where hunger is never felt.

If you are persecuted, it is a kind-hearted overlord who welcomes you at the open door.

If you are alone and forgotten, it is a hall where your dearest kinsmen are expecting you.

If you are a sinner, then it is for you a period of pain and shame.

If you are a slave, it is your liberty.

* * * * *

A slave came daily to a noisy brook and, sitting down, listened in silence. "Why do you come every day to me?" asked the brook. "I am condemned to silence by my tyrants, and I come to voice my complaints through your clamorous babbling."

A slave listened every night to a nightingale. "Why are you listening to me?" said the bird. The answer was: "My ears are denied all day by the curses of my master, and I listen all night to your voice so that my ears may be purified."

A slave looked every day towards the clouds. "O man, why do you look at us?" said the clouds. "Because," said the slave, "I hope you understand my thought, and will tell them to Him to whom you are nearer than I am."

* * * * *

Until a man is a father he looks back to his own father; when he is himself a father he looks forward and loses his father.

Men with little wisdom have much passion; men with much wisdom have great compassion and little passion.

Never in prayer try to teach God what He should do for you, but rather ask Him what you should do for Him.

Too much light as well as too much darkness causes blindness.

Construct a better world, and then you may say that this one is bad.

When you kill a lion, you can say: "I sinned because I killed my brother." When you kill a man, you can say: "I sinned because I killed myself."

If you love God, you cannot fear Him; if you fear Him, you cannot love Him.

Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.

* * * * *

When the wind blows, the fool tries to compete by shouting.

Summer is most loved in winter, and winter in summer.

Ugliness moves slowly, but beauty is in great haste.

God speaks every language except the godless, God grants everything except eternity, God takes back everything but sins.

The best thing that the last man on earth can do is just what the first man could do. He can kneel on the earth, his mother, and pray to God, his father.

The fool is wisest when he sleeps; the wise man is most foolish when he dances.

When young men stand at the bier of an old man, it is pathetic; if old men stand at the bier of a young man, it is grievous; but God sees all and keeps silent. Why should you lament?

* * * * *

If you kill a solitary man, his kinsmen from the other world will persecute you.

Nobody can forever conceal what is good in you, nor can you yourself conceal what is evil.

There is no real death except the death of the soul.

There is no real joy except the joy of a righteous man.

The joy of the sinner is half joy and half retribution.

The eyes are the controller of the tongue. A clever man tells his lies with his eyes closed.

What is the news?

There is no news but what is half old.

It is better to talk about what you know than to talk about what you do not know.

He who can love passionately can hate passionately. Maternal love is most enduring, a brother's hatred the shortest.

There is no harvest without seed. We see often a harvest of evil, the seed of which time has concealed.

* * * * *

In the life to come all our senses will be doubled and quadrupled, so that when we see we shall see not only with our eyes but with our whole being, and when we hear and when we smell or taste it is the same. Thus will it be where the morning sun shines always.

We see only the beams of the sun, but the spirits also hear them; we hear the song of the nightingale, but the spirits also see it.

In the next world what we now hear we shall see; what we now see we shall hear, and shall taste what we now smell.

Gold shines, and by shining speaks. How can you understand its language? God does, because He sent its language to the gold.

* * * * *

What is man? Something between God and clay.

What is clay? Something that God makes.

What is God? Something of which clay and man are the shadow.

It is no wonder that an animal should be selfish, not knowing its end. But it is wonderful that man can be selfish, knowing and foreseeing his end.

* * * * *

A Turk once asked a Serb why the Serbs wept so much. The Serb replied, "To wash away your Turkish sins."

A Turk asked a Serb why the Serbs reminded people of the field of Kossovo. "Because," said the Serb, "our dead are better than your living."

All men are born in an impure state, but only the good reach a state of purity in life and in death.

Men are unhappy when striving to know all truth, because truth is greater than their life, and for this life only a small part of truth is necessary.

A wolf, asked when he would stop killing sheep, replied, "When man stops killing man."

The grass in the field, asked if it were not ashamed always to see nothing but the feet of men, replied: "Not so much ashamed as men should be when they never see our heads."

* * * * *

A good custom hallows life and keeps men in brotherly unity.

Not God, but the prophets make division among men.

God likes it more if you think, than if you speak about Him. In speaking evil of Him you do harm not only to yourself, but to your hearers too.

Different languages, but the same prayer; different prayers, but the same God.

God is the spirit and form-maker; man is only the imitator of the form-maker.

A silver piece, asked what it was worth, replied: "If a man could shine as I can, then I am merely worth a man."

When the Lord speaks you have to be silent; and the Lord speaks in the night through the stars, in the day through better men than you.

The foolish man speaks much because he has to apologise his foolishness, but why must you speak so much?

* * * * *

The man who fears customs fears the touch of dead and living.

Under every success lies a new enemy, the demon of pride.

Do not despise even the cicadas; their song is the only solace to the slave in prison.

Among all immoderate things the unrestrained tongue is the most annoying.

Death is not a punishment for him that dies, but a warning for the living.

A long work and a short prayer edifies the house, but a long prayer and a short work destroys it.

Life without prayer—night without moonlight.

God is not hidden, but our eyes are too small to see Him.

The smile in the sunshine is easy and common; the smile in the stormy weather is beautiful and rare.

It is better to go to bed hungry than with a stolen supper in the stomach.

* * * * *

If you like to get friendship from a man, say only a good word about him in his absence. If you like to pacify a dog, say a good word to his face.

Life gives to every slave an empty glass to fill it either with tears or with hopes.

When God wishes to punish a man He lets him be born among the rough neighbours.

The night rebuked the clouds because they were so black. The wolf rebuked the dog because he was so wicked.

It is better to be as patient as God than as righteous as God.

By true prayer we confess our sins; by false prayer we report our deeds to God.

Every welcome guest may fail to come, except death, the most unwelcome.

The grass asked a cow: "Is it right that you eat me and tread on me?" "I don't know," replied the cow; "but tell me: Is it right that the grass grows up from the bodies of my parents and will grow up from my own body?"

* * * * *

Solitude is full of God. Worldly clamour is godless. In solitude one feels both eternity of time and immensity of space. In worldly clamour one feels eternity and immensity only when death intervenes.

The birds think that men cannot understand each other. Why should not men think better of birds?

The wise man feels God most in the silence of night; the child most in the crash of lightnings and in the rolling waters.

Three persons rushed the same way: a child, a learned man and a poor man. "Where to?" asked the angel.

"To grow old quickly and to see God," said the child.

"To acquire profit and learning, and to know God," said the learned man.

"To become rich and to serve God," said the poor man.

The angel said:

"If the clear eyes of a child cannot see God, how can the dim eye of passionate man see Him?

"If the simple mind of the unlearned man cannot know God, how can the bewildered mind of a learned man know Him?

"If a poor man cannot serve God with his heart, how can a rich one serve Him with gold?"

* * * * *

If you marry, you will repent; if you do not marry, you will likewise repent.

We never repent our brutality as much as our vulgarity. In being brutal we are equal to animals, but in being vulgar we are below them.

When two blind men sit quarrelling about what is light, they are like two men quarrelling about what is God.

A bird speaks and you do not understand, but God does, for it speaks his language. A lion speaks and you do not understand, but God does. The lion speaks his language.

A brook speaks, and you stand on the bank and do not understand it, but God does. He made the brook's language.

An oak speaks, and you wonder what it may say, but God does not wonder. He made the oak's language.

* * * * *

The devil has hopes as a man has, for he hopes that at the end God will listen to him, and the man hopes that at the end all men will listen to God.

Every murder means also partly a suicide.

If you oppose a boastful man, he will believe his own words and hate you. If you listen to him silently and go from him silently, he will feel himself punished, and will follow you and ask you, if you believed his words.

What represents a boastful man? Poverty in spirit or in heart and wealth in words.

The universe is too big for you to ask it to serve you, and you are too little to hope to change it.

Blood binds men with a thread, but love binds them with a metal band.

The bonds of blood hold longer, The bonds of love hold stronger.

Easier it is for the sun to hate its own light than for a mother to hate her own son.

* * * * *

When men are quarrelling about the land, God is standing among them and whispering: "I am the Proprietor!"

God may be either accompanying or pursuing you. It depends upon you.

A lake at the foot of a mountain is a mirror for the mountain; just so is the past a mirror for mankind.

A pine-tree looks towards heaven expecting with confidence rain, snow, or light. You can protect yourself from rain, snow and light, but there is no roof to protect you from death.

Our life is obscure, our death is obscure; God is the only light of both.

Our body is fragile, our soul is fragile; God is the only strength of both. Our works are dust, our hopes are dust; God only makes both enduring.

From three sides God encircles us; He remains behind us in the past, He is with us in the present, and He awaits us in the future.

* * * * *

Death relieves a rich man more than a poor one, for from the poor man it takes only life, while from the rich it takes both life and fortune.

If you cannot admire the animal's dull life, you must at least admire its noiseless death.

The sea, when asked why it roared, replied: "To show men how petty their noisy quarrels are."

An oak, when asked in what way it thought oaks superior to men, said: "We oaks are more decent in taking our food, for we hide our mouths and eat only in the darkness under the earth."

A raven, when asked the difference between the flesh of an innocent man and a wicked one, replied: "The flesh of an innocent man supports my life, but the flesh of a wicked man is difficult for me to find."

A dog knows the world by smell, a wolf by appetite, a bird by hearing, a worm by tasting, and a man by seeing.

Are you afraid to touch the unclean man? The sun which is purer than you is not afraid.

Except his soul, there is nothing in man which can be saved from corruption.

A little dog said to a wolf: "Don't eat me now; when my teeth have grown, I will be sweeter for you."

A calf said to the cow, its mother, who wore a heavy yoke: "You are old enough not to be so stupid as to wear a yoke." "Wait a little," replied the cow, "and by degrees you will take my burden, if you should not be roast meat sooner."

* * * * *

What is it to be a gentleman? To be the first to thank, and the last to complain.

The words "Thank you" show that life is founded on injustice.

Death is the cleverest thief. He can steal a living man who is surrounded by the most formidable guard.

The water shines because the sun shines. Gold shines because the sun shines. Snow shines because the sun shines. The sun shines because God shines, and He shines because He is God.

* * * * *

Every tear is not a sign of distress; every smile is not a sign of joy.

Wine and beauty can both intoxicate, but without passion neither can cause real intoxication.

Death and passion are only different temperatures of man. We can change the temperature of passion, but God only can change the temperature of death.

Copper is fine, but gold is finer. Gold is fine, but the air is finer. The air is fine, but the spirit is finer. The spirit is fine, but God is finer. One can live without copper, but not without gold. One can live without gold, but not without air. One can live without air, but not without spirit. One can live without spirit, but not without God.

Many people sing, but few are singers. Many people write, but few are writers. Many people speak, but few are orators. Many people think, but few are thinkers. Many people pray, but few are religious. Many people smile, but few are happy. Many people hope, but few are not disappointed. Many people die, but few will survive.

* * * * *

Sweetness and bitterness are enemies, but both are necessary in this world.

Light and darkness are enemies, but both are necessary.

Poison may do no harm if used properly; nor is darkness harmful if it comes and goes at due times.

It is better that your good deed should be forgotten than that your evil deed should make you famous.

You will begin to be a good man when you prefer anonymity to false fame.

If you offend a mother, remember that her son will be angry with you, and you will understand him because you are a son too.

If you offend a girl, remember that her brother will be angry with you, and you will understand because you are a brother too.

If you hate a man, remember that there is a woman who does better than that, for he had a mother who loves him. Can you not equal a woman?

God and a mother asked each other the same question: "How long will you continue to forgive your children?"

* * * * *

A man is like a drop of water, but mankind is like the ocean. A drop of water cannot endure a look of the sun, but the ocean bears iron and lead.

A man is like one blade of grass. Mankind is like a meadow. A traveller going along does not see the blade, but the meadow rejoices his sight.

A man's life is not one man's life, but is the life of mankind so closely interwoven that it resembles the carpet covering the floor of a room.

Things happen to-day, the cause of which began yesterday; but things also happen to-day, the cause of which date from the beginning of the world.

Man grows old, but not the world. Man dies, but the world cannot.

The world cannot die, because it is in touch with God, and therefore is immortal.

Not everything is in touch with God, nor yet with the sun.

Everything is affected by the sun directly or indirectly, and the same is true of God.

The best things are a bridge between God and the world, but God only knows what the best things are.

Cold makes darkness deeper, just as darkness makes cold more intense. The progress of the heart is slower than the progress of the brain.

* * * * *

A serpent lives in the water, but the water is not poisonous; if your tongue is poisonous, keep the mouth closed so as not to poison the air.

Giving is pleasanter than receiving.

A king boasted that he would rule all the earth, but the sun looking down upon him could not distinguish him from the clay on which he stood.

That man is my friend who lives laboriously like the bee and dies quietly like the grass.

When wolves and sheep are brothers, what will the wolves eat?

Lift up your hearts to heaven. The foulest water is purified when it is lifted to the clouds of heaven.

The greatest pain should not be the subject of speech.

The headache is worse than a pain in the hand, a toothache than a headache, crucifixion than toothache, and hopeless slavery than crucifixion.

A gipsy, asked what pain is greatest, said: "To be hungry and to see bread before the householder's dog."

A mother, asked what pain is greatest, said: "To see a snake coming from the grave of one's child."

A man, asked what three things he did not like, said: "To be compelled to cut down the tree planted by his own hands, to be on the watch for a blow, and to go hunting with a deaf man."

* * * * *

Economise in speaking, but not in thinking.

Only an oath to do evil may you break with God's permission.

If you have fixed to-morrow as a day for revenge, do not sleep but talk with death, and see if it were not better to postpone your vengeance.

If you help a beggar, you wipe out the fault of your ancestors.

When will the world become better? When the ass stops competing with the nightingale.

When will the world become better? When men build two bridges—one to God and one to nature—and when rich men learn to consider themselves great debtors to God.

God is more silent than silence in observing sins, and more audible than a cart in punishing them.

God and sinners wish to annihilate one another.

A Turk asked a Serb what there would be at the end. The answer was: "I know not what there will be, but I know what there will not be—there will not be Turkish dominion over Serbia."

The imitator remains in the shadow of him whom he imitates. The imitated lives in the sunshine, but the imitator remains always in shadow.




Hark! the moon is to the day-star calling: "Morning star! say, where hast thou been wandering; Tell me where thou hast so long been lingering; Where hast white days three so wasted,—tell me?" To the moon, anon, the day-star answer'd: "I have wander'd, moon! and I have linger'd, Lingered o'er Belgrad's white towers, and wondered At the marvellous things which I have witnessed: How two brothers have their wealth partitioned, Jakshich Dmitar and Jakshich Bogdana. They had thus arranged the shares allotted, Well their father's substance had divided: Dmitar took Wallachia[5] for his portion, Took Wallachia and entire Moldavia;[6] Banat also, to the river Danube. Bogdan took the level plains of Sermia, And the even country of the Sava; Servia, too, as far as Ujitz's fortress. Dmitar took the lower fortress'd cities, And Neboisha's tower upon the Danube; Bogdan took the upper fortress'd cities, And the church-possessing town, Rujitza. Then a strife arose about a trifle,— Such a trifle; but a feud soon follow'd,— A black courser and a grey-wing'd falcon! Dmitar claims the steed, as elder brother Claims the steed, and claims the grey-wing'd falcon. Bogdan will not yield or horse or falcon. When the morning of the morrow waken'd, Dmitar flung him on the sable courser, Took upon his hand the grey-wing'd falcon, Went to hunt into the mountain forest; And he called his wife, fair Angelia: 'Angelia! thou my faithful lady! Kill with poison thou my brother Bogdan; But if thou refuse to kill my brother, Tarry thou in my white court no longer."

When the lady heard her lord's commandments, Down she sat all sorrowful and gloomy; To herself she thought, and said in silence, —'And shall I attempt it?—I, poor cuckoo! Shall I kill my brother—kill with poison!— 'Twere a monstrous crime before high heaven, 'Twere a sin and shame before my people.

Great and small would point their fingers at me, Saying,—'That is the unhappy woman, That is she who kill'd her husband's brother!' But if I refuse to poison Bogdan, Never will my husband come to bless me!' Thus she thought, until a thought relieved her; She descended to the castle's cavern, Took the consecrated cup of blessing. 'Twas a cup of beaten gold her father Had bestow'd upon his daughter's nuptials; Full of golden wine she fill'd the vessel, And she bore it to her brother Bogdan. Low to earth she bow'd herself before him, And she kiss'd his hands and garments meekly.

'Lo! I bring to thee this cup, my brother! This gold cup, with golden wine o'erflowing. Give me for my cup a horse and falcon.' Bogdan heard the lady speak complacent, And most cheerfully gave steed and falcon.

Meanwhile through the day was Dmitar wandering In the mountain-forest; nought he found there; But chance brought him at the fall of evening To a green lake far within the forest, Where a golden-pinion'd duck was swimming. Dmitar loosen'd then his grey-wing'd falcon, Bade him seize the golden-pinion'd swimmer. Faster than the hunter's eye could follow, Lo! the duck had seized the grey-wing'd falcon, And against his sides had crush'd his pinion. Soon as Dmitar Jakshich saw, he stripp'd him, Stripp'd him swiftly of his hunting garments;— Speedily into the lake he plung'd him, And he bore his falcon from its waters. Then with pitying voice he ask'd his falcon: 'Hast thou courage yet, my faithful falcon! Now thy wings are from thy body riven?' Whispering, said the falcon to his master: 'I without my pinions nought resemble, But a brother riven from a brother.' Then the thought pierced through the breast of Dmitar, That his wife was charged to kill his brother. Swift he threw him on his mighty courser— Swift he hurried to Bijoegrad's[7] fortress, Praying that his brother had not perish'd.

He had hardly reached the bridge of Chekmel,[8] When he spurr'd his raven steed so fiercely That the impetuous courser's feet sank under, And were crushed and broken on the pavement. In his deep perplexity and trouble, Dmitar took the saddle off his courser, Flung it on the courser's nether haunches, And he fled alone to Belgrad's fortress. First he sought, impatient, for his lady— 'Angelia! thou my bride all faithful! Tell me, tell me, hast thou kill'd my brother?' Sweet indeed was Angelia's answer: 'No! indeed I have not killed thy brother; To thy brother have I reconciled thee.'"


Nine fair sons possessed a happy mother; And the tenth, the loveliest and the latest, Was Jelitza,—a beloved daughter. They had grown together up to manhood, Till the sons were ripe for bridal altars, And the maid was ready for betrothing. Many a lover asked the maid in marriage; First a Ban;[9] a chieftain was the other; And the third, a neighbour from her village. So her mother for the neighbour pleaded; For the far-off dwelling ban her brothers. Thus they urged it to their lovely sister: "Go, we pray thee, our beloved sister, With the ban across the distant waters: Go! thy brothers oft will hasten to thee; Every month of every year will seek thee; Every week of every month will seek thee." So the maiden listened to her brothers, With the ban she crossed the distant waters: But, behold! O melancholy marvel! God sent down the plague, and all the brothers. All the nine, were swept away, and lonely Stood their miserable sonless mother.

Three long years had pass'd away unheeded; Often had Jelitza sighed in silence: "Heaven of mercy! 'tis indeed a marvel! Have I sinn'd against them?—that my brothers, Spite of all their vows, come never near me." Then did her stepsisters scorn and jeer her: "Cast away! thy brothers must despise thee! Never have they come to greet their sister."

Bitter was the sorrow of Jelitza, Bitter from the morning to the evening, Till the God of heaven took pity on her, And he summon'd two celestial angels: "Hasten down to earth," he said, "my angels! To the white grave, where Jovan is sleeping,— Young Jovan, the maiden's youngest brother. Breathe your spirit into him; and fashion From the white grave-stone a steed to bear him: From the mouldering earth his food prepare him: Let him take his grave shroud for a present! Then equip and send him to his sister."

Swiftly hasten'd God's celestial angels To the white grave where Jovan was sleeping. From the white grave-stone a steed they fashion'd; Into his dead corpse they breathed their spirit; From the ready earth the bread they moulded; For a present his grave-shroud they folded; And equipp'd, and bade him seek his sister.

Swiftly rode Jovan to greet his sister. Long before he had approach'd her dwelling, Far, far off his sister saw and hail'd him; Hastened to him—threw her on his bosom, Loosed his vest, and stamp'd his cheeks with kisses.

Then she sobb'd with bitterness and anguish, Then she wept, and thus address'd her brother: "O! Jovan! to me—to me, a maiden, Thou, and all my brothers, all, ye promised Oft and oft to seek your distant sister: Every month in every year to seek her,— Every week in every month to seek her. Three long years have sped away unheeded, And ye have not sought me"—For a moment She was silent; and then said, "My brother! Thou art deadly pale! why look so deadly Pale, as if in death thou hadst been sleeping?" But Jovan thus check'd his sister: "Silence, Silence, sister! as in God thou trustest; For a heavy sorrow has o'erta'en me. When eight brothers had prepared their nuptials, Eight stepsisters ready to espouse them, Hardly was the marriage service ended Ere we built us eight white dwellings, sister! Therefore do I look so dark, Jelitza."

Three white days had pass'd away unheeded, And the maid equipp'd her for a journey. Many a costly present she provided For her brothers and her bridal sisters: For her brothers, fairest silken vestments; For her bridal-sisters, rings and jewels. But Jovan would fain detain her—"Go not, Go not now, I pray thee—my Jelitza! Wait until thy brothers come and greet thee." But she would not listen to her brother: She prepared the costliest, fairest presents. So the young Jovan began his journey, And his sister travell'd patient by him.

So as they approach'd their mother's dwelling, Near the house a tall white church was standing, Young Jovan he whispered to his sister— "Stop, I pray thee, my beloved sister! Let me enter the white church an instant. When my middle brother here was married, Lo! I lost a golden ring, my sister! Let me go an instant—I shall find it."

Jovan went—into his grave he glided— And Jelitza stood—she stood impatient— Wondering—wondering—but in vain she waited. Then she left the spot to seek her brother. Many and many a grave was in the churchyard Newly made—Jovan was nowhere—Sighing, On she hasten'd—hasten'd to the city, Saw her mother's dwelling, and press'd forward Eager to that old white dwelling.

Listen To that cuckoo's cry within the dwelling! Lo! it was not the gray cuckoo's crying— 'Twas her aged, her gray-headed mother. To the door Jelitza press'd—outstretching Her white neck, she call'd—"Make ope, my mother! Hasten to make ope the door, my mother!" But her mother to her cry made answer: "Plague of God! avaunt! my sons have perish'd— All—all nine have perish'd—Wilt thou also, Take their aged mother!" Then Jelitza Shriek'd, "O open—open, dearest mother! I am not God's plague—I am thy daughter. Thine own daughter—thy Jelitza, mother!" Then the mother push'd the door wide open, And she scream'd aloud, and groan'd, and flung her Old arms round her daughter—All was silent— Stiff and dead they fell to earth together.


God of mercy! what a wond'rous wonder! Such a wonder ne'er before was witness'd. In Saint Paul's—within the holy cloister, Gather'd round a golden table, seated In three ranks, the saints are all collected; O'er them sits the thunderer Elias;[10] In the midst are Sava and Maria; At the ends are Petka and Nedelia; And their health the holy Nicholas pledges. Pledges them their health to Jesus' glory.[11] But behold, behold the saint!—he slumbers; From his hand the cup of wine has fallen, Fallen from it on the golden table: Yet the wine's unspilt,—the cup unbroken. Then laughed out the thunderer Elias: "O my brother! O thou holy Nicholas: Often drank we cooling wine together; But it was our duty not to slumber. Not to drop the cup—And tell me, brother, Why to-day does slumber's power subdue thee?" Him thus answer'd Nicholas the holy: "Jest not thus with me, thou sainted thunderer! For I fell asleep, and dreamt three hundred, Dreamt three hundred friars had embark'd them In one vessel on the azure ocean; Bearing offerings to the holy mountain, Offerings,—golden wax, and snowy incense. From the clouds there broke a furious tempest, Lash'd the blue waves of the trembling ocean, Scooping watery graves for all the friars. Then I heard their blended voices call me, 'Help, O God! and help, O holy Nicholas! Would that thou, where'er thou art, wert with us!' So I hurried down to help the suppliants— So I saved the whole three hundred friars So I shipped them full of joy and courage; Brought their offerings to the holy mountain, Brought their golden wax, their snowy incense;— And meanwhile I seem'd in gentle slumber, And my cup fell on the golden table."


A maiden proudly thus the sun accosted: "Sun! I am fairer than thou,—far fairer; Fairer than is thy sister[12] or thy brethren,— Fairer than yon bright moon at midnight shining, Fairer than yon gay star in heav'n's arch twinkling, That star, all other stars preceding proudly, As walks before his sheep the careful shepherd."

The sun complain'd to God of such an insult: "What shall be done with this presumptuous maiden?" And to the sun God gave a speedy answer: "Thou glorious Sun! thou my beloved daughter![13] Be joyous yet! say, why art thou dejected? Wilt thou reward the maiden for her folly— Shine on, and burn the maiden's snowy forehead. But I a gloomier dowry yet will give her; Evil to her shall be her husband's brother; Evil to her shall be her husband's father. Then shall she think upon the affront she gave thee."


Thick fell the snow upon St. George's day; The little birds all left their cloudy bed; The maiden wander'd bare-foot on her way; Her brother bore her sandals, and he said: "O sister mine! cold, cold thy feet must be." "No! not my feet, sweet brother! not my feet— But my poor heart is cold with misery. There's nought to chill me in the snowy sleet: My mother—'tis my mother who hath chill'd me, Bound me to one who with disgust hath fill'd me."


Nightingale sings sweetly In the verdant forest: In the verdant forest, On the slender branches.

Thither came three sportsmen, Nightingale to shoot at. She implored the sportsmen, "Shoot me not, ye sportsmen!

"Shoot me not, ye sportsmen! I will give you music, In the verdant garden, On the crimson rose-tree."

But the sportsmen seize her; They deceive the songster, In a cage confine her, Give her to their loved one.

Nightingale will sing not— Hangs its head in silence: Then the sportsmen bear her To the verdant forests.

Soon her song is waken'd; Woe! woe! woe betide us, Friend from friend divided, Bird from forest banish'd!


Two solitary sisters, who A brother's fondness never knew, Agreed, poor girls, with one another, That they would make themselves a brother: They cut them silk, as snow-drops white; And silk, as richest rubies bright; They carved his body from a bough Of box-tree from the mountain's brow;

Two jewels dark for eyes they gave; For eyebrows, from the ocean's wave They took two leeches; and for teeth Fix'd pearls above, and pearls beneath; For food they gave him honey sweet, And said, "Now live, and speak, and eat."




[Footnote 1: This lecture was delivered in December, 1915.]

[Footnote 2: The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Character and Call of the Church of England, p. 118.]

[Footnote 3: Stanley Lane-Poole, Turkey, p. 40.]

[Footnote 4: Daily Telegraph, 5th February.]

[Footnote 5: Kavavlashka.]

[Footnote 6: Karabogdanska.

The above and following poems are taken from John BOWRING: Serbian Popular Poetry. London, 1827.]

[Footnote 7: Belgrad.]

[Footnote 8: Chekmel-Juprija.]

[Footnote 9: Ban, a title frequently used in Servia. Its general acceptation is governor. It may be derived from Pan, the old Slavonic for Lord.]

[Footnote 10: Gromovnik Daja.]

[Footnote 11: I napij, i u slavu Ristovn.]

[Footnote 12: Svezda, star, is of the feminine gender.]

[Footnote 13: Sun is feminine in Servian.]


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