THE DEATH OF DOBUSH

THE DEATH OF DOBUSH
ALONG the edges of the wooded height
Walks young Dobush;
Lame in one leg, he on his topir leans
And calls his lads
“0, ye Legini, O, my boys !
We’ll council hold
Whom next are we to rob ?
Kooty we must not miss,
Nor overlook Kossiev.
Now sleep, my boys,
Because we rise at dawn;
Dress in a trice, skin postoli put on,
Povoloki of silk. . . . ”
Now run, boys—quick !
Snow covers all the paths;
To Dzveenka’s house go first,
Where we’ll see Stefan’s wife.” ”
Oi, Dobush! Nay, my lord,
Sure mischief will befall.” ”
Don’t trouble about me;
Load your good musket with
A double charge—stand by the gate—
I’ll to the window go
To see if she still sleeps.” ”
My heart, dost thou sleep,
Dost thou hear ?
Dost thou wish to receive Dobush ? ” ”
I am not asleep. No. I hear
Each word that you say to me.
I’m working that I may sup—
Stefan is not at home. . . .
The supper’s not ready yet,
But ’twill be a splendid one,
And a wonder for all the world.” ”
Dost thou sleep, my heart,
Dost thou hear ?
Wilt receive Dobush for the night ? ” ”
I sleep not—I hear every word—
I will not let the robber in.” ”
Wilt thou open the door, I say ?
Dost tell me to storm it then ? ” ”
I give no command to storm.
But—open it ? No, not I.” ”
Let me into the hut—thou fool !
Ere I break open the door.” ”
My door is too strong for you—
My locks are of trusty steel.” ”
Thy locks will not help thee much
When to them my shoulder I set.” ”
The strength of full seven more years
You’ll need ere you burst my door.”
Dobush, Dobush pressed hard—
The locks fell in a heap,
And Dobush opened the door,
Just a little opened the door. . . .
And then Dzveenka fired
From the attic where he hid,
He aimed at the heart of Dobush.
Not in the heart fell the blow;
Through shoulders the bright blood burst. ”
Dog-catcher ! You ! Dzveenchuk !
You have eaten me up for her.” ”
Why did you woo her ? Why
Did you say you were Dobush ?
Why tell her all the truth ?
Knew you not woman’s truth
Is fast-running water’s foam ? ”
The Oprishki came to the hut
But they found Dzveenka was flown. ”
Oi ! Dobush, our good lord,
Why killed you not the wife f ” ”
How could I kill her, say,
If I loved her so much ?
Oi, Dobush, our great lord !
Misfortune’s surely here.
Treachery ne’er before
To your Legini came,
But now there’s treachery.” ”


Legini, Oi! my boys,
Lay me on your topirs,
Carry me down in the Chorna-Hora,
Where the Black Mountains be,
Then cut my body up as fine as poppy seed.
Let not the Germans mock,
Or quarter my body. ”
Divide among yourselves the treasure that was
ours—
Then singly go away.
But not to rob—
Not to shed human blood;
Blood is not water, mind,
Not meant to be poured down! ”
But then the Germans came,
And Dzveenka led them on. ”
Oi, Oi, Dobush, our lord,
What woeful fate is ours !
Where shall we winter spend,
Where all the summer days ?
In Stanislav, my boys,
Yea, at the market-place!
Tortured, while, bound in irons,
Germans shall tear your flesh,
And there you’ll sleep for aye.

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