Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Of Whom the Earth Was not Worthy

"From Jerusalem, the holy city,
Flying came a swift grey bird, a falcon,
And he carried in his beak a swallow.

But behold and see! 'Tis not a falcon,
'Tis the holy man of God, Elias,
And he does not bear with him a swallow,
But a letter from God's Holy Mother.
Lo, he bears the letter to Kosovo,
Drops it on the Tsar's knees from the heavens,
And thus speaks the letter to the monarch:
"Tsar Lazar, thou Prince of noble lineage,
What wilt thou now choose to be thy kingdom?
Say, dost thou desire a Heavenly kingdom,
Or dost thou prefer an earthly kingdom?
If thou should now choose an earthly kingdom,
Knights may girdle swords and saddle horses,
Tighten saddle-girths and ride to battle-
You will charge the Turks and crush their army!

But if thou prefer a Heavenly kingdom,
Build thyself a church upon Kosovo,
Let not the foundations be of marble,
Let them be of silk and of scarlet....
And to all thy warriors and their leaders
Thou shalt give the Sacraments and orders,
For thine army shall most surely perish,
And thou too, shalt perish with thine army."

When the Tsar had read the holy letter,
Pondered he, and pondered in this manner:
"Mighty God, what now shall this my choice be!
Shall I choose to have a Hevenly kingdom?
Shall I choose to have an earthly kingdom?
If I now should choose an earthly kingdom,
Lo, an earthly kingdom is but fleeting,
But God's Kingdom shall endure for ever."

And Lazar chose Heaven."...

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