Bog prepisuje carstvo
God Signs the Tsardom Over

Serbocroatian English
Prva riječ: „Pomozi nas Bože!“
Druga riječ: „Oće, ako Bog da.“
Vino piju svi božji anđeli,
Među njima sveti Mikaelo.
Vedro biše, pa se naoblači,
Iz oblaka bila knjiga pade
I dopade svetom Mikaelu.
Knjigu gleda sveti Mikaelo,
Knjigu gleda, proučit ne može,
I dade je svima anđelima;
Gledaše je, proštit je ne mogu.
Sakupiše do trista popova,
Knjigu štiju do trista popova,
Knjigu štiju, a proštit ne mogu.
Sakupiše trista đakončadi,
Knjigu štiju trista đakončadi,
Knjigu štiju, a proštit ne mogu.
Sakupiše trista kaluđera,
Među njima Jovan-kaluđera,
Knjigu štiju trista kaluđera,
Knjigu štiju, proštit je ne mogu.
Knjigu daju Jovan-kaluđeru,
On prouči lijest knjige bile,
Ter govori Jovan-kaluđere:
„Da bi vami krivo kazivao,
Izgubit ću svoju grešnu dušu;
Da bi pravo, izgubit ću glavu.
Ja ću pravo, pa štogod Bog dao:
Ovo Bože prepisuje carstvo
Sa Srbije na Otmanoviće.“
Ufatiše Jovan-kaluđera,
Naopako savezaše ruke,
Sagradiše Lučevu ćeliju,
U ćeliju Jovan-kaluđera,
Zapališe sa četiri strane,
Sva izgori Lučeva ćelija,
Ali osta Jovan-kaluđere.
Kad vidiše svi božji anđeli,
Da je pravo knjigu proučio,
Uzeše ga na bijele ruke,
Pa ga nose Bogu velikome.
The first speech: »God help us!«
The second speech: »He will, God willing.«
All God’s angels drank wine,
among them Saint Michael.
It was clear, then the sky clouded up,
from the clouds a white letter fell
and fell right to Saint Michael.
Saint Michael looked at the letter,
looked at the letter, couldn’t divine it,
and gave it to all the angels;
they looked at it, they couldn’t read it through.
A full three hundred priests gathered,
a full three hundred priests read the letter,
they read the letter, but couldn’t read it through.
Three hundred deacons gathered,
three hundred deacons read the letter,
they read the letter, but couldn’t read it through.
Three hundred monks gathered,
among them Monk Jovan,
three hundred monks read the letter,
they read the letter, but couldn’t read it through.
They gave the letter to Monk Jovan,
he could divine the white letter,
then Monk Jovan spoke:
»If I were to tell you falsely,
I would lose my sinful soul;
if truthfully, I’ll lose my head.
I’ll do it truthfully, then take whatever God gives:
here God signs the tsardom over
from Serbia to the Ottomans.«
They seized Monk Jovan,
they tied his arms behind him,
they built Lučev’s cell,

Meaning unclear. Some suggest this was a cell made of softwood and smeared with fat and tar within which transgressors were burned alive, but that may just be an extrapolation from the text. Lučev is capitalized in the original text, indicating the transcriber considered it a proper noun of some sort, but this too might be a misinterpretation — of an archaism whose original meaning was forgotten.


in the cell Monk Jovan,
they lit it on fire from four sides,
Lučev’s cell burned out entirely,
but Monk Jovan remained.
When all God’s angels saw
that he truthfully divined the letter,
they took him by his white arms,
then carried him to great God.