Strahinić Ban
Strahinić the Ban

The traditional title of this poem, provided by its collector and first editor Vuk Karadžić, is »Banović Strahinja«, following the name of the protagonist in certain other versions of the song and folk traditions. However, the poem itself never uses this form of the name; its singer, Starac Milija, who provided no title himself, only ever refers to the protagonist by variations of »Strahinić the Ban« and »Strahin-Ban«. The title is accordingly given here as »Strahinić the Ban«.

Serbocroatian English
Netko bješe Strahiniću bane,
Bješe bane u malenoj Banjskoj,
U malenoj Banjskoj kraj Kosova,
Da takoga ne ima sokola.
Jedno jutro bane podranio,
Zove sluge i k sebe prizivlje:
»Sluge moje! hitro pohitajte,
»Sedlajte mi od megdana đoga,
»Okitite, što ljepše možete,
»Opašite, što tvrđe možete;
»Jel ja, đeco, mislim putovati:
»Hoću Banjsku ostaviti grada,
»Mislim đoga konja umoriti
»I u gosti, đeco, odlaziti,
»U tazbinu u bila Kruševca,
»K milu tastu starcu Jug-Bogdanu,
»Ka šureva devet Jugovića;
»Tazbina me ta željkuje moja.«
Gospodara sluge poslušaše,
Te sokola đoga osedlaše,
Opremi se Strahiniću bane,
Ud’ri na se dibu i kalifu,
Ponositu čohu sajaliju,
Što od vode čoha crvenija,
A od sunca čoha rumenija;
Okiti se jedan Srpski soko,
Pa posjede đoga od megdana,
Odmah pođe, u tazbinu dođe,
U tazbinu u bila Kruševca,
Đe od skoro carstvo postanulo,
A viđe ga starac Jug Bogdane,
I viđe ga devet milih šura,
Sokolova devet Jugovića,
Mila zeta jedva dočekaše,
U naruče zeta zagrliše,
Vjerne sluge konja prifatiše,
Zeta vode na frenđiju kulu,
Kod gotove sovre zasjedoše,
Te gospodsku riječ besjeđaju;
Navališe sluge i sluškinje,
Neko dvori, neko vino služi.
Što bijaše rišćanske gospode,
Posjedaše, te pijahu vino:
Uvrh sovre stari Jug Bogdane,
S desne strane uza ramo svoje
Sjede zeta Strahinića bana,
I tu sjede devet Jugovića,
Niza sovru ostala gospoda;
Ko l’ je mlađi, dvori gospodare.
No biješe to devet šurnjaja,
No šurnjaje dvore uporedo,
Dvore svekra silna Jug-Bogdana,
I dvorahu svoje gospodare,
A najviše zeta ponosita;
A sluga im jedna vino služi,
Služi vino jednom kupom zlatnom.
Zlatna kupa devet bere litar;
Ja da vidiš druge đakonije,
Đakonije, mloge gospoštine!
Kako, brate, đe je carevina.
Pozadugo bane gostovao,
Pozadugo bane začamao,
Ponosi se bane u tazbini.
Gospoštine što je u Kruševcu,
Dosadiše jutrom i večerom
Moleći se silnu Jug-Bogdanu:
»Gospodaru, silan Jug-Bogdane!
»Ljubimo ti svilenoga skuta
»I desnicu tvoju bilu ruku,
»Nu potrudi čudo i gospostvo,
»I povedi mila zeta tvoga,
»Nu dovedi Strahinića bana
»U dvorove i u kuće naše,
»Da mi neku poštu učinimo.«
Svakom Juže hatar navršuje.
Doke tako izredili bili,
Dugo bilo i vrijeme prođe,
I zadugo bane začamao;
No da vidiš jada iznenada!
Jedno jutro, kad ogrija sunce,
Mezil stiže i bijela knjiga
Baš od Banjske od malena grada,
Od njegove ostarjele majke,
Banu knjiga na koljeno pade,
Kad razgleda i prouči knjigu,
Al’ mu knjiga dosta grdno kaže,
Knjiga kaže, đe ga kune majka:
»Đe si, sine, Strahiniću bane?
»Zlo ti bilo u Kruševcu vino!
»Zlo ti vino, nesretna tazbina!
»Viđi knjigu, nečuvenih jada!
»Iz ubaha jedna pade sila,
»Turski, sine, od Jedrene care,
»A car pade u polje Kosovo,
»A car pade, dovede vezire,
»A vezire, nesretne većile.
»Što je zemlje te oblada care,
»Svu je Tursku silu podigao,
»U Kosovo polje iskupio,
»Pritiskao sve polje Kosovo,
»Uvatio vode obadvije:
»Pokraj Laba i vode Sitnice
»Sve Kosovo sila pritisnula.
»Kažu, sine, i pričaju ljudi:
»Od mramora do suva javora,
»Od javora, sine, do Sazlije,
»Do Sazlije na ćemer ćuprije,
»Od ćuprije, sine, do Zvečana,
»Od Zvečana kažu od Čečana,
»Od Čečana vrhu do planine
»Turska sila pritisla Kosovo.
»Pod broj, sine, na teftere kažu
»No u cara sto hiljada vojske
»Nekakvoga careva spahije,
»Što imaju po zemlji timare
»I što jedu ljeba carevoga
»I što jašu konje od megdana,
»Što ne nose po mlogo oruža,
»Do po jednu o pojasu sablju;
»U Turčina, u Turskoga cara,
»Kažu, sine, drugu vojsku silnu
»Ognjevite janjičare Turke,
»Što Jedrene drže kuću bilu,
»Janjičara kažu sto hiljada;
»Kažu, sine, i govore ljudi
»U Turčina treću vojsku silnu
»Nekakoga Tuku i Mandžuku,
»A što huče, a što grdno tuče.
»U Turčina vojske svakojake,
»U Turčina jednu kažu silu,
»Samovoljna Turčin-Vlah-Aliju,
»Te ne sluša cara čestitoga,
»Za vezire nikad i ne misli,
»Za carevu svu ostalu vojsku
»A koliko mrave po zemljici;
»Takvu silu u Turčina kažu;
»On beza zla, sine, proći ne šće,
»Ne šće s carem, sine, na Kosovo,
»Okrenuo drumom lijevijem,
»Te na našu Banjsku udario,
»Te ti Banjsku, sine, ojadio
»I živijem ognjem popalio,
»I najdonji kamen rasturio,
»Vjerne tvoje sluge razagnao,
»Staru majku tvoju ojadio,
»Sa konjem joj kosti izlomio,
»Vjernu tvoju ljubu zarobio,
»Odveo je u polje Kosovo,
»Ljubi tvoju ljubu pod čadorom,
»A ja, sine, kukam na garištu,
»A ti vino piješ u Kruševcu!
»Zlo ti vino napokonje bilo!«
Ja kad bane knjigu proučio,
Muka mu je i žao je bilo,
U obraz je sjetno neveselo,
Mrke brke nisko objesio,
Mrki brci pali na ramena,
U obraz se ljuto namrdio,
Gotove mu suze udariti.
A viđe ga starac Jug Bogdane,
Viđe zeta jutru na uranku,
Planu Juže, kako oganj živi,
Strahiniću zetu progovara;
»O moj zete, Bog mi s tobom bio!
»Što si, zete, jutros podranio?
»D u obraz sjetno neveselo?
»Od šta si se, zete, razdertio?
»Na koga si s’, zete, ražljutio?
»Al’ se šure tebe nasmijaše,
»U jegleni ružno govoriše?
»Al’ šurnjaje tebe ne dvoriše?
»Al’ mahanu toj tazbini nađe?
»Kaži, zete, šta je i kako je?«
Planu bane pa mu progovara:
»Prođ’ se taste, stari Jug-Bogdane!
»Ja sam s šuram’ bio u lijepo,
»A šurnjaje gospodske gospođe
»Divno zbore, a divno me dvore,
»Toj tazbini mojoj mane nema,
»No da vidiš, što sam neveseo:
»Stiže knjiga od malene Banjske,
»Baš od moje ostarjele majke;«
Kaže jade tastu na uranku,
Kako su mu dvori poharani,
Kako su mu sluge razagnate,
Kako li je majka pregažena,
Kako li je ljuba zarobljena:
»No moj taste, stari Jug-Bogdane!
»I ako je moja danas ljuba,
»Ljuba moja, al’ je šćera tvoja:
»Sramota je i mene i tebe;
»No moj taste, starac Jug-Bogdane!
»Misliš li me mrtva požaliti,
»Požali me dok sam u životu.
»Molim ti se i ljubim ti ruku,
»Da daš mene đece devetoro,
»Đecu tvoju, a šureve moje,
»Da ja, taste, u Kosovo pođem,
»Da potražim dušmanina moga,
»A careva grdna hainina,
»Koji mi je roblje zarobio;
»A nemoj se, taste, prepanuti,
»Ni za tvoju đecu ubrinuti;
»Ja ću đeci, mojim šurevima,
»Hoću njima ruho prom’jeniti,
»A u Tursko ruho oblačiti:
»Oko glave bijele kauke,
»A na pleći zelene dolame,
»A na noge meneviš čakšire,
»O pojasu sablje plamenite;
»Prizvat’ sluge i kazaću junak,
»Neka sluge konje osedlaju,
»Osedlaju, tvrdo opasuju,
»Nek prigrću mrkim međedinam’:
»Učiniću đecu janjičare;
»Ja ću đecu šure sjetovati,
»Kade sa mnom bidu kroz Kosovo,
»A kroz vojsku cara ka Kosovu,
»Pred njima ću biti delibaša,
»Nek se stide i nek se prepanu,
»Nek se svoga boje starješine;
»Kogođ stane u carevoj vojsci,
»Kogođ stane s nama govoriti,
»Stane Turski, okrene Manovski,
»Ja s Turcima mogu progovorit’,
»Mogu Turski, i mogu Manovski,
»I Arapski jezik razumijem,
»I na krpat sitno Arnautski;
»Provodiću đecu kroz Kosovo,
»Svu ću vojsku Tursku uvoditi,
»Dok ja nađem dušmanina moga,
»A Turčina silna Vlah-Aliju,
»Koji mi je roblje porobio;
»Nek šurevi bidu u nevolji,
»El sam, taste, mogu poginuti,
»Kod šureva ne ću poginuti
»Jali rane lasno dopanuti.«
Kad to začu stari Jug Bogdane,
Planu Juže, kako oganj živi,
Strahinj-banu zetu progovara:
»Strahinj-bane, ti moj zete mili!
»Viđeh jutros, da pameti nemaš.
»Što mi đece išteš devetoro,
»Da mi đecu vodiš u Kosovo,
»U Kosovo, da ih kolju Turci,
»Nemoj, zete, više progovarat’,
»Ne dam đece vodit’ u Kosovo,
»Makar šćeri nigda ne vidio.
»Mio zete, deli Strahinj-bane!
»Rašta si se tako razdertio?
»Znaš li, zete? ne zna li te ljudi!
»Al’ ako je jednu noć noćila,
»Jednu noćcu šnjime pod čadorom,
»Ne može ti više mila biti,
»Bog j’ ubio, pa je to prokleto,
»Voli njemu, nego tebe, sine;
»Neka ide, vrag je odnesao!
»Boljom ću te oženiti ljubom,
»S tobom hoću ladno piti vino,
»Prijatelji biti do vijeka;
»A ne dam ti đecu u Kosovo.«
Planu bane, kako oganj živi,
U ijedu i toj muci ljutoj
Ne šće viknut’ ni prizvati slugu,
Za seiza ni habera nema,
No sam ode k đogu u ahare,
Ja kako ga bane osedlao!
Kako li ga tvrdo opasao!
Pa zauzda đemom od čelika,
Pred dvore ga vodi u avliju
K binjektašu bijelu kamenu,
Pa se đogu fati na ramena
Pogleduje devet svojih šura,
A šurevi u zemljicu crnu.
Ban poglednu pašenoga svoga,
Nekakoga mlada Nemanjića,
A Nemanjić gleda u zemljicu.
Kad pijahu vino i rakiju,
Svi se fale za dobre junake,
Fale s’ zetu i Bogom se kunu:
»Volimo te, Strahiniću bane!
»No svu zemlju našu carevinu;«
Al’ da vidiš jada na nevolji!
Banu jutros nema prijatelja:
Nije lasno u Kosovo poći.
Viđe bane, đe mu druga nema,
Sam otide poljem Kruševačkim
Ja kad bio niz široko polje,
Obzire se ka Kruševcu b’jelu,
Ne će li se šure prisjetiti,
Ne će li se njima ražaliti;
A kad viđe jutros na nevolji
Đe mu nema glavna prijatelja,
Pade na um, pa se dosjetio
Za njegova hrta Karamana,
Koga voli nego dobra đoga,
Te priviknu iz bijela grla,
Ostalo je hrče u aharu;
Začu glasa, hitro potrčalo
Dok u polju pristiže đogina,
Pokraj đoga hrče poskakuje,
A zlatan mu litar pozvekuje,
Milo bilo, razgovori s’ bane
Ode Bane na konju đoginu,
Te prijeđe polja i planine,
Ja kad dođe u polje Kosovo,
Kad sagleda po Kosovu silu,
Al’ se bane malo prepanuo,
Pa pomenu Boga istinoga,
U ordiju pursku ugazio.
Ide bane po polju Kosovu,
Ide bane na četiri strane,
Traži bane silna Vlah-Aliju,
Al’ ne može bane da ga nađe;
Spušti s’ bane ka vodi Sitnici,
Na jedno je čudo nagazio:
Na obali do vode Sitnice
Jedan zelen tu bijaše čador,
Širok čador polje pritisnuo,
Na čadoru od zlata jabuka,
Ona sija, kako jarko sunce,
Pred čadorom pobijeno koplje,
A za koplje vranac konjic svezan;
Na glavi mu maha Stambolija
Bije nogom desnom i lijevom.
Kad go viđe Strahiniću bane,
Prohesapi i umom premisli,
Baš je čador silna Vlah-Alije,
Te đogina konja prigonjaše,
Koplje junak skide sa ramena,
Te čadoru vrata otvorio,
A da vidi, ko je pod čadorom,
Ne bijaše silan Vlah-Alija,
No bijaše jedan stari derviš,
Bijela mu prošla pojas brada,
Šnjime nema nitko pod čadorom,
Bekrija je taj nesrećan derviš,
Pije Turčin vino kondijerom,
No sam lije, no sam čašu pije,
Krvav derviš bješe do očiju;
Kad ga viđe Strahiniću bane,
Te mu selam Turski nazivaše,
Pijan derviš okom razgledaše,
Pa mu mučnu riječ progovara:
»Da si zdravo! deli Strahin-bane
»Od malene Banjske kraj Kosova.«
Planu bane, prepade se ljuto,
Te dervišu Turski odgovara:
»Bre! dervišu, nesretna ti majka!
»Rašta piješ? rašta se opijaš
»Te u piću grdno progovaraš
»I Turčina zoveš kaurinom.
»Šta pominješ nekakoga bana?
»Ovo nije Strahiniću bane,
»No ja jesam carevi delija,
»Jedeci se carski pokidaše,
»U ordiju Tursku pobjegoše,
»Sve delije hitro potrčaše,
»Da jedeke caru pofatamo;
»Ako kažem caru, ja veziru,
»Koju si mi riječ besjedio,
»Hoćeš, stari, jada dopanuti.«
Grohotom se derviš osmjenuo:
»Ti delijo, Strahiniću bane!
»Znaš li, bane, Ne znali te jadi!
»Da sam sade na Goleč-planini,
»Da te vidim u carevoj vojsci,
»Poznao bih tebe i đogina,
»I tvojega hrta Karamana,
»Koga voliš, nego dobra đoga.
»Znaš li, bane od malene Banjske
»Poznajem ti čelo kako ti je,
»I pod čelom oči obadvije,
»I poznajem oba mrka brka.
»Znaš li bane? ne znalo te čudo!
»Kad zapadoh ropstva u vijeku,
»Panduri me tvoji uhitiše
»U Suhari vrhu na planini,
»U ruke me tvoje dodadoše,
»Ti me baci na dno od tamnice,
»Te robovah i tamnicu trpljeh
»I začamah za devet godina,
»Devet prođe, a stiže deseta,
»A tebe se, bane, ražalilo,
»Te ti zovnu Rada tamničara,
»Tvoj tamničar na tamnička vrata,
»Izvede me k tebe u avliju.
»Znaš li, bane? znaš li Strahiniću?
»Kad zapita i mene upita:
»»Ropče moje, zmijo od Turaka!
»»Đe propade u tamnici mojoj!
»»Mož’ li s’, robe, junak otkupiti.««
»Ti me pitaš, ja pravo kazujem:
»»Mogao bih život otkupiti!
»»Tek da mi se dvora dovatiti,
»»Očevine i pak postojbine;
»»Imao sam nešto malo blaga,
»»Mloge lave i mloge timare,
»»Mogao bih otkup sastaviti;
»»Al’ mi, bane, vjerovati ne ćeš,
»»Da me pustiš dvoru bijelome:
»»Tvrda ću ti jamca ostaviti,
»»Tvrda jamca, Boga istinoga,
»»Drugog jamca Božu vjeru tvrdu,
»»Kako ću ti otkup donijeti.««
»I ti, bane, povjerova mene,
»I pušta me dvoru bijelome,
»Očevini i toj postojbini;
»A kad dođoh grdnoj postojbini,
»Tamo su me jadi zabušili:
»U dvorove, postojbinu moju,
»U dvorove kuga udarila,
»Pomorila i muško i žensko,
»Na odžaku niko ne ostao,
»No ti moji dvori propanuli,
»Propanuli, pa su opanuli,
»Iz duvara zovke proniknule;
»Što su bili lavi i timari,
»Pojagmili Turci na miraze;
»Kad ja viđeh dvore zatvorene:
»Nesta blaga, nesta prijatelja;
»Nešto mislih, pa na jedno smislih:
»Mezilskih se ja dofatih konja,
»Te otidoh gradu Jedrenetu,
»Odoh k caru i odoh k veziru,
»Viđe vezir, pa dokaza caru,
»Ja kakav sam junak za megdana;
»Ođede me carevi vezire,
»Ođede me i čador mi dade;
»Car mi dade od megdana vranca,
»I dade mi svijetlo oruže;
»Potpisa me carevi vezire,
»Da sam vojnik caru do vijeka.
»A ti, bane, danas k mene dođe,
»Da ti uzmeš tvoje dugovanje,
»A ja, bane, ni dinara nemam.
»Strahiniću, jada dopanuo!
»Đe ti dođe, da pogineš ludo
»U Kosovu u vojsci carevoj!«
Viđe bane, poznade derviša,
Od đogata konja odsjedaše,
Pak zagrli stariša derviša:
»Bogom brate! starišu dervišu!
»Na poklon ti moje dugovanje!
»Ja ne tražim, brate, ni dinara,
»Ni ja tražim tvoje dugovanje,
»No ja tražim silna Vlah-Aliju,
»Koji mi je dvore rasturio,
»Koji mi je ljubu zarobio;
»Kaži mene, starišu dervišu,
»Kaži mene moga dušmanina?
»Bratimim te i jošte jedan put,
»Nemoj mene vojsci prokazati,
»Da me vojska Turska ne opkoli.«
No se derviš Bogom proklinjaše:
»Ti sokole, Strahiniću bane!
»Tvrđa mi je vjera od kamena,
»Da ćeš sade sablju povaditi,
»Da ćeš pola vojske pogubiti,
»Nevjereti učiniti ne ću,
»Ni tvojega ljeba pogaziti
»I ako sam bio u tamnici,
»Dosta si me vinom napojio,
»Bijelijem ljebom naranio,
»A često se sunca ogrijao,
»Puštio si mene veresijom;
»Ne izdadoh ni dodadoh tebe,
»Ne svjerovah, eli nemah otkud;
»Od mene se nemoj pobojati.
»A što pitaš i razbiraš, bane,
»Za Turčina silna Vlah-Aliju,
»On je bijel čador razapeo
»Na Goleču visokoj planini;
»Tek ti hoću, bane, progovorit’:
»Jaši đoga, bježi iz Kosova,
»El ćeš, bane, poginuti ludo:
»U sebe se pouzdati nemoj,
»Ni u ruku, ni u britku sablju,
»Ni u tvoje koplje otrovano,
»Turčinu ćeš na planinu doći,
»Hoćeš doći, al’ ćeš grdno proći
»Kod oruža i kod konja tvoga
»Živa će te u ruke fatiti,
»Hoće tvoje salomiti ruke,
»Živu će ti oči izvaditi.«
Nasmija se Strahiniću bane:
»Bogom brate, starišu dervišu!
»Ne žali me, brate, od jednoga,
»Tek me vojsci Turskoj ne prokaži.«
A Turčin mu riječ progovara:
»Čuješ li me, deli Strahin-bane!
»Tvrđa mi je Vjera od kamena,
»Da ćeš sade đoga naljutiti,
»Da ćeš sade sablju povaditi,
»Da ćeš satrt’ pola caru vojske,
»Nevjere ti učiniti ne ću,
»Ni Turcima prokazati tebe.«
Zbori bane, pa podrani otlen,
Obraća se sa konja đogina:
»O moj brate, starišu dervišu!
»pojiš konja jutrom i večerom,
»pojiš konja na vodi Sitnici,
»Nu uvjedžbaj, i pravo mi kaži,
»Đe su brodi na toj vodi ladnoj,
»Da ja moga konja ne uglibim?«
A derviš mu pravo progovara:
»Strahin-bane, ti sokole Srpski!
»Tvome đogu i tvome junaštvu
»Svud su brodi, đegođ dođeš vodi.«
Ban udari, vodu prebrodio,
I primi se na konju đoginu,
Primi s’ bane uz Goleč planinu,
On je ozdo, a sunašce ozgo,
Te ogrija sve polje Kosovo,
I obasja svu carevu vojsku.
Al’ da vidiš silna Vlah-Alije!
Svu noć ljubi Strahinjovu ljubu
Na planini Turčin pod čadorom;
U Turčina grdan adet bješe.
Kanal svaki zaspat’ na uranku,
Na uranku, kad ogr’jeva sunce;
Oči sklopi, te boravi sanak;
Koliko je njemu mila bila
Ta robinja ljuba Strahinova,
Panuo joj glavom na krioce,
Ona drži silna Vlah-Aliju,
Pa čadoru otvorila vrata,
Ona gleda u polje Kosovo,
Te ti Tursku silu razgleduje.
Pregleduje kaki su čadori,
Pregleduje konje i junake;
Za jad joj se oči otkinuše,
Te poglednu niz Goleč planinu,
Viđe okom konja i junaka.
Kako viđe i okom razgleda,
Turčina je dlanom ošinula,
Ošinu ga po desnom obrazu,
Ošinu ga, pa mu progovara:
»Gospodare, silan Vlah-Alija!
»Nu se digni, glavu ne digao!
»Nu opasuj mukadem-pojasa,
»I pripasuj svijetlo oruže,
»Eto k nama Strahinića bana,
»Sad će tvoju glavu ukinuti,
»Sa će mene oči izvaditi.«
Planu Turčin, kako oganj živi,
Planu Turčin i okom poglednu,
Pa se Turčin grotom nasmijao:
»Dušo moja, Strahinjova ljubo!
»Čudno li te vlašče prepanulo!
»Od njega si džasa zadobila,
»Kad t’ odvedem gradu Jedrenetu,
»Ban će ti se i onđe prizirat’;
»Ono nije Strahiniću bane,
»Već je ono carev delibaša,
»K mene ga je care opravio,
»Jal’ je care, jal’ Memed vezire,
»Da me care zove na predaju,
»Da ja vojsku caru ne rasturam:
»Prepali se carevi veziri,
»Da im počem sablju ne udarim;
»No da možeš okom pogledati,
»Ti se, dušo, nemoj prepanuti,
»Kad potegnem moju britku sablju,
»Te ošinem car’va delibašu,
»Neka drugog već ne šilje k mene.«
Strahinova progovara ljuba:
»Gospodare, silan Vlah-Alija!
»Ta l’ ne vidiš? ispale ti oči!
»Ovo nije carevi delija,
»Moj gospodar Strahiniću bane,
»Ja poznajem čelo kako mu je
»I pod čelom oči obadvije,
»I njegova oba mrka brka,
»I pod njime puljata đogata,
»I žutoga hrta Karamana;
»Ne šali se glavom, gospodaru!«
Ja kad začu Ture Vlah-Alija,
Kako li se Ture pridrnulo,
Te poskoči na lagane noge,
Opasuje mukadem-pojasa,
A pinjale ostre za pojasa,
I tu britku sablju pripasuje,
A sve vrana konja pogleduje.
U to doba bane pristasao,
Mudar bane, pak je ištetio:
Na jutru mu ne zva dobro jutro,
Niti Turski selam nazivaše,
No mu grdnu riječ progovara:
»A tu li si? jedan kopilane!
»Kopilane, carev hainine!
»Čije li si dvore poharao?
»Čije li si roblje porobio?
»Čiju l’ ljubiš pod čadorom ljubu?
»Izlazi mi na megdan junački!«
Skoči Turčin ka’ da se pridrnu,
Jednom kroči, do konja dokroči,
Drugom kroči, konja pojahao,
Pritegnu mu obadva dizđena.
Al’ ne čeka Strahiniću bane,
No na njega đoga nagonjaše,
Pa na njega bojno koplje pušti;
Udari se junak na junaka,
Pruži ruke silan Vlah-Alija,
U ruku mu koplje ufatio,
Pa ti banu riječ progovara:
»Kopilane, Strahiniću bane!
»A šta li si, vlašče, promislilo?
»Nije s’ ove babe Šumadijnske,
»Da razgoniš i da nabrekuješ,
»No je ovo silan Vlah-Alija,
»Što s’ ne boji cara ni vezira,
»Što j’ u cara vojske državine,
»Čini mi se sva careva vojska,
»Kao mravi po zelenoj travi;
»A ti, more! megdan da dijeliš!«
To mu reče, bojno koplje pušti,
Od prve ga obraniti šćaše,
Bog pomože Strahiniću banu,
Ima đoga konja od megdana,
Kako koplje na planini zviznu,
Soko đogo pade na koljena,
Iznad njega koplje preletalo,
Udarilo o kamen studeni,
Na troje se koplje salomilo:
Do jabuke i do desne ruke.
Dok satrše ona koplja bojna,
Potegoše perne buzdohane:
Kad udara silan Vlah-Alija,
Kad udara Strahinića bana,
Iz sedla ga konju izgonjaše,
A na uši đogu nagonjaše,
Bog pomože Strahiniću banu,
Ima đoga konja od megdana,
Što ga danas u Srbina nema,
U Srbina, niti u Turčina,
Uzmahuje i glavom i snagom,
Te u sedlo baca gospodara;
Kad udara Strahiniću bane
Mučnu alu silna Vlah-Aliju,
Iz sedla ga maći ne mogaše,
Tonu vrancu konju do koljena
U zemljicu noge sve četiri.
Buzdohane perne polomiše,
Polomiše, i pera prosuše,
Pa su britke sablje povadili,
Da junački megdan podijele.
No da vidiš Strahinića bana!
Kažu ima sablju o pojasu:
Kovala su sablju dva kovača,
Dva kovača i tri pomagača,
Od neđelje opet do neđelje,
Od čelika sablju pretopili,
U ostricu sablju ugodili;
Turčin manu, a dočeka bane,
Na sablju mu sablju dočekao,
Po poli mu sablju presjekao:
Viđe bane, pa se razradova,
Ljuto savi i otud i otud,
Eda bi mu glavu osjekao,
Jal’ Turčinu ruke obranio;
Udari se Junak na Junaka,
Ne da Turčin glavu ukinuti,
Ne da svoje ruke ištetati,
No se brani s onom polovinom:
Polovinu na vrat naturaše,
I svojega vrata zaklonjaše,
I banovu sablju oštrpkuje,
Sve otkida po komat i komat
Obadvije sablje isjekoše,
Do balčaka sablja dogoniše,
Pobaciše njine odlomčine,
Od hitrijeh konja odskočiše,
Za bila se grla dovatiše,
Te se dvije ale poniješe
Na Goleču na ravnoj planini;
Nosiše se ljetni dan do podne,
Dok Turčina pjene popanuše,
Bijele su kako gorski snijeg,
Strahin:bana b’jele, pa krvave,
Iskrvavi niz prsi haljine,
Iskrvavi čizme obadvije.
A kad banu muka dosadila,
Tada bane riječ progovara
»Ljubo moja, tebe bog ubio!
»Koje jade gledaš na planini?
»No ti podbi jedan komat sablje,
»Udri, ljubo, mene, ja Turčina:
»Misli, ljubo, koga tebe drago.«
Ali Turčin ljuto progovara:
»Dušo moja, Strahinjina ljubo!
»Nemoj mene, no udri Strahina,
»Nigda njemu mila biti ne ćeš,
»Prijekorna biti do vijeka:
»Koriće te jutrom i večerom,
»Đe si bila sa mnom pod čadorom;
»Mene biti mila do vijeka,
»Odvešću te Jedrenetu gradu,
»Narediću tridest sluškinjica,
»Nek ti drže skute i rukave,
»Raniću te medom i šećerom,
»Okititi tebe dukatima
»Savrh glave do zelene trave;
»Udri sade Strahinića bana!«
Žensku stranu lasno prevariti:
Lako skoči, ka’ da se pomami,
Ona nađe jedan komat sablje,
Zavi komat u vezeni jagluk,
Da joj bilu ruku ne obrani,
Pa obleće i otud i otud,
Čuva glavu Turčin-Vlah-Alije,
A ošinu gospodara svoga,
Gospodara Strahinića bana,
Povrh glave po čekrk-čelenci
I po njeg’vu bijelu kauku,
Pres’ječe mu zlatali čelenku,
I pres’ječe bijela kauka,
Malo rani glavu na junaku,
Poli krvca niz junačko lice,
Šćaše zalit’ oči obadvije.
Prepade se Strahiniću bane,
Đe pogibe ludo i bezumno,
A nešto se bane domislio,
Viknu bane iz bijela grla
Nekakoga hrta Karamana,
Što je hrče na lov naučio,
Viknu bane i opet priviknu,
Skoči hrče i odmah dotrča,
Te banovu ljubu dovatilo;
Al’ je ženska strana strašivica,
Strašivica svaka od paščadi,
Baci komat u zelenu travu,
Ljuto vrisnu, daleko se čuje,
Žuta hrta za uši podbila,
Te se šnjime kolje niz planinu,
A Turčinu oči ispadoše,
Koliko mu nešto žao bješe,
Te on gleda, što se čini šnjome;
Ali banu druga snaga dođe,
Druga snaga i srce junačko,
Te omanu tamo i ovamo,
Dok Turčina s nogu ukinuo.
Koliko se bane uostrio,
On ne traži ništa od oruža
No mu grlom bane zapinjaše,
A pod grlo zubom dovataše,
Zakla njega kako vuče jagnje;
Skoči bane, pa iz grla viknu,
Te nabreknu onog hrta žuta,
Doke svoju kurtalisa ljubu.
Zape ljuba bježat’ niz planinu,
Ona šćaše bježat’ u Turaka,
Ne dade joj Strahiniću bane,
Za desnu je ruku uhitio,
Privede je k puljatu đogatu,
Pa se đogu fati na ramena,
Turi ljubu za se na đogina,
Pa pobježe bane uprijeko,
Uprijeko, ali poprijeko,
Otkloni se od te sile Turske,
Te dolazi u ravna Kruševca,
U Kruševac, u tazbinu svoju.
Viđe njega starac Jug Bogdane,
A srete ga devet milih šura,
Ruke šire, u lice se ljube,
Za lako se upitaše zdravlje.
A kad viđe stari Jug Bogdane
Obranjena zeta u čelenku.
Prosu suze niz gospodsko lice:
»Vesela ti naša carevina!
»Međer ima u cara Turaka,
»Međer ima silnijeh junaka,
»Koji zeta obraniše moga,
»Koga danas u daleko nema.«
Šurevi se njemu prepadoše.
Progovara Strahiniću bane:
»Nemoj mi se, taste, raskariti,
»Ni vi, moje šure, prepanuti;
»U cara se ne nađe junaka,
»Da dohaka mene i obrani;
»Da vi kažem, ko me obranio,
»Od koga sam rane dopanuo:
»Kad dijelih megdan sa Turčinom,
»O moj taste, stari Jug-Bogdane!
»Onda mene ljuba obranila,
»Ljuba moja, mila šćera tvoja,
»Ne šće mene, pomože Turčinu.«
Planu Juže, kako oganj živi,
Viknu Juže đece devetoro:
»Povadite nože devetore,
»Na komate kuju iskidajte.«
Silna đeca baba poslušaše,
Te na svoju sestru kidisaše,
Al’ je ne da Strahiniću bane,
Šurevima riječ govoraše:
»Šure moje, devet Jugovića!
»Što se, braćo, danas obrukaste?
»Na koga ste nože potrgnuli?
»Kad ste, braćo, vi taki junaci,
»Kamo noži, kamo vaše sablje,
»Te ne biste sa mnom na Kosovu.
»Da činite s Turcima junaštvo,
»Desite se mene u nevolji?
»Ne dam vašu sestru poharčiti,
»Bez vas bih je mogao stopiti,
»Al’ ću stopit’ svu tazbinu moju,
»Nemam s kime ladno piti vino;
»No sam ljubi mojoj poklonio.«
Pomalo je takijeh junaka,
Ka’ što bješe Strahiniću bane.
There was a someone called Strahinić the Ban,

Ban is a medieval noble title used throughout the Balkans. The exact meaning of the title varied by time and place, but it was typically used for significant vassals who administered large territories subordinate only to the king.
The person of Strahinić the Ban (or Banović Strahinja) is not attested in historical sources and may be fictional.


was the Ban in little Banjska,

A small village near Zvečan in northern Kosovo. The choice of this village as a home for the protagonist is probably due to the relation of the name of Banjska to the title of Ban.


in little Banjska by Kosovo,
that no falcon can match.
One morning the Ban got up early,
called his servants and summoned them to him:
»O my servants, quickly hurry,
saddle my white horse of the battlefield,
deck him as beautifully as you can,
gird him as firmly as you can,
for I, children, think to travel:
I want to leave the town of Banjska behind,
I want to tire out my white horse
and to go off, children, to be a guest,
at my in-laws’, in white Kruševac,

The capital of the Serbian territory ruled by Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, which he founded in 1371. Located in what is now southern Serbia.


to my dear old father-in-law Jug Bogdan,

Commonly identified with the historical nobleman Vratko Nemanjić, as both are described as the father-in-law of the current ruling Prince Lazar. Beyond this, however, no other details of Jug Bogdan’s life as described in oral tradition are historically attested for Vratko Nemanjić. It is possible that some other inspiration (or a combination of historical figures) lies behind Jug Bogdan. The Jugovićes are his sons.


to my brothers-in-law the nine Jugovićes;
those in-laws of mine miss me.«
The servants heeded their lord,
and saddled up the falcon horse.
Strahinić the Ban outfitted himself,
threw on brocade and velvet,
a proud broadcloth coat,
which cloth was all the redder from water,
and all the ruddier from the sun;

The plain reading of these lines is »which cloth was redder than water, / and ruddier than the sun«. Vojislav Đurić suggests the interpretation used here — that the cloth was redder the more it was washed and ruddier the more it was worn in the sun — in order to explain how the cloth’s redness is related to water.


one Serbian falcon decked himself,
then mounted his white horse of the battlefield,
at once he set out, arrived at his in-laws’,
at his in-laws’, in white Kruševac,
where not long ago the empire was founded;

i.e. where Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović founded the capital of his realm. Oral tradition considers Lazar an emperor and his territory an empire; in reality, he ruled only the largest fragment of the former Serbian Empire, which had collapsed in 1371, and he never styled himself emperor, but only prince and autocrator.


and old Jug Bogdan saw him,
and his nine dear brothers-in-law saw him,
the falcons, the nine Jugovićes,
they could hardly wait for their dear brother-in-law,
they hugged their brother-in-law in their arms,
faithful servants took hold of his horse;
they led their brother-in-law to the Frankish tower,

That is, a castle keep in Western European style.


they sat down at the ready dinner-table,
then addressed some lordly words;
the servants and serving-girls thronged in,
some waited on them, some served wine.
They who were Christian lords,
they sat one after another and drank wine:
at the head of the table old Jug Bogdan,
on the right hand by his shoulder
sat his son-in-law Strahinić the Ban,
and there sat the nine Jugovićes,
and the rest of the lords down the table;
whoever was younger waited on the lords.
And there were nine sisters-in-law,
and the sisters-in-law waited on them alike,
waited on their father-in-law, the mighty Jug Bogdan,
and waited on their lords,
and most of all on their proud brother-in-law;
and one servant served them wine,
served wine from a golden goblet,
the golden goblet carried nine librae;

The litar or litra, of the same origin as the Roman libra, was an archaic unit of weight, equal to 1/120 of a talent or 1/2 of a mina — all in all, roughly 300 grams; it is not to be confused with the metric liter, which shares its name in Serbo-Croatian and has the same etymological origin. The goblet in question is a giant cup shared by entire table.


oh, if you could see the other delicacies,
the delicacies, the thronging nobility,
brother, just like at the emperor’s court!
For a long time the Ban stayed as guest,
for a long time the Ban tarried,
the Ban was proud among his in-laws.
The nobility that was in Kruševac
grew tiresome morning and evening
begging of mighty Jug Bogdan:
»O our lord, mighty Jug Bogdan,
we kiss your silken skirts
and your white right hand,
but try to work us a wonder and a lordly courtesy,
and lead your dear son-in-law,
just lead Strahinić the Ban
into our courts and into our houses,
that we might do him some honor.«
Jug satisfied each one’s inclination.
While they went on like that one after another,
it was long, and time passed,
and a long time the Ban tarried;
but if you could see the sudden misery!
One morning, when the sun warmed,
a mounted courier arrived, and a white letter,
right from Banjska, from the small town,
from his aged mother,
the letter fell upon the Ban’s knee;
when he looked over the letter and studied it,
however, the letter said to him severely enough,
the letter said, where his mother cursed him:
»Where are you, my son, Strahinić the Ban?
Evil to you be the wine in Kruševac!
Evil be the wine, and the unlucky in-laws!
Behold this letter of unheard-of miseries!
Out of nowhere there came a force,
a Turkish one, son, from the emperor of Edirne,

Edirne (old Adrianople), a city in Thrace, was the capital of the Ottoman Empire at the time and remained so until the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453.


and the emperor fell upon the Field of Kosovo,
and the emperor fell upon it, led his viziers,
and his viziers, his unlucky agents.
As for the lands that the emperor has conquered,
he raised their entire Turkish force,
gathered them in Kosovo Field,
hard-pressed the whole Field of Kosovo,
seized both waters:
all down the Lab and the waters of the Sitnica
the force hard-pressed all of Kosovo.
They say, my son, and so people tell:
from Mramor to Suvi Javor,

Almost all of the places listed in this and the following lines are villages in Kosovo. The identity of Čečan is not clear, as no such place is known today; the village of Čečevo and the mountain of Čičavica have both been suggested as possibilities.


from Javor, my son, to Sazlija,
to Sazlija on the vaulted bridge,
from the bridge, my son, to Zvečan,
from Zvečan, they say, to Čečan,
from Čečan to the peak of the mountains
the Turkish force has hard-pressed Kosovo.
Under the numbers on the registers, my son, they say
that the emperor has a hundred thousand troops
of some sorts of emperor’s sipahis,

A kind of professional Turkish feudal cavalry.


who have fiefdoms upon the earth
and who eat the emperor’s bread
and who ride horses of the battlefield,
who do not carry many weapons each,
but just one saber each in his belt;
the Turks have, the Turkish emperor has,
they say, my son, a second mighty army—
fiery janissary Turks,
who hold the white house of Edirne,
of janissaries, they say, a hundred thousand;
they say, my son, and so people tell
that the Turks have a third mighty army—
some Tuka and Mandžuka,

The meaning of these words is unclear. Traditionally it was suggested that they were the names of some Turkic or Tatar peoples in the service of the Ottomans, but no peoples by such names are attested elsewhere. Novak Kilibarda instead argues that the words are expressive and onomatopoeic, intended to suggest raising a din and waving arms with weapons, and not proper names at all.


who roar, and who fight fiercely.
The Turks have all sorts of troops:
the Turks, they say, have one force,
the self-willed Turk Vlah Alija,

This figure is not historically attested, but appears with a similar name in other versions of the poem.


and he doesn’t listen to his venerable emperor,
of the viziers he never even thinks,
of all the rest of the emperor’s army
he thinks as much as ants on the soil;
such a force they say the Turks have;
he, my son, wouldn’t pass along without evil,
he wouldn’t go with the emperor, son, to Kosovo,
he turned by the left-hand road,
then struck at our Banjska,
then brought your Banjska, my son, to misery
and kindled it with living fire,
and didn’t leave the lowest stone standing,
he scattered your faithful servants,
he brought your old mother to misery,
with his horse he broke her bones,
he took your faithful love captive,
led her off to the Field of Kosovo,
loves your love beneath his tent,
but I, my son, wail in the ruins,
and you drink wine in Kruševac!
Evil be the wine to you in the end!«
Oh, when the Ban had studied the letter,
he felt sick and sorry,
in his cheek was a cheerless melancholy,
he hung his dark whiskers low,
his dark whiskers fell to his shoulders,
in his cheek he grew fiercely dour,
tears were ready to hit him.
But old Jug Bogdan saw him,
saw his son-in-law in the morning on getting up,
Jug flashed up like living fire,
spoke out to his son-in-law Strahinić:
»O my son-in-law, may God be with you!
Why, my son-in-law, did you get up early this morning?
And in your cheek a cheerless melancholy?
What is it, my son-in-law, that’s torn you up?
With whom, my son-in-law, have you gotten angry?
Have your brothers-in-law laughed at you,
said something ugly in their conversation?
Have your sisters-in-law not waited on you?
Did you find fault in those in-laws?
Say, my son-in-law, what it is and how it is!«
The Ban flashed up, then spoke out to him:
»Let it be, my father-in-law, old Jug Bogdan!
I got along well with my brothers-in-law,
and my sisters-in-law, lordly ladies,
wonderfully speak, and wonderfully wait on me,
those in-laws of mine have no faults,
but I’ll let you see why I’m unhappy:
a letter arrived from little Banjska,
right from my aged mother.«
He told his miseries to his father-in-law on getting up:
how his courts were plundered,
how his servants were scattered,
how his mother was trampled,
how his love was captured:
»But my father-in-law, old Jug Bogdan!
even though today she’s my love,
my love, yet she’s also your daughter:
it’s a shame for both me and you;
but my father-in-law, old Jug Bogdan,
if you intend to pity me when I’m dead,
pity me while I’m still alive.
I beg of you and kiss your hand
that you give me your nine children,
your children, but my brothers-in-law,
so that I, father-in-law, may set off to Kosovo,
to seek out my enemy,
and the emperor’s fierce renegade,
who has taken captive my captives;
and do not, my father-in-law, take fright,
nor grow worried for your children;
your children, my brothers-in-law, I will,
I want to change their apparel,
and in Turkish apparel dress them:
around their heads white caouks,
and on their shoulders green dolmans,
and on their legs violet baggy breeches,
in their belts fiery sabers;
I will call the servants and say as a hero
let the servants saddle the horses,
saddle them, firmly gird them,
let them cover them with dark bearskins:
I will make your children out to be janissaries;
I will counsel your children, my brothers-in-law,
when they are with me through Kosovo,
and through the emperor’s army in Kosovo,
I’ll be the shock-cavalry captain

The delibaşı, commander of a unit of deli, Ottoman light shock cavalry renowned for their reckless ferocity.

in front of them,
let them be diffident and let them cower,
let them fear their elder;
whoever stops us from the emperor’s army,
whoever stops to speak with us,
stops us in Turkish, changes over to Manic,

The identity of the language here called manovski is unclear, if it represents a real language at all. The word is possibly related to various terms meaning ‘frenzied’ or ‘mad’ such as mahnit, manen, and (perhaps) manov, so that a rendering as ‘Manic’ works in two ways.


I can speak with the Turks,
I can speak Turkish, and I can speak Manic,
and the Arabic language I understand,
and can manage a bit of Albanian;
I will lead your children through Kosovo,
I will spy on the entire Turkish army,
until I find my foe,
the Turk, the mighty Vlah-Alija,
who has taken captive my captives;
let my brothers-in-law be there in need,
for alone, my father-in-law, I can die, —
with my brothers-in-law I won’t die,
or easily fall to wounds.«
When old Jug Bogdan heard that,
Jug flashed up like living fire,
to his son-in-law Strahinj-Ban he spoke out:
»Strahinj-Ban, you, my dear son-in-law,
this morning I’ve seen that you have no wits.
Why do you ask from me my nine children,
to lead my children to Kosovo,
to Kosovo, for the Turks to slaughter them,
my son-in-law, don’t say any more,
I won’t let my children be led to Kosovo,
even if I never see my daughter again.
My dear son-in-law, foolhardy Strahinj-Ban,

The word here used, deli, originally meant ‘crazy’ but has come to mean ‘brave’ or even ‘heroic’ in the modern language. As used in this poem, it is not always clear how far along the spectrum from one meaning to the other the word has gone. No attempt has been made to translate it consistently. (The word has the same origin as the name of the type of Ottoman shock cavalry troops mentioned in the notes above.)


why have you gotten yourself so torn up?
Don’t you know, son-in-law, — may people not recognize you! —
But if she has spent a single night,
one little night with him under his tent,
she can’t be dear to you any more,
God has killed her, so she is damned,
she loves him more than you, son;
let her go, the devil take her!
I’ll wed you to a better love,
I will drink cold wine with you,
be friends forever;
but I won’t let you take my children to Kosovo.«
The Ban flashed up like living fire,
in bile and that furious torment
he would not shout nor summon a servant,
for the hostler he had not a single care,
but he went off alone to his white horse in the stables.
Oh, how the Ban saddled him,
how firmly he girded him!
Then he bridled him with a steel bit,
led him in front of the courts to the courtyard
to the white mounting-stone,
and grabbed on to his white horse by the shoulders;
he looked at his nine brothers-in-law,
and his brothers-in-law looked at the black earth.
The Ban looked at his wife’s sister’s husband,
some young Nemanjić,
and the Nemanjić looked at the earth.
When they were drinking wine and brandy,
everyone boasted to be good heroes,
boasted to their brother-in-law and swore to God:
»We love you, Strahinić the Ban,
more than all the land of our empire!«
But if you could see the misery in a time of need!
This morning the Ban had no friend:
it is not easy to go to Kosovo.
The Ban saw he had no comrade,
he went off alone through the field of Kruševac.
Oh, when he was off down the wide field,
he turned to look at white Kruševac,
wouldn’t his brothers-in-law remember him,
wouldn’t they feel sorry for him;
but when he saw that morning in his need
that his main friends weren’t there for him,
he fell to thinking, and he recalled
his greyhound Karaman,
whom he loved more than his good white horse,
so he cried out from his white throat,
the hound had stayed behind in the stable;
he heard his voice, quickly ran up,
until he caught up with the white horse in the field,
beside the white horse the hound leapt,
and his golden collar clinked;
it was a dear thing, he conversed with the Ban.
The Ban set off on his white horse,
then passed over fields and mountains,
oh, when he came to the Field of Kosovo,
when he cast his eyes on the force in Kosovo,
well, the Ban fell a little frightened,
so he invoked the true God,
into the Turkish horde he trod.
The Ban went over the Field of Kosovo,
the Ban went to all four sides,
the Ban was searching for the mighty Vlah-Alija,
but the Ban could not find him;
the Ban lowered himself to the waters of the Sitnica,
he walked right into a wonder:
upon the shore of the waters of the Sitnica
there was a single green tent,
the broad tent pressed down the field;
on the tent was an apple of gold,
it shone like the fiery sun;
in front of the tent a lance was embedded,
and to the lance a raven horse was tied:
on his head was a great Istanbul feedbag,
he pawed with his right and left feet.
When Strahinić the Ban saw that,
he reckoned it up and thought it over in his mind:
it’s just the tent of the mighty Vlah-Alija! —
then he spurred his white horse onward.
The hero took down his lance from his shoulders,
then opened the door of the tent
so as to see who was beneath the tent;
it wasn’t the mighty Vlah-Alija,
but it was a single old dervish:
his white beard passed his belt;
no one else was in the tent with him, —
that unhappy dervish was a roisterer:
the Turk drank wine from a jug,
but he poured alone, but he drank the cup alone,
the dervish was bloodshot to his eyes.
When Strahinić the Ban saw him,
then he greeted him with a Turkish salaam,
the drunken dervish looked him up and down with his eyes,
then spoke out a laborious word to him:
»May you be healthy, brave Strahin-Ban,
from little Banjska by Kosovo!«
The Ban flashed up, he fell fiercely frightened,
then answered the dervish in Turkish:
»You, dervish, unhappy be your mother!
Why are you drinking, why are you getting drunk,
so that you speak out immoderately in your drink
and call a Turk an infidel?
Why are you bringing up some sort of Ban?
This is no Strahinić the Ban,
but I am the emperor’s shock-cavalryman;
the imperial parade-horses have snapped their halters,
they ran off into the Turkish horde,
all the shock-cavalry quickly set off running,
to grab up the parade-horses for the emperor;
if I tell the emperor, even the vizier,
what words you said to me,
you, old man, will fall into misery.«
The dervish laughed uproariously:
»You, a shock-cavalryman, Strahinić the Ban!
You know, my Ban, — may miseries not know you! —
If I were right now on Goleč mountain,
if I saw you in the emperor’s army,
I would recognize you and your white horse,
and your greyhound Karaman,
whom you love more than your good white horse.
You know, Ban, from little Banjska!
I recognize your forehead as it is
and beneath your forehead both your eyes,
and I recognize both your dark whiskers.
You know, my Ban, — may strange things not know you! —
When I fell into captivity on a time,
your guardsmen seized me
in Suhara, on the peak of the mountain,
they gave me into your hands,
you threw me to the bottom of your dungeon,
then I served as captive and endured the dungeon
and tarried for nine years,
the ninth passed, and the tenth came,
and you, o Ban, had pity,
so you called Rade the dungeon-keeper,
your dungeon-keeper to the dungeon doors,
he led me out to you in the courtyard.
You know, my Ban, you know, Strahinić,
when you asked and questioned me:
»Captive of mine, snake of a Turk,
what brought you to fall into my dungeon!
Can it be, captive, that you can ransom yourself a hero?«
You asked me, and directly I said:
»I could ransom my life,
if only I could reach my court,
my inheritance and even my native home;
I had some little bit of wealth,
many estates and many fiefdoms,
I could put together a ransom;
but, Ban, you won’t believe me
to let me go to my white court:
I will leave you a firm guarantor,
a firm guarantor, the true God,
a second guarantor, my firm faith in God,
that I will bring you my ransom.«
And you, my Ban, believed me,
and let me go to my white court,
my inheritance and that native home;
but when I came to my wretched native home,
there miseries came driving into me:
in the courts, my native home,
in the courts a plague had struck,
extinguished both the male and the female,
no one was left at my hearth,
but those courts of mine fell to ruin,
fell to ruin, and so they collapsed,
elder trees grew through the walls;
what were once estates and fiefdoms,
the Turks had scrabbled over for their dowries;
when I saw the closed courts:
my wealth gone, my friends gone;
I thought for a time, then at once I had an idea:
I grabbed a courier horse,
then set off for the city of Edirne,
I went to the emperor and I went to the vizier;
I saw the vizier, and he informed the emperor,
just what kind of a hero I was for the battlefield;
the emperor’s vizier outfitted me,
outfitted me and gave me a tent;
the emperor gave me a raven horse of the battlefield,
and gave me bright weapons;
the emperor’s vizier registered me,
that I was the emperor’s soldier unto eternity;
and you, my Ban, come to me today
to take what I owe you,
and I, my Ban, have not a dinar.
O Strahinić, fallen into misery!
What brought you here to die for nothing
in Kosovo, in the emperor’s army?!«
The Ban looked, he recognized the dervish,
he dismounted from his white horse,
then embraced the old dervish:
»Brother by God, old dervish,
have what you owe me for free as a gift!
I’m not looking, brother, for a single dinar,
nor am I looking for what you owe me,
but I’m looking for the mighty Vlah-Alija,
who laid waste my courts,
who captured my love;
tell me, old dervish,
tell me of my foe!
I name you my brother even once again:
don’t expose me to the army,
so the Turkish army doesn’t encircle me.«
But the dervish swore by God:
»You, falcon, Strahinić the Ban,
my faith is firmer than the rocks,
if you drew your saber right now,
if you killed half the army,
I wouldn’t do you any treachery,
nor trample on your bread:
even if I was in your dungeon,
you plied me with enough wine,
you fed me with white bread,
and often I warmed myself in the sun,
you let me go on credit;
I wouldn’t betray, nor would I turn you over;
I didn’t keep my word, but I had no means to do it;
don’t be afraid on my account.
But why do you ask and investigate, Ban,
after the mighty Turk Vlah-Alija,
he pitched his white tent
on Goleč, the high mountain;
but, my Ban, I want to say something to you:
ride your white horse, flee from Kosovo,
because, my Ban, you will die for nothing:
don’t set confidence in yourself,
neither in your arm, nor in your keen saber,
nor in your envenomed lance,
you’ll come to the Turk on his mountain,
you will come, but badly you will pass:
with your weapons and with your horse
he will seize you alive in his arms,
he will break your arms,
he will tear out your living eyes.«
Strahinić the Ban laughed:
»Brother by God, old dervish,
don’t pity me, brother, because of one man,
just don’t expose me to the Turkish army.«
But the Turk spoke out a word to him:
»Do you hear me, brave Strahin-Ban,
my faith is firmer than the rocks;
if you angered your white horse right now,
if you drew your saber right now,
if you crushed half the emperor’s army,
I wouldn’t do you any treachery,
nor expose you to the Turks.«
The Ban spoke, then set off early from there,
he turned around atop his white horse:
»O my brother, old dervish,
you water your horse morning and evening,
you water your horse at the waters of the Sitnica,
but judge, and tell me straight,
where are the fords in that cold water,
so that I don’t mire my horse in mud?«
But the dervish spoke out to him straight:
»Strahin-Ban, you Serbian falcon,
for your white horse and your heroism
every place is a ford, wherever you reach water.«
The Ban struck out, he forded the water,
and he set himself on his white horse,
the Ban set himself up Goleč mountain,
he was below, and the sun above,
and it warmed all the Field of Kosovo,
and lit up all the emperor’s army.
But if you could see the mighty Vlah-Alija!
All night he loved Strahin’s love,
the Turk on the mountain beneath his tent;
the Turk had an ugly habit:
always ready to fall asleep in the early hours,
in the early hours when the sun began to warm,
he closed his eyes, then sojourned in a dream;
so dear to him was
that captive love of Strahin’s,
he dropped his head in her lap,
she held the mighty Vlah-Alija,
then opened the door of the tent:
she looked out on the Field of Kosovo,
then looked over those Turkish forces,
looked over what tents there were,
looked over horses and heroes;
her eyes tore away out of misery,
and she cast a look down Goleč mountain,
with her eye she saw a horse and a hero.
As she saw and looked them over with her eye,
she lashed the Turk with her palm,
she lashed him on his right cheek,
she lashed him and then spoke out to him:
»My lord, mighty Vlah-Alija,
Come, get up, or you’ll never raise your head!
Come gird up your choice belt,
and gird on your bright weapons,
there, he’s coming to us — Strahinić the Ban,
now he’ll cut off your head,
now he’ll tear out my eyes.«
The Turk flashed up like living fire,
the Turk flashed up and cast a look with his eye,
then the Turk laughed uproariously:
»My soul, Strahin’s love,
has that odd Vlach made you cower,
you’ve gotten a fright from him!
When I lead you off to the city of Edirne,
the Ban will appear to you even there!
That isn’t Strahinić the Ban,
but rather it’s the emperor’s shock-cavalry captain,
the emperor has directed him to me,
either the emperor has, or Mehmed the vizier,
to call me to submit to the emperor,
so I don’t go around scattering the emperor’s army:
the emperor’s viziers have fallen scared
lest I go strike them with my saber;
But if only you could see with your eyes,
don’t fall frightened, my soul,
when I draw my keen saber,
and lash the emperor’s shock-cavalry captain,
let him not send a second one after me!«
Strahin’s love spoke out:
»My lord, mighty Vlah-Alija,
are you blind, may your eyes fall out!
That is no shock-cavalryman of the emperor —
my lord Strahinić the Ban:
I recognize his forehead as it is
and beneath his forehead both his eyes,
and both his dark whiskers,
and beneath him his dappled white horse,
and his yellow greyhound Karaman;
don’t joke around with your head, my lord!«
Oh, when the Turk Vlah-Alija heard that,
how the Turk filled with fury,
then he jumped up on light legs,
he girded up his choice belt,
and sharp daggers on his belt,
and he girded on that keen saber,
and looked all at his raven horse.
At that moment the Ban approached,
the wise Ban, so he gave offense:
in the morning he didn’t call good morning to him,
nor greet him with a Turkish salaam,
but spoke out to him with ugly words:
»So there you are, you bastard,
bastard, emperor’s renegade!
Whose courts did you plunder?
Whose captives did you take captive?
Whose love do you love beneath your tent?
Come out to me on the battlefield like a hero!«
The Turk leaped up as if filled with fury,
as he strode one stride, he strode up to his horse,
as he strode a second, he mounted his horse,
he pulled both its reins tight.
But Strahinić the Ban didn’t wait,
but spurred his white horse on at him,
and let loose his battle-lance at him;
hero struck against hero,
the mighty Vlah-Alija stretched forth his hands,
in his hand he grabbed his lance,
then spoke out a word to the Ban:
»Bastard, Strahinić the Ban,
and what did you, Vlach, expect to do?
Here there are no old Šumadija women
for you to scatter and to shout away,
but this is the mighty Vlah-Alija,
who fears neither emperor nor vizier:
as for the armies in the emperor’s holdings,
the entire emperor’s army seems to me
like ants in the green grass;
but you, fool, would divide the battlefield with me!«
Having said that, he let loose his battle-lance,
on the first shot it would have wounded him;
God helped Strahinić the Ban,
he had a white horse of the battlefield:
just as the lance whistled over the mountain,
his white falcon horse fell to his knees,
the lance flew over him,
struck the cold rock,
the lance shattered into three:
at its socket and at its right-hand grip.
When they had used up those battle-lances,
they drew their flanged maces:
when the mighty Vlah-Alija struck,
when he struck Strahinić the Ban,
he drove him from the saddle of his horse,
and drove him up onto his white horse’s ears;
God helped Strahinić the Ban,
he had a white horse of the battlefield,
such as there is not among the Serbs today,
among the Serbs, nor among the Turks,
he tossed up with his head and his strength,
and he threw his lord back in the saddle.
When Strahinić the Ban struck
the painful dragon, the mighty Vlah-Alija,
he couldn’t shift him from his saddle,
though his raven horse sank up to his knees
with all four legs in the earth.
They broke their flanged maces,
broke them, and spilled their flanges,
so they took out their keen sabers,
to divide the battlefield like heroes.
But if you could see Strahinić the Ban!
What a saber he had in his belt:
two smiths forged the saber,
two smiths and three helpers,
from a Sunday again to a Sunday,
they recast the saber out of steel,
along the blade they made the saber fit,
the Turk swung, but the Ban awaited him,
he awaited his saber on his saber,
he cut his saber in half;
the Ban saw it, then he rejoiced,
bent furiously both this way and that,
so he might cut off his head,
or wound the Turk’s arms;
hero struck against hero,
the Turk wouldn’t let his head be torn off,
wouldn’t let his arms be harmed,
but he defended himself with that half:
he forced the half to his neck,
and sheltered his own neck,
and chipped down at the Ban’s saber,
ripped it all away piece by piece.
Both sabers were cut apart,
their sabers were driven down to their hilts,
they threw away their fragments,
they leapt down from their quick horses,
they grabbed each other by their white throats,
and then the two dragons wrestled
on Goleč, on the level mountain;
the summer day drew on to noon,
until foam fell spewed by the Turk,
it was as white as mountain snow,
Strahin-Ban’s was white, then bloody,
it bloodied the robes beneath his chest,
it bloodied both his boots.
And when the Ban grew sick of this agony,
then the Ban spoke out a word:
»Love of mine, may God kill you!
What miseries are you watching on the mountain?
Rather thrust up one piece of a saber,
strike, love, either me or the Turk:
think, love, of whoever you like.«
But the Turk spoke out fiercely:
»Soul of mine, Strahin’s love,
don’t strike me, but strike Strahin,
you won’t be dear to him ever again,
you’ll be rebuked forever:
he will rebuke you morning and evening
because you were with me under my tent;
to me you’ll be dear forever,
I’ll lead you off to the city of Edirne,
I’ll order thirty serving-girls,
let them carry your skirts and sleeves,
I’ll feed you with honey and sugar,
deck you with ducats
from the top of your head to the green grass;
now strike Strahinić the Ban!«
It’s easy to deceive the female side:
she jumped up lightly as if frenzied,
she found one piece of a saber,
wound the piece in an embroidered handkerchief,
so that it wouldn’t wound her white hand,
then flew around both this way and that,
she spared the head of the Turk Vlah-Alija,
but lashed her own lord,
lord Strahinić the Ban,
at the top of his head upon his wheeling aigrettes
and upon his white caouk,
she sliced through his golden aigrette,
and she sliced through his white caouk,
she wounded the head of the hero a little,
spilled blood down his hero’s face,
it was ready to water both his eyes.
Strahinić the Ban fell frightened,
to die madly and senselessly;
but the Ban had an idea,
the Ban shouted from his white throat
to his some-sort-of-greyhound Karaman,
which the hound had learned on the hunt,
the Ban shouted and again called him shouting,
the hound jumped up and at once came running,
and grabbed onto the Ban’s love;
but the female side is easily frightened,
easily frightened, every one, of dogs,
she threw the piece in the green grass,
she shrieked out fiercely, it could be heard far away,
she seized the yellow hound by the ears,
then they savaged each other down the mountainside,
but the Turk’s eyes just about fell out,
so sorry he felt over it,
and he looked to see what was happening with her;
but a second strength came to the Ban,
a second strength and a heroic heart,
and he swung thither and hither,
until he threw the Turk from his feet.
So sharp grew the Ban’s anger,
that he didn’t look for any kind of weapon,
but the Ban stretched him tight by the throat,
and beneath his throat seized him with his teeth,
slaughtered him like a wolf does a lamb.
The Ban jumped up, then shouted from his throat,
and shouted down that yellow hound,
until he released his love.
His love started off to flee down the mountain,
she would flee to the Turks,
Strahinić the Ban wouldn’t let her,
by her right hand he arrested her,
he let her up to his dappled white horse,
then grabbed his white horse by the shoulders,
piled his love behind him on the white horse,
then the Ban fled off to the opposite side,
to the opposite side, but straight across,
he hid himself from those Turkish forces,
then came to flat Kruševac,
to Kruševac, to his in-laws.
Old Jug Bogdan saw him,
and his nine dear brothers-in-law greeted him,
they spread their arms, they kissed each others’ faces,
they asked after his good health.
But when old Jug Bogdan saw
his wounded son-in-law and aigrette,
he spilled tears down his lordly face:
»May our empire be cheerful to you!
So the emperor really has some Turks —
so there really is a mightier hero —
who could wound my son-in-law,
whose like can’t be found for miles around today.«
His brothers-in-law fell frightened of him.
Strahinić the Ban spoke out:
»Don’t you go gloomy-faced with me, my father-in-law,
nor you, my brothers-in-law, fall frightened:
the emperor has no such hero
that could square up accounts with me and wound me;
let me tell you who it was that wounded me,
from whom I received these wounds:
when I divided the battlefield with the Turk,
o my father-in-law, old Jug Bogdan,
then my love wounded me,
my own love, your dear daughter,
she wouldn’t help me, she helped the Turk.«
Jug flashed up like living fire,
Jug shouted out to his nine children:
»Pull out your nine knives,
tear the bitch to pieces!«
The mighty children listened to the old man,
and they swooped upon their sister;
but Strahinić the Ban wouldn’t give her,
he spoke a word to his brothers-in-law:
»My brothers-in-law, you nine Jugovićes,
why, my brothers, have you disgraced yourselves today?
Against whom have you drawn your knives?
Brothers, when you are such great heroes,
where where the knives, where were your sabers,
when you wouldn’t go with me to Kosovo,
to do some heroism with the Turks,
if something happened to me in need?
I won’t let you slaughter your sister,
without you I could have had done with her,
but instead I will have done with all my in-laws,
I have no one to drink cold wine with;
but I have granted my love her life.«
There are few such heroes
as was Strahinić the Ban.


12. The Nemanjićes were the old ruling dynasty of the Serbian Empire from 1166 to 1371; by the time of this poem, the empire had largely disintegrated, and the Nemanjićes were reduced to a mere noble family at the court of Prince Lazar Hrebljanović. It is unknown to which specific Nemanjić this poem refers.
13. Literally, an »Istanbuller«. Vuk Karadžić notes: »that is, an Instanbullish (large) feedbag.«.
14. Specifically, a kauk, a round wool or cotton hat around which the Turks wound their turbans.