There Is A Land Where Rivers Flow

There is a land where rivers flow
Through humming forests merrily
And babble gaily as they go
While tuneful skylarks sing in glee.
There people shed abundant sweat
In summer, working heavily,
And threadbare clothing – shred on shred –
Covers their bodies scantily.
And yet they treat with all their heart
A guest with hospitality
With food and drink all piping hot
Without undue formality.
The slender lasses of that land
Are fairer than in any song.
That land is Lithuania,
But I was there not very long...
Inviting folk to sleep, the sun
Beneath the skyline hides away;
Poor Lithuanians then sing
After the labours of the day,
And pretty girls with faces bent
Towards the rue, at evening hours
Water it, breathing in its scent,
And pluck the lily's fragile flowers.
A warm, soft evening I recall
After a torrid summer day;
With peace and calm it fills my soul,
While songs rise somewhere far away.
A distant bell sends heavy chimes,
Pure clear and loud they come to me.
I cannot sleep, although the birds
Long since sleep fast in every tree.
Like river waters flow my thoughts,
My spirit bathes in perfect bliss,
And Nature seems to say to me:
How lovely Lithuania is!
My country! What a lovely land
I left and lost so suddenly!
No words are there that could express
My anguish flowing turbidly!

Translated by Dorian Rottenberg
(Contributed by daniel on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011)
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Lithuanian Literature

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