Spring, flower, hair, girl
Ivan Jevtic / Unsplash

'Spring' by August Šenoa, one of Croatia's greatest writers

An English translation of poem 'Proljeće' by the legendary August Šenoa

Lara Rasin
Written by
Lara Rasin

If you haven't yet heard of August Šenoa - you may already know him better than you think. Maybe you've eaten a summertime ice cream next to his statue on Zagreb's famous Zrinjevac Park. You might have enjoyed a beer in his old stomping ground, pub Pod Starim Krovovima. Or maybe you've meandered down Šenoa's street next to King Tomislav Square, in a post-Advent mulled wine daze. Either way, there's a reason his likeness and impact are so prevalent across Zagreb and beyond.

Zagreb-born August Šenoa (1838-1881) is one of the most iconic and influential literary figures of all time in Croatia. This Easter, we're giving you a special, poetic treat (if you've still got space after all of the lamb, ham and cake). Read on for an exclusive English translation of poem 'Proljeće' by August Šenoa.


August Šenoa

Earth, its old winter clothing did dissolve,

And new young nature from underneath springs,

Across the meadow, mild breeze new breath brings,

Silvery waves’ foams playfully convolve;

All of us feel as if we've anew sprung,

All of our chests do rise with pure delight.

Yet you are forlorn; what causes your plight,

By what most dire grief is your poor heart stung?

Alas, all creatures frolic and rejoice,

While happiness I know not, or dear voice;

I, in the midst of Paradise, despair:

Cold strong winds blow and the meadows turn green,

The wheat is gold, grapes show their purple sheen,

Yet my heart cries; why ask you, maiden fair?

Translation by Lara Rasin.

Find the Croatian original here.

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