- Serbian epic poetry
Serbian epic poetry (Српске епске народне песме) is a form of
epic poetryoriginating in the Serbian lands, today's Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegroand Croatia. The main cycles were composed by unknown Serb authors between the 14th and 19th centuries. They are largely concerned with historical events and personages.
Their structure contains some repeating formulas ("Dear God, a great miracle", "years of days", "writes a tiny letter", "they have fought till summer day noon") and numbers; the number three is used to such extremes that, for example, if something breaks, it always "breaks into three halves". Longer poems can have more than five hundred lines. Each line has exactly ten syllables and
caesuraafter fourth syllable. Songs could be recited, but traditionally they are sung accompanied by a musical instrument called gusle.
The corpus of Serbian epic poetry is divided into cycles:
*Pre-Kosovo cycle - poems about events that predate the
Battle of Kosovo
*Kosovo cycle - poems about events that happened just before and after the
Battle of Kosovo(no poem covers the battle itself)
*Post-Kosovo cycle - poems about post-Battle events
*Poems about the liberation of Serbia
*Poems about the liberation of Montenegro
Poems depict historical events with varying degrees of accuracy.
Modern Serbian Epic Poetry
Serbian epic poetry is being made even today in this same form. Modern songs sing about modern events and people, such as the
Kosovo waror Radovan Karadžić. Some modern songs are published in books or recorded, and under copyright, but some are in public domain, and modified by subsequent authors just like old ones. There are new songs that mimic Serbian epic poetry, but are humorous and not epic in nature; these are also circulating around with no known author. In the latter half of the 19th century, a certain MP would exit the Serbian parliament each day, and tell of the debate over the Monetary Reform Bill in the style of epic poetry.
Marko Kraljevićspeaks: )
*cquote|"Thou dear hand, oh thou my fair green apple, Where didst blossom? Where has fate now plucked thee? Woe is me! thou blossomed on my bosom, Thou wast plucked, alas, upon
*cquote|"Oh my bird, oh my dear grey falcon, How do you feel with your wing torn out?" "I am feeling with my wing torn out Like a brother one without the other."
Modern example of Serbian epics as recorded in 1992 by film director
Paweł Pawlikowskiin a documentary for the BBC"Serbian epics"; an anonymous guslesinger compares Radovan Karadžić, as he prepares to depart for Genevafor peace talk, to Karađorđe, who had led the First Serbian Uprisingagainst the Turks in 1804 [cite book |author=Judah, Tim |title=The Serbs - History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia |year=1997 |location=New Haven and London |publisher=Yale University Press] :
List of national poetries
* [http://www.rastko.org.yu/isk/nmilosevic-oral_tradition.html An article about Serbian oral tradition]
* [http://home.earthlink.net/~markdlew/SerbEpic/index.htm Songs from Kosovo cycle]
* [http://www.kosovo.net/sk/history/battle_of_kosovo.html The Battle of Kosovo - Serbian Epic Poems] Preface by
Charles Simic"Swallow Press/Ohio University Press," Athens 1987
* [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/hbs/ Heroic Ballads of Servia] "translated by George Rapall Noyes and Leonard Bacon", 1913
** [http://www.njegos.net/audio/poucenje_u_stihovima.mp3 Lesson in rhyme]
** [http://www.njegos.net/audio/pjesma_karadjordju.mp3 Poem for Karadjordje]
** [http://www.njegos.net/audio/pogibijapasenaselokruse.mp3 Fate of vizier Mahmud-pasha in the village of Krusa]
** [http://www.slobodnasrpska.org/muzika/jama/KoritskaJama1.mp3 Pit of Korich] [http://www.slobodnasrpska.org/muzika/jama/KoritskaJama2.mp3 Part 2] [http://www.slobodnasrpska.org/muzika/jama/KoritskaJama3.mp3 Part 3]
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