My Testament
Juliusz Slowacki

I lived with you -- I suffered and wept with you.
Never did I regard any noble soul with indifference.
Today I say farewell and go on to the shadows -- with ghosts --
And, as though happiness were found here -- I go sadly.

I left behind no inheritance
Neither for my lute -- nor for my name --
My name has passed as lightning,
And will be as an empty sound through generations.

But you who knew me will write in your reports
That I spent my younger years for my country,
And as long as the ship battled, I sat at mast,
And when it sank, I went down with it...

But some day -- as I (a noble soul?) contemplate the sad lot
Of my poor country -- any noble soul will admit
That my mind's cloak was not elect (that the cloak of my spirit . . . )
But sanctified by the piety of my ancient progenitors.

Let my friends gather at night
And burn my poor heart in aloes,
And give it back to the one who gave it to me --
That's how the world pays off mothers as it carries away the ashes...
Let my friends sit at the punch-bowl
And drink to my funeral -- and their own poverty...
If I will be a ghost -- then I'll appear to them,
If God frees me from torture -- I won't come...

But will take an oath -- may the living not lose hope
And carry the torch of enlightenment before the nation;
And if need be, they will go one by one to death,
As stones thrown by God at the rampart... (barracks)

As for me -- here I leave behind a small friendship
Of those who were able to take a liking to my proud heart;
Know that I did my cruel, hard duty toward God...
And here agreed to have -- an unlamented coffin...

Who else would consent, without worldly honors,
To go, as indifferent as I toward the world?
To be the helmsman of a boat full of spirits
And fly away so silently -- as a spirit when it departs?

Nevertheless that fatal strength remains after me,
Which was nothing to me in life --only adorned my head --
But after death that unseen force will crush you
Until it transforms you bread-eaters into angels.
- translated by Walter Whipple