Let the first word be: "God help us!"
and the second word is: "So it shall be if God wills!"
The third word is: "God bring us good fortune!"
and the fourth is for to sing a song
if I know how and can remember it, 5
and if my throat will serve me to do it,
though it doesn't seem that it will settle to the work.
High-pitched gusle and my old throat,
those are two things that don't go together;
green cabbage and stringy meat 10
- those are another two things that don't go together.
O my gusle of well-cured maple
that preserves memory of olden things,
having no fit player is hard for you;
hearing others slander me is hard, 15
as is singing when people distract me;
being constrained to sing is hard for me,
as being constrained to resonate is for you.
Having no meat to eat is hard for a wolf,
and having no horse to ride is hard for a Turk; 20
having no wine to drink is hard for a Vlach,
and sleeping alone is hard for a widow,
as is getting an eyeful of her for a monk,
and wiping away tears for a young priest.
A saber suffers in the hand of a coward, 25
and so does a maiden in the hands of an old man;
and so does a fur hat on the head of a wastrel,
and knickers on a bowed leg,
gold threat on coarse cloth,
and a necklace on a dirty neck. 30
But now, gusle, you old babbler,
let us sing a song of combat
that happened once upon a time,
about the deeds of heroes
who left remembrance of themselves to us, their children, 35
to be sung and told
so long as ever the sun and moon do shine;
forever shall the gusle recall them to mind,
that they be not easily forgotten. 39