I'm afraid that fool death will defeat me soon,
The hunger, lice and cold will do me in,
And I'll die as in winter an old beggar dies,
All alone, without comfort of friend or kin.
I had hoped a bullet would strike me down,
In the thick of battle a hero I’d fall,
But alas! An enfeebled, sputtering flame,
In captivity I am fated to pall.
I have witnessed my hopes all reduced to dust,
All the hopes of achievement that had run so high.
I should never have written: “I’ll die with a smile”
For it's true, my dear friends, I don’t want to die!
Is it possible I have lived long enough?
Could I do very much in that span on earth?
I am certain that if my life were prolonged
It could be from hereon of much greater worth.
I had never before to this very day
Felt such pain and such searing fire in my blood,
Such desire for freedom and such distress,
Such consuming anger and hatred and love!
Only now have I fathomed what flaming fire
In a human heart can billow and flame.
I have failed to give of that fire to my land
And that thought is what gives me no end of pain.
If one has to die for one’s own land,
Such a death would not grieve or terrify.
But, my friends, I start blushing with shame to think
That of hunger and hardships I may die.
I want to live so that for my native land
I could give my heart to the very last beat.
So that “Motherland, ’tis for your sake I die...”
With my dying breath I could happily breathe!