Vandalian/Slovene verse

Vandalian verse (org. Versus Vandalici)

Vandalian/Slovene verse (org. Versus Vandalici) was the first secular poem in Prekmurje dialect (language), »Prekmurje poetic solitary«, Slovenian poem. It was written by David Novak on shrove on February 16th 1774. David was a student of evangelist lyceum Bratislava in Hungary, today’s Slovakia. Versus Vandalici was harbinger of Prekmurje secular lyric, half century later, Jožef Košič created truly Prekmurje secular lyric poetry.

Name vandalian is referred to Slovenians (people of Prekmurje). First name of Prekmurje Slovenians with word vandar goes to 16th century, at that time in Dolnja Lendava they printed book of rituals in Latin – Agenda Vandalica. In German language, the name of people of Prekmurje was written as Wendisch and Windisch. In Latin and scientific works they used the name vandalians, vandalicus for people of Prekmurje.

When David Novak wrote the poem he was 17 years old, he wrote it on the day of shrove as at that time, and still sometimes, they had a habit to prepare versified texts. Once they wrote text in Latin language, but in times of Reformation and Enlightenment, they wrote poems in native language. Lyceum in Bratislava was visited by students from Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia and Croatia, that is why they wrote in their native language.

They trained in versification, classical Latin and modern classical forms were theoretically learned in class. At the same time they practiced public performing, through versificationed presentations they were learning about their classmates.

Vandalian verse was stored in library archieve together with the poem of David’s classmate Jan Podhradski (Versus Slavic).

Original song:
Poszlühne da eszi proszim vasz GOSZPODA,
ka bom vam jasz pravo od toda národa,
Steri vzimi vhi’zi pr petsi sze gloda,
ar ga mraz mentüje od vszakoga hoda.

V zimenszkom vreimeni páver szi zgutsáva,
od szvojih sztarissih on prpovidáva,
med gyesztyami szidi ne boji ga gláva
ino tak zdremlenyom on sztrahe odáva.

Tak pravi meo szem jasz jedrnu mamitzu,
Ali mrla mi je mam za nyou Katitzu,
Vzeo szam szi sztrelitzu znyou szam bojou ftitzu,
Mama szu szküali prav dobru ‘zupitzu.

Nejde on vörte mi vets na njive s zpüglom,
ka bi se obratsao szvoim friskem tzügom,
liki vleti goni eden priton drügom,
tsa szarvas haj red’za ‘züle draple sztrügom.

Kae pa moj otsadelau vSzent-Gothardi,
Dare je meo pune fsze fplündre tokvardi,
Noszou je okoulik tam otetz na dardi,
Török Basse glávo novtze v Salavardi.

Te je dobre bilou na szvéti ‘ziveti,
Mogou jete tslovik dosta pénesz meti,
Nei je meo nevouli ni vzimi ni vleti,
Vbibor, vbarsonszki gvant mogoú je odeti.

Meo je moj sztari ded prav tütsnoga brava,
Tak je biu veliki, kako divgya krava,
Seszt tzentov je vagao meo je gyetra zdrava,
Dosta bilou dobra ali zima prava.

I zdaj tak delámo, pri ogni szidimo,
K fassanki szprávlati tüdi sze hitimo,
Dosta gostüvanyau rediti vidimo
I tak tzélo zimo veszelo dr’zimo.


Translated song:
Listen here, would you please, GENTLEMEN,
what shall I say to you about this nation,
which in winter in the house next to the furnace is snuggling,
because the cold is saving him from every march.

In winter time a peasant is talking,
about his ancestors he speaks,
at the open furnace he is sitting, his head does not hurt,
and thus with drowsiness he looks up to magpies.

So he says: I had a good mommy,
but she died, instead of her I have Katica,
I took the arrow, I killed a bird with it,
mother cooked a really good soup.

He does not go, believe me, any more  on the fields with plough,
in order to turn around with his swift yoke,
as in the summer, when he runs one (ox) next to another,
»go left, go right!« he is poking them with a goad.

What was my father doing in Saint Gotthard,
when he had full of goods in his hammers;
on the spit my father carried around
the head of Turkish pasha, and coins in Turkish trousers.

Then it was good to live in the world,
a human could have a lot of money,
he had no problems nor in winter, nor in summer,
in scarlet, in velvety dress he could cover him self.

My grandfather had a fat little pig,
it was so big, like a wild cow,
six hundred it weighted, it had a healthy liver,
a lot was good, but the winter was hard.

Again we are working so now, sitting at the fire,
with preparations for Shrovetide we hurry,
a lot of work for weddings we see,
and so whole winter we happily endure.

It is eight-stanza poem, each with four lines. In poem David poetised peaceful life of his own rural community in wintertime. In a poetic narrative, he weaved the image of farmer, who shortens wintertime with narration about old times and their ancestors. He also writes some historical and ethnographic readouts (battle of Saint Gotthard – in year 1664 a Christian army defeated Osmans at Szentgotthárdi, who also scatter Republic of Prekmurje (it is Slovenian ethnic territory of Železna and Zalska parish in Kingdom of Hungary – Prekmurje and Rába Valley)).

He connected all mentioned motives with a genre-specific exposure of advantages of peasant life and communion of peaceful and carefree village life according to classical patterns of Greek and Latin arcadian and buccal poetry. Rococo poem was created in spirit of late Baroque, in it the young student David relied on Pannonian versification tradition. In this modern poetic form, he also expressed a part of life of his community in Republic of Prekmurje.


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