Monday, May 18, 2009

B-ze Pravde: Thoughts About Serbia's Anthem

I am a big fan of national anthems and flags. My fondness for national anthems transcends my personal political bias. Israel, Germany and Taiwan all have nice anthems. Although I find Israel's to be too secular, I like the music.

One of my all time favourite anthems is that of Serbia. It was the anthem of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and underwent slight modification to be suitable for a republic. Despite being of Croatian ancestry, I have included the lyrics in English translation with this article as well as the original lyrics in both the Serbian Cyrillic and Croatian alphabets.

To give my readers an idea of how important the Serbian anthem is to Serbians, I am including a clip of Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic listening to the Serbian national anthem being played after she won a major tennis championship in 2008. She is clearly moved to tears by the playing of her country's anthem. Her manifest love of her country eclipses any personal pride she may have felt at winning an international championship. Her attitude and its intensity are worthy of emulation. At the bottom of this article I am including a musical and a reference link to this anthem. I hope my readers check them out.

One theme upon which I have contemplated on more than a few occasions is the word "Pravde". In Serbian and in Croatian it is translated as "justice." Its cognate in Russian is "Pravda" which is translated as "truth". The interdependence of truth and justice is obvious upon reasoned reflection. To see the two tied together so closely in Slavic etymology is a movin matter upon which to reflect.

I certainly come to Serbian and Croatian history as an outsider. The resonance that the Serbian anthem has to me has a lot more to do with events in my live than it does with the historical events to which it alludes. But great art and music is like that. certain universal themes transcend national boundaries.

B-ze Pravde

English Translation

God of Justice; Thou who saved us
when in deepest bondage cast,
Hear Thy Serbian children's voices,
Be our help as in the past.

With Thy mighty hand sustain us,
Still our rugged pathway trace;
God, our hope; protect and cherish
Serbian lands and Serbian race!

Bind in closest links our kindred
Teach the love that will not fail,
May the loathed fiend of discord
Never in our ranks prevail.

Let the golden fruits of union
Our young tree of freedom grace;
God, our Master! guide and prosper
Serbian lands and Serbian race!

Lord! Avert from us Thy vengeance,
Thunder of Thy dreaded ire;
Bless each Serbian town and hamlet,
Mountain, meadow, heart and spire.

When our host goes forth to battle
Death or victory to embrace-
God of armies! be our leader
Strengthen then the Serbian race!

On our sepulchre of ages
Breaks the resurrection morn,
From the slough of direst slavery
Serbia anew is born.

Through five hundred years of durance
We have knelt before Thy face,
All our kin, O God! deliver,
Thus entreats the Serbian race!

Боже правде, ти што спасе
од пропасти до сад нас,
чуј и од сад наше гласе
и од сад нам буди спас.

Моћном руком води, брани
будућности српске брод,
Боже спаси, Боже храни,
српске земље, српски род!
Србију нам Боже брани,
моли ти се српски род!

Сложи српску браћу драгу
на свак дичан славан рад,
слога биће пораз врагу
а најјачи српству град.

Нек на српства блиста грани
братске слоге златан плод,
Боже спаси, Боже храни
српске земље, српски род!
Србију нам Боже брани,
моли ти се српски род!

Из мрачнога сину гроба
српске круне нови сјај,
настало је ново доба,
нову срећу Боже дај.

Србију нам Боже брани,
пет вековне борбе плод,
Боже спаси, Боже храни,
српске земље, српски род.
Србију нам Боже брани,
моли ти се српски род.”

Bože pravde, ti što spase
od propasti do sad nas,
čuj i od sad naše glase
i od sad nam budi spas.

Moćnom rukom vodi, brani
budućnosti srpske brod,
Bože spasi, Bože hrani,
srpske zemlje, srpski rod!
Srbiju nam Bože brani,
moli ti se srpski rod!

Složi srpsku braću dragu
na svak dičan slavan rad,
sloga biće poraz vragu
a najjači srpstvu grad.

Nek na srpstva blista grani
bratske sloge zlatan plod,
Bože spasi, Bože hrani
srpske zemlje, srpski rod!
Srbiju nam Bože brani,
moli ti se srpski rod!

Iz mračnoga sinu groba
srpske krune novi sjaj,
nastalo je novo doba,
novu sreću Bože daj.

Srbiju nam Bože brani,
pet vekovne borbe plod,
Bože spasi, Bože hrani,
srpske zemlje, srpski rod.
Srbiju nam Bože brani,
moli ti se srpski rod.

This article is an adaptation based on an article that I posted on The original was lost due to difficulties on the site several months ago. Sphere: Related Content

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