These translations are generally quite literal; they strive for accuracy rather than aesthetic perfection. The idea is that, with some basic grammatical knowledge, it should be possible to follow along with the work in the original language and understand it. The translations are mostly complete, but I have bracketed portions where I am uncertain of the translation with square brackets.
East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, etc.) epic poetry
Слово о плъку Игоревѣ
[The Lay of Igor's Campaign]
Russian prince Igor Svyatoslavich undertakes a disastrous invasion of the lands of the Cuman Khans Gzak and Konchak in 1202.
South Slavic (Serbian, Croatian, etc.) epic poetry
The Kosovo Cycle:
Bog prepisuje carstvo
[God Overwrites the Tsardom]
A Croatian poem (the majority of the cycle consists of Serbian poems) presaging the coming destruction of the Serbian Tsardom by the Ottoman Empire.
Ottoman Sultan Murat demands the submission of Serbian Tsar Lazar.
[The Kosovo Curse]
Tsar Lazar curses anyone who doesn’t come to Kosovo to fight against the Ottomans.
[The Prince’s Supper]
Tsar Lazar and his court eat their last supper before the battle, and accusations of imminent treachery abound.
Kosančić Ivan uhodi Turke
[Kosančić Ivan Spies on the Turks]
Serbian noblemen Kosančić Ivan and Miloš Obilić spy on the Turkish army’s camp and realize they are hopelessly outnumbered.
Propast carstva srpskoga
[The Ruin of the Tsardom of Serbia]
The Ottoman and Serbian armies finally meet on Kosovo field in 1389. The Serbs are routed and destroyed by the treachery of Vuk Branković. Both Tsar Lazar and Sultan Murat are killed.
Serbian nobleman Musić Stefan prepares for battle, goes to Kosovo field to fight, and perishes.
Car Lazar i Carica Milica
[Tsar Lazar and Tsaritsa Milica]
Milica, wife of Tsar Lazar, sees off her husband to battle and afterward receives tidings of the disaster at Kosovo field.
Carica Milica i Vladeta vojvoda
[Tsaritsa Milica and Vladeta the Voivod]
Vladeta the voivod brings Milica tidings of the battle and of Vuk Branković’s betrayal.
Tri dobra junaka (fragment)
[Three Good Heroes]
Three Serbian noblemen fight in the battle on Kosovo field.
Smrt majke Jugovića
[The Death of the Mother of the Jugovićes]
A mother hears of her sons’ deaths in the battle and then dies herself.
[The Kosovo Maiden]
A maiden wanders the battlefield in the aftermath of the rout, giving aid to the wounded and dying.
Glava kneza Lazara
[The Head of Prince Lazar]
Lazar’s head separates from his body after his death in the battle.
Obretenje glave kneza Lazara
[The Finding of the Head of Prince Lazar]
Lazar’s head is discovered and miraculously goes of its own accord to rejoin his body to be buried at the church he founded.
World War II poetry from Kordun:
Oj narode ujedinite se
[O People, Unite]
A call for the people to rise up against fascist occupation.
Biće boja i pušaka
[There will be Battles and Rifles]
Another call to arise against the fascists.
Razvila se partizanska sila
[A Partisan Force has Developed]
A Partisan guerrilla force forms to fight the Nazis.
Zaplakala i gora i trava
[Both the Mountains and the Grass Wept]
A sister betrays her brother, a resistance fighter, to the Germans.
Petrova mi gora mati
[Petrova Mountain is my Mother]
A Partisan sings of how the fascists killed his family and burned down his house, leaving him to fight to the death in the woods of Petrova Mountain.
Na Kordunu grob do groba
[At Kordun, Grave to Grave]
A mother seeks the grave of her son, who died as a resistance fighter in Kordun.
When the Ottoman Empire invades Serbia in 1389, a band of renegade Turks under Vlah-Alija raze Banović Strahinja’s castle, trample his mother, and kidnap his wife. He must infiltrate the Turkish camp in disguise to take her back.
The less famous Croatian version of the above poem, which has a completely different ending.
Kad je Strahinjići Banoviću žena učinila izdaju, i kad su je za to braća nja pogubili
[When Strahinja Banović’s wife betrayed him, and when therefore her brothers slew her]
The oldest known version of Banović Strahinja
: shorter, more realistic, and crueler than the famous version, again with an utterly different ending.
[The Walling of Skadar]
Three brothers, Serbian princes, set about building the castle of Skadar (Shkodër), but their work is undone every night by a vila (a sort of nature spirit). The only way to appease the vila is for one of them to wall up his wife inside the castle wall as a human sacrifice.
Jurišić Janko, a Serbian outlaw (hajduk), manages to escape from imprisonment in a Turkish dungeon.
Middle English poetry
Man mai longe liues weene
[Man may ween long life]
A medieval poem about the futility of life and inevitability of death.
Worldes blis ne last no throwe
[Worldly bliss lasts not a moment]
Another poem on the same subject, and one of the oldest known songs in English.
Russian revolutionary and Soviet songs
[Hymn of the People's Will]
A very old revolutionary song from 1861. «If you must die in prisons and damp mines, — your work will always resound in generations of the living.»
Near Eastern mythology
’Ĕlōhîm creates the world. Three different translations of the text are given: one very literal, one more readable, and one versified as poetry. I have attempted to interpret according to the grammatical and linguistic features of the Hebrew text, not any doctrinal or theological ones. The result is a translation that is probably not acceptable for any modern religious use, but rather attempts to reflect the original text accurately as an ancient religious/literary work. (Only the first chapter is done so far.)