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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From John Kollar—Sonnet

By Sir John Bowring (1792–1872)

From the ‘Cheskian Anthology’

THERE came three minstrels in the days of old

To the Avaric savage—in their hands

Their own Slavonian citharas they hold:

“And who are ye!” the haughty Khan demands,

Frowning from his barbaric throne; “and where—

Say where your warriors—where your sisters be.”

“We are Slavonians, monarch! and come here

From the far borders of the Baltic sea:

We know no wars—no arms to us belong—

We cannot swell your ranks—’tis our employ

Alone to sing the dear domestic song.”

And then they touched their harps in doubtful joy.

“Slaves!” said the tyrant—“these to prison lead,

For they are precious hostages indeed!”