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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Oral Verse


  Webdesign J. Groß

Songs of the Battle of Kosovo

INTRODUCTION Version 3 | 1937 Version 6 | 1954
Version 1 | 1923 Version 4 | 1952 Version 7 | 1955
Version 2 | 1931 Version 5 | 1954 Version 8 | 1998

Songs of the Battle of Kosova of 1389
Version Eight, published in 1998



Murat the First sits with his legs crossed.
Victory! He’s won Kosova.
Now a lad comes from Drenica
Riding on a snow-white stallion,
Through the army’s ranks he gallops,
Jumps and kneels before the Sultan:
“Majesty, my greetings to you,
I’m an Albanian from this region,
Never broken was your sabre,







Your advance was ne’er impeded,
Proof you’ve never furnished of this
Better than in Fushë Kosova.
Forthwith have I come to greet you,
Kiss your hand, and bow in honour.”
To him stretched his foot the sultan,
And the lad leapt forth and slew him.
“As a guest you’ve come from Asia
Uninvited to Dardania,
Come to steal our bags of flour,
Take our place here on the planet,
We’ve no need of all your army,
Arbënia has her own defenders,
With their caps your head they’ll cover,
I am Mirosh from Drenica!
Kings and sultans err here often,
Arbënia’s sons cannot be conquered.
On the lad did pounce the soldiers,
Felled him, chopped the head off Mirosh.
Mountain birds do chirp and wonder
Who is climbing up that hillside?
Headless now proceeds that body,
White with snow now turns the mountain.


[Recited by Sali Mani of Tropoja. Recorded in Shkodra in 1998. From Këngë popullore historike, vol. 1, No. 6, Prishtina: Instituti Albanologik 2007, p. 76-77. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie.]