In Here Is Everything
A book that measures the reader. A book of experience and holiness, resembling the most reliable manuscripts-guides, rules of faith and ethics. Full of laughter and fear. A drama in time, in a human, in language. History of glory and fate. The way one understands ”Mountain Wreath” is the way one understand one’s self. Student, professor, father, son, school, state, Montenegro, Serbia. The way the nation interweaves is the way the wreath around its head and destiny interweaves. And, we, my brother, unweave ourselves

By: Dragan Lakićević

A religious person is the one who knows (and follows) the Bible, a Serb is the one who knows (and follows) Mountain Wreath.
Mountain Wreath is a book which ”became effective” immediately after it has been written.
It was written by Petar II Petrović Njegoš (1813-1852), Serbian Orthodox bishop, ruler of Montenegro. He wrote it in the Cetinje monastery, with a view of Lovćen and the sky, in candlelight and by the relics of his uncle Petar I Petrović Njegoš, Saint of Cetinje.
He wrote it with the hand of a former shepherd, hero and monk. Had those who kissed that hand ever assumed that they had been kissing immortal poetry?
Shepherd and Pastor, warrior and metropolitan, world traveler and ”the Ill One of Cetinje” (Miodrag Popović), ”spreading the glory of God and chivalry” (Holy Bishop Nikolaj)  – only such a spirit was able to write such a versatile, complex, poetically and philosophically remarkable book.
Njegoš first wrote poems about heroes and battles, cosmic and philosophical poems, then the poem Light of the Microcosm, and the historical drama False Emperor Šćepan the Small. His thoughts mix with folk and Shakespeare’s proverbs.
All this was exceeded by Mountain Wreath, a work above all genres, a book which resembles the nation (”it is from the head of the whole nation”) so that the nation would resemble the book even when it is unworthy of it.
There are collectors of different editions of Mountain Wreath. Most of them were published in Belgrade… There are several preserved handwritten texts from this book. There used to be many people who knew it by heart.


Why did Njegoš write Mountain Wreath?
Every reader of this book could have his or her own answer. Many answers have been written. Like answer, like reader.
Here is one less known answer in the form of a story-memory.
In the eve of World War II, in the first half of the XX century, Mountain Wreath was deep within the national being. It was a book of experience and sanctity, resembling the most reliable manuscripts-supports, rules of faith and ethics.
At that time – I have been told – Mountain Wreath was a true national book among the people, both in school and at home, obligatory and voluntary. A book for learning and fun, treasury of wisdom, tradition and folk life.
At that time – my mother’s mother told me – Mountain Wreath was ”performed” as a small local theatrical play in the village of Lipovo near Kolašin. During the winter holiday, schoolchildren and university students, young students of theology, non-commissioned officers and teachers came – from Cetinje, Berane, Peć, Prizren, Kragujevac, Belgrade (all this was one country and almost everyone had an uncle, aunt or good friend from the army somewhere) and performed the famous poem.
They would assign the roles and learn them, rehearse and make costumes. ”They dress into Montenegrin cloths, borrow in the village sabers, guns, whatever the Germans had not plundered.”
Everyone knew who must play Bishop Danilo: the tallest, the most handsome, with excellent grades, one who resembles Njegoš... Prior Stefan could also not be played by just anyone: his voice was supposed to be corresponding to what he is telling about the world (”it is a structure of hellish disharmony”); Mandušić and Mićunović: presentations of different heroes – one with deadly words and mind, the other with a gun and big heart… Duke Draško humorously and naively reports about Europe – then and now (”They promised me even what I had not asked”)... Priest Mićo is played by a rascal and the Old Woman by the village comedian...
Mountain Wreath is full of laughter and fear. There is nothing which is not described there. The whole history is told in one night...”
There are Serbs and Turks, Batrić’s Sister, curses of Serdar Vukota, brothers, students, wedding guests, gusle, Kolo...
After everything has been prepared and rehearsed, the play expected by the whole village is scheduled – in that house, on that Saturday… The beds and the table are taken out of the big room. The room is full of people. Mountain Wreath is performed – everyone participates.
Even those who only helped at rehearsals, brought old weapons or brandy, learned by heart the crucial words:

Rash and greedy converted to Islam -
- may their Serb milk make them all sick with plague!
Those who escaped before the Turkish sword,
those who did not blaspheme at the True Faith,
took refuge here in these lofty mountains...

Both those who perform and those who watch feel that they are the ones who ”took refuge” after the Kosovo battle.
After the play begins, everyone is enchanted. Nobody knows anybody. They are all ”there”, at the Lovćen Crkvina or in the Cetinje monastery. They listen to the formulas of survival on earth. Life is not life if it is not according to the formulas of Mountain Wreath. We are either Njegoš’s follower, or we are not people and Montenegrins...
–  I wonder who is playing Duke Draško? – whispering is heard from the audience.
”Some say: he is played by this one, and this one sits by him – he cannot be in both places. Yet, perhaps it is possible in a play.”
Duke Draško from Lipovo resembles Duke Draško from Mountain Wreath, and this is achieved by Njegoš’s words:

There were, brother, many handsome people,
but ugly folk outnumbered them ten times,
much too ugly for you to look at them....

(Whenever I have been in squares, metros, airports of big cities watching the faces and turmoil of many people, the words of Duke Draško repeated in my mind: There were, brother, many handsome people...)
Heroes look like family members and cousins from the past.
Outside is a snowy night under Mount Sinjajevina, in the house is the flame of poetry and battle: the forehead burns, people speak with God.
”One book in the village and everyone knows it by heart.”
Perhaps that is why Njegoš wrote Mountain Wreath as a drama. Not to resemble antique dramas and world classics, but to give its readers (and fellow countrymen) parts which they choose. So that everyone could recognize oneself in the characters of Mountain Wreath.


Like Mountain Wreath, like nation: bishop, prior, duke, prince, wedding guest, priest, witch… Turks… Around all this – Serbian history: the tribunal of our fate glows from the depth – Kosovo. (”Only a Serb can understand these words because only a Serb understands Kosovo with his heart and soul...” writes Bishop Nikolaj in Njegoš’s Religion.) The Kosovo Supper of Prince Lazar is in the Last Supper from the church… Obilić shines from the past with a ”horrible thought”, from the present echoes the ”whip of tyrants” and ”Father of Serbia”: ”But the hero of Topola, the great, immortal Karadjordje, saw many hurdles in his way, yet he reached his grandiose goal…”
A drama – one cannot say whether it is more epical or lyrical. ”Above this human drama, like a clear and sharp sky of the Old Testament, rises the bright and cruel Prior Stefan: cruel and strong faith of Moses’ Tables, which requests the legal fulfillment for the glory of general harmony and does not forgive…” (Rastko Petrović)
Njegoš’s drama is the drama of Old Montenegro, as well as the key of Serbian existence, ”where Obilić rules over shadows”: what we leave as our heritage, why we take the Muslim faith, is there reconciliation and salvation for us? The drama is in time, in the human, in language. The most horrible is the drama of the most responsible one:

Do not wonder at what you see in me,
the dark thoughts that tear my soul apart
and my chest heaving with horror...

Those thoughts that tormented Bishop Danilo also tormented Njegoš. There they are, in Mountain Wreath… Those thoughts are tearing us apart today too – us, Njegoš’s people. It is no wonder that Ivo Andrić wrote that Njegoš ”is the tragic hero of the Kosovo thought”.
The Kosovo thought is one, yet it includes many thoughts – bright and dark, glorious and tragic. Njegoš’s Religion states: ”Obilić is Njegoš’s ideal... Mićunović most resembles Obilić...” (The same Mićunović from the historical work.)


Mountain Wreath was first printed in the historical year of 1847 in Vienna, at the same time when the ”sister books” were printed – Branko’s poems and Vuk’s translation of the New Testament...
The cover page of the book is extremely important, yet nobody thought about it.
At the beginning is the title – wreath of glory, poetic aureole, the dedicated divine glow around the heads of heroes and martyrs, a frame with the words ”historical work at the end of the XVII century”... [If it is historical, it happened… In history or in the soul? What is the relation between the soul (of the poet) and history (of the nation)? And so many interpreters of Mountain Wreath tried so hard to confirm that the historical event never happened… If it had not happened, perhaps it will… Perhaps it is happening today… In heads or in dates – no difference. Poetry is based on this.]
The word sočinenije means work, deed.
Whose? – P. P. NJ. – that is how, only with initials, the greatest Serbian poet printed his name on his greatest literary work… There is not even the II (Second), to differ from his uncle.
And then Bishop of Montenego. (Without the R.)
The work, the deed, the sočinenije of a Montenegrin bishop. The bishop poet has a higher aim – to create Mountain Wreath, history of glory and fate.
And just there – the mistake!
No one noticed the mistake.
Isn’t this a real literary riddle?
How is it possible that the book-constitution has a mistake, even though it is only one letter?
Books without mistakes are rare.
Perhaps nobody saw the mistake. Why would they look at the covers if the miracle is inside: ”Dear God became angry with the Serbs…”
How come the mistake is in the word ”Montenegrin”? The adjective ”Montenegrin” used to be dedicated and uncompromised with its opposites. A word with an ethical meaning. Montenegrin – the gilded Serbian mirror...
The one who did see it remained silent. Not to appear ridiculous for looking for mistakes in Mountain Wreath.
Who am I to correct Njegoš?
Even today we question ourselves based on Mountain Wreath. The way one understands Mountain Wreath is the way one understands one’s self: student, professor, father, son, school, state, Montenegro and Serbia. Yugoslavia – this word was first printed by Njegoš.
The way the nation interweaves is the way the wreath around its head and destiny interweaves. And, we, my brother, unweave ourselves...


Shining Lonely, in the Sun, above the Sea
”Then, the skies fall like a curtain and Lovćen appears. The lyrical relation towards God is new, after Kosovo, Njegoš shines lonely, in the sun, above the sea. He comes out of the darkness, first consciousness. As big as Aeschylus, he changes us, takes us before the unknown and unseen, almighty and omnipresent, incomprehensible and impassable.”
Miloš Crnjanski
Serbian Literary Tribune, 1925.


From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију