Heroism of the Hungarian People

Louis Kossuth

Gentlemen have said that it was I who inspired the Hungarian people. I cannot accept the praise. No, it was not I who inspired the Hungarian people. It was the Hungarian people who inspired me. Whatever I thought and still think – whatever I felt and still feel, is but the pulsation of that heart which in the breast of my people beats! The glory of battle is for the historic leaders. Theirs are the laurels of immortality. And yet, in encountering the danger, they knew that, alive or dead, their names would, on the lips of people, forever live. How different the fortune – how nobler, how purer, the heroism – of those children of the people, who went forth freely to meet death in their country’s cause, knowing that where they fell they would lie, undistinguished and unknown – their names unhonoured and unsung! Animated, nevertheless, by the love of freedom and fatherland, they went forth calmly, singing their national anthems, till, rushing upon the batteries, whose cross-fire vomited upon them death and destruction, they took them without firing a shot – those who fell falling with the shout, “Hurrah for Hungary!” And so they died by thousands – the unnamed demigods! Such is the people of Hungary. Still it is said, it is I who have inspired them. No! A thousand times no! It is they who have inspired me.