And only the Terek bewailing
With fury broke in on the hush,
As dashing her billows on billows
Her writhing floods onward did rush.
A youth's form her currents are bearing,
Ah vainly they murmur and swell!
A woman, a pale and a fair one
Cries down from her tower "Farewell!"
Her voice has the sound of faint weeping,
So amorous, tender and sweet
As if she in love's holy rapture
Did promise of meeting repeat!
[Tamara is the Russian Lorelei. TJte ruins of her
castle are still shown in the pass of Darjal on the famous
THE GIFT OF THE TEREK
HPHROUGH the rocks in wildest courses
Seethes the Terek grim of mood,
Tempest howling its bewailing,
Pearled with foam its tearful flood.
At the mountain's feet soft streaming,
Gentler grown its murmurs be,
And with greeting full of fawning
Speaks to the Caspian Sea:
"Hospitable part thy billows,
Give me room, oh Ocean grave!
From a distance drawing thither
Scarce my weary currents wave.
Born upon the edge of Kasbek,
By the breast of clouds renewed,
Hatred have I sworn to mankind,
Who with us, the free, make feud.
See, by rage of my own fury
Lies despoiled my Darjal home,
And as playthings for thy children,
Pebbles bearing now I come."
THE GIFT OF THE TEREK
Yet upon her strands a'dreaming,
Mute the grey Sea did remain,
And the Terek, silver foaming,
Spoke caressingly again.
"Grey Sea I would serve thee only,
Have a present borne to-day
See, 'tis a young Carabineer
Who has fallen in the fray.
How his coat of mail is gleaming
Silver on the billows' span!
Golden on his trappings shining
Blessing of the Alcoran!
Menacing the one who slew him
Scowls the brow's relentless feud,
By his noble life blood crimsoned
O'er his lips his hair is glued.
Through the half-closed eyelids glancim
Still the lust of quarrel mocks,
From his head deep underneath him
Flow the matted raven locks."
Motionless upon her beaches
Did the grey Sea still remain,
And the Terek foaming yellow
In displeasure spoke again.
THE GIFT OF THE TEREK
"So then, take him as a present,
As I nothing fairer know
On this round earth, for thee only
This rare prize I've guarded so!
'Tis a mountain Cossack's body
Waited 'mid my billows' dance,
See his hair, no silk is softer
See his shoulder's gold expanse!
See how o'er his red lips speechless
Now the seated eyes find rest;
Trickling yet the purple life blood
From the small wound on his breast.
For a young and holy maiden,
Weeps lamenting, every heart!
One sole Cossack in the village,
In this mourning takes no part.
From the confines of his country
Rode he forth with boding grey,
'Neath the dagger of the Tscherkcs
He has breathed his soul away."
And the Terek paused; behold now
In the gleaming foam flood drowned,
Silvered in the spraying billows
Dips a head with rushes crowned.
THE GIFT OF THE TEREK
And the hoary one's lips whisper
Haughty words of youthful fire,
And the eyes lit with love lustre
Flame with passionate desire.
Foaming, rushing on swift longing,
Seethed he up in youthful zest
And the Terek flood was wedded
With him in embraces blest.
ON DEPARTURE FOR THE CAUCAS
IpAREWELL my hateful Russian country!
People of lord and serf you are
Farewell, salute, bent knee and hand-kiss,
Three-masters, uniform and star!
Soon will the Caucas now conceal me,
There I shall not discovered be
By eyes and ears of paid, false sergeants
Who all do hear and all do see!
TO THE CLOUDS
/CLOUDS ye eternal wanderers in hunting grounds
High o'er the verdant Steppes, wide through the blue
Coursing fraternal, say, must ye exiled as I
From the beloved North to the far South be driven?
O tell me, were ye outlawed thus by Fate's behest?
Drives ye forth open hate, or secret grudge flee ye?
Follows ye unappeased an evil-doer's curse?
Are ye pursued by poisonous words of calumny?
Ah no! Only from the unfruitful earth ye fly;
Free are your sufferings, your blessedness is free,
Ye know not wretchedness that holds us here in
Know not the joy of home or exile's misery!
TO MY COUNTRY
VI7ITH love of my own race I cling unto my
Whatever dubious reason may protesting cry;
The shame alone of all her blood bought glory,
Her haughty self-assurance, conscious pride,
And the ancestral faith's traditions dark,
With woe have penetrated all my heart.
And yet I love it! Why, I cannot say;
The endless snowy Steppes so silent brooding,
In the pine forests Autumn winds pursuing
The flood's high water on all sides in May.
By peasant cart I fain would haste in nightly darkness,
Through the lone wilderness and village desolate,
How hospitable shines the sole beam sparkling
To me from each poor hut! Filled with content so
The smell of stubble burnt, delights. Piled high
The wagons silent standing take their nightly rest,
On distant hills the silver birches I descry,
Framed gold by fertile fields the sacred picture blest.
Then with a joy unshared save by the vagrant,
I see the threshing floor well filled and fragrant,
The sloping straw-thatched cottage roofs again,
The window panels carved, of varied stain.
TO MY COUNTRY
Nightly could I, till morning grey arrested,
Gaze on the dancing, stamping, whistling crowd,
Watching the villager, young, happy, festive
And hearing drunken peasants glad carouse!
winged footsteps now I hasten
Unto the far cold North away,
Kasbek, thou watchman of the East,
To thee, my farewell greetings say!
Since all eternity, a turban
Snow white, thy glorious brow has veiled,
The peace sublime about thy glacier
The strife of man has ne'er assailed.
Accept my humble supplication,
Hear thy submissive faithful son,
To starry heights lift his entreaty
To Allah's everlasting throne.
I do implore spice breathing coolness
Through sultry sun-glow in the vale,
A stone for rest unto the pilgrim
In whirling dust of desert gale.
Turn, I implore, the storm's hot hatred,
The deadly thunderous lightning's course
In Dariel's wild pass protect me
And my distracted, trembling horse.
Yet one prayer more my heart audacious,
Weeping, lifts up in bodeful stress,
What if my native land forget me
In my sad exile's loneliness?
Will, greeting me by name familiar,
My friend then open wide his arms?
Will e'en my brothers recognise me,
So changed by many griefs and harms?
Perchance my foot will fall profaning
Dust of those loved in youth's far day,
The pure and noble, deeply trusted
Withered as Autumn leaves in May.
O Kasbek, then with earth o'erwhelm me!
Snow o'er thy weary wanderer back,
And blow away my dust and scatter
Along thy rock-ridged clefts lone track!
COFT singing at midnight through heaven's high
A beautiful angel once flew;
The moon and the stars and the clouds in a throng
Attended his wonderful song!
He sang of the bliss of those gardens and coasts
Where live and exult the pure ghosts,
Their songs glad extolling Almighty's grace
Repeated from race unto race.
In his arms he was bearing a young soul below,
To leave in this world of our woe,
The strains of his singing within her soul beat
A wordless song, living and sweet!
Long languished her soul in its earthly abode,
With a heavenly longing o'erflowed,
For ne'er were those holy, pure strains of her birth,
Effaced by the songs of the earth.
pAITHFUL before thee, Mother of God, now
Image miraculous and merciful of thee
Not for my soul's health nor battles waged, beseech-
Nor yet with thanks or penitence o'erwhelming me !
Not for myself, my heart with guilt o'erflowing
Who in my home land e'er a stranger has remained,
No, a sinless child upon thy mercy throwing,
That thou protect her innocence unstained!
Worthy the highest bliss, with happiness O bless her!
Grant her a friend to stand unchanging at her side,
A youth of sunshine and an old age tranquil,
A spirit where together peace and hope abide.
Then, when strikes the hour her way from earth for
Let her heart break at dawning or at dead of night
From out thy highest heaven, thy fairest angel send-
The fairest of all souls sustain in heavenward flight!
A SINGLE sail is bleaching brightly
Upon the waves caressing bland,
What seeks it in a stranger country?
Why did it leave its native strand?
When winds pipe high, load roar the billows
And with a crashing bends the mast,
It does not shun its luckless fortune,
Nor haste to port before the blast.
To-day the sea is clear as azure,
The sun shines gaily, faint the wind
But it revolting, looks for tempest,
And dreams in storms its peace to find!
Lermontojf, being reproached by the critics of his
time for imitation of Byron in this poem, defended
himself by the following, "I am not Byron!''
I AM NOT BYRON
T AM not Byron yet I am
One fore-elected, yet one more
Unknown, world-hunted wanderer,
A Russian in my mood and mind.
Scant from my seed the corn was ripe,
My mouth spoke young, was early hushed;
In depths of my own soul, the wreck
Of hope lies as in deep-sea sunk.
Who shall the counsels of the sea,
Its awe sublime unloose? Who shall
Read clear my spirit and my soul?
Unless it be a Poet no man!
LIKE AN EVIL SPIRIT
J IKE an evil spirit hast thou
Shocked my heart from out its rest,
If thou'lt take it quite away now
Thou wilt win my healing blest!
My heart thy temple evermore!
Thy face, the altar's Godhead sign!
Not heaven's grace, thy smiles, restore,
Grant absolution, joy divine!
TO A. C. S.
A FAR I fain so much would tell thee!
List to thee o'er and o'er when near;
Yet passioned glances thou dost silence
My words bind to my lips in fear.
How, by mere homely speaking, can I
E'en hope to captivate thine ears?
I swear it would be food for laughter
If it were not more fit for tears!
leaf trembling on the branches
Before the blast,
Poor heart quaking in the bosom
For woe thou hast;
Ah what matter if the wind then,
Withered leaf from blooming linden
Should scatter wide?
Would for this the twig or branches
Have wailing sighed?
And should the lad his fate upbraid,
Although he ignominious fade
And in an alien country die?
Will for him the beauteous maid
CAILLESS and without a rudder,
On the ocean of the air
Float the choirs of stars harmonious,
'Mid the mists eternal there;
Fleecy flocks of clouds elusive
Drift across immensity,
Leaving ne'er a track behind them,
Following their destiny.
Hour of parting, hour of meeting
They know not, nor grief, nor rest
Theirs no longing for the future,
Theirs no sorrow for the past.
By thy day of anguish broken,
Think of them and calm thy woe
Be indifferent as they are
To the pangs of earth below!
faints the heart for sorrow,
In life's hard, darkened hour,
My spirit breathes a wondrous prayer
Full of love's inward power.
There is a might inspiring
Each consecrated word,
That speaks the inconceivable
And holy will of God.
The heavy load slips from my heart
Oppressing doubt takes flight,
The soul believes, the tears break forth
And all is light, so light!
THE PALM BRANCH OF PALESTINE
DALM branch of Palestine, oh tell me,
In that far distant home-land fair,
Wast rooted in the mountain gravel
Or sprung from some vale garden rare?
Once o'er the Jordan's silver billows
Fond kissed with thee the Eastern sun?
Have the grim gales 'neath starry heavens
Swept over thee from Lebanon?
And was a trembling prayer soft whispered,
A father's song sung over thee
When from the parent stem dis-severed
By some poor aborigine?
And is the palm tree ever standing,
Amid the fierce glare beating down,
The pilgrim in the desert luring
To shelter 'neath her shadow crown?
Perhaps the leaves ancestral shiver
In unappeased parting pain,
The branch conceals a homesick longing
For desert wilderness again?
THE PALM BRANCH OF PALESTINE
Was it a pilgrim who first brought thee
To the cold North, with pious hand?
Who mused upon his home in sadness,
And dost thou bear his tear's hot brand?
Was it Jehovah's favored warrior,
His gleaming head transfigured bright,
For God and man true-sworn, devoted
Unto the victory of light?
Before the wonder-working image
Thou stand'st as heaven's defence divine,
O branch from out that holy country,
The sanctuary's shield and sign!
It darkens, golden lamp light splendors
Enveil the cross, the sacred shrine
The peace of God is wafted o'er us
From thee, oh branch of Palestine!
'mid group of native mountains
Hot dispute arose,
Elbrus, angry, did with Kasbek
"Now beware!" the hoary Elbrus,
Warning did exclaim
"To enslave thee and enthrall thee
Is man's evil aim!
Smoking huts he will be building
On thy mountain side,
Loudly through thy clefts resounding
Ring his hatchet wide!
The swift swinging iron shovel
Breast of stone will part,
Of thy bronze and stone will rob thee
Pierce thee to the heart.
Caravans, e'en now, are passing
Through thy rocks afar,
Where before the fogs were swimming
And the Eagle Tsar.
Ah, mankind is bold and fearless!
Dreads no lifted hand,
Guard thee! populous and mighty
Is the morning land!"
"Threatens me the East?" then queried
Kasbek with disdain,
"There eight centuries already
Sleeping, man has lain.
See, in shadow the Grusine
Gloats in lustful greed,
On his many coloured raiment
Glints the winey bead!
Drugged with fumes of his nargileh,
Dreams the Mussulman
By the fountains on his divan
See! Jerusalem is lying
At his feet o'erthrown
Deathly dumb and lifeless staring
As an earthly tomb.
And beyond the Nile is washing
O'er the burning steps
Of the Kingly mausoleums,
In his tent, the hunt forgotten
Now the Bedouin lies,
Sings the old ancestral legends,
Scans the starry skies.
See! far as the eye can venture,
All sleeps as before
No, the threat of dreaming Orient
Frights me nevermore!"
"Laugh thou not too early, Kasbek,"
Elbrus did persist
"Look! What vast mass is it turning
Northward, through the mist?"
Secretly the heart of Kasbek
Faltered, as amazed,
Silent and with dark foreboding
.To the North he gazed:
Full of woe stared in the distance;
What a thronging swarm!
Hark! there rings the clash of weapons!
From the Don unto the Ural
What a human sea!
Regiments that wave and glitter
Past all counting be!
Feathers white like sedge of ocean,
Waving in a gust
Many coloured Uhlans storming
Through the blowing dust.
The imperial battalions
Densely packed proceed,
Trumpets flaring, banners flying
In the victor's lead.
Batteries with brasses rattling
With their blood-red splendor flashing
Cannon matches glance.
And a battle-proved commander
Leads the army there
From whose eyes the lightning flashes,
'Neath his snowy hair.
Swells the host until as Griesbach's
Billows roaring loud,
From the Eastward nears the army
As a thunder cloud.
Kasbek peered with sinister boding
Through the clouds, would fain
Count his enemies approaching
Found it was in vain:
Threw one glance unto the mountains
O'er his brow drew close the vapours,
Was forever dumb.
HEAVEN AND THE STARS
"DRILLIANT heavens of evening,
Distant stars clearly shining,
Bright as the rapture of childhood,
why dare I send you nevermore greeting
Stars, who are shining as clear as my joy?
What is thy sorrow?
Mortals make question.
This is my sorrow;
The heavens and the stars are heaven and stars ever,
1 am alas! but a perishing man!
Envies his neighbor ;
I envy rather
Ye in your freedom, ye stars ever radiant,
And only would be in your places!
ON NAPOLEON'S DEATH
hears thy soul the praise or cursing of
Quit of the human race, thou man of destiny!
They only could o'erthrow, who thee did elevate
Forever thus remains thy greatness great!
ON THE DEATH OF PUSHKIN
11JE fell, a slave of tinsel-honour,
A sacrifice to slander's lust;
The haughty Poet's head, the noblest,
Bowed on his wounded breast in dust.
No longer could his free soul suffer
The vulgar world's low infamy;
He rose against the world's opinion,
And as a hero, lone fell he.
He fell! To what avail the sobbing
The useless choir of tears and praise?
Wretched the stammering excuses!
The Fates have spoke, no power allays!
Have ye not at all times together
His sacred genius baited sore,
The silent fury fanned to flaming,
Delighted in your work before?
O be triumphant! Earthly torment
The Poet soul did fully bear,
Extinguished are the lights inspired,
The laurel crown lies leafless there!
The murderer contemptuous gazing
Did stedfastly his weapon aim,
No swifter beat his heart, Assassin!
Nor shook his lifted hand for shame.
No wonder; from a distance came he
As an adventurer unknown,
ON THE DEATH OF PUSHKIN
For worthy title, star of order
Stood but his mad desire alone.
Sneering and self-complacent mocked he
The rights and customs of our land,
He could not understand our glory,
Against which he has raised his hand.
"Hence is he, hence! His song out-rung,
The Singer even as the song he sung;
Who of a hot, heroic mood,
In death disgraceful shed his blood!" *
Why did he leave his home life tranquil,
To seek the envious market place,
Where each free flame is suffocated,
Expose him to the assassin base?
The human breed, who had known better
Since earliest years of youth, than he
Why did he trust the false pretending
Of malice and hypocrisy?
Ah, of his laurel wreath you robbed him,
Gave him a martyr's crown instead,
And now the cruel thorns have pierced him
E'en to the blood of his proud head!
His last days were for him envenomed
Through senseless fools' contempt aggrieved,
He died revenge a'thirst, accusing
That every hope his heart deceived!
* These four lines are from Pushkin's own romantic
ON THE DEATH OF PUSHKIN
Mute evermore the magic echoes,
That ne'er shall wonders more reveal,
The Poet's home is dark and narrow
Upon the Singer's lips a seal.
But ye, sons insolent and shameless
Defamers, faithless fathers, ye!
Who trod the pure soul of another
Beneath your feet, who zealously
Press to the Tsar's throne with your driveling
For fame and freedom, hatred steeled!
Well may you sneer at truth and justice,
The law provides you screen and shield,
Only a higher law shall sentence!
A mighty Judge beyond assail
Avenge the Poet's death on his slayers,
The Highest Judge who does not fail!
So then calumniate with brazen courage,
Your hatred's fury nought restrains
Since your dark blood could ne'er atone for
One drop within the Poet's pure veins.
RUSSIA, O MY RUSSIA, HAIL!
J> USSIA, O my Russia, hail!
Steeds as tempests flying,
Howling of the distant wolves,
Eagles high, shrill crying!
Hail, my Russia, hail! Hail high!
Hail thy green forests proud,
Hail thy silvery nightingales,
Hail Steppes and wind and cloud!
the church-village slumbers
And the last songs are sung,
When the grey mist arising,
Is o'er the marshes hung,
'Tis then the woods forsaking,
Their way cross country taking,
Nine howling wolves come hungering for food.
Behind the first, the grey one,
Trot seven more of black,
Close on their hoary leader;
As rearguard of the pack
The red wolf limps, all bloody,
His paws with gore still ruddy
As after his companions grim he pants.
When through the village lurking
Nought gives them check or fright,
No watch dog dares to bellow,
The peasant ghastly white,
His breath can scarce be taking,
His limbs withhold from shaking
While prayers of terror freeze upon his lips!
About the church they circle
And softly slink away
To prowl about the priest's farm,
Then of a sudden they
Are round the drink shop turning,
Fain some bad word be learning
From peasants drinking noisily within.
With fully thirteen bullets
Thy weapon must be armed,
And with a wad of goat's hair;
Then thou wilt fight unharmed.
Fire calmly, and before all
Will the leader, the grey, fall,
The rest will surely follow one by one.
When the cock wakes the village
From out its morning dream,
Thou wilt behold the corpses
Nine she- wolves by the stream!
On the right lies the grey one,
To left in frost the lame one
All bloody, God pardon us sinners!
A UTUMN 'tis! Our garden stands
Flowerless and bare,
Dizzy whirling yellow leaves
Fill the wind swept air.
Yet the distant mountain ash
In the vale below,
With our favorite berries red
Now begins to glow.
While with rapture and with pain
Throbbing in my breast,
Pressing hot thy hands in mine,
Fondly gazing in thine eyes,
Through my tears I see
That I can never tell thee
How dear thou art to me!
BURNT OUT IS NOW MY MISERY
"DURNT out is now my misery
No more unspeakably torments my heart,
Yet bearable alone through thee, my being
All thou art not is idle, stale and dying,
Colourless, withered, dead, save where thou art!
If I no more through false suspicion trouble
Thy happiness, nor more my blood inflames my
It is not turned to ice 'neath snowy cover,
But free from jealousy, to thee thy lover
Always with soul of ardour true remains.
So in their rapid fury mountain torrents
That hurl them off their moss-grown altars steep,
Seeking the flood with tossing, foaming riot
Here in the vale are bound in the old currents,
To stream in future calm and clear and deep!
IN HOURS OF EBBING TIDE
TN hours of ebbing tide, oh trust not to the Sea!
It will come back to shore with redness of the
O don't believe in me when in the trance of sorrow
I swear I am no longer true to thee!
The waves will roll again in dazzling ecstasy,
From far away, with joy, to the beloved shore;
And I with breast aflame, beneath thy charm once
Shall haste to bring my liberty to thee!
"1X7HITE Swans, ye harbingers of Spring, a greet-
ing fond from me!
Rejoicing thrills within the breast of Mother Earth
From her once more the flowers push forth 'mid
gleaming drops of dew,
And like the Swans, across my soul my dreams will
And my heart blissful throbbing, ghostly tears of
O Spring I feel thy coming! And behold Thee,
VX^HEN shadows pale are sinking in hues the twi-
Upon the golden grain fields of gleaming wheaten
Upon the emerald pastures and blue of forests deep,
When the soft mists of silver o'er the sea doth creep;
When 'mid the reeds, the swan's head is pillowed
'neath her wings,
The stream to sleep is rocking, light flowing as she
Then to my hut o'er thatched with golden straw,
By frail acacia green and leafy oaks, I turn.
And there with greeting holy, in radiant starry
Her scented locks with deepest of purple poppies
And with one dusky gauze enveiled her snowy
The Goddess comes to me with sweet desire of rest.
A faint and roseate fire about my brow she sheds,
Soft mystery of azure above my 'eyelids spreads,
Bends low upon my breast her regal star-crowned
And on my mouth and eyes, the kiss of slumber
IN MEMORY OF MY DAUGHTER
/"^LEAR on the night of my spirit,
To me shines the glance of a star,
It is she! My heart's little maiden!
From her glance gleams something afar,
Of victory, deathless, eternal
Something that musing, misgiving,
Pierces the essence of being!
It cannot be! It cannot be!
She lives soon she will waken; straightway
Will ope her pretty eyes, glad she
Will prattle merry, laughing gay!
And when in tears beholding me
Will smiling, kissing, cry consoling,
"Papa it is but playing See!
I live, yes! Leave off mourning!"
But cold and mute she lies, alas!