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While I don't see you, I don't shed a tear
I never lose my senses when you're near,
But, with our meetings few and far between
There's something missing, waiting to be seen.
Is there a name for what I'm thinking of?
Are we just friends? Or should I call this love?

As soon as we have said our last good-byes,
Your image never floats before my eyes;
But more than once, when you have been long gone,
I seemed to feel your presence linger on.
I wonder then what I've been thinking of.
Are we just friends? Or should I call this love?

When I'm downcast, I never seek relief
By pouring out my heart in tales of grief;
Yet, as I wander aimlessly, once more
I somehow end up knocking at your door;
What brought me here? What am I thinking of?
Are we just friends? Or should I call this love?

I'd give my life to keep you sound and well,
To make you smile, I would descend to hell;
But though I'd climb the mountains, swim the seas
I do not look to be your health and peace:
Again I ask, what am I thinking of?
Are we just friends? or should I call this love?

And when you place your hand upon my palm,
I am enveloped in a blissful calm,
Prefiguring some final, gentle rest;
But still my heart beats loudly in my breast
As if to ask: what are you thinking of?
Are you two friends? or will you call this love?

Not bardic spirit seized my mortal tongue
When I thought of you and composed this song;
But still, I can't help wondering sometimes:
Where did these notions come from, and these rhymes?
In heaven's name, what I was dreaming of?
And what had inspired me? Friendship or love?

The Grave Of The Countess Potocki

In spring's own country, where the gardens blow,
You faded, tender rose! For hours now past,
Like butterflies departing, on you're cast
The worms of memories to work you woe.
Northward toward Poland stars in thousands glow:
Why in that region are such myriads massed?
Did your bright glance, before it died at last,
Light sparks along the path it loved to go?
O Polish maid! I die an exile too;
Let some kind hand throw on me friendly mold!
Here travelers gathering often talk of you
And I shall hear the speech I knew of old,
And he who sings your praise will also view
My grave near by, and I shall be consoled

The Ruins Of The Castle At Balaklava

These castles heaped in shattered piles once graced
And guarded you, Crimea, thankless land!
Today like giant skulls set high they stand
And shelter reptiles, or men more debased.
Upon that tower a coat of arms is traced,
And letters, some dead hero's name, whose hand
Scourged armies. Now he sleeps forgotten and
The grapevine holds him, like a worm, embraced.
Here Greeks have chiseled Attic ornament,
Italians cast the Mongols into chains
And pilgrims chanted slowly, Mecca bent:
Today the black-winged vulture only reigns
As in a city, dead and pestilent,
Where mourning banners flutter to the plains.

The Pilgrim

A rich and lovely country wide unrolled,
A fair face by me, heavens where white clouds sail,
Why does my heart forever still bewail
Far-distant lands, more distant days of old?
Litwa! your roaring forests sang more bold
Than Salhir maid, Baydary nightingale;
Id'rather walk your marshes than this vale
Of mulberries, and pineapples of gold.
Here are new pleasures, and I am so far!
Why must I always sigh distractedly
For her I loved when first my morning star
Arose? In that dear house I may not see,
Where yet the tokens of her lover are,
Does she still walk my ways and think of me?

They call me a cold one

They call me a cold one,
And I hide away from them my anxious feelings,
But behind my indifferent appearance,
As if in a haze,
I disguise the inner flame of emotions.
And only at night to your bosom
Do I quietly pour out in tears the storms of my heart.

The Ackerman Steppe

Across sea-meadows measureless I go,

My wagon sinking under grass so tall

The flowery petals in foam on me fall,

And blossom-isles float by I do not know.

No pathway can the deepening twilight show;

I seek the beckoning stars which sailors call,

And watch the clouds. What lies there brightening all?

The Dneister's, the steppe-ocean's evening glow!

The silence! I can hear far flight of cranes--

So far the eyes of eagle could not reach--

And bees and blossoms speaking each to each;

The serpent slipping adown grassy lanes;

From my far home if word could come to me!--

Yet none will come. On, o'er the meadow-sea

translated by Edna Worthley Underwood