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To Kasbek

With 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!

The Sail

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!

From "Demon"

Sailless 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!

Forever you, the unwashed Russia!

Forever you, the unwashed Russia!

The land of slaves, the land of lords:

And you, the blue-uniformed ushers,

And people who worship them as gods.

I hope, from your tyrannic hounds

To save me with Caucasian wall:

From their eye that sees through ground,

From their ears that hear all.

No, Not with You...

No, not with you I fell in love so fast,

And not for me your beauty is succeeding;

I love in you my suffering preceding,

And youth of mine, that perished in the past.

And when sometimes my look is long and hard,

And penetrates your eyes of high perfection;

I'm busy with a secret conversation,

But not to you I send my words of heart.

To my youth's girl, my word of soul flies,

In features yours, I seek for other dears,

In lips alive -- the lips, so mute for years,

In eyes -- the flame of the extinguished eyes.

To the Countess Rostopchin

Under the same star, I am sure,

We both crossed the worldly rims;

We stepped along same road poor,

And were deceived by same false dreams.

Well, from my noble goal early

Deprived by passions, wild and strong,

I had forgot, while fighting vainly,

My youthful years’ sacred songs.

And seeing early separation,

I dread to let my heart be free,

And to the sound of deception,

To give the dream that’s vain for me…

Thus two gay waves together pounce,

That met by chance’ became a pair,

In desert of an ocean, fair;

They’re pushed by wild winds of the South:

But a reef’s hard and merciless breast,

Will separate them in one place…

And, full of cold, that’s used to both,

They’ll bear to the different coasts,

Without love and rues for past

Their sweet and pining hums and moans,

Their loud noise and brightness, loaned

And their ever gentle romance.

Translation: Yevgeny Bonver

The Angel

Across the dark sky came the angel in flight
Who sang a soft song through the night.
And stars and the moon and the clouds in their throng
Gave ear to that glorious song.
He sang of immaculate spirits that rove
In bliss in the Heavenly Grove,
He sang of the Lord of All Things, every phrase
Unfeigned in that purest of praise.
He bore in his arms a young soul toward its birth,
To sorrow and tears on this earth.
And in that young soul the great sound of his song
Remained without words now, but strong.
And long did it languish on earth in its time
Replete with a yearning sublime,
A soul that knew sounds of the heavenly race
No dull song of earth could replace.

Translation A.Z. FOREMAN

I go out on the road alone

Alone I set out on the road;
The flinty path is sparkling in the mist;
The night is still. The desert harks to God,
And star with star converses.

The vault is overwhelmed with solemn wonder
The earth in cobalt aura sleeps. . .
Why do I feel so pained and troubled?
What do I harbor: hope, regrets?

I see no hope in years to come,
Have no regrets for things gone by.
All that I seek is peace and freedom!
To lose myself and sleep!

But not the frozen slumber of the grave...
I'd like eternal sleep to leave
My life force dozing in my breast
Gently with my breath to rise and fall;

By night and day, my hearing would be soothed
By voices sweet, singing to me of love.
And over me, forever green,
A dark oak tree would bend and rustle.

To My Country

With love of my own race I cling unto my country,
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 great,
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.

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!

The Demon
Cold and regretless shalt thou view this sphere,
Where crime’s inseparable from fate,
Where beauty only blossoms to grow sear,
Where all is miserable, where, without fear
No one can either love or hate.
Know’st thou, Tamára, what is mortal love?
A febrile movement of the blood!
Years roll away—the pulse can scarcely move,
Love’s wither’d branches cease to bud.
Who can resist new beauty’s luring bait?
Who, parting, never shed a tear?
Who can withstand the tedium of fate,
The weariness of all things here?
No, my beloved, believe, ’tis not thy lot
To perish in a living grave,
In silence, languish on this narrow spot,
Of brutal jealousy the slave

The Dream

In noon's heat, in a dale of Dagestan
With lead inside my breast, stirless I lay;
The deep wound still smoked on; my blood
Kept trickling drop by drop away.

On the dale's sand alone I lay. The cliffs
Crowded around in ledges steep,
And the sun scorched their tawny tops
And scorched me - but I slept death's sleep.

And in a dream I saw an evening feast
That in my native land with bright lights shone;
Among young women crowned with flowers,
A merry talk concerning me went on.

But in the merry talk not joining,
One of them sat there lost in thought,
And in a melancholy dream
Her young soul was immersed - God knows by what.

And of a dale in Dagestan she dreamt;
In that dale lay the corpse of one she knew;
Within his breast a smoking wound showed black,
And blood ran in a stream that colder grew.