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Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

On Napoleon's Death

Cold hears thy soul the praise or cursing of posterity.
Quit of the human race, thou man of destiny!
They only could o'erthrow, who thee did elevate--
Forever thus remains thy greatness great!

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Like An Evil Spirit

Like 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!

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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.

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On Departure For The Caucas

Farewell 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!

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To A.C.S.

Afar--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!

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The Cliff

By a cliff a golden cloud once lingered;
On his breast it slept, but, rising early,
Off it gently rushed across the pearly
Blue of sky, a tiny thing and winged.

Still, a trace it left upon the stony
Giant's heart, and plunged in thought and weeping
Slow and tortured tears, he stands there, keeping
Vigil o'er the gloomy waste and lonely.

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The Prayer

When 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!

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Prayer

At life's most testing moment, when
the grieving heart's replete,
a prayer that is most potent then
I call up and repeat.

There is a power, suffused with grace,
when living words combine,
a breath beyond the commonplace,
that holds a joy divine.

Like dead-weight slipping from the brain
now fades my unbelief -
I trust again, shed tears again,
and such relief, relief…

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Sail

A lonely sail is flashing white
Amdist the blue mist of the sea!...
What does it seek in foreign lands?
What did it leave behind at home?..

Waves heave, wind whistles,
The mast, it bends and creaks...
Alas, it seeks not happiness
Nor happiness does it escape!

Below, a current azure bright,
Above, a golden ray of sun...
Rebellious, it seeks out a storm
As if in storms it could find peace!

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A Song

Dry 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
Complaining cry?

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