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Nikolay Alekseyevich Nekrasov

Ye Songs Of Mine!

Ye songs of mine! Of universal sorrows
A living witness ye;
Born of the passion of the soul, bewailing
Tempestuous and free,
The hard heart of humanity assailing
As doth her cliffs the sea!

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A Farewell

Farewell! Forget the days of trial,
Of grudge, ill humor, misery--
Tempests of heart and floods of weeping,
And the revengeful jealousy.
Ah, but the days whereon the sun rose
To light love's wonder, and begot
In us the power of aspiration,--
bless them and forget them not!

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In War

Hearing the terrors of the war, sore troubled,
By each new victim of the combat torn--
Nor friend, nor wife I give my utmost pity,
Nor do I for the fallen hero mourn.
Alas! the wife will find a consolation.
The friend by friend is soon forgot in turn.

But somewhere is the one soul that remembers--
That will remember unto death's dark shore,
Nor can the tears of a heart-stricken mother
Forget the sons gone down on fields of gore.
One soul there is that like the weeping willow
Can never raise its drooping branches more.

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I Shall Soon Fall Prey To Rot

I shall soon fall prey to rot.
Though it's hard to die, it's good to die;
I shall ask for no one's pity,
And there's no one who would pity me.

With my lyre I won no glory
For my noble family name;
And I die as distant from my people
As the day that I began to live.

Ties of friendship, unions of the heart-
All are broken: from my youth,
Fate has sent me foes implacable,
While my friends all perished in the struggle.

Their prophetic songs were left unfinished,
They fell victim to misfortune, were betrayed
In the bloom of life; and now their portraits watch me
From the walls, reproachfully.

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The Songs Of Siberian Exiles

We stand unbroken in our places,
Our shovels dare to take no rest,
For not in vain his golden treasure
God buried deep in earth's dark breast.

Then shovel on and do not falter,
Humble and hopeful, clear we see--
When Russia has grown rich and mighty,
Our grandchildren will grateful be!

* * * * *

Though streams the sweat in rivers downward,
Our arms from shoveling grown weak,
Our bodies frozen to an ice crust
While we new strength in slumber seek--

Sweating or freezing, we will bear it!
Thirst-pain and hunger will withstand,
For each stone is of use to Russia,

[...] Read more

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Freedom

Oft through my native land I roved before,
But never such a cheerful spirit bore.

When on its mother's breast a child I spy--
Hope in my inmost heart doth secret cry,

'Boy, thou art born within a favoring time,
Thine eyes shall glad escape old sights of crime.

Free as a child, thou can'st prove all and be
The forger sole of thine own destiny.

Peasant remain,--as to thy father given--
Or like the eagle swing thyself to heaven!'

Castles in air I build! Man's spirit opes
To many ways to frustrate all my hopes.

Though serfdom's sad conditions left behind,
Yet there be countless snares of varied kind!--

[...] Read more

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The Love Letter

Letter of love so strangely thrilling
With all your countless wonder yet,
Though Time our heart's hot fires have mastered,
Bringing a pang of pained regret!
The while your blest receiver holds you,
His banished passions still rebel,
No longer reason sacrifices
His sentiment,--so then farewell!
Destroyed be this love-token treasured!
For if 'tis read when time has flown,
Deep in the buried soul 'twill waken
The torment vanished days have known.
At first but a light scorn arousing
For silly childishness,--at last
With fiery yearning overwhelming,
And jealousy for all the past.

O Thou, from whom a myriad letters
Speak with the breath of love to me,
Though my gaze rest on thee austerely,

[...] Read more

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What The Sleepless Grandam Thinks

All through the cold night, beating wings shadowy
Sweep o'er the church-village poor,--
Only one Grandam a hundred years hoary,
Findeth her slumber no more.

Harkens, if cocks to the dawn be not crowing,
Rolls on her oven and weeps,
Sees all her past rising up to confront her--
O'er her soul shameful it creeps!

'Woe to me sinner old! Woe! Once I cheated--
When from the church door I ran,
And in the depths of the forest strayed hidden
With my beloved Ivan.

'Woe to me! Burning in hell's leaping fires
Surely will soon be my soul!
I took a pair of eggs once at a neighbor's--
Out from her hen--yes, I stole!

[...] Read more

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On The Day Of Gogol's Death

How blessed's the good-natured poet,
With little bile and much emotion:
All lovers of the gentle arts
Send him sincerest greetings;

The admiration of the crowd
Sounds in his ear like rippling waves;
He is a stranger to self-doubt-
That torture of creative souls;

Lover of comfort and tranquility,
Shunning audacious satire,
He firmly dominates the crowd
With his peace-loving lyre.

He is not cursed nor driven out
But worshipped for his splendid mind,
While all his countrymen prepare
A monument to him in life.

[...] Read more

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Morning

You're unhappy, sick at heart:
Oh, I know it-here such sickness isn't rare.
Nature can but mirror
The surrounding poverty.

All is ever drear and dismal,
Pastures, fields, and meadows,
Wet and drowsy jackdaws
Resting on the peaked haystacks;

Here's a drunken peasant driving
His collapsing nag
Into far-off blueish mists,
Such a gloomy sky . . . It makes one weep!

The rich city is no better, though:
The same storm clouds race across the sky;
It's hard on the nerves-steel shovels
Scraping, screeching as they clean the streets

[...] Read more

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