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Osip Mandelshtam

Osip Mandelshtam

"I Had Not Tried the Wine..."

I had not tried the wine that ancients made,
And had not heard of Ossian’s old tune;
So why, on earth, I seem to see the glade,
And, in the skies -- the bloody Scottish moon?

And the call-over of a raven with a harp
I faintly hear in that silence, full of fright,
And, spread by winds, the winter woolen scarves
Of knights are flashing in the red moonlight!

I had received the blessing to inherit
Another singer’s ever rambling dreams;
For kin’s and neighbor’s  spiritual merits
To have despise we’re absolutely free.

And not a lone treasure, I suppose,
Will pass grandchildren and to others fling,
Again a scald will ancient songs compose,
And, as his own, will again them sing.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver August, 1994
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, October, 1997

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