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Nikolay Gumilev

Nikolay Gumilev

Agamemnon's Warrior

A queer and fearful question is tight,
Oppresses my soul and tosses:
Can one be alive if Atreus has died --
Has died on a bed of roses.

All that we dreamed of and everywhere praised,
All our longing and fear --
Were fully reflected in those calm eyes,
As were in a glass of a tear.

Ineffable power dwelt in his hands,
A saga of feet was retold;
A beautiful cloud he was for his land
Mycenae -- the country of gold.

What am I? A fragment of ancient dread,
A javelin, fallen on earth --
Atreus, the leader of nations, is dead, --
But I have been spared by death.

The down is full with reproachful flame,
The waters enticingly sing,
It’s hard to exist with the horrible shame,
If one had forfeited one's king.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, October, 1995

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