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Nikolay Gumilev

Nikolay Gumilev

"Only Serpents Let Their..."

From "Remembrance"
Only serpents let their skin be fallen
And a soul -- all grown up and old.
We, alas, change an eternal soul,
Leaving body in eternal hold.

Oh, remembrance, power, she-giant,
You direct a horse-life with a bridle,
You will tell me all these men about,
Who had had my body before I'd.

The first one was ugly, thin and tragic,
Loving darkness of the garden lane,
Falling Leaf, the child of gloomy magic,
Whose one word could fully stop the rain.

Second one -- he liked the wind from South,
Every noise for him was strings' accord,
He believed that life is just his spouse,
And the rag under his feet -- the world.

I don't like him: in his mind, he's roused,
To the crowns of the King and God,
He had hanged on entrance to my house
The signboard with a script "The Bard."

I do like the favorite of freedom,
Him, who used to sail in sea and shoot:
What a song he heard in water's kingdom,
What a cloud followed his routes!

I'm a builder, which is working smartly
O'er the temple, arising in a haze,
Seek for fame for my beloved country
As in Heavens, so on the earth.

Heart is scorched by non-extinguished fire,
Till the day, in which, as made of light,
Walls of New Jerusalem will spire
On the fields of my beloved land.

Then the queer wind will start to blow,
And the awful light will pour on us,
It's the Milky Way -- begins to grow
As a garden of the dazzling stars.

And the tiered stranger will appear,
Hiding face, but I will catch his dream,
Looking at a lion, going near,
And an eagle, flying straight to him.

I will scream, but who will hear my groan,
Who will save my soul from a crash?
Only snakes could let their skin be fallen,
People lose the soul -- not the flesh.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, January, 2000
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, August, 2000

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