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To The Sea

Alexander Pushkin

Farewell to you, unharnessed Ocean!
No longer will you roll at me
Your azure swells in endless motion
Or gleam in tranquil majesty.

A comrade's broken words on leaving,
His hail of parting at the door:
Your chant of luring, chant of grieving
Will murmur in my ears no more.

Oh, homeland of my spirit's choosing!
How often on your banks at large
I wandered mute and dimly musing,
Fraught with a sacred, troubling charge!

How I would love your deep resounding,
The primal chasm's muffled voice,
How in your vesper calm rejoice,
And in your sudden, reckless bounding!

The fisher's lowly canvas slips,
By your capricious favor sheltered,
Undaunted down your breakers' lips:
Yet by your titan romps have weltered
And foundered droves of masted ships.

Alas, Fate thwarted me from weighing
My anchor off the cloddish shore,
Exultantly your realm surveying,
And by your drifting ridges laying
My poet's course forevermore.

You waited, called... I was in irons,
And vainly did my soul rebel,
Becalmed in those uncouth environs
By passion's overpowering spell.

Yet why this sorrow? Toward what fastness
Would now my carefree sails be spread?
To one lone goal in all your vastness
My spirit might have gladly sped.

One lonely cliff, the tomb of glory...
There chilling slumber fell upon
The ghost of mankind's proudest story:
There breathed his last Napoleon.

There rest for suffering he bartered;
And, gale-borne in his wake, there streams
Another kingly spirit martyred,
Another regent of our dreams.

He passed, and left to Freedom mourning,
His laurels to Eternity.
Arise, roar out in stormy warning:
He was your own true bard, oh Sea!

His soul was by your spirit haunted,
In your own image was he framed:
Like you immense, profound, undaunted,
Like you nocturnal untamed.

Bereft the world... where by your power,
Oh Sea would you now carry me?
Life offers everywhere one dower:
On any glint of bliss there glower
Enlightenment or tyranny.

Farewell then, Sea! Henceforth in wonder
Your regal grace will I rever;
Long will your muffled twilit thunder
Reverberate within my ear.

To woods and silent wildernesses
Will I translate your potent spells,
Your cliffs, your coves, your shining tresses,
Your shadows and your murmurous swells.

Translation: Babette Deutsch.

Home :: Poetry :: Sorrow and Sadness (3) :: To The Sea

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