by Alice Stone Blackwell
I was alone with my pure-winged dream
in the valleys my sires had trod;
My steps were light as the fair
gazelle's, and my heart with joy was thrilled;
I ran, all drunk with the deep blue
sky, with the light of the glorious days;
Mine eyes were filled with gold
and hopes, my soul with the gods was filled.
Basket on basket, the Summer rich
presented her fruit to me
From my garden's trees - each kind
of fruit that to our clime belongs;
And then from a willow's body slim,
A branch for my magic flute I cut
in silence, to make my songs.
I sang; and the brook all diamond
bright, and the birds of my ancient home,
And the music pure from heavenly
wells that fills the nights and days,
And the gentle breezes and airs
of dawn, like my sister's soft embrace,
United their voices sweet with mine,
and joined in my joyous lays.
To-night in a dream, sweet flute,
once more I took you in my hand;
You felt to my lips like a kiss
- a kiss from the days of long ago.
But when those memories of old revived,
then straightway failed my breath,
And instead of songs, my tears began
drop after drop to flow.
The swans, in discouragement, have
migrated from the poisonous lakes this evening,
And sad sisters dream of brothers
under the prison walls.
Battles have ended on the blossoming
fields of lilies,
And fair women follow coffins from
And sing, with heads bowed down
towards the ground.
Oh, make haste! Our aching bodies
are frozen in these pitiless glooms.
Make haste towards the chapel, where
life will be more merciful,
The chapel of the graveyard where
our brother sleeps!
An orphan swan is suffering within
And there, over newly-buried bodies,
It rains blood - it pours from mine
A crowd of cripples pass along the
paths of my heart,
And with them pass barefooted blind
In the divine hope of meeting some
one in prayer.
And the red dogs of the desert howled
all one night,
After hopelessly moaning over the
For some unknown, incomprehensible
And the storm of my thoughts ceased
with the rain;
The waves were cruelly imprisoned
under the frozen waters;
The leaves of huge oaks, like wounded
Dropped with cries of anguish.
And the dark night was deserted,
like the vast infinite;
And, with the lonely and bloody
Like a myriad motionless marble
All the dead bodies of our earth
arose to pray for one another.
song of the knight
The sun is up, the hour has come
for starting, O my steed!
A moment wait till I pass my foot
through thy stirrup glittering clear.
I read my Aim in thy shining eyes,
that know and understand.
Oh, joy of joys! Oh, blest be thou,
my steed, my steed so dear!
My body still is firm and light with
the joy and spring of youth,
And on thy saddle I shall perch
like an eagle, proud and free.
The golden oats that I gave to thee
in plenty, O my steed!
Have made mad life through thy form
flare up; how fleet thy course will be!
Galloping thou wilt fly along, fly
ever upon thy way,
And sparks from the strokes of thy
brazen shoes will blossom as we go past.
Let us grow drunk with our rapid
course like heroes, O my steed!
And, infinitely winge`d like the
wind, drink in the blast!
The boundless space before thy pace
recedes and disappears,
The sinful cities with all their
crimes bow down beneath thy tread.
Black flocks of crows that tremble
thy swiftness to behold
Are seeking shelter in the clouds,
the thick clouds overhead.
The sad earth seems below us and
we up among the stars;
Thou no abyss nor downward slope
dost heed, with eyes aflame;
There is no obstacle, no rock that
can thy flight impede;
Impatient, fain wouldst thou attain
the summit of the Aim.
My fleet, fleet steed! My idol of
snow-white marble fair!
With all my soul I worship thee!
As on our course we fly,
My dreamy brow is burning with the
flames of mine Ideal;
Oh, spur me onward to my Aim! Slave
of thy footsteps I!
I am the slave of thy fleet steps,
child of the hurricane!
Speed on, athirst for vengeance,
O swift, swift steed of mine!
A needless halt I spurn and hate,
with all my anger's might.
Ours are the summits, and the wreath
of victory is thine!
Thy delicate cream-white body boils
with thine ardent fire of life;
Thy tail is a cataract; rushing
down, like a hurricane it blows.
Within thine eyes, so bright and
keen, there shine two flaming stars;
The rind of thy swift shoes forges
fear, as onward our journey goes.
I told thee that I am thy slave,
for liberty athirst.
Oh, bear me swiftly toward the South,
away from this frontier!
We shall be clothed with suns and
blood, beyond the stately heights
Of Ararat and Arakadz. Speed on,
my courser dear!
I hold no whip within my hand, my
courser, thou art free;
Upon thy back, that glistens like
a lily white and fair,
I only shed sweet touches of my
fingers as we go.
They touch thy bright flesh like
a stream of honey dropping there.
Thou hast no bridle upon thy neck,
no bit within thy mouth;
Enough for me one wave of hair from
thy full mane backward flung.
I have no need of stirrup-irons
for my feet to grip thy sides;
A silver saddle thou hast alone,
a saddle with pearls bestrung.
For my native valleys I yearn, I
yearn, the valleys that hold my home,
But halt thou never, my courser
swift, the star-strewn heavens below!
Away by the mouths of caverns deep
like a shadow thou must pass,
From forests, vineyards and gardens
green still farther and farther go.
Who knows, perchance a maiden fair
by the side of a running brook
Might hand me a cluster of golden
grapes, and proffer a draught of wine;
My soul might understand her, and
she like a sister smile on me -
But I do not wish to be lost in
dreams; halt not, swift steed of mine!
Thou wilt pass by the shadowy bowers
of my birthplace, Eden-fair;
The nightingale, the nightingale,
fain would I drink her song!
The rose-scent, on my pilgrimage,
I have dreamed of many a year.
Oh, how my heart is yearning! But
halt not, speed along.
And in my pathway haply old corpses
Their shrouds upon their shoulders,
their hands held out to me,
Approach me - me the wretched! -
and breathe upward to mine ear
Their loves and vengeance ner'er
to be forgot - but onward flee!
I shudder at the ruins and at barren,
My courser, near the ashes of the
cities make no stay!
Oh, tears, the tears of others,
they choke me without ruth;
The woe, the griefs of others drive
me mad, upon my way!
Oh, do not halt, my courser, where
these corpses scattered lie!
Fly away from graveyards, where
white shades of dead men be.
I cannot bear, I tell thee, I cannot
The death of my dear native land
with anguished eyes to see!
Behold the landscape of the place
in which I had my birth!
At sight of it my longing glance
with tears grows moist and glows.
But yet I would not shed them; nay,
do not pause or stay,
My steed, my steed of swiftest flight!
My Aim no weakness knows.
Lo! 'tis Euphrates sounding. Why,
river, dost thou roar?
Thy son is passing. Why so dark
the flood thy shore that laves?
I am thy son. Oh, do not rage! Hast
thou forgotten me?
I with thy current would speed on,
and would outstrip thy waves.
The memory of my childhood draws
from me tears of blood;
A dreamy youth who used to stray
along these banks of thine,
All full of hope, with sunlight
mad, and happy with his dreams -
But ah! what am I saying? Pause
not, swift steed of mine!
Behold the glorious autumn, which
vaguely dies around!
Upon my brow a yellow leaf has fallen
like a dream.
Is it my death it stands for, or
the crowning of my faith?
What matter? On, my neighing steed,
sweep onward with the stream!
Perchance it was the last sere leaf
of my ill-omened fate
That fell upon us even now. What
matter? Speed away!
From the four corners of the land
are echoing the words,
"Ideal, O free-born Ideal, halt
not, halt not or stay!"
I worship thee! Now like a star thou
shootest on thy course;
Thou art as fleet, thou art as free,
as is the lightning's flame;
And through the wind and with the
wind like eagles now we soar.
I am thy knight, I am thy slave;
oh, lift me to my Aim!
Down from the summits of the rocks,
the dread and cloudy peaks,
The cataracts, the cataracts are
falling in their might!
Their currents white are pure, my
steed, as thine own snow-white form,
And their imperious downward sweep
is savage as thy flight.
But why now doth a shudder through
all thy body run?
Oh, what has chanced, my hero? Why
do thy looks grow dark?
Oh, turn thine eyes away from me,
thine eyes with trouble filled
Past the horizons fly along, fly
like a wind-borne bark!
I heard the wailing and the cries,
entreaties and laments,
From ruined huts and cities that
reached us on our way.
But ah! what use in pausing all
powerless before pain?
Our task is to relieve it; then
do not halt nor stay.
Through the death-agony, my steed,
we passed with tearless eyes.
Oh, do not halt! Oh, do not stay!
Brave be that heart of thine!
From this time onward, I will burn
Hope's torches blazing bright,
To halt means death to us; pause
not, O gallant steed of mine!
Aloft on they galloping form, full
oft, in our journey ere to-day
I have heard how thy swift, spark-scattering
hoofs, as ever we forward flee,
Have many and many a time crushed
bones, that fell beneath their tread,
And the skulls with their empty
sockets dark gazed at me - didst thou see?
I tell thee, under thy shoes I heard
the skeletons break and crash,
But I kept silence. My lips are
dumb. Halt not, halt not, my steed!
I will bury my sobs and sighs of
grief in my soul's abysmal depths.
Let nothing live but my anger hot!
Pause not, but onward speed!
Oh pause not, falter not in thy course,
wild creature of marble white!
Tears will not banish the Pain of
Life, nor drive out its woe and wrong.
Nay, the Ideal shall toll, shall
toll the bells of glowing wrath.
The cranes, far flying, will call
to us; oh, follow their distant song!
But where does thy path lead? What
is this? My steed, hast thou lost thy mind?
The ashes! Oh, the desolate plains
of ashes and ruins gray!
Like fog the gray dust rises up
to stifle and choke our breath.
Oh, tear thy way through these frightful
mounds, break through them and speed away!
Lift up thy forehead, lift up thine
eyes, let me cover them with my hand!
Halt not, 'tis the Crimson, the
Crimson dread; red blood beneath us lies.
Across my face to blind mine eyes
I have pulled my fluttering scarf;
Halt not! What good would it do,
my steed, to pause here with useless sighs?
Ah, once, accompanied by my griefs,
my lyre shed tears of blood;
Weeping I hate from this time on;
thou only art my soul.
Thou breathest battle, for glory
keen, and I am thy prince, thy slave!
Thy form was worshipped by glorious
Greece. Oh, lift me to my Goal!
The sound of the wind is like a horn
that is winded far away;
The forests, ranged like troops
of war, stood ready as we passed.
At the wild ringing of thy hoofs,
old hopes like giants woke;
Old laws are crushed, old tears
are shed, old sounds are dying fast.
And in thy flight, at daybreak, on
a lofty table-land,
New giants, new insurgents, new
heroes shall spy.
The sons of suffering are they,
who in this hostile age
Were born in blood, are wroth with
blood, and wish in blood to die.
When we see columns rolling up, armed
with the hurricane,
We by their side will march along
the pathway to the Aim.
Of the glory and the crowning of
martyrs I shall sing;
My lyre will play, that gallant
day, my Torches burn and flame!
The day has dawned, has dawned at
last! I am thy knight, thy slave!
The slope is difficult and steep,
but, breathing heavily,
Thou must fly on - one effort more,
amid the fires of morn!
I am athirst for victory, my noble
steed, like thee.
A few more ringing steps, my steed,
and one last bound! and then
What a procession, what a host,
all glad and full of might!
'Tis Freedom's pioneers; their swords
flash out life-giving rays,
And Brotherhood they celebrate in
morning's glorious light.
Here may's thou halt. Be blest, my
steed! Worthy of God art thou!
Tears fill my soul as mine Ideal
I gaze on and admire.
Thy triumph is the mighty law of
Lo, there six centuries are standing,
armed with fire!
I, armed already, will arm thee.
O'er my shoulder burns thy torch.
They like the tempest wish to walk,
under the dawning's glow,
Laden with justice. Oh, the land
is barren and athirst!
Lo, from our flight the giant Hope
sparks in the paths will sow!