Konstantin Nikolaevich Batiushkov

(1787 - 1855 / Russia)

The Farewell


BENT o'er his sabre, torrents starting
From his dim eyes, the bold hussar
Thus greets his cherish'd maid, while parting
For distant fields of war:

'Weep not, my fair one! O forbear thee!
No anguish can those tears remove;
For, by my troth and beard, I swear thee,
Time shall not change my love.

'That love shall bloom— a deathless blossom,
My shield in fight— with sword in hand,
And thou, my Lila, in my bosom,
What shall that sword withstand?

'Weep not, my fair one! O forbear thee!
Those tears can bid no grief depart;
And were I faithless, Maid! I swear thee,
Anguish would tear my heart!

'Then my good steed would sure betray me,
And falter in the battle-fray,
In peril's hours refuse t' obey me—
My stirrup would give way.

'The sword, my valour's proudest token,
When grasp'd, like rotten wood would break;
And I should seek thee, spirit-broken,
Death's paleness on my cheek.'

But the false horseman's steed obey'd him,
Gentle and eager still;— his sword,
Bright and unbroken, ne'er betray'd him,
Though he broke oath and word.

The tale of love— the tears which shower'd
From Lila's eye— were all forgot;
The rose-wreath faded— pale— deflower'd:—
Such buds re-blossom not!

That maiden's breast of peace he rifles;
Then hies him to another's breast;
Man's oaths to woman are but— trifles;
And love itself— a jest.

He serves— secures— and then he slights them;
His vows are change— and treachery;
For laughing Cupid's arrow writes them
Upon the shifting sea.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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