Verse > Anthologies > Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. > Modern Russian Poetry
Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps.  Modern Russian Poetry.  1921.
Captive Knight
By Mikhail Lermontov (1814–1841)
SILENT I sit by the prison’s high window,
Where through the bars the blue heavens are breaking.
Flecks in the azure, the free birds are playing;
Watching them fly there, my shamed heart is aching.
But on my sinful lips never a prayer,        5
Never a song in the praise of my charmer;
All I recall are far fights and old battles,
My heavy sword and my old iron armor.
Now in stone armor I hopelessly languish,
And a stone helmet my hot head encases,        10
This shield is proof against arrows and sword-play,
And without whip, without spur, my horse races.
Time is my horse, the swift-galloping charger,
And for a visor this bleak prison grating,
Walls of my prison are heavy stone armor;        15
Shielded by cast-iron doors, I am waiting.
Hurry, oh fast-flying Time, fly more quickly!
In my new armor I faint, I am choking.
I shall alight, with Death holding my stirrup,
Then my cold face from this visor uncloaking.        20

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