Verse > Anthologies > Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. > Modern Russian Poetry
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Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps.  Modern Russian Poetry.  1921.
 
Narcissus: A Pompeiian Bronze
By Vyacheslav Ivanov (b. 1866)
 
BEAUTIFUL boy, like a faun here in loneliness roaming, who art thou?
Surely no child of the woods: thine is too prideful a face.
Music that moves in thy gait, the wrought grace of thy sumptuous sandal
Tell thou art son to the gods, or the high offspring of kings.
Poised, with thy listening limbs, thou hast followed the lips of the forest,        5
Harkening, bending thy head, fingering softly the sound.
Was it the piping of Pan or the amorous sighing of Echo?
Whisper of dryads, or words fluent-limbed naiads repeat?
Pressing thy thigh with thy arm, now the light shoulder-fleece like a garland
Thou hast entwined on thy wrist, thou, like Liæus at rest.        10
Wonderful, art thou in truth the gay Bacchus, Nysæan nymphs cherished,
Hunter, whom goddesses loved, naked and idle and young?
Or art thou haughty Narcissus, whom secret sweet harmonies guided,
Wandering, languid with sleep, drunken, alone with his dream?
Go, seek the summoning nymph, oh thou blind, not yet knowing thy image,        15
Go thou, but dare not to bend over the slumbering wave.
Oh, if thou art not Narcissus, yet seeing thy face in the waters,—
Stranger, I tremble,—anew, thou a Narcissus shalt be.
 
 
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