Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Birds of Passage
Flight the Fifth.
The White Czar
 
          The White Czar is Peter the Great. Batyushka, Father dear, and Gosudar, Sovereign, are titles the Russian people are fond of giving to the Czar in their popular songs.  H. W. L.

DOST thou see on the rampart’s height
That wreath of mist, in the light
Of the midnight moon? Oh, hist!
It is not a wreath of mist;
It is the Czar, the White Czar,        5
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
He has heard, among the dead,
The artillery roll o’erhead;
The drums and the tramp of feet
Of his soldiery in the street;        10
He is awake! the White Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
He has heard in the grave the cries
Of his people: “Awake! arise!”
He has rent the gold brocade        15
Whereof his shroud was made;
He is risen! the White Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
From the Volga and the Don
He has led his armies on,        20
Over river and morass,
Over desert and mountain pass;
The Czar, the Orthodox Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
He looks from the mountain-chain        25
Toward the seas, that cleave in twain
The continents; his hand
Points southward o’er the land
Of Roumili! O Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!        30
 
And the words break from his lips:
“I am the builder of ships,
And my ships shall sail these seas
To the Pillars of Hercules!
I say it; the White Czar,        35
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
“The Bosphorus shall be free;
It shall make room for me;
And the gates of its water-streets
Be unbarred before my fleets.        40
I say it; the White Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!
 
“And the Christian shall no more
Be crushed, as heretofore,
Beneath thine iron rule,        45
O Sultan of Istamboul!
I swear it! I the Czar,
    Batyushka! Gosudar!”
 
 
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