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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
When from thy Shame
By Nikolay Nekrasov (1821–1877)
 
Translation of Eugene Mark Kayden

WHEN from thy shame, degrading, dark, I drew
Thy fallen spirit out with words of flame;
And thou, with wringing hands, in anguish deep,
Didst curse the sin that compassed thee about;
When thou didst lash thy conscience, late and dull,        5
With story of thy past, confessing all
Which was before I came, and sudden, torn
By shame and fears, and trembling, crushed, I saw
Thee hide thy face and yield to floods of tears;
Believe: I pitied, yearned to hear each word,        10
I understood thee, woman of great sorrow,
And I forgave, and I forgot it all.
Then why, each hour, strive thus with secret doubt?
Art even thou the slave of sham opinion?
Fear not the careless insult of the crowd,        15
Their lying, empty words, and cherish not
Each sickly thought within thy frightened heart.
’Tis vain by sorrowing thus to suckle serpents
Upon thy breast; but enter, free and bold,
As glad and rightful mistress of my house!        20
 
 
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