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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Wherefore?
By Semyon Nadson (1862–1887)
 
Translation of Eugene Mark Kayden

AND was your love like mine? And were your nights
  With bitter anguish filled, despoiled of sleep?
And did you pray for her with all the strength
  Of chastened love; distracted, did you weep?
 
And since they laid her in a shroud of snow,        5
  And you on her a final time did gaze,
Has all your life been broken since, and hope
  Forever gone from you, the last of rays?
 
No, no!… You hoped, lived as in days before.
  The past forgot, you went your placid way;        10
Perchance you sternly scorned the dying flame
  Of pain and torment deep of yesterday.
 
Ah, favorite of fortune and of love!
  You never could her depths of spirit know,
Nor measure all her tenderness, her peace,        15
  As I did, I in sickness laid so low.
 
Then wherefore, in the doleful hour of parting,
  You, only you, could stand in dumb distress
Beside her, and the flame of one last kiss
  On lifeless marble of her hand impress?        20
 
And wherefore, when they laid her in the earth,
  And choirs sang requiem for her, departed,
Should you bestrew her early grave with flowers,
  And I like stranger watch afar, dull-hearted?
 
Oh, had you known my sullen, wild emotion,        25
  My heart by tempest torn, my hopeless gloom,
You would have moved aside, and let me stand
  Nearest to her, chief mourner at her tomb.
 
 
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