Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
The Song of the Cossack
Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
Anonymous translation

MY courser, come, the Cossack’s noble friend!
  Hark! ’t is the signal of the trumpet’s breath:
Thine aid to tyrants and to slaughter lend,
  And haste with me to add new wings to death.
I have no gold to deck thy bridle-rein:        5
  But thou wilt neigh with pride, my courser fleet,
When I for thee old Europe’s wealth will gain,
  When kings and peoples crouch beneath my feet.
Fair Peace before thy withering steps shall fall;
  Come, fill my greedy hands with treasures free:        10
Europe has lost her Polish ramparts tall;
  Within the Louvre I will stable thee.
Where thou in foam and gore hast bathed thy side,
  Now thou wilt neigh with pride, my courser fleet:
When thou shalt drink the Seine’s rebellious tide,        15
  While kings and people crouch beneath thy feet.
As in a fortress, princes, nobles, peers,
  Besieged by suffering subjects all around;
Mid northern wilds their cry the Cossack hears:
  “Come, be our master, we to thee are bound;        20
As serfs forever be thy savage hordes,
  But crush our people, let us reign their lords.”
Then neigh with pride, my courser fleet,
  As kings and people crouch beneath thy feet.
I saw the shadow of the mighty Hun        25
  Fix on our tents an eye of scorching light;
Once more he cried, I see my reign begun,
  To lands by freedom named, with vineyards bright.
His spirit calls and leads us to the west;
  Then neigh with pride, my courser fleet,        30
For now on France Attila’s scourge shall rest,
  Her kings and people lie beneath thy feet.
All the refinement Europe proudly boasts,
  The immortal records of the mighty dead,
The light of other lands, behold the Cossack host        35
  Trample beneath their savage warriors’ tread.
When thus shall fall fair freedom’s cause,
  Then thou wilt neigh with pride, my courser fleet,
When temples, altars, glory, learning, laws,
  When all that men hold sacred lies beneath thy feet.        40

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