Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Black Shawl
By Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837)
Translation of Thomas Budd Shaw

LIKE a madman I gaze on a raven-black shawl:
Remorse, fear, and anguish,—this heart knows them all.
When believing and fond, in the springtime of youth,
I loved a Greek maiden with tenderest truth.
That fair one caressed me—my life! oh, ’twas bright;        5
But it set, that fair day, in a hurricane night.
One day I had bidden young guests, a gay crew,
When sudden there knocked at my gate a vile Jew.
“With guests thou art feasting,” he whisperingly said,
“And she hath betrayed thee—thy young Grecian maid.”        10
I cursed him and gave him good guerdon of gold,
And called me a slave that was trusty and bold.
“Ho! my charger—my charger!”—We mount, we depart,
And soft pity whispered in vain at my heart.
On the Greek maiden’s threshold in frenzy I stood:        15
I was faint, and the sun seemed as darkened with blood.
By the maiden’s low window I listen, and there
I beheld an Armenian caressing the fair.
The light darkened round me; then flashed my good blade—
The minion ne’er finished the kiss that betrayed.        20
On the corse of the minion in fury I danced,
Then silent and pale at the maiden I glanced.
I remember the prayers and the red-bursting stream—
Thus perished the maiden—thus perished my dream.
This raven-black shawl from her dead brow I tore—        25
On its fold from my dagger I wiped off the gore.
The mists of the evening arose, and my slave
Hurled the corpses of both in the Danube’s dark wave.
Since then, I kiss never the maid’s eyes of light,
Since then, I know never the soft joys of night.        30
Like a madman I gaze on the raven-black shawl:
Remorse, fear, and anguish,—this heart knows them all.

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