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Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/Roundelay of Hearts

< Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse

2. ROUNDELAY OF HEARTS.

 

Ever with equal
Raising and sinking of pinions
In postures higher and higher
Repeated
Above the burden of earth
Prevails the glory of soaring.
Spirit voices are chanting the paths of grace,
Like birds encircling their whilom nests,
In magical gardens of enchantments,
O mystical husbandman!

Hear ye the secret seething of blood? Simmer of ripening ferment
Dazing the senses? Feverish chiming in darkness of hives?
Grievous music of hearts, attuned by the ages like strings
For starry harmony?
Wailing of strings too tensely wound, rended apart?
And scouring all worlds, the fiery cadence,
Compassing seraphic harmony?
Baffling remembrance of myriads in glorious embrace,
Ere this visible cosmos blossomed with heavy splendour
Amid infinities?

Signals of return, awaited by all beings of earth,
Mustering the brotherhood of huntsmen
In mocking labyrinths deep in the foreat of dreams?

In the grief of multitudes over blood-stained fields,
In the anguished blenching of usurpers,
In the secret victories of woman,
Like flames on a thousand-armed lustre,
At every opening of doors, by which the awaited approach,
In a gust of spirit-music
Hearts are aquiver.

Hail to you arrivals!
Vintages of our most potent grapes
Mark the path for you!
Black, charred traces of our fires,
Where we have sat beneath the sparkling of heavenly lights,
In silence of night, singing of your advent;
Hallowed tokens,
Which in the language of nations destined to perish
We have graven on vertical scutcheons of rock,
Ruined arches of triumphal gates
Of our rulers,
Temple-obelisks hidden beneath
Deposit of ages.—

Because of the secret of grief, of death, and of new birth
Blissful is life!

Because of the invisible presence of the great and holy among our kin
Who wander in our midst in gardens of light
And from the farness of all ages converse with our souls
Graciously,
Blissful is life!

Because of the kingly gratitude of the vanquished,
Who trustingly lays his head upon the bosom
Where thy radiance sings more potently,
Because of embrace of foes in enchantment of our loftiest season,
Blissful is life!

Because of celestial fragrance of newly-unfolded blossoms
In rapture of song, in glory of kisses,
Blissful is life!

Because of sublime weariness of builders,
Blissful is life!

Because of the starry spirit-gaze
Begirding earth on all sides together;
Crystal solitudes of the poles, of earliest ages, of ancient mountains, of statute, of number;
Silent oceans of blossoming light, of happiness, harvests, and night fall;

Feverish tropical gardens of blood, of thirst, and of princely dreamings;
The burden of all fruits ripened by suns visible and invisible
And that clamour for tempests and culling;
Seething of bee-swarms before dispersing; contests of nations through centuries;
Harmonious soaring of earth in the splendid curve of its orbit, and in earthquakes;
Azure mirrors of heaven even above the isles of them accursed by leprosy,
Chalk mountain-ranges where oceans once thundered
And where once again they shall thunder,
Sparkling of insects in forests of grass,
Sparkling of worlds in infinities,
Sparkling of thought in spirit herbages of the unknown.
Because of the delicate smiling of eyes undeceived by the gigantic Hallucination,
Blissful is life!

Because of blood that gushes from age to age out of the sinewy arms
Upraising the load of the past like hinges of prison-portals!
Because of the sublime cause of the joy of myriads!
Because of the secret price of the death of all brethren who died for us

(And all who have been, through all centuries, upon the whole expanse of earth
Have died for us)
Because of all crops, sown by a myriad hands and yet ungarnered!
Because of the alluring gleam and perils of all anvoyaged oceans!
Because of every span of earth that is destined as the battle-field of our victories,
And is therefore secretly marked with blossoms and gold!
Because of all beauty yet unkindled upon countenances,
Unatoned guilt, stones unchanged into bread,
Wealth still unbestowed upon brethren, kisses still waiting for lips,
Blissful is life!

Because of the outcry of the desolate heart
When it exults from its anguish like a straying bird
That has found a singing multitude of brethren,
Blissful is life!

Because of gusts, cataclysma, tempests! Paroxysms of love and desire!
Onslaughts of spirits!
Ceaseless ardour and thirst of uniting endeavour!
Because of our mystical sharing
In labour of all conquerors,
Who mark all happenings as a flock for the shearing

With the branded token of their destiny,
Buling over ardour and sorrow of myriads
And dispatching death to their fields as a gleaner
And to their quarries as a hewer of stone for their building
(As a multitude in amazement gazing to a single point
They leave the ages behind them;
And kingdoms, like ships, upon which mariners have leapt from the shore,
Sway beneath their poise even to capsizing)
Because of the mighty bliss of being mauled as a billow
By the surge of a majestical ocean of brethren
And of spurting up in the crest of foam like a sprig of white blossom
At the buffeting against cliffs of the promised land.

Because of hidden spring-tides of harmony
Set in the woven fabric of all things
Like butterfly-wings of the opalescent azure at evening,
Asparkle with the scaliness of stars,
Blissful is life!

Because of the approaching advent of the radiant mortal of mystery,
Who alone among myriad brethren that shall be and have been,
Conqueror over space,

Shall change the earth from pole to pole after thy sacred will
And by thought that from submissive suns
Has learnt deftness and dances and tunes,
Shall sit in thy secret council
Among princes of the cosmos—
Blissful is life!

"The Hands" (1901).

 
Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1929, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

 
Translation:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1970, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.