Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/The Dream
1. THE DREAM.
Was it yesterday? Was it a hundred years since?
I know not, but very weary and infirm I was,
And my steps were the steps of a man who walks in a dream.
And I went through darksome causeways
And vacant and empty they were, and in them the wind moaned.
So grievously moaned . . .
And from a turret the hour chimed. . . And meseemed,
That this voice summoned me into the vault of a temple,
Where beneath heavy slabs with knightly ecutcheons
Slumber my ancestors . . .
Am I living or dead? I know not, but meseems,
That although these causeways are strange and unknown to me,
I have wandered therein of old,—
Was it yesterday or a hundred years since?
In this or in that life?
I know not, but my gait is firm and unwavering
As the gait of a man who wanders a wonted path.
And I hear the creaking of door-posts,
And hands unseen are opening
Heavy portals of a gloomy palace.
And I tread the stair-way of black marble
And my steps call into the darkness
And dead spaces answer unto them—
And I stride so firmly through darkness of passages
And pace the emptiness of ancient halls,
At the sides of which I forebode pictures of grandsires
And tatters of captured banners
And rusted weapons from old-time combats,
Which savour of murder. . .
And I feel the mildew that bedecks all,
And the air, that the dead inhale.
And I see flickering in the darkness
Shadows of alarm and sorrowful crape.
And I feel how my heart is beating vehemently,
And my temples, how they are moistened with sweat
And anguish clutches me for what I have endured,
And what long is no more.
"Conversations with Death" (1904).