Modern Russian Poetry/The Tryst
In the land of Ra the flaming, by the shores of Nile's slow
waters, where the roofs of Thebes were seen,
In the days of yore you loved me, as dark Isis loved
Osiris, sister, friend and worshiped queen!
And the pyramid its shadow on our evening trysts would
Oh, the mystery remember of our meeting in the temple,
in the aisle of granite, dim and straight,
And the hour when, lights extinguished, and the sacred
dances broken,—each to each was sudden mate;
Our caresses, burning whispers, ardors that we could not
In the splendor of the ball-room, clinging to me, white
and tender,—through Time's curtain rift in twain,
Did your ear not catch the anthems, mingling with the
crash of cymbals, and the people's answering refrain?
Did you not repeat in rapture that our love awoke again?
Once before, we knew existence, this our bliss is a remem-
brance, and our love—a memory;
Casting off its ancient ashes, flames again our hungry
passion, flames and kindles you and me,—
As of old, by Nile's slow waters, in the land beyond the
- Tr. by Avrahm Yarmolinsky.