By Maxim Gorki
(Translated from the Russian by J. Vital DePorte and)
A nymph lived long about a stream
Till once, when seines were set,
She floated in a blissful dream
Straight down against the net.
The fishermen were dull with fear
And whispered: ‘What is this?’
But one, young Marco, ventured near
And met her with a kiss.
Lithe as a slender willow wand,
As quickly reconciled,
She met his gaze with glances fond,
Caressed him back, and smiled.
She fondled him the livelong day,
But when the night came on
The winsome creature slipped away—
And Marco’s joy was gone.
He wandered where the river laves
Its wooded bank, and cried:
‘Where is she?’ to the passing waves.
‘Who knows?’ the waves replied.
‘’Tis false!’ he raged, ‘You know full well
This is her native shore.’
And plunged beneath a mocking swell
To find his nymph once more.
The nymph sports on, as women will,
And nothing brings to mind
Poor Marco lost and dead. But still
He left a song behind,
And you who safely live on land
Where poor blind worms belong,
Your deeds will move no poet’s hand,
Your name inspire no song.