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The Talisman   By: (1803-1881)

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Transcribed by David Price, email



The Talisman The Mermaid Ancient Russian Song Ancient Ballad The Renegade


From the Russian of Pushkin.

Where fierce the surge with awful bellow Doth ever lash the rocky wall; And where the moon most brightly mellow Dost beam when mists of evening fall; Where midst his harem's countless blisses The Moslem spends his vital span, A Sorceress there with gentle kisses Presented me a Talisman.

And said: until thy latest minute Preserve, preserve my Talisman; A secret power it holds within it 'Twas love, true love the gift did plan. From pest on land, or death on ocean, When hurricanes its surface fan, O object of my fond devotion! Thou scap'st not by my Talisman.

The gem in Eastern mine which slumbers, Or ruddy gold 'twill not bestow; 'Twill not subdue the turban'd numbers, Before the Prophet's shrine which bow; Nor high through air on friendly pinions Can bear thee swift to home and clan, From mournful climes and strange dominions From South to North my Talisman.

But oh! when crafty eyes thy reason With sorceries sudden seek to move, And when in Night's mysterious season Lips cling to thine, but not in love From proving then, dear youth, a booty To those who falsely would trepan From new heart wounds, and lapse from duty, Protect thee shall my Talisman.


From the Russian of Pushkin.

Close by a lake, begirt with forest, To save his soul, a Monk intent, In fasting, prayer and labours sorest His days and nights, secluded, spent; A grave already to receive him He fashion'd, stooping, with his spade, And speedy, speedy death to give him, Was all that of the Saints he pray'd.

As once in summer's time of beauty, On bended knee, before his door, To God he paid his fervent duty, The woods grew more and more obscure: Down o'er the lake a fog descended, And slow the full moon, red as blood, Midst threat'ning clouds up heaven wended Then gazed the Monk upon the flood.

He gaz'd, and, fear his mind surprising, Himself no more the hermit knows: He sees with foam the waters rising, And then subsiding to repose, And sudden, light as night ghost wanders, A female thence her form uprais'd, Pale as the snow which winter squanders, And on the bank herself she plac'd.

She gazes on the hermit hoary, And combs her long hair, tress by tress; The Monk he quakes, but on the glory Looks wistful of her loveliness; Now becks with hand that winsome creature, And now she noddeth with her head, Then sudden, like a fallen meteor, She plunges in her watery bed.

No sleep that night the old man cheereth, No prayer throughout next day he pray'd Still, still, against his wish, appeareth Before him that mysterious maid. Darkness again the wood investeth, The moon midst clouds is seen to sail, And once more on the margin resteth The maiden beautiful and pale.

With head she bow'd, with look she courted, And kiss'd her hand repeatedly, Splashed with the water, gaily sported, And wept and laugh'd like infancy She names the monk, with tones heart urging Exclaims "O Monk, come, come to me!" {7} Then sudden midst the waters merging All, all is in tranquillity.

On the third night the hermit fated Beside those shores of sorcery, Sat and the damsel fair awaited, And dark the woods began to be The beams of morn the night mists scatter, No Monk is seen then, well a day! And only, only in the water The lasses view'd his beard of grey.



The windel straw nor grass so shook and trembled; As the good and gallant stripling shook and trembled; A linen shirt so fine his frame invested, O'er the shirt was drawn a bright pelisse of scarlet The sleeves of that pelisse depended backward, The lappets of its front were button'd backward, And were spotted with the blood of unbelievers; See the good and gallant stripling reeling goeth, From his eyeballs hot and briny tears distilling; On his bended bow his figure he supporteth, Till his bended bow has lost its goodly gilding; Not a single soul the stripling good encounter'd, Till encounter'd he the mother dear who bore him: O my boy, O my treasure, and my darling! By what mean hast thou render'd thee so drunken, To the clay that thou bowest down thy figure, And the grass and the windel straws art grasping? To his Mother thus the gallant youth made answer: 'Twas not I, O mother dear, who made me drunken, But the Sultan of the Turks has made me drunken With three potent, various potations; The first of them his keenly cutting sabre; The next of them his never failing jav'lin; The third of them his pistol's leaden bullet... Continue reading book >>

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