Response to A. S. Pushkin
Music of fiery prophetic words
Has come this far, and reached our ears,
Our hands have rushed to clasp at swords,
And — closed around our prison bars.
But, poet, be at ease! In irons
We glory in our destiny
And from within our heavy prisons
Laugh at royal tyranny.
Not in vain are we abused,
The flame is kindled from the spark:
The holy banner we have raised
Will lead our people from the dark.
Forged from our chains, our swords will sing
And kindle freedom into actions
that fall upon the heads of kings —
And joyfully inspire nations!
Previously appeared in European Romantic Poetry,
edited by Michael Ferber, Pearson Longman 2005.