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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Translations

FROM EASTERN SOURCES

THE FUGITIVE

A TARTAR SONG

I

"He is gone to the desert land
I can see the shining mane
Of his horse on the distant plain,
As he rides with his Kossak band!

"Come back, rebellious one!
Let thy proud heart relent;
Come back to my tall, white tent,
Come back, my only son!

"Thy hand in freedom shall
Cast thy hawks, when morning breaks,
On the swans of the Seven Lakes,
On the lakes of Karajal.

"I will give thee leave to stray
And pasture thy hunting steeds
In the long grass and the reeds
Of the meadows of Karaday.

"I will give thee my coat of mail,
Of softest leather made,
With choicest steel inlaid;
Will not all this prevail?"


II

"This hand no longer shall
Cast my hawks, when morning breaks,
On the swans of the Seven Lakes,
On the lakes of Karajal.

"I will no longer stray
And pasture my hunting steeds
In the long grass and the reeds
Of the meadows of Karaday.

"Though thou give me thy coat of mall,
Of softest leather made,
With choicest steel inlaid,
All this cannot prevail.

"What right hast thou, O Khan,
To me, who am mine own,
Who am slave to God alone,
And not to any man?

"God will appoint the day
When I again shall be
By the blue, shallow sea,
Where the steel-bright sturgeons play.

"God, who doth care for me,
In the barren wilderness,
On unknown hills, no less
Will my companion be.

"When I wander lonely and lost
In the wind; when I watch at night
Like a hungry wolf, and am white
And covered with hoar-frost;

"Yea, wheresoever I be,
In the yellow desert sands,
In mountains or unknown lands,
Allah will care for me!"


III

Then Sobra, the old, old man,--
Three hundred and sixty years
Had he lived in this land of tears,
Bowed down and said, "O Khan!

"If you bid me, I will speak.
There's no sap in dry grass,
No marrow in dry bones!  Alas,
The mind of old men is weak!

"I am old, I am very old:
I have seen the primeval man,
I have seen the great Gengis Khan,
Arrayed in his robes of gold.

"What I say to you is the truth;
And I say to you, O Khan,
Pursue not the star-white man,
Pursue not the beautiful youth.

"Him the Almighty made,
And brought him forth of the light,
At the verge and end of the night,
When men on the mountain prayed.

"He was born at the break of day,
When abroad the angels walk;
He hath listened to their talk,
And he knoweth what they say.

"Gifted with Allah's grace,
Like the moon of Ramazan
When it shines in the skies, O Khan,
Is the light of his beautiful face.

"When first on earth he trod,
The first words that he said
Were these, as he stood and prayed,
There is no God but God!

"And he shall be king of men,
For Allah hath heard his prayer,
And the Archangel in the air,
Gabriel, hath said, Amen!"