“Gay should be thy mood, O Mother,
As the sturgeons leap in glee:
Ocean’s merging still is distant,
Shouldest thou be sad, like me?
“Are thy spume-drifts tears, O Mother,
Tears for those that are no more?
Dost thou haste to pass by, weeping,
This thine own beloved shore?”
Then uprose on high Araxes,
Flung in air her spumy wave,
And from out her depths maternal
Sonorous her answer gave:
“Why disturb me now, presumptuous,
All my slumbering woe to wake?
Why invade the eternal silence
For a foolish question’s sake?
“Know’st thou not that I am
Sons and daughters, consort, dead?
Wouldst thou have me go rejoicing,
As a bride to nuptial bed?
“Wouldst thou have me decked in
To rejoice a stranger’s sight,
While the aliens that haunt me
Bring me loathing, not delight?
“Traitress never I; Armenia
Claims me ever as her own;
Since her mighty doom hath fallen
Never stranger have I known.
“Yet the glories of my nuptials
Heavy lie upon my soul;
Once again I see the splendor
And I hear the music roll.
“Hear again the cries of children
Ringing joyfully on my banks,
And the noise of marts and toilers,
And the tread of serried ranks.
“But where, now, are all my people?
Far in exile, homeless, lorn.
While in widow’s weeds and hopeless,
Weeping, sit I here and mourn.
“Hear now! while my sons are absent
Age-long fast I still shall keep;
Till my children gain deliverance,
Here I watch and pray and weep.”
Silent, then, the mighty Mother
Let her swelling tides go free.
And in mournful meditation
Slowly wandered to the sea.
* * * * *
THE ARMENIAN MAIDEN
In the hush of the spring night dreaming
The crescent moon have you seen,
As it shimmers on apricots gleaming,
Through velvety masses of green.
Have you seen, in a June-tide nooning,
A languorous full-blown rose
In the arms of the lilies swooning
And yielding her sweets to her foes?
Yet the moon in its course and the roses
By Armenia’s maiden pale,
When she coyly and slowly discloses
The glories beneath her veil.
And a lute from her mother receiving,
With a blush that a miser would move,
She treads a soft measure, believing
That music is sister to love.
Like a sapling her form in its swaying,
Full of slender and lissomy grace
As she bends to the time of her playing,
Or glides with a fairy-light pace.