Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX. 1876–79.

Kiev (Kieff)


By Ivan Kozlov (1779–1840)

Translated by T. B. Shaw

O KIEFF! where religion ever seemeth

To light existence in our native land;

Where o’er Petcherskoi’s dome the bright cross gleameth

Like some fair star that still in heaven doth stand.

Where, like a golden sheet, around thee streameth

Thy plain and meads that far away expand;

And by thy hoary wall, with ceaseless motion,

Old Dnieper’s foaming swell sweeps on to ocean.

How oft to thee in spirit have I panted,

O holy city! country of my heart!

How oft in vision have I gazed enchanted

On thy fair towers—a sainted thing thou art!—

By Lavra’s walls or Dnieper’s wave, nor wanted

A spell to draw me from this life apart;

In thee, my country, I behold victorious,

Holy and beautiful, and great and glorious.

The moon her soft ray on Petcherskoi poureth,

Its domes are shining on the river’s wave;

The soul the spirit of the past adoreth,

Where sleeps beneath thee many a holy grave.

Vladimir’s shade above thee calmly soareth,

Thy towers speak of the sainted and the brave;

Afar I gaze, and all in dreamy splendor

Breathes of the past,—a spell sublime and tender.

There fought the warriors on the field of glory,

Strong in the faith against their country’s foe;

And many a royal flower yon palace hoary

In virgin loveliness hath seen to blow.

And Baijan sang to them the noble story,

And secret rapture in their breast did glow.

Hark! midnight sounds—that brazen voice is dying—

A day to meet the vanished days is flying.

Where are the valiant? the resistless lances,—

The brands that were as lightning when they waved?

Where are the beautiful, whose sunny glances

Our fathers with such potency enslaved?

Where is the bard whose song no more enhances?

Ah! that deep bell hath answered what I craved.

And thou alone, by these gray walls, O river!

Murmurest, Dnieper, still, and flow’st for ever.