Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Saint Petersburg

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

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

By From the Russian

Translated by W. R. S. Ralston

AH! thou bright moon, Batyushka!

Not as in old times dost thou shine,

Not as in old, in former times,

For from the evening to the midnight hour,

From the midnight hour till the gray dawn,

Dost thou hide thyself behind clouds,

Dost thou cover thyself with black vapor.

So was it with us, in Holy Russia.

In Petersburg, that famous city,

In the church of Peter and Paul,

At the right side of the choir,

By the tomb of the Emperor,

By the tomb of Peter the First,

Peter the First, the Great,

A young sergeant prayed to God,

Weeping the while, as a river flows,

For the recent death of the Emperor,

The Emperor, Peter the First.

And thus amid his sobs he spake,—

“Split asunder, O damp mother Earth

On all four sides,—

Open, ye coffin planks,

Unroll, O brocade of gold,—

And do thou arise, awake, Gosudar,

Awake Batyushka, Orthodox Tsar.

Look upon thy army dear,

The well-loved, the brave.

Without thee are we all orphans,

Having become orphans, have we lost all strength.”