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

Asiatic Russia: Siberia


By James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)

IN Siberia’s wastes

The ice-wind’s breath

Woundeth like the toothéd steel;

Lost Siberia doth reveal

Only blight and death.

Blight and death alone.

No summer shines.

Night is interblent with Day.

In Siberia’s wastes alway

The blood blackens, the heart pines.

In Siberia’s wastes

No tears are shed,

For they freeze within the brain.

Naught is felt but dullest pain,

Pain acute, yet dead;

Pain as in a dream,

When years go by

Funeral-paced, yet fugitive,

When man lives, and doth not live,

Doth not live—nor die.

In Siberia’s wastes

Are sands and rocks.

Nothing blooms of green or soft,

But the snowpeaks rise aloft

And the gaunt ice-blocks.

And the exile there

Is one with those;

They are part, and he is part,

For the sands are in his heart,

And the killing snows.

Therefore, in those wastes

None curse the Czar.

Each man’s tongue is cloven by

The North Blast, who heweth nigh

With sharp scymitar.

And such doom each drees,

Till, hunger-gnawn,

And cold-slain, he at length sinks there,

Yet scarce more a corpse than ere

His last breath was drawn.