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


The Battle-field of Raszyn

By Casimir Brodzinski (1791–1836)

Translated by J. Bowring

A BALMY air is up, the night is still,

The tired steeds graze upon the watery meads;

The willows bend their branches o’er the rill

That angrily breaks through the impeding weeds.

The field is silent,—but that echoes lone,

Roused by the swain from the dark cells awake;

The shifting clouds sweep o’er the steadfast moon,

Who shoots her silver arrows o’er the lake.

Sweet moon! now watching yon fair conclave o’er,

Not brightly thus thy pure and pale lamp shone,

When war’s black smoke had veiled thee; and its roar

Rolled through the neighboring woods the deathful groan.

Then fled the villager his burning shed;

The shrieking babes clung to their mothers’ breast,

Drums, clarions, cannon’s thundering; and the dead

And tortured dying. Now, ’t is all at rest.

Where the blood flowed, now gleams the falling dew;

The green grass grows, the grateful balmy hay

Is gathered in;—the laboring ox anew

Ploughs for fresh harvests on his wonted way.

But all these mounds are tombs! the wild winds pass

Mournfully, murmuring sorrow as they go;

The cicades have left the close-mown grass

To sing their songs of exile and of woe.

Sad memory! the spirits of the dead

Flit by me; shade is hurried after shade.

Here mangled corses lift their ghastly head,

There shadowy arms wave high the gleaming blade.

But what dim shade is that, where sits the bird

Of evening on the pensive alder-tree!

O’er rustling piles of armor sure I heard

Him stalk; the wind wakes his harp’s harmony.

Shades of the friends I loved! how long, how long

Will ye in bloody garments haunt this spot;

Around the tombs where sleep our fathers throng

Clamoring for vengeance? Ah! we hear ye not.