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


The Storming of Azof

By From the Russian

Translated by Mrs. T. A. L. Robinson

THE POOR soldiers have no rest,

Neither night nor day!

Late at evening the word was given

To the soldiers gay;

All night long their weapons cleaning,

Were the soldiers good,

Ready in the morning dawn,

All in ranks they stood.

Not a golden trumpet is it,

That now sounds so clear:

Nor the silver flute’s tone is it,

That thou now dost hear.

’T is the great white Tzar who speaketh,

’T is our father dear.

Come, my princes, my Boyars,

Nobles, great and small!

Now consider and invent

Good advice, ye all!

How the soonest, how the quickest,

Fort Azof may fall?

The Boyars, they stood in silence.

And our father dear,

He again began to speak,

In his eye a tear:

Come, my children, good dragoons,

And my soldiers all,

Now consider and invent

Brave advice, ye all,

How the soonest, how the quickest,

Fort Azof may fall?

Like a humming swarm of bees,

So the soldiers spake,

With one voice at once they spake:

“Father, dear, great Tzar!

Fall it must! and all our lives

Thereon we gladly stake.”

Set already was the moon,

Nearly past the night;

To the storming on they marched,

With the morning light;

To the fort with bulwarked towers

And walls so strong and white.

Not great rocks they were, which rolled

From the mountains steep;

From the high, high walls there rolled

Foes into the deep.

No white snow shines on the fields,

All so white and bright;

But the corpses of our foes

Shine so bright and white.

Not up-swollen by heavy rains

Left the sea its bed;

No! in rills and rivers streams

Turkish blood so red!