Modern Russian Poetry/The Coming Huns

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"Trample their Paradise, Attila!"

—Vyacheslav Ivanov.

Where do you stray, heavy Huns,
Who weigh on the world like a cloud?
Far, under Asian suns,
Your cast-iron tread is loud.

Swoop down in a drunken horde
From your dark encampments, rise
In a tide of crimson poured
Over this land that dies.

O slaves of freedom, pitch
Your tent by the palace gate.
Plow deep, dig wide the ditch
Where the throne shone on your hate.

Heap books to build a fire!
Dance in their ruddy light.
Foul altar steps with mire:
You are children in our sight.

And we, the poets, the wise,
From the onslaught that darkens and raves,
Defending the torch you despise,
Shall hold it in deserts and caves.


Under the scattering storm,
The tempests that raven and tear,
What will the hazards of harm
From our long labor spare?

All that we only knew
Shall perish and sink and grow dim.
But you who shall slay me, you
I salute with hosanna and hymn.