Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/51

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41
BOOK ONE

who had wandered some six hundred miles, little towns run up in a hurry with wretched little wooden shops, flour barrels, bark shoes, fancy rolls and other such trifles, spotted barrier posts, patched-up bridges, interminable fields on both sides of the road, old-fashioned country gentlemen's coaches, a soldier on horseback, carrying a green box with grapeshot, with a label on it of some Artillery Battery, green, yellow, and freshly dug black strips of land flashing by on the steppe, a song chanted in the distance, the crests of pine-trees in the mist, the jingle of bells in the distance, crows as thick as flies, and a boundless horizon. Russia! Russia! I behold thee, from my lovely far-away paradise, I behold thee! It is poor, neglected and comfortless in thee, no insolent marvels of nature crowned by insolent marvels of art, no towns with many-windowed lofty palaces piled on precipitous heights, no picturesque trees, no ivy-clad houses in the roar and ever-lasting spray of waterfalls rejoice the eye or strike awe into the heart; the head is not turned to gaze at the rocks piled up on the heights above it; no everlasting lines of shining mountains rising into the silvery pure skies gleam in the distance through dark arches, scattered one upon the other in a tangle of vines, ivy and wild roses beyond number. In thee all is open, desolate, flat; thy lowly towns lie scattered like dots, like specks unseen among thy plains; there is nothing to allure or captivate the eye. But what