Sonnets from the Crimea/The Pass Across the Abyss in the Tschufut-Kale

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The Pass Across the Abyss in the Tschufut-Kale  (1917) 
by Adam Mickiewicz, translated by Edna W. Underwood



Pray! Pray! Let loose the bridle. Look not down!

The humble horse alone has wisdom here.
He knows where blackest the abysses leer
And where the path in safety leads us down.
Pray, and look upward to the mountain's crown!
The deep below is endless where you peer;
Stretch not the hand out as you pass, for fear
The added weight of that might plunge you down.

And check your thoughts' free flight, too, while you go;
Let all of Fancy's fluttering sails be furled
Here where Death watches o'er the riven world.


I lived to cross the bridge of ancient snow!

But what I saw my tongue no more can tell,
The angels only could rehearse that well.