The Russian Review/Volume 1/May 1916/A Wallachian Legend

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A Wallachian Legend.

By Maxim Gorky.

Translated by Elbert Aidline.

A fairy once dwelt in a forest,
And bathed in its silvery streams;
One day she was caught by the fishers,
While morning was shedding its gleams.

The fishers all scattered, affrighted,
But Marco, a fisherman young;
He kissed her, embraced, and caressed her,
So vigorous, youthful, and strong.

The fairy entwined like a serpent,
Seductively tender and mild,
And gazing upon him intently,
She silently, silently smiled.

All day she embraced and caressed him,
But—happiness ever is brief—
With nightfall the fairy had vanished
And left him alone with his grief.

At daylight, at starlight he wanders,
And seeks her, and withers, and craves,
"Oh, where is my fairy?"—"We know not,"
Are laughing the treacherous waves.

"Be silent!" he cries to the wavelets.
"Yourselves with my fairy you play!"
And into the waters deceitful
He plunged, there to seek his sweet fay. . .

The fairy still dwells in the forest,
Still beautiful, charming, and young . . .
But Marco is dead . . . Yet forever
He'll live in the glory of Song.

While you, self-contented and dormant,
Like worms you will crawl on your way;
No tale shall relate of your doings,
No poet shall sing you a lay!