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Tamara

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov 1814 (Moscow) – 1841 (Pyatigorsk, Caucasus Oblast)



Where waves of the Terek are waltzing
In Dariel's wickedest pass,
There rises from bleakest of storm crags
An ancient grey towering mass.

In this tower by mad winds assaulted,
Sat ever Tamara, the Queen--
A heavenly angel of beauty,
With a spirit of hell's own demesne.

Through the mist of the night her gold fires
Gleamed down through the valley below,
A welcome they threw to the pilgrim,
In their streaming and beckoning glow.

How clear rang the voice of Tamara!
How amorous did it invite!
The heart of the stranger enticing,
Seducing with magic delight!

The warrior was snared by her singing,
Nor noble, nor herd could withstand--
Then noiseless her portal was opened
By eunuchs of shadowy hand.

With pearls rare adorned and strange jewels,
Reposed on a billowy nest,
A prey to voluptuous longing,
Tamara awaited her guest.

With passioned and thrilling embracement,
With straining of breast unto breast,
With sighing and trembling and transport--
In lust's unrestrained, giddy zest--

So revelled 'mid desolate ruins,
Of Lovers,--past counting at least!
In their bridal night's wild distraction,
And in truth at their own death feast.

For when from the peaks of the mountains
The sun tore the night's veiling soft,
There reigned anew only the silence
On turret and casement aloft.

And only the Terek bewailing
With fury broke in on the hush,
As dashing her billows on billows
Her writhing floods onward did rush.

A youth's form her currents are bearing,
Ah vainly they murmur and swell!
A woman, a pale and a fair one--
Cries down from her tower 'Farewell!'

Her voice has the sound of faint weeping,
So amorous, tender and sweet--
As if she in love's holy rapture
Did promise of meeting repeat!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:30 min read
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Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov was a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837 and the greatest figure in Russian Romanticism. more…

All Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov poems | Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov Books

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1 Comment
  • Vladimir Pleshakov
    Vladimir Pleshakov
    Elena Winther and I have recorded the 2-piano version of "Tamara" by
    Balakirev, in Alexander Glazunov's transcription done while Balakirev was still composing the symphonic poen for orchesta.The all-Balakirev CD is issued by Orion Records and can be found on the web, as well as in excerpts on Youtube under "Pleshakov Tamara" 
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago

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