Liberty, by Mikael Nalbandian


WHEN the God of Liberty
Formed of earth this mortal frame,
Breathed the breath of life in me,
And a spirit I became,

Wrapped within my swaddling bands,
Bound and fettered helplessly,
I stretched forth my infant hands
To embrace sweet Liberty.

All night long, until the dawn,
In my cradle bound I lay ;
And my sobbing’s ceaseless moan
Drove my mother’s sleep away.

As I begged her, weeping loud,
To unbind and set me free ;
From that very day I vowed
I would love thee, Liberty !

When upon my parents’ ear
First my lisping accents fell,
And their hearts rejoiced to hear
Me my childish wishes tell,

Then the words that first I spoke
Were not ” father, mother dear ” :
” Liberty ! ” the accents broke
In my infant utterance clear.

” Liberty ! ” The voice of Doom
Echoed to me from above,
” Wilt thou swear until the tomb
Liberty to serve and love ?

” Thorny is the path, and dim ;
Many trials wait for thee :
Far too small this world for him
Who doth worship Liberty ! “

” Liberty ! ” I made reply,
” O’er my head let thunders burst,
Lightnings flash, and missiles fly—
Foes conspire to do their worst ;

” Till I die, or meet my doom,
On the shameful gallows-tree,—
Till the portals of the tomb,
I will shout forth Liberty ! “

Armenian legends and poems by Zabelle C. Boyajian and Aram Raffi, London & New York, 1916.

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