The Arrival of the Crusaders, by Saint Nerses Shnorhali


ONCE more God hither moves their course;
With countless infantry and horse,
As swell the waves towards the strand,
Fierce and tempestuous, they land.
Like sands that by the ocean lie,
Or like the stars that strew the sky,
They fill the earth where’er they go
And whiten it as wool or snow.
Their voice is like the northern wind,
Driving the storm-cloud from behind.
They clear the land from end to end,
The unbelievers forth they send,
Redeeming from such hopeless plight
All Christians held within their might.
Now in the churches cold and dark,
Once more shall burn the taper’s spark;
And you, my sons, late forced to flee
To distant lands, afar from me,
Shall now return in chariots fair
Drawn by brave steeds with trappings rare.
And I shall lift mine eyes above
Beholding near me those I love.
My arms about you I shall fold,
Rejoicing with a joy untold;
And my black robes aside will lay
To dress in greens and crimsons gay.

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

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