WHY dost thou lie in hushed surprise,
Thou little lonely mere ?
Did some fair woman wistfully
Gaze in thy mirror clear ?
Or are thy waters calm and still
Admiring the blue sky,
Where shining cloudlets, like thy foam,
Are drifting softly by ?
Sad little lake, let us be friends !
I too am desolate ;
I too would fain, beneath the sky,
In silence meditate.
As many thoughts are in my mind
As wavelets o’er thee roam ;
As many wounds are in my heart
As thou hast flakes of foam.
But if heaven’s constellations all
Should drop into thy breast,
Thou still wouldst not be like my soul,—
A flame-sea without rest.
There, when the air and thou are calm,
The clouds let fall no showers ;
The stars that rise there do not set,
And fadeless are the flowers.
Thou art my queen, O little lake !
For e’en when ripples thrill
Thy surface, in thy quivering depths
Thou hold’st me, trembling, still.
Full many have rejected me :
” What has he but his lyre ? “
” He trembles, and his face is pale ;
His life must soon expire ! “
None said, ” Poor child, why pines he thus ?
If he beloved should be,
Haply he might not die, but live,—
Live, and grow fair to see. “
None sought the boy’s sad heart to read,
Nor in its depths to look.
They would have found it was a fire,
And not a printed book !
Nay, ashes now ! a memory !
Grow stormy, little mere,
For a despairing man has gazed
Into thy waters clear !
Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell.
Armenian legends and poems by Zabelle C. Boyajian and Aram Raffi, London & New York, 1916.