The Little Lake, by Bedros Tourian


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.

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