Tamara – Mikhail Lermontov

Art by Sebastian Crane @Mr_S_Crane

There in Daryala’s deep chasm,

Where the Terek flows through the gloom,

A tower, mouldering and ancient,

Black against dark cliffs did loom.

In that tower tall and so narrow

Tsaritsa Tamara lived still,

As beautiful as heaven’s best angel

Sly and cruel as a devil from hell.

Through the dreary fogs of midnight

From there would shine a golden gleam,

It charmed the eye of wanderer,

And bade him come enter and dream.

The voice of Tamara cried out

And it was pure yearning desire

Woven through with invincible charms

And holding incomprehensible power.

The voice of the unseen enchantress

Lured warriors, merchants, sheep herders,

The door always opened before them

Held by a Eunuch face grim as murder.

On a bed of gold, jewels and feathers,

She lay back awaiting her guest.

Effervescing lightly before her,

Two goblets of wine of the best.

Fevered hands clasped one another,

As lip clung to ravening lip,

And noises, wild, strange as beasts calling,

Rang out through the night, filling it.

As though in that old empty tower

A hundred young freemen and wives,

Were come to rejoice in a wedding

Or feast at a funeral pyre.

But as soon as the dawn of the morning,

Threw its lights spilling over the hills

Without warning both silence and gloom

Reigned once again. All was still.

All but the Terek in Daryala’s pass,

Which roaring broke the silence apart;

Wave followed wave, chasing, pursuing,

Wave after wave was there caught.

The waves with a cry bore a body,

Whose silence they hurried away;

While white flashed in a window,

From which a voice cried ‘forgive’ quietly

And it was so tender an adieu,

So sweet was the voice as it called

That it seemed to hold hope of meeting

And was full of the promise of love.

Published by SamHirst

This started off as a story blog to share the little fictions that I like to write but it's turned into something a bit more Goth! I'm Dr Sam Hirst and I research the Gothic, theology and romance and at the moment I'm doing free Gothic classes online! We also have readalongs, watchalongs and reading groups. And I post fun little Gothic bits when I have the chance. Find me on twitter @RomGothSam

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