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Alice Stone Blackwell

ARMENIAN POEMS


Contents | Table of contents [as in the book] | Preface | Introduction

Bedros Tourian | Michael Nalbandian | Abp. Khorène Nar Bey De Lusignan
Mugurditch Beshiktashlian | Raphael Patkanian | Leo Alishan | St. Gregory of Narek
Nerses the Graceful | Saïat Nova | Djivan | Raffi | Koutcharian | Terzyan | Totochian
Damadian | Atom Yarjanian (Siamanto) | Daniel Varoujan | Archag Tchobanian
Hovhannes Toumanian | Hovhannes Hovhannessian | Zabel Assatour (Madame Sybil)
Mugurditch Chrimian Hairig | M. Portoukalian | Mihran Damadian
Arshag D. Mahdesian | Nahabed Koutchak | Shoushanig Khourghinian
Avedik Issahakian | Avedis Aharonian | Karekin Servantzdiantz | Bedros Adamian
Tigrane Yergate | Khorène M. Antreassian | Djivan | Miscellaneous songs and poems

APPENDIX: The Armenian Women | The Armenian Church
Bibliography | Comments on the first edition of "Armenian Poems"


MUGURDITCH BESHIKTASHLIAN, a Roman Catholic Armenian, was born in 1829; was educated at the Mechitarist Convent in Venice, and was for years a professor of the Armenian language in Constantinople. In addition to his original works, he translated into Armenian many poems from other languages. It is not certain whether “A Brave Son of Armenia” is an adaptation from one of Victor Hugo’s “Oriental Poems,” or whether Hugo, who was an admirer of Armenian poetry, adapted it from the Armenian, Beshiktashlian died in 1868. On his gravestone are carved the lines that form the refrain of one of his most popular songs: —

“ What sound, beneath the stars aflame,
So lovely as a brother’s name ? ”

1. Death of a Youth of Zeitoun
2. Spring
3. A Brave Son of Armenia
4. We Are Brothers

1. DEATH OF A YOUTH OF ZEITOUN.

WHOM dost thou seek, sweet mother?
Come, tremble not, draw near!
Gaze on thy son’s blood-streaming wounds
Without a sigh or tear.
Let Turkish mothers rend their hair;
Do thou glad news to Zeitoun bear !

As, by my cradle, thou didst soothe
With tender hand and smile
My childish form to sleep, and sing
With angel voice the while,
Lay me to rest, without a care,
And joyful news to Zeitoun bear !

Red floods are welling from my wounds,
But, mother, look around;
See how the fierce blood-thirsty Turks
By thousands strew the ground !
Our swords devoured them, scattered there :
Then joyful news to Zeitoun bear!

They smote us like a dragon,
With sudden roaring deep;
But Zeitoun shook her rocky head,
And rolled them down the steep.
Red was the stain our rocks did wear ;
Then joyful news to Zeitoun bear !

Our fathers’ ghosts applauded;
Our old fire is not dead !
Our slaughtered kin rejoiced to see
The blood of vengeance shed.
Mount Ararat the joy did share ;
Mother, glad news to Zeitoun bear!

Take my last kiss, my mother,
And bear it to my love;
A kiss, too, for my native soil,
That now my tomb must prove.
Plant thou a cross above me there,
And joyful news to Zeitoun bear !

2. SPRING.

How cool and sweet, O breeze of morn,
Thou stirrest in the air,
Caressing soft the dewy flowers,
The young girl’s clustering hair !
But not my country’s breeze thou art.
Blow past! thou canst not touch my heart.

How sweetly and how soulfully
Thou singest from the grove,
O bird, while men admire thy voice
In tender hours of love !
But not my country’s bird thou art.
Sing elsewhere ! Deaf to thee my heart.

With what a gentle murmur,
O brook, thy current flows,
Reflecting in its mirror clear
The maiden and the rose !
But not my native stream thou art.
Flow past! thou canst hot charm my heart

Though over ruins linger
Armenia’s bird and breeze,
And though Armenia’s turbid stream
Creeps ’mid the cypress-trees,
They voice thy sighs, and from my heart.
My country, they shall not depart!

3. A BRAVE SON OF ARMENIA.

THERE leaned against a gravestone
Upon a mountain steep,
A fair-haired youth of gallant mien,
Who mused in sorrow deep.

His eyes now sought the heavens,
And now the earth below.
Son of the hills and valleys,
Why dost thou sorrow so ?

Dost thou desire, to soothe thee,
A vast and stormy sea,
Whose ranks of wind-stirred billows
Shall sing to comfort thee ?

Or heaven’s immense and wondrous vault,
Star-strewn, thine eyes to greet ?
Or smiles from nature’s fairest things,
The flowers, the zephyrs sweet ?

Or dost thou yearn for solace
All other joys above, —
A gentle mother’s kisses,
A sweetheart’s tender love?

To cure thy heart’s deep sorrow
What wouldst thou have, oh, what?
“ My longing is for powder,
For powder and for shot!”


4. WE ARE BROTHERS.

FROM glorious Nature’s myriad tongues
Though songs be breathed by lips of love,
And though the maiden’s fingers fair
Across the thrilling harp-strings rove,
Of all earth’s sounds, there is no other
So lovely as the name of brother.

Clasp hands, for we are brothers dear,
Of old by tempest rent apart;
The dark designs of cruel Fate
Shall fail, when heart is joined to heart.
What sound, beneath the stars aflame,
So lovely as a brother’s name ?

And when our ancient Mother-Land
Beholds her children side by side,
The dews of joyful tears shall heal
Her heart’s sad wounds, so deep and wide.
What sound, beneath the stars aflame,
So lovely as a brother’s name?

We wept together in the past;
Let us unite in harmony
And blend again our tears, our joys;
So shall our efforts fruitful be.
What sound, beneath the stars aflame,
So lovely as a brother’s name ?

Together let us work and strive,
Together sow, with toil and pain,
The seed that shall, with harvest blest,
Make bright Armenia’s fields again.
What sound, beneath the stars aflame,
So lovely as a brother’s name ?

 

Contents | Table of contents [as in the book] | Preface | Introduction

Bedros Tourian | Michael Nalbandian | Abp. Khorène Nar Bey De Lusignan
Mugurditch Beshiktashlian | Raphael Patkanian | Leo Alishan | St. Gregory of Narek
Nerses the Graceful | Saïat Nova | Djivan | Raffi | Koutcharian | Terzyan | Totochian
Damadian | Atom Yarjanian (Siamanto) | Daniel Varoujan | Archag Tchobanian
Hovhannes Toumanian | Hovhannes Hovhannessian | Zabel Assatour (Madame Sybil)
Mugurditch Chrimian Hairig | M. Portoukalian | Mihran Damadian
Arshag D. Mahdesian | Nahabed Koutchak | Shoushanig Khourghinian
Avedik Issahakian | Avedis Aharonian | Karekin Servantzdiantz | Bedros Adamian
Tigrane Yergate | Khorène M. Antreassian | Djivan | Miscellaneous songs and poems

APPENDIX: The Armenian Women | The Armenian Church
Bibliography | Comments on the first edition of "Armenian Poems"

 

See also:

Russian poetry translated by Alice Stone Blackwell

Acknowledgements:

Source: Blackwell, Alice Stone. Armenian Poems, Rendered into English Verse. Boston, MA: Atlantic Printing Company, 1917
Provided by: Aram Arkun, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Scanned by: Karen Vrtanesyan
OCR: Karen Vrtanesyan

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