Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
From the Russian
 
Translated by W. R. S. Ralston

AH! thou bright moon, Batyushka!
Not as in old times dost thou shine,
Not as in old, in former times,
For from the evening to the midnight hour,
From the midnight hour till the gray dawn,        5
Dost thou hide thyself behind clouds,
Dost thou cover thyself with black vapor.
So was it with us, in Holy Russia.
In Petersburg, that famous city,
In the church of Peter and Paul,        10
At the right side of the choir,
By the tomb of the Emperor,
By the tomb of Peter the First,
Peter the First, the Great,
A young sergeant prayed to God,        15
Weeping the while, as a river flows,
For the recent death of the Emperor,
The Emperor, Peter the First.
And thus amid his sobs he spake,—
“Split asunder, O damp mother Earth        20
On all four sides,—
Open, ye coffin planks,
Unroll, O brocade of gold,—
And do thou arise, awake, Gosudar,
Awake Batyushka, Orthodox Tsar.        25
Look upon thy army dear,
The well-loved, the brave.
Without thee are we all orphans,
Having become orphans, have we lost all strength.”
 
 
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