* * *
Shouldn't it be in the four-foot iambus,
The cherished, antediluvial iambus?
What about but itself —
That tetrameter full of grace?
From the heights of the Musicia above the stars
Brought to us by angels,
It is stronger than all Russia's strongholds,
More glorious than all its flags.
Years have gnawed out of memory
Who and for what fell in Khotin,
But the first sound of the Khotin Ode
Became, for us, the first cry of life.
On that day, onto hills of snow
The Russian Camena ascended
And sent her wondrous voice over
To faraway sisters.
Since then, in a strict variety,
Like that illustrious Waterfall,
Down its four rapids,
Russian verses have been seething.
And the more forcefully they are falling from the steep,
The foamier the whirlpool,
The more precious the melodious harmody
And the higher the flight of light spray —
That spray where, like a vision, is hovering,
Shining with the bliss of height,
Sparkling with the tinge of meaning, —
The living rainbow of dream.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Its nature is mysterious:
The spondee sleeps in it, the pean sings;
It knows only one law — freedom;
In its freedom, there is law.