Текст оригинала на английском языке
Recollections of «Lalla Rookh»
WHEN we were farm boys, years ago, I dare not tell how many, When, strange to say, the fairest day Was often dark and rainy; No work, no school, no weeds to pull, No picking up potatoes, No copy-page to fill with blots, With little o's or great O's; But jokes and stories in the barn Made quiet fun and frolic; Draughts, fox-and-geese, and games like these, Quite simple and bucolic; Naught else to do, but just to braid A lash, or sing and whittle, Or go, perhaps, and set our traps, If it "held up" a little; On one of those fine days, for which We boys were always wishing, Too wet to sow, or plant, or hoe, Just right to go a fishing,— I found, not what I went to seek, In the old farmhouse gable,— Nor line, nor hook, but just a book That lay there on the table, Beside my sister's candlestick (The wick burned to the socket); A handy book to take to bed, Or carry in one's pocket. I tipped the dainty cover back, With little thought of finding Anything half so bright within The red morocco binding; And let by chance my careless glance Range over song and story; When from between the magic leaves There streamed a sudden glory, — As from a store of sunlit gems, Pellucid and prismatic,— That edged with gleams the rough old beams, And filled the raftered attic. I stopped to read; I took no heed Of time or place, or whether The window-pane was streaked with rain, Or bright with clearing weather. Of chore time or of supper-time I had no thought or feeling; If calves were bleating to be fed, Or hungry pigs were squealing. The tangled web of tale and rhyme, Enraptured, I unraveled; By caravan, through Hindostan, Toward gay Cashmere, I traveled. Before the gate of Paradise I pleaded with the Peri; And even of queer old Fadladeen I somehow did not weary; Until a voice called out below: "Come, boys! the rain is over! It's time to bring the cattle home! The lambs are in the clover!" My dream took flight; but day or night, It came again, and lingered. I kept the treasure in my coat, And many a time I fingered Its golden leaves among the sheaves In the long harvest nooning; Or in my room, till fell the gloom, And low boughs let the moon in. About me beamed another world, Refulgent, oriental; Life all aglow with poetry, Or sweetly sentimental. My hands were filled with common tasks, My head with rare romances; My old straw hat was bursting out With light locks and bright fancies. In field or wood, my thoughts threw off The old prosaic trammels; The sheep were grazing antelopes, The cows, a train of camels. Under the shady apple-boughs, The book was my companion; And while I read, the orchard spread One mighty branching banyan. To mango-trees or almond-groves Were changed the plums and quinces. I was the poet, Feramorz, And had, of course, my Princess. The well-curb was her canopied, Rich palanquin; at twilight, 'T was her pavilion overhead, And not my garret skylight. Ah, Lalla Rookh! O charmèd book! First love, in manhood slighted! To-day we rarely turn the page In which our youth delighted. Moore stands upon our shelves to-day, I fear a trifle dusty; With Scott, beneath a cobweb wreath, And Byron, somewhat musty. But though his orient cloth-of-gold Is hardly now the fashion, His tender melodies will live While human hearts have passion. The centuries roll; but he has left, Beside the ceaseless river, Some flowers of rhyme untouched by Time, And songs that sing forever.
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