In Prison XI -The Reaper
Translated by E. L. Voynich London, 1911
Through the fields the reaper goes
Piling sheaves on sheaves in rows;
Hills, not sheaves, are these.
Where he passes howls the earth,
Howl the echoing seas.
All the night the reaper reaps,
Never stays his hands nor sleeps,
Whets his blade and passes on...
Hush, and let him be.
Hush, he cares not how men writhe
With naked hands against the scythe.
Wouldst thou hide in field or town?
Where thou art, there he will come;
He will reap thee down.
Serf and landlord,
Great and small;
Friendless wandering singer, - all,
All shall swell the sheaves that grow to mountains;
Even the Tsar shall go.
And me too the scythe shall find
Cowering alone behind
Bars of iron; swift and blind,
Strike, and pass, and leave me, stark
And forgotten in the dark.
Saint Petersburg, 1847