The Talisman

Where the sea - eternal stormer -
Splashes on deserted scaurs,
Where the moon is shining warmer
At the tender nightfall hours,
Where bondmaidens serve in duty
To the reveling mussulman,
There, caressing me, a beauty
Handed me a talisman.
And she spoke to me, caressing:
"Keep this talisman, my dove:
It contains a secret blessing!
It is given you by love.
Should it happen that from blizzard,
Threat, misfortune, death you ran,
You would not be saved by wizard
Powers of my talisman.
"And of oriental profit
It will never bring to you;
And adorers of the Prophet
It will never win to you;
Nor to northern lands from southern
All across the global span
To the bosom of your brethren
Carry you my talisman.
"But when wily eyes would harness
Your sad fancy instantly,
Or unloving lips in darkness
Give a kiss of falsity -
Then oh friend! of crime, of letting
New heart wounds on my dear man,
Of betrayal, of forgetting
Safeguard you my talisman!"

Translated by Genia Gurarie

The Talisman

There, where seas are ever crashing,
On the shores of lonely cliffs,
And where the moon glows warmer,
Through sweet hours of twilight mist,
And, wherein the harem, revelling,
The Mussulman's days pass by,
An enchantress, with caresses,
Handed me a talisman.
And, caressing me, she bade me:
Keep you safe my talisman:
In it lies a wondrous power.
It is given you with love.
From an illness of from dying,
From turmoil, or fear storm
Thy dear life, O my beloved,
My talisman will not save.
And the riches of the Orient
It shall not bestow you,
Nor disciples of a prophet
To you will subdue;
And to you, a friendly bosom
From a sad and wondrous land,
To your hearth, from north to south,
Will not speed, my talisman.
But whenever eyes bewitching,
Enchant you suddenly,
Or when lips in dark of night
Without love, kiss you -
Dearest friend! from trespasses,
From fresh wounds of the heart,
From betrayal, from forgetness,
Guard you, shall my talisman.

Translated by Nick and Dimitri Derkatch

The Talisman

Where the sea forever dances
Over lonely cliff and dune,
Where sweet twilight's vapor glances
In a warmer-glowing moon,
Where with the seraglio's graces
Daylong toys the Mussulman,
An enchantress 'mid embraces
Handed me a talisman.
'Mid embraces I was bidden:
"Guard this talisman of mine:
In it secret power is hidden!
Love himself has made it thine.
Neither death nor ills nor aging,
My beloved, does it ban,
Nor in gales and tempest raging
Can avail my talisman.
Never will it help thee gather
Treasures of the Orient coast,
Neither to thy harness tether
Captives of the Prophet's host;
Nor in sadness will it lead thee
To a friendly bosom, nor
From this alien southland speed thee
To the native northern shore.
"But whenever eyes designing
Cast on thee a sudden spell,
In the darkness lips entwining
Love thee not, but kiss too well:
Shield thee, love, from evil preying,
From new heart-wounds---that it can,
From forgetting, from betraying
Guards thee this my talisman."

Translated by Katharena Eiermann


Там, где море вечно плещет
На пустынные скалы,
Где луна теплее блещет
В сладкий час вечерней мглы,
Где, в гаремах наслаждаясь,
Дни проводит мусульман,
Там волшебница, ласкаясь,
Мне вручила талисман.
И, ласкаясь, говорила:
"Сохрани мой талисман:
В нем таинственная сила!
Он тебе любовью дан.
От недуга, от могилы,
В бурю, в грозный ураган,
Головы твоей, мой милый,
Не спасет мой талисман.
И богатствами Востока
Он тебя не одарит,
И поклонников пророка
Он тебе не покорит;
И тебя на лоно друга,
От печальных чуждых стран,
В край родной на север с юга
Не умчит мой талисман...
Но когда коварны очи
Очаруют вдруг тебя,
Иль уста во мраке ночи
Поцелуют не любя -
Милый друг! от преступленья,
От сердечных новых ран,
От измены, от забвенья
Сохранит мой талисман!"