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Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

(6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837 / Moscow)

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."

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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