Monday, 2 July 2018

Liberty - Mikael Ghazarian Nalbandian

When God, who is forever free,
Breathed life into my earthly frame, —
From that first day, by His free will
When I a living soul became, —
A babe upon my mother’s, breast,
Ere power of speech was given to me,
Even then I stretched my feeble arms
Forth to embrace thee, Liberty!

Wrapped round with many swaddling bands,
All night I did not cease to weep,
And in the cradle, restless still,
My cries disturbed my mother’s sleep.
“ O mother!” in my heart I prayed,
“ Unbind my arms and leave me free! ”
And even from that hour I vowed
To love thee ever, Liberty!

When first my faltering tongue was freed,
And when my parents’ hearts were stirred
With thrilling joy, to hear their son
Pronounce his first clear-spoken word,
“Papa, Mamma,” as children use,
Were not the names first said by me;
The first word on ray childish lips
Was thy great name, O Liberty!

“ Liberty!” answered from on high
The sovereign voice of Destiny:
“Wilt thou enroll thyself henceforth
A soldier true of Liberty?
The path is thorny all the way,
And many trials wait for thee;
Too strait and narrow is this world
For him who loveth Liberty.”

“ Freedom!” I answered, “on my head
Let fire descend and thunder burst;
Let foes against my life conspire,
Let all who hate thee do their worst:
I will be true to thee till death;
Yea, even upon the gallows tree
The last breath of a death of shame
Shall shout thy name, O Liberty!”

Mikael Ghazarian Nalbandian (1829 - 1866) Armenia
Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell
Source: Armenian Poems Rendered into English verse by Alice Stone Blackwell,  Robert Chambers, 1917

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