Prisoner of the Caucasus
It seemed the prisoner so hopeless
Got used to his new dreary life.
Grief of confinement, fire rebellious,
Deep in his heart unseen did hide.
He slouched up gloomy mountainsides
In the first hours of morning chill,
And fixed his ever-curious gaze
Towards distant, giant mountains, still,
Gray, rosy, blue peaks far away:
What views magnificent and sumptuous!
Great thrones eternal of white snows...
To distant eyes it seemed their summits
Were chains of clouds in unmoved rows:
Ringed giant, with two-peaks dramatic,
Wreathed, sparkling, in a crown of ice,
Elbrus, enormous and majestic,
Whitened above the azure sky.
Then came a muffled roaring, rattling,
A storm-announcing thunderbolt,
Above the village sat the captive,
Not moving from his mountain top!
Clouds at his feet were smoking, writhing,
On plains below dust danced in rising,
And there amidst the cliffs so steep,
The frightened elks did shelter seek,
From precipices eagles flying
Met in the skies, were calling, crying:
The nomads' noises, lowing flocks,
Got drowned by lightning's voices striking...
Hail rained upon the valleys, dropped
From clouds, through thunderbolts came slicing,
In rushing waves that steeply carved
And brushed aside the ancient boulders;
The rain in torrents plunged and smoldered,
The captive, from his mountain top,
Alone, beyond the clouds that thundered
Awaited the bright sun's return,
Untouched by storms beneath him brewing;
He heard the lightning's feeble fury,
And somehow joy within him burned.
From 'Prisoner of the Caucasus'