The Prophet

With fainting soul athirst for Grace,
I wandered in a desert place,
And at the crossing of the ways
I saw the sixfold Seraph blaze:
He touched mine eyes with fingers light
As sleep that cometh in the night:
And like a frighted eagle’s eyes,
They opened wide with prophecies.
He touched mine ears, and they were drowned
With tumult and a roaring sound:
I heard convulsion in the sky,
And flights of angel hosts on high,
And beasts that move beneath the sea
And the sap creeping in the tree.
And bending to my mouth he wrung
From out of it my sinful tongue,
And all its lies and idle rust,
And ‘twixt my lips a-perishing
A subtle serpent’s forked sting
With right hand wet with blood he thrust.
And with his sword my breast he cleft,
My quaking heart thereout he reft,
And in the yawning of my breast
A coal of living fire he pressed.
Then in the desert I lay dead,
And God called unto me and said:
“Arise, and let My voice be heard,
Charged with My Will go forth and span
The land and sea, and let My Word
Lay waste with fire the heart of man.”

Translated by Maurice Baring

A.S. Pushkin. The Prophet (“With fainting soul athirst for Grace...”). Translated by Maurice Baring // Alexander Pushkin. Collected Works: Parallel Russian Text and English Translation.
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