The Youthful Archangel
Of the Russian People
According to the Bylina
Seeress Peasant Woman
Known as Granny Pelageya...
'Twas not the gentle morning breeze
Wafting over the strong and lofty oaks,
Wafting, rousing and raising their tops
After their battering by the dark night,
'Twas light Yegory the Brave who approached,
Approached and raised the heads of the Russian heroes,
Raised, embrace and kissed them,
Light Yegory kissed them with a smile.
It was not the lark, God's bird, in the sky,
Trilling its clear, morning song,
Ever warm with the Sun, to greet
The peasant's day of work and toil,
It was St Yegory with his voice,
His clear, angelic song,
Laughting and gently comforting the Russian worker-heroes:
'My brother, look not at him who speaks of the past!'[Ahriman]
With that kiss of Yegory their brother,
With his warm and cheering words of pardon,
The heroes rose to their full gigantic height,
They spread and straightened their mighty shoulders,
They raised their invincible heads with their iron helms,
With their right hands they gripped their steel blades,
And through their veins poured their ancient Russian strenght,
Gazing, endlessly gazing at Yegory the Brave,
At light Yegory, protector of the land of Russia.
Yegory's legs to the knee were of pure silver made,
His arms to the elbow were of red gold,
His head a shimmer of pearl,
His hair of bright chestnut and all in curls,
Over his body myriad stars were strewn.
Young and ineffably beautiful is light Yegory,
And his eyes burn with a fire from his ardent heart,
From his ardent heart, from his love for the land of Holy Russia.
And young Alyosha, who was the first to boast in times of old, spoke thus:
'Tell us, light Yegory, our benefactor,
How did we fail to recognise you then on Safat River,
Strewn as you are with myriads of stars . . . ?
How did we not notice you in your pure silver and red gold,
In your ineffable beauty with your Angel's voice?
Had we known you, we would never have struggled and fought.'
And light Yegory answers with his Angel's voice:
'My sworn brother, young Alyosha, mighty Russian hero,
Firstly for you is my teaching, but good advice for all:
The boastful word is ruin,
Self-praise is man's undoing;
Boastful words, hasty and loud,
Darken the understanding which the Lord has given,
And without the radiance of reason, 'tis dark night in the heart . . .
Can one see or make things out, Alyosha, in the dark autumn night?
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