Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH, by EVGENY ABRAMOVICH BARATYNSKY

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DEATH, by            
First Line: I call not death the child of darkness
Last Line: From us all chains you cast away.
Alternate Author Name(s): Boratynsky, Yevgeny Abramovich

I CALL not Death the child of darkness,
Nor, with the fancy of a slave,
Give him a scythe to arm his starkness
Nor skeleton from out the grave.

O offspring of the air our master,
O ornament with brilliant charms,
You beat no scythe that brings disaster
But peaceful olive in your arms.

When first the world arose in flowers
From raging forces matched and blent,
To you a guardian's rule and powers
Were trusted by the Omnipotent.

And flying over all creation
To harmony you straighten strife,
And there with cooling exhalation
You tame the violence of life.

You overcome the mutinous riot
And mad strength of the hurricane;
You turn the ocean back in quiet
To hasten to its shores again.

In plants you set the bounds to growing,
That no gigantic wood may rise
O'er earth with ruinous shadows blowing,
That grass may grow not to the skies.

And what of man? O holy Maiden,
When you have come, all angry fire
Dies out with which his cheeks were laden,
Flies all lascivious desire.

To your impartial justice presses
The crowd when sickness is its fate;
And that same hand of yours caresses
Both servitor and potentate.

Force and confusion are our being,
Conditions of our tangled day.
But, us from every riddle freeing,
From us all chains you cast away.

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