WITH heavy anguish, hopeless straining,
The bonds of love I would remove.
Oh, to be loosed from their enchaining!
Oh, freedom, only not to love!
The soul that shame and fear are scourging
Crawls through a mist of dust and blood.
From dust, great God, my spirit purging,
Oh, spare me from love’s bitter flood!
Is pity’s wall alone unshaken?
I pray to God, I cry in vain,
More weary, by all hope forsaken;
Resistless love grows great again.
There is no freedom, unforgiven,
We live as slaves, by life consumed;
We perish, tortured, bound and driven,
Promised to death, and to love—doomed.
Deutsch and Yarmolinsky, comps. Modern Russian Poetry. 1921.