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A poem by Ivan Turgenev

The Azure Realm

Title:     The Azure Realm
Author: Ivan Turgenev [More Titles by Turgenev]

Translated From The Russian
By Isabel Hapgood

O azure realm! O realm of azure, light, youth, and happiness! I have beheld thee ... in my dreams.

There were several of us in a beautiful, decorated boat. Like the breast of a swan the white sail towered aloft beneath fluttering pennants.

I did not know who my companions were; but with all my being I felt that they were as young, as merry, as happy as I was!

And I paid no heed to them. All about me I beheld only the shoreless azure sea, all covered with a fine rippling of golden scales, and over-head an equally shoreless azure sea, and in it, triumphantly and, as it were, smilingly, rolled on the friendly sun.

And among us, from time to time, there arose laughter, ringing and joyous as the laughter of the gods!

Or suddenly, from some one's lips, flew forth words, verses replete with wondrous beauty and with inspired power ... so that it seemed as though the very sky resounded in reply to them, and round about the sea throbbed with sympathy.... And then blissful silence began again.

Diving lightly through the soft waves, our swift boat glided on. It was not propelled by the breeze; it was ruled by our own sportive hearts. Whithersoever we wished, thither did it move, obediently, as though it were gifted with life.

We encountered islands, magical, half-transparent islands with the hues of precious stones, jacinths and emeralds. Intoxicating perfumes were wafted from the surrounding shores; some of these islands pelted us with a rain of white roses and lilies-of-the-valley; from others there rose up suddenly long-winged birds, clothed in rainbow hues.

The birds circled over our heads, the lilies and roses melted in the pearly foam, which slipped along the smooth sides of our craft.

In company with the flowers and the birds, sweet, sweet sounds were wafted to our ears.... We seemed to hear women's voices in them.... And everything round about,--the sky, the sea, the bellying of the sail up aloft, the purling of the waves at the stern,--everything spoke of love, of blissful love.

And she whom each one of us loved--she was there ... invisibly and near at hand. Yet another moment and lo! her eyes would beam forth, her smile would blossom out.... Her hand would grasp thy hand, and draw thee after her into an unfading paradise!

O azure realm! I have beheld thee ... in my dream!

June, 1878.

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Ivan Turgenev's poem: The Azure Realm