Armenian Legends and Poems  at sacred-texts.com
From the tombs of centuries awaking,
Souls of every clime and every land
Have poured forth their rarest gifts and treasures
Where those shining halls in glory stand.
Ships that pass before that stately palace,
Gliding by with open sails agleam,
In its shadow pause and gaze, astonished,
Thinking it some Oriental dream.
New its form, more wondrous than the Gothic,
Than the Doric or Ionic fair;
At command of an Armenian genius 1
Did the master builder rear it there.
By the windows, rich with twisted scroll-work,
Rising upward, marble columns shine,
And the sunbeams lose their way there, wandering
Where a myriad ornaments entwine.
Oft at midnight, in the pale, faint starlight,
When its airy outline, clear and fair,
On the far horizon is depicted,
With its trees and groves around it there,
You can fancy that those stones grow living,
And, amid the darkness of the night,
Change to lovely songs, to which the spirit,
Dreaming, listens with a vague delight.
Have you ever seen that wondrous building
Whose white shadows in the blue wave sleep?
There Carrara sent vast mounds of marble,
And Propontis, beauty of the deep.
It is not a mass of earthly matter,
Not a work from clay or marble wrought;
From the mind of an Armenian genius
Stands embodied there a noble thought.
Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell.
44:1 The late Hagop Bey Balian.