by Mikhail Lermontov (trans. A. Liberman)
A favorite of war, my sharp, unblemished blade,
It did not ever bend or waiver;
Long, long ago in Eastern smithies it was made
And worked upon by an engraver.
By a Caucasian mountaineer it was possessed
And left its victims dead and riven;
It did not seek rewards for thrusting through a breast
Or ripping coats of mail to ribbons.
It shared its master's joys like an obedient slave
And boldly wrought retaliation;
To set it then in gold, embellish, and engrave
Was but a waste of decoration.
A Cossack raised it too, to cut at war and chop
Its scabbard, scratched and scarred, was lost for good
And no one's loving hand, with interest and care,
You, poet in this unmanly age of ours
It happened in the past that combatants went up
Your verse would cover all with its gigantic wing,
But proud and simple words today annoy and bore,
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