Batuschka.

A poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

From yonder gilded minaret
Beside the steel-blue Neva set,
I faintly catch, from time to time,
The sweet, aerial midnight chime--
"God save the Tsar!"

Above the ravelins and the moats
Of the white citadel it floats;
And men in dungeons far beneath
Listen, and pray, and gnash their teeth--
"God save the Tsar!"

The soft reiterations sweep
Across the horror of their sleep,

"Little Father," or "Dear Little Father,"
a term of endearment applied
to the Tsar in Russian folk-song.
As if some daemon in his glee
Were mocking at their misery--
"God save the Tsar!"

In his Red Palace over there,
Wakeful, he needs must hear the prayer.
How can it drown the broken cries
Wrung from his children's agonies?--
"God save the Tsar!"

Father they called him from of old--
Batuschka! . . . How his heart is cold!
Wait till a million scourged men
Rise in their awful might, and then--
God save the Tsar!

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