Baktschi Serai

A poem by Adam Bernard Mickiewicz

In ruin are the spacious, splendid halls
With frozen forest of white columns where
The Tartar Khan his palace builded fair,
Where loneliest the shrilling cricket calls.
The ivy blackens over shining walls
Enscribing in gigantic letters there
Some curse Belshazzar-like: Beware! Beware!--
Then black as crepe from crested columns falls.

Within the burnished banquet room there sings
The fountain of the harem pure and clear,
Just as of old it sang in twilights drear.
But whither love and fame speed--on what wings?
When all things else must perish these endure!
Yet both are gone! The fountain ripples pure.

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