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The Song of Igor's Campaign,
Igor son of Svyatoslav and grandson of Oleg.

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Igor's escape



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The sea plashed at midnight;
waterspouts advance in mists;
God [?] points out to Igor
the way from the Kuman land
to the Russian land,
to the paternal golden throne.

The evening glow has faded:
Igor sleeps;
Igor keeps vigil;
Igor in thought measures the plains
from the Great Don
to the Little Donets;
[bringing] a horse at midnight,
Ovlur whistled beyond the river:
he bids Igor heed—
Igor is not to be [held in bondage].
[Ovlur] called,
the earth rumbled,
the grass swished,
the Kuman tents stirred.
Meanwhile, like an ermine,
Igor has sped to the reeds,
and [settled] upon the water
like a white duck.
He leaped upon the swift steed,
and sprang off it,
[and ran on,] like a demon wolf,
and sped to the meadowland of the
Donets,
and, like a falcon,
flew up to the mists,
killing geese
and swans,
for lunch,
and for dinner,
and for supper.

And even as Igor, like a falcon, flew,
Vlur, like a wolf, sped,
shaking off by his passage the cold
dew;
for both had worn out
their swift steeds.
Says the Donets:
"Prince Igor!
Not small is your magnification,
and Konchak's detestation,
and the Russian land's gladness."

Igor says:
"O Donets!
Not small is your magnification:
you it was who lolled
a prince on [your] waves;
who carpeted for him
with green grass
your silver banks;
who clothed him
with warm mists
under the shelter of the green tree;
who had him guarded
by the golden-eye on the water,
the gulls on the currents,
the [crested] black ducks on the winds.
Not like that," says [Igor],
"is the river Stugna:
endowed with a meager stream,
having fed [therefore]
on alien rills and runners,
she rent between bushes
a youth, prince Rostislav, imprisoning him.
On the Dnepr's dark bank
Rostislav's mother weeps the youth.
Pined away have the flowers with
condolement,
and the tree has been bent to the
ground with sorrow."

No chattering magpies are these:
on Igor's trail
Gzak and Konchak come riding.
Then the ravens did not caw,
the grackles were still, the [real] magpies did not chatter;
only the woodpeckers, in the osiers
climbing,
with taps marked [for Igor] the way to
the river.
The nightingales
with gay songs
announce the dawn.

Says Gzak to Konchak:
"Since the falcon to his nest is flying,
let us shoot dead the falcon's son
with our gilded arrows."
Says Konchak to Gza [sic]:
"Since the falcon to his nest is flying
why, let us entoil the falconet
by means of a fair maiden."
And says Gzak to Konchak:
"if we entoil him
by means of a fair maiden,
neither the falconet,
nor the fair maiden,
shall we have,
while the birds will start
to beat us
in the Kuman field."

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