Ruslan and Lyudmila by Alexander Pushkin (translated by Roger Clarke)
By an arc of sea a green oak stands;
to the oak a chain of gold is tied;
and at the chain's end night and day
a learned cat walks round and round.
Rightwards he goes, and sings a song;
leftwards, a fairy tale he tells.
There's magic! It's a wood sprite's haunt-
a rusalka sits among the boughs-
on footpaths no one has explored
are tracks of beasts no one has seen-
a hut stands there on chicken's legs,
no windows in its walls, nor doors-
unumbered wraiths stalk wood and dale-
at dawn the ocean waves roll in
and surge across the empty sands,
while from the limpid waters strides
a troop of thirty champions,
fine men, and their sea-tutor too-
a kind's son passing by the way
takes prisoner an awesome tsar-
up in the clouds for all to see
above the sweep of woods and waves
a wizard hauls a warrior brave-
a princess pines in prison there,
a brown-haired wold her loyal page-
a mortar in a witch's form
moves to and fro as if alive-
frail Tsar Kashchey wilts by his gold.
The place breathes Russia... recks of Rus!
I was there once: I sipped some mead;
I saw the green oak by the sea;
I sat beneath it, while the cat,
that learned cat, told me his tales.
Once of those tales I still recall,
and this I'll share now with you all...
bitsy hacks by Sean S. LeBlanc