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The Flickering Lamp
Daniel Varoujan

This is a night for feast and triumph,
Pour oil into the lamp, O Bride,
My boy returns a victor from war-
Trim well, trim well the wick, O Bride.

A wagon stops before the door, beside the well,
Light up, light up the lamp, O Bride,
My boy returns, bay leaves on his brow-
Bring up, bring up the lamp, O Bride.

Lo- with grief and blood the wagon's laden-
Hold up, hold up the lamp, O Bride.
Here lies my valiant son shot through the heart-
Oh... snuff out, snuff out the lamp, O Bride.

About The Poet

Daniel Varoujan

More than anyone else of their time, Siamanto and Varoujan verbalized the hopes of the Armenians at the turn of the century. Using legends, old epics, and pagan history at the springboard and allegory for their aspirations, they waited for deliverance from oppression and the rebirth in Armenian arts. Varoujan had seen a great many wrongs in his young life. When he was a boy, his father had been falsely accused and jailed in Istanbul, during the 1896 Turkish massacres. After Varoujan's schooling in Istanbul he studied in Venice and then at the University of Chent in Belgium.

He taught, first in his native village near Sebastia, then in Istanbul as headmaster of an Armenian school. His firs book of poems, The Trembling, appeared in 1906. It was followed by The Heart of a Nation (1909), Pagan Songs (1912), and, after his death in 1915, The Sons of Bread (1921).

Varoujan was among the first intellectuals rounded up by the Turks before the 1915 massacre of the Armenian population, and was only 31 when he was murdered. Varoujan's work contains some of the richest, most sensual imagery in Armenian literature.