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If Only I Had Known
(5 September 1817 - 10 October 1875 / Saint Petersburg)

If Only I Had Known

Poem By Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy

If only I had known, had realised,
I would not have looked out of the window
as the dashing young man
rode along our street,
his hat worn cockily,
riding a frisky bay horse,
hooves clattering, mane flying,
rearing up before our windows!

If I had only known, had realised,
I would not have dressed up for him,
or woven a scarlet ribbon
into my hair;
or risen so early, before dawn,
or rush to the edge of the village,
or got my feet soaked in dew,
or watched the road
to see if he would come along,
falcon on his wrist.

If I had only known, had realised!

If I had only known, had realised,
I would not have waited late into the evening,
sitting sadly on the little hill
near our old well,
longing and hoping -
Will he not come - my beloved,
Will he not come to water his horse?

If I had only known, had realised!

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