He [Van] traveled, he studied, he taught.
He contemplated the pyramids of Ladorah (visited mainly because of its name) under a full moon that silvered the sands inlaid with pointed black shadows. He went shooting with the British Governor of Armenia,* and his niece, on Lake Van. From a hotel balcony in Sidra his attention was drawn by the manager to the wake of an orange sunset that turned the ripples of a lavender sea into goldfish scales and was well worth the price of enduring the quaintness of the small striped rooms he shared with his secretary, young Lady Scramble. (Ada, 3.1)
Bryusov's poem Vstrecha (The Encounter, 1907) begins:
Близ медлительного Нила, там, где озеро Мерида,
                               в царстве пламенного Ра,
Ты давно меня любила, как Озириса Изида,
                               друг, царица и сестра!
И клонила пирамида тень на наши вечера.
Near the slow Nile, there, where lies the Lake Merida / and rules the brightly shining Ra, / you long ago did love me, as Isis loved Osiris, my friend, / queen and sister! / And the pyramid's shadow fell on our evenings.
Brother and sister, Van and Ada become lovers when Van is fourteen and a half and Ada twelve. Their romance begins in Ardis, Daniel Veen's estate near Ladore, and continues, with interruptions of various length, to their death in a very old age.
Van is the author of Reflections in Sidra (1904). One of Bryusov's collections of poetry is entitled Zerkalo teney (The Mirror of Shadows, 1912).
*Bryusov was the editor of the anthology The Poetry of Armenia from Ancient Times to Our Days (1916), the fact mentioned by Hodasevich in his memoir essay on Bryusov (included in Necropolis, 1939).
Alexey Sklyarenko
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