Blok Translations

1. Pesnja Ofelii

Razluchajas’ s devoj miloj, drug,
Ty kljalsja mne ljubit’!…
Ujezzhaja v kraj postylyj,
Kljatvu dannuju khranit’!…

Tam, za Danijej schastlivoj,
Berega tvoji vo mgle…
Val serdityj, govorlivyj
Mojet sljozy na skale…

Milyj voin ne vernjotsja,
Ves’ odetyj v serebro…
V grobe tjazhko vskolykhnjotsja
Bant i chjornoje pero…

1. Song to Ophelia*

When you left me, my dear friend
you promised to love me
You left for a hostile land,
and swore to keep your promise!

Beyond the happy land of Denmark,
Its shores are in darkness…
The angry waves wash
over the rocks…

My dear warrior shall not return,
all dressed in silver…
The bow, and the black feather will
restlessly lie in their grave.

2. Gamajun ptica veshchaja

Na gladjakh beskonechnykh vod,
Zakatom v purpur oblechjonnykh,
Ona veshchajet i pojot,
Ne v silakh kryl podnjat’ smjatjonnykh…

Veshchajet igo zlykh tatar,
Veshchajet kaznej rjad krovavykh,
I trus, i golod, i pozhar,
Zlodejev silu, gibel’ pravykh…

Predvechnym uzhasom ob”jat,
Prekrasnyj lik gorit ljubov’ju,
No veshchej pravdoju zvuchat
Usta, zapekshijesja krov’ju!

2. The prophet bird

On endless waters’ smooth expanse,
By sunset clad in crimson splendour,
In Delphic tone she ever sings,
But cannot spread her weakened pinions…

She prophesies the Tartars’ evil yoke,
Its course of bloody executions,
And quake, and famine, and alarm,
The righteous’ downfall, evil’s power…

In dark primeval terror wreathed,
Her countenance aflame with love,
She speaks; and prophecies resound
Through truthful lips with bloodstains clotted!

3. My byli vmeste

My byli vmeste, pomnju ja…
Noch’ volnovalas’, skripka pela,
Ty v `eti dni byla moja,
Ty s kazhdym chasom khoroshela.

Skvoz’ tikhoje zhurchan’je struj,
Skvoz’ tajnu zhenstvennoj ulybki
K ustam prosilsja poceluj,
Prosilis’ v serdce zvuki skripki…

3. We were together

We were together, I recall…
Violins sang in vibrant darkness;
In those days, you were my own,
With every hour you grew more fair.

The secrets of a woman’s smile,
The quiet whispering of breezes
Set tender kisses on my lips,
And filled my heart with violin songs…

4. Gorod spit

Gorod spit, okutan mgloju,
Chut’ mercajut fonari…
Tam daljoko, za Nevoju,
Vizhu otbleski zari.

V `etom dal’nem otrazhen’ji,
V `etikh otbleskakh ognja
Pritailos’ probuzhden’je
Dnej, tosklivykh dlja menja…

4. The Night Sleeps

Gloom enwraps the sleeping city,
Lanterns flickering and pale…
Daybreak’s distant scintillations
Gleam beyond the dark Neva.

In this faraway reflection,
In these glimmerings of flame
Lay concealed the origin
Of my forsaken, joyless days…

5. Burja

O, kak bezumno za oknom
Revjot, bushujet burja zlaja,
Nesutsja tuchi, l’jut dozhdjom,
I veter vojet, zamiraja!

Uzhasna noch’! V takuju noch’
Mne zhal’ ljudej, lishjonnykh krova,
Sozhalen’je gonit proch’ –
V ob”jat’ja kholoda syrogo!

Borot’sja s mrakom i dozhdjom,
Stradalcev uchast’ razdeljaja…
O, kak bezumno za oknom
Bushujet veter, iznyvaja!

5. The Tempest

Oh, how fierce and wild it is Beyond my window,
The savage tempest roars and rages,
With scudding storm clouds, streaming rain
And howling wind that fades to silence!

An awful night! On such a night
I pity those bereft of shelter:
A deep compassion drives me forth
To share the winter’s damp embraces!…

To strive against the gloom and rain,
At one with outcasts, doomed to suffer…
Beyond my window, fierce and wild,
The raging wind sinks in exhaustion!

6. Tajnyje znaki

Razgorajutsja tajnyje znaki
Na glukhoj, neprobudnoj stene.
Zolotyje i krasnyje maki
Nado mnoj tjagotejut vo sne.

Ukryvajus’ v nochnyje peshchery
I ne pomnju surovykh chudes.
Na zare golubyje khimery
Smotrjat v zerkale jarkikh nebes.

Ubegaju v proshedshije migi,
Zakryvaju ot strakha glaza,
Na listakh kholodejushchej knigi –
Zolotaja devich’ja kosa.

Nado mnoj nebosvod uzhe nizok,
Chjornyj son tjagotejet v grudi.
Moj konec prednachertannyj blizok,
I vojna, i pozhar – vperedi…

6. Secret Signs

The secret signs flare up against
the impenetrable wall.
Golden and crimson poppies
blossom in my dreams.

I plunge into the caverns of the night,
and forget the solemnity of wondrous events.
And in the glow, blue chimeras
Gaze into the mirror of the bright heavens.

I flee into moments from the past
And I close my eyes in horror
At the blonde braid in the pages of
A book grown cold

The canopy of the stars is now low,
the darkest dreams lie heavy in the heart.
My end is near, fate has ordained it,
with war and fire that lie before me…

7. Muzyka

V noch’, kogda usnjot trevoga
I gorod skrojetsja vo mgle,
O, skol’ko muzyki u boga,
Kakije zvuki na zemle!

Chto burja zhizni,
Jesli rozy tvoji cvetut mne i gorjat!
Chto chelovecheskije sljozy,
Kogda rumjanitsja zakat!

Primi, Vladychica vselennoj,
Skvoz’ krov’, skvoz’ muki, skvoz’ groba
Poslednej strasti kubok pennyj
Ot nedostojnogo raba.

7. Music

At night, when our cares slip into oblivion
and the city hides itself in darkness,
Oh, such music does God have!
And what sounds on Earth!

So what – of life’s storms
If roses bloom and glow for me !
So what – of human tears
When the sunset glows crimson!.

O Goddess of the Universe,
Accept through blood, through pain, through mortality
this goblet, foaming with the last passions
of your unworthy slave.

*Aleksandr Blok and his wife were teenage lovers (not in the carnal sense), who met while performing in an amateur production of Hamlet, where she played Ophelia to his Hamlet. They married several years later. She was the daughter of Dmitry Mendeleev, the creator of the chemical tables.