Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Happy Birthday, Aleksandr Sergeevich

On this day in 1799 Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in Moscow. Pushkin, the father of Russian literature and literary Russian as a language, was beloved in his lifetime - when he died as the result of a duel the government feared rioting. Instead, there was national mourning... Ruslan and Lyudmila, Eugene Onegin, The Captain's Daughter, Boris Godunov, and countless poems ...

Vladimir Nabokov once wrote, "Russians know the conceptions of 'homeland' and 'Pushkin' are inseparable. ... To be Russian means to love Pushkin."

Here's a poem with a translation (not polished at all) by me:

Winter Road

Through the fleecy wisps of fog
The gleaming moon pierces,
And on the melancholy fields
She lays her sad light.

Down the long dull winter road
The fleet team bears the sleigh,
The bells ring out their one lone note
The whole monotonous way.

There’s something dear and even homey
In the driver’s endless singing –
Sometimes it’s loud and raucous,
Sometimes full of aches and longing.

No fire’s here, no darkened cottage,
Only stillness here and snow…
Lonely acres of striped fields,
Are the only things that I can see.

Tedium, sadness … but tomorrow, Nina,
Tomorrow when I come home to you
I will lose myself at the hearthside
Never ceasing to gaze at you.

I can hear the towerclock chiming,
It has finished its long circling round
As it winnows out the irksome hours:
Midnight cannot part us forever.

I’m sad, Nina, and my way is boring,
My driver’s nodding off and silent,
The bells ring out their one lone note
And the mist has hidden the face of the moon.


Сквозь волнистые туманы
Пробирается луна,
На печальные поляны
Льет печально свет она.

По дороге зимней, скучной
Тройка борзая бежит,
Колокольчик однозвучный
Утомительно гремит.

Что-то слышится родное
В долгих песнях ямщика:
То разгулье удалое,
То сердечная тоска......

Ни огня, ни черной хаты,
Глушь и снег.... На встречу мне
Только версты полосаты
Попадаются одне...

Скучно, грустно..... завтра, Нина,
Завтра к милой возвратясь,
Я забудусь у камина,
Загляжусь не наглядясь.

Звучно стрелка часовая
Мерный круг свой совершит,
И, докучных удаляя,
Полночь нас не разлучит.

Грустно, Нина: путь мой скучен,
Дремля смолкнул мой ямщик,
Колокольчик однозвучен,
Отуманен лунный лик.

Much more Pushkin - in English translations and по-русски

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At 10:38 AM, June 06, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I can't imagine what qualities a "polished" (in your eyes) version would possess that this one lacks, although surely it's an advantage to be translating INTO one's native language.


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