Even the spirit of truth, whom
The world cannot receive because
It seeth him not, neither knoweth him.
John, Chapter 14, Verse 17.
Each person’s destiny’s his own,
His road before him lies:
This one builds up, that one tears down,
And that casts greedy eyes
O’er all the earth, to find somewhere
A land not yet enslaved,
Which he could conquer and then bear
With him into the grave.
This fellow in his neighbour’s home
His host cleans out at cards,
While that one in a corner hones
A blade for brother’s heart.
Then there’s the solid citizen,
The worthy, pious kind,
Who’ll creep up like a cat and then
Bide patiently his time
Until hard luck hits your affairs,
Then pounce! – Don’t plead your cause:
Your wife’s appeals and children’s tears
Won’t save you from his claws.
And that one, generous and grand,
The fervent patriot,
So deeply loves his native land,
So worries o’er its lot,
As from his country’s heart he sucks
The blood as though ’twas water!…
The brethren meanwhile sit and look,
Their eyes agape like saucers!
And bleat like lambs: “Perhaps it was
Thus ordained from on high.”
That’s how it’s meant to be! Because
There’s no God in the sky!
You pull your yoke until your breath
Gives out and you are done,
Yet pray for heaven after death?
In vain! There’s none! There’s none!
Your labour’s lost. Come to! Come to!
In this world every one –
The princes, and the beggars, too,
They all are Adam’s sons.
Both he… and he… What’s this I prate?
What is it all about?
I banquet every single day,
day in, day out,
While you with envy burn and hate!
Don’t scold: ‘Twill do no good –
I’m deaf to you! I drink my own,
Not other people’s blood!
Such thoughts went flitting through my head
As tipsy from a merry feast
In dead of night, on reeling feet,
I made my way to home and bed.
No bawling child or nagging spouse
Have I to spoil my rest –
With perfect peace I’m blest
Both in my mind and in my house.
I climbed into my bed
And soon slept like the dead.
And when a man has had a few,
Though cannon roar he still will snore,
He’ll sleep whate’er you do.
Oh, what a vision rare I saw
In sleep that night:
A staunch abstainer would get iight,
A tightwad would a coin bestow,
If they could only get a glance.
But not a chance!
I dreamed: high in the air’s expanse
It was as though an owl was flying
Over meadows, over valleys,
Over river banks and gulleys,
Over steppes and over forests.
And in the owl’s wake I flew, too,
And flying, bid the earth adieu:
“Goodbye, O world, O earth, farewell,
Unfriendly land, goodbye!
My searing pain, my tortures cruel
Above the clouds I’ll hide.
And as for you, my dear Ukraine,
I’ll leave the clouds behind
And fall with dew to talk with you,
Poor widow-country mine.
I’ll come at midnight when the dew
Falls heavy on the fields;
And softly-sadly we will talk
Of what the future yields.
Until the rising of the sun
We’ll talk about your woes,
Until your infant sons are grown
And rise against the foes.
Goodbye, my lovely, poor Ukraine,
0 widow-land of mine!
Your children teach the living truth –
That justice is divine!”
We fly… I look – the dawn has come,
The sky’s edge bursts ablaze;
In shady glades the nightingales
Sing out the new sun’s praise.
The breezes softly, lightly wake
The steppelands from their dreams;
About the coulees, by the lakes
The willows shimmer green.
The orchards, heavy laden, bow;
The poplars stand at ease