Taras shevchenko – the night of taras (a fragment)

The Night of Taras

A Fragment

At the cross roads sits the kobzar,
Playing on his kobza;
Round about are boys and maidens,
Red as poppy flowers.
Plays the kobzar and he’s singing,
Telling in his stories
How the Poles, the Horde, the Moskals
Struggled ‘gainst the Kozaks;
How the brotherhood assembled
Early on a Sunday;
How they buried a young Kozak
In the green ravine;
Plays the kobzar and he’s singing,
Even Evil’s smiling.

“Formerly we had the Hetmans,
That is gone forever;
Formerly we knew to govern,
Nevermore we’ll do it.
Yet the former Kozak glory
We are ne’er forgetting!
Now a cloud looms over Lyman
From the field another follows;
Ukraine’s fate is such forever
To have endless sorrows.
Ukraina, Ukraina!
My dear heart! My darling!
When I tell of your misfortune,
Then my heart starts weeping!
What has happened to the Kozaks
With their crimson tunics?
Where are vanished our old freedom,
Standards, and the Hetmans?
What has happened? Are they ashes?
Has the blue sea swallowed
All your noble, holy mountains
And your tombs so lofty?
Mountains speak not, plays the blue sea.
And the tombs are mournful,
While above the Kozak children
Heathen rascals triumph!
Play, O sea! Speak up, O mountains!
Blow, winds, o’er the meadows!
Weep, O children of the Kozaks!
Such is now your fortune!

Taras Shevchenko
Translated by Clarence A. Manning

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Taras shevchenko – the night of taras (a fragment)