Poem "Fate" (Taras Shevchenko, English translation by John Weir)


Taras Shevchenko. Blind Man or The Captive. Detail. Pencil. 1843 (Тарас Шевченко. Сліпий. Фрагмент. Олівець. 1843).

Taras Shevchenko. Blind Man or The Captive. Detail. Pencil. 1843.



      Taras Shevchenko


Translated by John Weir

You did not play me false, 0 Fate,
You were a brother, closest friend
To this poor wretch. You took my hand
When I was still a little tot
And walked me to the deacon's school
To gather knowledge from the sot.
"My boy, just study hard," you said,
And you'll be somebody in time!"
I listened, studied, forged ahead,
Got educated. But you lied.
What am I now? But never mind!
We've walked the straight path, you and I,
We have not cheated, compromised
Or lived the very slightest lie.
So let's march on, dear fate of mine!
My humble, truthful, faithful friend!
Keep marching on: there glory lies;
March forward - that's my testament.

Taras Shevchenko's poem, "Fate"​
"Dolja" / "Ty ne lukavyla zo mnoju"
("Доля" / "Ти не лукавила зо мною")
1858, Nizhny Novgorod (Нижній Новгород)


     Тарас Шевченко


Ти не лукавила зо мною;
Ти другом, братом і сестрою
Сіромі стала; ти взяла
Мене, маленького, за руку
І в школу хлопця одвела 
До пьяного дяка в науку.
„Учися, серденько: колись
З нас будуть люди” – ти сказала.
А я й послухав, і учивсь,
І вивчився. А ти збрехала!
Які з нас люди?.. Та дарма!
Ми не лукавили з тобою,
Ми просто йшли, – у нас нема
Зерна неправди за собою...
Ходімо ж, доленько моя,
Мій друже вбогий, нелукавий!
Ходімо дальше: дальше слава,
А слава – заповідь моя.

(1858, Нижній Новгород)


За матеріалами: Тарас Шевченко. Зібрання творів: У 6 т. — Київ, "Наукова думка", 2003. Том 2: Поезія 1847 - 1861, стор. 261, 698 - 699.


Translated by John Weir

Source: Taras Shevchenko. Selected poetry. Kiev, Dnipro, 1977, p.267.


Original publication:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannja tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — T. 2: Poezija 1847-1861. — S. 261; 698-699.





More Taras Shevchenko's poems translated from Ukrainian into English by John Weir:

Title page of Taras Shevchenko. Selected poetry, 1977John Weir (Ivan Fedorovych Viv'yurskiy), a Canadian of the Ukrainian lineage, was a talented English-speaking translator of the second half of the 19ih century. During his life he translated 29 Shevchenko's poetic works, a prosaic foreword to the poem of «The Haidamaky», the narrative «The Artist», the poet’s autobiographic letter and some excerpts from his diary. John Weir, being a translator with the Ukrainian root, felt melodiousness of Shevchenko’s lines, understood a social foundation of the poet's artistic images. 

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