"Shevchenko's Last Poem" (T. Shevchenko, tr. by Vera Rich)

Shevchenko's Last Poem
("Chy ne pokynut nam, neboho")

Should we not then cease, my friend,
My poor dear neighbour, make an end
Of versifying useless rhymes?
Prepare our wagons for the time
When we that longest road must wend?
Into the other world, my friend,
To God, we'll hasten to our rest...
We have grown weary, utter-tired,
A little wisdom we've acquired,
It should suffice! To sleep is best,
Let us now go home to rest...
A home of gladness, you may know!

No, let us not depart, nor go --
It is early still,
We shall yet take walks together,
Sit, and gaze our fill,
Gaze upon the world, my fortune,
See how wide it spreads,
Wide and joyful, it is both
Bright, and of great depth!
We shall yet take walks my star,
On a hill climb high,
And take our rest together..... And
Your sister-stars, meanwhile,
The ageless ones, will start to shine,
Through the heavens glide...
Let us linger then, my sister,
Thou, my holy bride,
And with lips unsullied we shall
Make our prayer to God,
And then set out quietly
On that longest road,
Over Lethe's plumbless depths,
Waters dark and swarthy,
Grant me then thy blessing, friend,
With thy holy glory.
While this and that and all such wear on,
Straight let us go, as the crow flies,
To Aesculapeus for advice,
If he can outwit old Charon
And spinning Fate... And then, as long as
The old sage would change his purpose,
We would create, reclining there,
An epic, soaring everywhere
Above the earth, hexameters
We'd twine, and up the attic stairs
Take them for mice to gnaw. Then we
Would sing prose, yet with harmony
And not haphazard.

Holy friend, Companion to my journey's end,
Before the fire has ceased to glow,
Let us to Charon, rather, go!
Over Lethe's plumbless depths,
Waters dark and swarthy,
Let us sail, let us bear
With us holy glory,
Ageless, young for evermore...
Or -- friend, let it be!
I will do without the glory,
If they grant it me,
There on the banks of Phlegethon,
Or beside the Styx, in heaven,
As if by the broad Dnipro, there
In a grove, a grove primaeval,
A little house I'll build, and make
An orchard all around it growing,
And you'll fly to me in the shades,
There, like a beauty, I'll enthrone you;
Dnipro and Ukraina we
Shall recollect, gay villages
In woodlands, gravehills in the steppes,
And we shall sing right merrily.

Taras Shevchenko
"Chy ne pokynut nam, neboho"
("Чи не покинуть нам, небого")
1861, S. - Petersburg (С.- Петербург)

Translated by Vera Rich

Original publication:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannia tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — T. 2: Poeziia 1847-1861. — S. 372-373; 760-761



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