Poem of Taras Shevchenko "The Cold Ravine" (Ukrainian-to-English translation by Vera Rich)

Taras Shevchenko


("Kholodyj Jar" / "Холодий Яр")

To every man his own misfortune,
Nor am I without one,
Though it is not mine, but borrowed,
Still it is — misfortune.
Why, one would say, recall events 
That happened so long past,
Rouse them from God knows how far back? 
Good that they sleep at last!...
Take, for example, that Ravine!  
Already there remains
Not even a narrow track to it,
As though there never came
Man’s foot there — yet, if you but think,
A good road ran between 
The sacred Motryn monastery 
And that dread Ravine.
Of old the Haydamaky there 
In that Ravine pitched camp,
They primed their muskets for the fight 
And made their lances sharp.
In that Ravine assembled then 
(With suffering worn and tried)
Father with son, brother with brother,
In order, side by side,
To face the evil enemy,
The accursed Pole.
Where art thou, then, path to the deep 
Ravine once trodden well?
Hast grown thyself with a dark grove?
Or have new hangmen come 
To plant thee over, so that now 
People cannot come 
For thy advice : what shall they do 
With masters just and good,
With wicked, evil cannibals,
With new Poles? no, indeed,
You cannot hide it! Zaliznyak
Above the Ravine still hovers,
Glances over towards Uman,
Looking out for Gonta.
Do not hide it, do not trample 
On the Holy Gospel,
Do not hail ferocious Nero:
“Righteous Apostle!”
Do not try to find your glory 
In the Tsar’s “crusade”,
For you yourselves do not know what 
These Tsarlings perpetrate,
But shout that “for the Fatherland”
You make this great oblation
Of soul and skin! Forsooth yours is 
Indeed a sheeplike nature!
The fool offers his neck, not knowing 
What for it is wanted,
And, what is more, the idle loafer 
Scorns and sneers at Gonta!
The Haydamaky were no warriors, 
Thieves they were, and robbers,
A blot upon our history!”
Thou liest, people-starver:
For freedom and the holy truth 
A robber does not rise up,
Nor does he set free a people 
Who, dark, unlightened,
Are bound into your chains, does not 
Slay with his own hand 
An evil son, nor break his living 
Heart for his native land!
It is you that are the robbers,
You, the insatiate!
Hungry crows! And by what righteous 
Holy law d’you trade 
In land, the equal gift to all,
And traffic in misfortuned
Human beings ! Then beware,
For evil will befall you,
Grave evil. Fool your children, fool 
Your brother blind and sightless,
Fool yourselves, fool strangers, too,
80 But fool not God Almighty!
For, in the day of jubilation,
Vengeance unforseen
Will fall on you ; new fires will blow
From out the Cold Ravine.

Taras Shevchenko's poem
"Kholodyj Jar"
("Холодий Яр")
1845, V’yunyshcha, (В’юнище)

Translated by Vera Rich

Source of the original poem in Ukrainian:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannia tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — Tom 1: Poeziia 1837 - 1847. — stor. 355 - 357; stor. 740 - 742. 

Source of English translation of the poem: Taras Shevchenko."Song out of Darkness". Selected poems translated from the Ukrainian by Vera Rich. London, 1961, p. 81 - 83.

Here you can find Ukrainian text of the Taras Shevchenko's poem:
Original poem in Ukrainian

Recent comments for the page
«Poem of Taras Shevchenko "The Cold Ravine" (Ukrainian-to-English translation by Vera Rich)»:
Total amount of comments: 0    + Leave a comment