* * *

Take not away my wits, o God!
Better the beggar’s scrip and rod,
To toil and not to eat!
It is not that I hold my mind
Of much account, or would not find
The parting from it sweet.

If only they would set me free
To my own will, how glad I’d be
To seek the forest’s shade.
In fiery frenzies I would sing,
And in my dreams’ tumultuous swing
All thoughts of self would fade.

I’d listen to the water’s noise
And, brimming full of careless joys,
Gaze on the empty sky;
Oh I then I should be free and strong,
A wind to course the plains along
Or make the forests fly.

The curse is, if you lose your sense.
They shun you like a pestilence,
And all your ways are tied.
They’ll chain you to a madman’s yoke,
And through the prison-bars provoke
You like a beast inside.

No more in darkness shall I hear
The nightingale’s voice ringing dear
Or the black woodland’s strains,
But only comrades’ shrieks of fright,
And keepers’ curses in the night,
And screams, and clank of chains.

Translated by Cecil Maurice Bowra

A.S. Pushkin. “Take not away my wits, o God!..”. Translated by Cecil Maurice Bowra // Alexander Pushkin. Collected Works: Parallel Russian Text and English Translation.
© Электронная публикация — РВБ, 2022—2024. Версия 2.1 от 30 ноября 2023 г.