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Sunday
Jun292008

Briusov, "К Армении"

A lovely work ("To Armenia") by one of Russia's foremost symbolists.  You can read the original here.

8749028_Bryusov.jpgAnd in that year of cruel rule,
When all our burden was one hand,
The twilight cover I sought out,
From day's bright face I stayed without,
And ran to graves' unpassioned cool.

This way I thought I might elude
The wrath divine in holy knoll,
Antiquity's gray eased my pain,
And melodies, millennial fame,
Relieved the ailments of my soul.

A world alive and whole I made
There where I once had sought sad tombs.
At break of day the reeds sang out,
Long crumbled ash, the flutes would shout,
The lea of death would never fade.

With lively greeting of my love,
Old tales came forth in no dead voice;
Nearby the vales would shudder, shake,
The ancient world as one would quake,
And clap like thunder: "Live!  Rejoice!"

As year and year divide the plains,
So now I hear the centuries' chant;
In mellow nature's glorious lair,
Of love, cognition, freedom's blare,
Of songs, of slaves, of breaking chains.

Armenia!  Your ancient voice,
Fresh wind amidst the summer's heat!
How cheerfully our locks are raised,
Engulfed by rain, I stand like maize.
Below the storm, above defeat.

Reader Comments (2)

Dear Hadi,
I see you love challenges, and you definitely are up to this one. Amazing!
When I read the original, I could not believe that anybody would dare to translate it. In fact, there were a few passages I was not sure I could understand, let alone translate. Then, I read your translation. Нет слов! It takes the reader as close to the original as I did not think would be possible. If fact, it helped me to understand the original a little better!
There is one line, however, I’m not sure about: In the original, it is: «Не мертвым голосом былины,...» You translate it as “Old tales came forth in long—dead voice...”, which appears to omit the negative «не». I think the original meant exactly the opposite, i.e., that the “old tales come forth” NOT “in long-dead voice,” but in lively greeting of love.
Anyway, your translation is a miracle. I’ll read it again.
Thanks a lot.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGarri Gzirian

Hi Garri

Thank you so much for your comments, they are much appreciated! And yes, I did mean to make that sentence negative ... one of those things that occur for some odd reason in my odd head. So I've amended it and am very grateful for your feedback.

Best,
Hadi

June 30, 2008 | Registered Commenterdeeblog

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