Ciotka

The musician

I would have played much, but now all my strength goes,

And string after lyre-string is breaking,

Although valiant song is not yet in its death-throes

And thought after thought is awaking.

I would have played much, but death says 'Hold!' to me,

For the grave it would bid me make ready.

Ah, strings, ye may break then, what harm can it do me?

In the grave we shall lie down together!

Maybe from this lyre there will grow a green willow,

And from the snapped strings snowy flowers,

Maybe in its shadow will come to play children,

Joyfully through the spring hours.

And, maybe, then, one of those children will whittle

A flute, grandchild to the lost lyre,

And will play on it so the whole earth hears its ditty

And knows it my echo sincere.

And the strings of the grandfather, untimely broken,

Shall chime out like bell-notes resounding,

And the songs that its lifespan had left half-unspoken

In its scion yield harvest abounding,

And, on All Souls' Night, below the dark willow

Will the living word echo forth truly,

And the song with a thousandfold strength shall peal, thrilling,

And my lyre shall live again newly.

 

1906

 




Source: Like Water, Like Fire. London, 1971.
Translation: Вера Рыч

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