My thirteenth birthday was now over
("Meni trynadtsiatyi mynalo…")
My thirteenth birthday was now over.
Near where 1 dwelt, I pastured lambs.
Perhaps it was the bright sun shining-,
Fei-hajis it was something in me, —
I felt so happy, yes, so happy.
I loved the Lord . ..
They called me to share in their fortune,
But I sat on the littlg hill
And prayed to God. I have no memory
Of what as little boy I sought
When 1 was praying so contented,
Or what a cheerful thought I had.
The Lord’s own heaven and the village,
The lambs appeared to be so merry,
The sun just warmed, — it did not bake.
It was not long the sun was warm,
Not long endured the prayer.
It ’gan to bake, it turned bloodred,
And heaven it burned up.
I wondered, as if waked from sleep,
The village turned to black,
God's heaven turned unto dark blue
And lost its golden sheen.
I looked again upon the lambs, —
They were no lambs of mine.
I turned again unto the homes,
There was no home of mine.
For God had nothing given me,
And then my tears welled forth,
Such bitter tears. A little girl
Upon the selfsame road,
Not far away from where I stood,
Was plucking at the hemp.
She noticed I was weeping loud;
She came and spoke to me,
She wiper away my bitter tears
And gave to me a kiss.
Again the sun was shining brightly,
Again all things in the wide world
Were mine, the lambs, the fields and forests,
And -we were smiling as we drove
Another’s lambs to water.
How foolish! Now, when I remember,
My heart weeps sadly and still aches;
Why did the Lord not let me linger
Some time in that dear paradise?
I would have died a simple ploughman,
I would have known naught of the world,
I would ne’er been a fool to others,
Would not have cursed both men and (God).
"Meni trynadtsiatyi mynalo…"
("Мені тринадцятий минало")
1847, Orska Fortecia (Орська фортеця)
Translated by Clarence A. Manning
Taras Shevchenko, “N. N. (Meni trynadtsiatyi
mynalo…),” Zibrannia tvoriv u 6 tomakh, Кyiv: Naukova dumka, 2003, 2:
Taras Shevchenko. Works. Volume 12. Shevchenko's poetry in translations.
Edited by Bolidan Krawciw. Printed by Mykola Denysiuk Printing Company
Chicago, Illinois — USA, 1963, page 56.