"The Days Go By" - poem of Taras Shevchenko (Translated by John Weir)


The Days Go By
("Mynaiut dni, mynaiut nochi")

The days go by, the nights go by,
The summer's passing; yellow leaves
Are rustling; light deserts the eye,
Thoughts fade away and feeling sleep -
All falls asleep. And I don't know
If I'm alive or but so-so,
Just floundering about the earth,
For I know neither rue nor mirth...

Where art thou, Fate? Where art thou, Fate?
No fate have I at all!
If You begrudge good fortune, Lord,
Let evil fate befall!
Don't let me walk around asleep,
A dead heart in my breast,
And roll about, a rotten log,
A hindrance to the rest.
Oh, let me live, live with my heart
And love the human race,
But if not that ... then let me curse
And set the world ablaze!
It's terrible to lie in chains,
To rot in dungeon deep,
But it's still worse, when you are free
To sleep and sleep and sleep -
And then forever close your eyes
And leave not even a trace,
So that the fact you lived or died
No whit of difference makes!
Where art thou, Fate? Where art thou, Fate?
No fate have I at all!
If You begrudge good fortune, Lord,
Let evil fate befall!

Taras Shevchenko
"Mynaiut dni, mynaiut nochi"
("Минають дні, минають ночі")
1845, Viunyshche (В’юнище)

Translated by John Weir

Original publication:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannia tvoriv: U 6 t. — K.,
2003. — T. 1: Poeziia 1837-1847. — S. 367; S. 74

Source:
Taras Shevchenko. Selected poetry.
Kiev, Dnipro, 1977, p.197


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