Poem "Have ill luck and captivity" (T. Shevchenko, translated by Boris Dralyuk and Roman Koropeckyj)

“Have ill luck and captivity...”
"Chy to nedolia ta nevolia…")

Have ill luck and captivity,
Have all those years, gone flying by,
Shattered my soul? Or have I even
Ever lived with it while living
With people in the mire, defiling
My purest soul?... And meanwhile people!
(People, of course, giving a laugh)
They say that it’s unsullied still,
And young, and innocent, and holy,
And other things besides... The bastards!!
Vicious! Vicious! You have stolen
My purest, my most precious diamond,
My once unsullied, holy soul,
And mired it in a filthy swamp.
And now you laugh! You infidels!
But was it not among you, bastards,
That I abased myself, and now
Can’t tell if I was ever pure,
Because you dragged me down among you
From holy heaven—and have taught
Me how to write these filthy poems.
You set a heavy boulder down
Upon the road... shattered my heart
Against it... Fearing God the while!
My heart - so small and so impoverished,
And it was righteous at one time!
And now I go without direction,
Without a beaten path... while you!
You wonder why it is I stumble,
Why I curse you and curse my fate,
And weep so hard, and, like you all...
Disown my poor, impoverished soul,
Disown my soul—sinful and hateful!

Taras Shevchenko
"Chy to nedolia ta nevolia…"
("Чи то недоля та неволя...")
1850, Orenburg (Оренбург)

Translated by Boris Dralyuk and Roman Koropeckyj 

Original publication:

Taras Shevchenko, “Chy to nedolia ta nevolia…,”
Zibrannia tvoriv u 6 tomakh, Кyiv: Naukova dumka, 2003, 2: 687.

"Ukrainian Literature. A Journal of Translations" Volume 4.2004"
Shevchenko Scientific Society, New York, USA


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