Taras Shevchenko, poem "Subotiv" (Translated by С.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell)

Subotiv (1)Тарас Шевченко, Соботив
("Stoit v seli Subotovi")

In the village of Subotiv,
Upon a lofty hill
There stands the coffin (2) of Ukraine —
A crypt both wide and still:
It is the church of great Bohdan,
Where once he used to pray
That Muscovite and Cossack might
Share good and ill alway.
May peace be to your soul, Bohdan!
Their gain has been our loss:
The Muscovites have snatched away
All that they came across;
And now they rend the burial mounds
In search of further loot;
Their hand assaults your hidden vaults;
They curse your soul to boot
Because they've nothing for their pains...
That's how it is, Bohdan!
You've ruined derelict Ukraine
By your most friendly plan!
And this must be the gratitude
Now falling to your share...
The church that once had coffined you
No neighbour will repair!
That same Ukraine where long ago
You broke the Polish threat
The bastards of Great Catherine
Like locusts have beset.
And thus it is, Zenobius,(3)
Alexey's(4) faithful friend,
You gave them all; but gratefulness
Is plainly at an end!
They say, you know, that all Ukraine
Was always really theirs,
And that we only farmed it out
To all the Tartars' heirs
And to the Poles...
Appears it so?
Suppose it is the truth!
But on that score the neighbours' tongues
Deride us without ruth...
Yet do not laugh, ye foreign folk!
That church beneath the skies
May crumble down, but from its vaults
A new Ukraine will rise
To end the night of slavery;
Injustice will be gone;
Our serf-born sons' glad orisons
Will greet sweet Freedom’s dawn!

(1)This short poem appears to be a sequel to “The Great Mound.”
(2)The church in Subotiv, the coffin of Ukraine because it was the burial place of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, who, Shevchenko insisted, sold Ukraine's freedom to Russia by his Treaty of Pereyaslav.
(3)Another baptismal name of Bohdan Khmelnitsky.
(4)Tsar Alexey (1645-76), with whom Khmelnitsky signed the Treaty of Pereyaslav.

Taras Shevchenko
"Stoit v seli Subotovi"
("Стоїть в селі Суботові...")
1845, Mirhorod (Миргород)

Translated by С.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell

Original publication:

Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannia tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — T. 1:
Poeziia 1837-1847. — S. 314-328; S. 726-730

Source: The Poetical Works of Taras Shevchenko. The Kobzar. Translated from the Ukrainian by С.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell. Published for the Ukrainian Canadian Committee
by University of Toronto Press, 1964. Toronto and Buffalo. Printed in Canada, Reprinted 1977, p. 227-229

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