by Alexander Pushkin

God grant I grow not insane:
No, better the stick and beggar's bag;
No, better toil and hunger bear.

Not that I upon my reason
Such value place; not that I
Would fain not lose it.

If freedom to me they would leave
How I would lasciviously
For the gloomy forest rush!

In hot delirium I would sing
And unconscious would remain
With ravings wondrous and chaotic.

And listen would I to the waves
And gaze I would full of bliss
Into the empty heavens.

And free and strong then would I be
Like a storm the fields updigging,
Forest-trees uprooting.

But here's the trouble: if crazy once,
A fright thou art like pestilence,
And locked up now shalt thou be.

To a chain thee, fool, they'll fasten
And through the gate, a circus beast,
Thee to nettle the people come.

And at night not hear shall I
Clear the voice of nightingale
Nor the forest's hollow sound,

But cries alone of companions mine
And the scolding guards of night
And a whizzing, of chains a ringing.



Copyright 1888
Translator: Translated from the Russian, By Ivan Panin
Cupples And Hurd, 94 Boylston Street, Boston
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