The Drowned

by Alexander Pushkin

Into the hut the children run,
In haste they called their father:
Papa,papa, oh, our nets
Out a corpse have dragged.

Ye lie, ye lie, ye little devils
Upon them father grumbled.
I declare, those wicked brats!
Corpse now too have they must!

Down will come the court, 'Give answer!'
And for an age no rest from it.
But what to do? Heigh, wife, there,
My coat give me, must get there somehow. . .
Now where's the corpse?
-- Here, papa, here!
And in truth along the river,
Where is spread the moistened net,
Upon the sand is seen the corpse.

Disfigured terribly the corpse is,
Is blue, and all is swollen.
Is it a hapless sorrower,
Who ruined has his sinful soul,
Or by the waves a fisher taken,
Or some fellow, drunkard,
Or by robbers stripped, perchance,
Trader some, unbusinesslike?

To the peasant, what is this?
About he looks and hastens. . . .
Seizes he the body drowned,
By the feet to water drags it,
And from the shore the winding
Off he pushes it with oar
Downward 'gain floats the corpse,
And grave, and cross still is seeking.

And long the dead among the waves,
As if living, swinging, floated;
With his eyes the peasant him
Homeward going, followed.
Ye little dogs, now follow me,
Each of you a cake shall have;
But look ye out, and hold your tongues!
Else a thrashing shall ye have.

At night the wind to blow began
Full of waves became the river;
Out the light was already going
In the peasant's smoky hut.
The children sleep; the mother slumbers.
On the oven husband lies.
Howls the storm; a sudden knocking
He hears of some one at the window.

Who's there ? -- Ope the door I say!
Time eno'; what is the matter?
Wherefore comes tramp at night?
By the devil art hither brought!
Wherefore with you should I bother?
Crowded my house and dark is.

So saying, he with lazy hand
Open throws the window.

Rolls the moon from behind the clouds --
And now? A naked man before him stands;
From his beard a stream is flowing
His glance is fixed, and is open.
All about him is frightful dumbness
And his hands are dropped down;
And to the puffed-out, swollen body
Black crabs are fastened.

The peasant quickly shuts the window;
He recognized his naked guest,
Is terror-struck. May you burst!
Out he whispered and trembled.
In great confusion now his thoughts are,
And all night he shakes in fever;
And till the morrow still the knocking
'S heard on the window and at the gates.

Report there was among the people:
Saying, since then every year
Waiting is the hapless peasant
For his guest on the appointed day.
In the morning the weather changes
And at night the storm arrives,
And the dead man is ever knocking
By the window, and at the gates.

1828

Source:

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