The Gypsies
Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою.> The Gypsies

 

The Gypsies

The Gypsies Bessarabia roam
In noisy crowds... Above a river
In tattered tents they make their home,
From night's cool breezes seeking cover.
In open air calm is their sleep;
Like freedom glad their rest is... Under
The rug-hung caravans there leap
A fire's bright flames whose shadows wander
And lick the wheels; close to the blaze,
A family, for supper gathered,
Prepare their meal; a tame bear lies
Behind the tent; nearby, untethered,
The horses graze... The steppe all round
Is full of life; their camping ground
The Gypsies leave at dawn; the ringing
Of anvils mingles with the sound
Of children's cries and women singing...
Then all at once a hush descends
Upon the camp; a horse's neighing
At times the dreamy quiet rends
Or else a watchdog's frantic baying.
To sleep the silent night is wed;
No lamp is on, no light aglimmer;
The moon sends down from overhead
A pearly-white, uncanny shimmer.
An old man, wakeful, by a tent
Sits, o'er a dying camp-fire bent,
The coals still warm; his absent gaze is
Fixed on the steppe, its vast extent
Embraced by night's thick, milky hazes...
His youthful daughter patiently
And dumbly he awaits: Zemphira
Is often out alone; no fear of
The wild's dark dangers haunts her; she
Loves freedom. But the arc, half-wasted,
Of moon for flight prepares; ’tis late,
And she does not appear... Untasted,
The old man's food cools on his plate.

Here is she now... Behind her trailing,
A man, a stranger comes. "I found
This man," she tells her father, hailing
Him cheerfully, "beyond the mound,
And that he was ’thout shelter seeing,
Invited him to share our tent.
He tells me he is well content
To be one of ourselves, a being
Free of all fetters. He will come,
Aleko will, where’er I take him.
He is an outlaw, Father. Make him,
I beg you, welcome in our home."


OLD MAN

I do so willingly. You may
With us till morn or longer stay,
’Tis as you wish... Your own forsaking,
Embrace our vagrant life and free,
And one of us, good youth, you'll be,
Of all we have in full partaking,
Though 'tis not much... At dawn we're making
Off in our caravan, and there
Is room in it for you. Choose any
Task, and it's yours, as is but fair:
Sing songs, forge metal, lead a bear
Round on a chain — our chores are many.


ALEKO

I'm joining you.


ZEMPHIRA

He's mine, and none
Can take him from me... But how sombre
The sky is. See — the moon has gone,
The steppe is haze-clad... Overcome
Am I, despite myself, by slumber...

___________

Light dawns... The old man round the sleeping
Tent softly walks. "Zemphira, rise!
And you, my guest! The sun is creeping
Up from the hills. ’Tis time! The skies
Are bright. Come, leave your couch of languor!.."
The Gypsy folk rush noisily
From out their tents and fold them, eager
To load their caravans and be
Upon their way... They start, a sea
Of moving, heaving bodies, sprawling
Across the steppe and onward rolling:
Men, wives, young folk and old, a slow
Yet carefree crowd and gay and merry;
Beside their masters donkeys go
And crowing babes in baskets carry;
Noise, cries, a snatch of Gypsy song,
A bear's loud roar, his chain's dull clangour;
Women in gaudy rags, a brood
Of children barefoot and half-nude;
Dogs giving tongue in sudden anger;
The creak of wagon wheels, the whine
Of bagpipes... All is in commotion,
In discord wild, but full of motion
And life, unlike our own supine
And idle ways, as dead and weary
As are the songs of bondsmen dreary!..

___________


Aleko gazed upon the plain,
A secret grief his spirit chilling.
Whence came it he was little willing,
Nay, more, he dreaded to explain.
He had a mate, black-eyed Zemphira,
And he was free, and there were clearer
Skies o'er him now, lit by a sun
Of southern lavishness and splendour.
Why then did he to gloom surrender?
By what dark care was he o'ercome?

Happy bird that roams the lonely
Span of sky, its bright blue dome!
For a summer's sojourn only
Do you build your fragile home.
On a bough in wood or clearing
You sit dozing all night long,
And of morn, God's summons hearing,
Greet the radiant sun with song.
After beauteous springtime's passing
And hot summer's sad demise
Autumn comes, grey clouds amassing
In the dismal, foggy skies.
Dull of heart we turn and weary...
Happy bird! For swift you wing
‘Cross the seas, in blithe and cheery
Southern climes to dwell till spring.

A carefree bird of passage, flying
To shores far from his homeland lying,
Our exile was. No nest had he;
To follow any road felt free;
Of no one place grew fond; wherever
Night overtook him, he would sleep,
Each new-born day into the keep
Of Heaven giving. Nor was ever
His idling heart touched by the fever
And pulse of life, though sometimes deep
Within it stirred the lure of distant,
Of magical and taunting fame
And though sweet visions for an instant
To him of sumptuous revels came.
He minded not the roar of thunder
And oft serenely dozing lay
’Neath murky, rainy skies or under
The morning sun's warm, playful ray.
Of blind and crafty fate denying
The power, he faced it unafraid.
But, O, dear God, his will defying,
How with his heart the passions played!
They seethed within him, and his shaken
And tortured soul left ne'er alone.
Suppressed, contained, they will awaken –
When? Wait and see... I doubt not, soon!


ZEMPHIRA

Say, love: the things you left behind you,
Do you not miss them?


ALEKO

Tell me, pray:
What did I leave?


ZEMPHIRA

Need I remind you? —
Your land, your towns and people.


ALEKO

Nay.
I'm free of them and do not rue it.
There's naught to miss, if but you knew it.
Our towns are stifling cloisters where
Spring's fragrant breezes never carry
From flowery meadowlands and nary
A breath will reach of fresh, cool air;
Where love is scorned, like all true feeling,
Thought hunted down and freedom sold,
Where men, before their idols kneeling,
Plead shamelessly for chains and gold.
What left I there? — Betrayal and worry,
Of prejudice the damning word,
Disgrace attired in robes of glory,
The persecution of the herd!


ZEMPHIRA

And glittering halls, and tables laden
With food and drink, much noise and light,
Games, feasts and balls, the faces bright
Of richly garbed, bejewelled maidens.


ALEKO

Where love is not, mirth is unknown
And life is stale and holds no relish.
As for the maids, as lifeless stone
Their beauty is beside your own
Which no rich gems or pearls embellish.
Be as you are, I beg, change not!..
My one desire but now discovered
Is that you share an exile's lot
And fortunes with him, my beloved.


OLD MAN

I know you like us not the less
Though born you were to wealth and leisure,
But freedom he the less might treasure
Whose youth was spent in idleness.
A legend that has never vanished
But lives among us, speaks of one
Who by his emperor was banished
From southern parts. His name is gone
From me, but that 'twas here he languished,
This I recall... Though well along
In years he was, yet young of spirit
And with the gift divine of song
Endowed from birth; his voice — to hear it
Was as to hear the murmur of
A mountain stream... By fate transplanted
Onto these shores, he drew the love
Of all and with his verse enchanted
The hearts of men. A very child
The bard by nature was; his neighbours
Helped the man fish and snare what wild
Game he might need, and thus his labours
The lighter made. In winter, when
Ice bound the stream and winds howled, raging,
In fur skins did they clothe the aging
Songsmith, a saint among mere men.
But to a life so mean and stinted
He could, alas, but ill adjust,
And daily weaker grew, and hinted
At Heaven's wrath and said 'twas just,
That for his sins he now was paying...
For sweet deliverance fervent praying,
Along the Danube shores, an old
And broken man, he sadly wandered
And, weeping bitter tears, recalled
His own dear land... Her fates he pondered
Until the last; and, lying on
His deathbed, asked, his strength fast waning,
That his remains be southward borne,
The shores from which he had been torn
Even in death his spirit claiming!


ALEKO

Such is thy children's destiny,
O Rome, thou great and lustrous city!..
What's wordly fame?.. Come, answer me,
Bard of the gods, of love and beauty —
A fleeting word of praise, the cold
And dull lament of church-bells ringing
Verse, deathless through the ages winging
Or else a tale by Gypsies told?..

___________

Two summers pass, fast onward winding,
And still the steppe the Gypsies roam,
Where'er their pathways take them, finding
A ready welcome and a home.
Civilisation's fetters spuming,
Aleko is as free as they.
In him the past excites no yearning:
A nomad he, and one will stay.
Zemphira's with him and her father;
Their life is his, he can no other
Recall: he loves the Gypsy ways,
Their poor but tuneful tongue, the glowing
Nights ’neath the stars, the swiftly flowing,
Yet indolent and blissful days.
With them where'er they go they carry
A beast, fierce dweller of a lair.
Watched by a crowd that gathers, wary,
Beside a village inn, the bear
Stamps, dancing, up and down, and, seeming
To weary from 't, gnaws at his chain
And loudly roars now and again.
The old man on his staff stands leaning
And beating lazily upon
A tambourine. Aleko, singing
A song, his charge leads round. With swinging
Skirts comes Zemphira; one by one
The proffered coins she takes... For supper
They cook some millet; then, sweet sleep
In tent, now darkened, takes the upper
Hand, and till morn the hush reigns deep.

___________

The aged Gypsy warms his aching
Bones in the sun; o'er cradle bent,
His daughter sings; in wonderment
Aleko lists, his anger waking.


ZEMPHIRA

Husband mine, old and stern,
Stab your wife, kill your wife!
Naught will stop me, for I
Have no fear of your knife.

Husband mine, old and scorned,
Love another I do.
I will love unto death,
But not you, but not you.


ALEKO

Hush... Sing your song no more, I pray you!
I loathe its odd and savage ring.


ZEMPHIRA

Indeed! Think you I will obey you?
’Tis for myself, not you I sing.
Husband mine, old and stern,
Stab me, cast me in flame.
Know: whatever you do,
I'll not tell you his name.

He is young, he is bold,
I am under his spell.
Fresh as springtime is he,
And he loves me full well.

We embraced and we kissed,
In the quiet of night.
How we laughed, husband mine,
When we thought of your plight.


ALEKO

Stop, wife! All's well, let us forget it...


ZEMPHIRA

My song — think you it rings not true?

ALEKO

Zemphira!


ZEMPHIRA

Ha! You will not let it
Provoke you? Strange! ... I sang of you.

Walks off, singing: "Husband mine...", etc.


OLD MAN

I know the song — it is a pleasing
And lightsome piece. When I was young,
The ear of all who heard it teasing,
’Twas, I remember, often sung.
On winter days, to our young daughter
My Mariula, sitting by
A fire (how beautiful I thought her!),
Would sing it for a lullaby.
As time goes on the past grows dimmer
Till but a shred is left to me.
But this old song remains for ever
Engraved upon my memory.

___________


All's still. The southern sky is lighted
By moon's soft glow, its ray nigh white.
Zemphira, waking in the night,
Her parent rouses: "I am frighted —
Look at Aleko, Father. He
Groans in his sleep most horribly."


OLD MAN

Disturb him not, for when a sleeping
Man moans and gasps and tosses, weeping,
Upon his bed, it means, so say
The Russians, that a spirit's keeping
Him choked and breathless. ’Twill away,
Not to return, at breath of day.


ZEMPHIRA

Yet whispers he my name, Zemphira.


OLD MAN

He seeks for you in sleep. Than all
The world to him you, child, are dearer.


ZEMPHIRA

His love that held me once in thrall
Now wearies me. ’Tis freedom, Father,
My heart desires... But hark! Again
A name he speaks — not mine, another...


OLD MAN

Whose name?


ZEMPHIRA

He grits his teeth, of pain
A moan escapes him... I shall wake him,
’Tis fearful.


OLD MAN

Stay! 'Twill soon forsake him,
The nightly spirit will. Keep calm,
I pray you, child.


ZEMPHIRA

Do not you hear him?
He calls to me, I must be near him,
Else, Father, might he come to harm.


ALEKO

Where were you?


ZEMPHIRA

I? With father, yonder.
You seemed to be harassed by some
Dark spirit that nigh tore asunder
Your very soul. By fear o'ercome
Was I. Your teeth in anguish grinding,
You called my name.


ALEKO

I dreamed of you.
Black were those dreams... My vision blinding,
Some evil shape stood 'twixt us two.


ZEMPHIRA

Why trust in dreams?


ALEKO

I swear to Heaven,
There's naught I trust! Alas, 'tis so —
Not dreams, not words and vows, not even
Your heart, my wife, if you must know.


OLD MAN

Why, youthful madman, do you sigh?
Here men are free, and tempers mellow,
And women lovely, and the yellow
Sun shines undimmed in azure sky.
Succumb to gloom, and you will perish.


ALEKO

She loves me not whose love I cherish.


OLD MAN

Be comforted: a child is she.
’Tis folly to give way to sadness:
You love with bitter, aching madness;
A woman's heart loves jestingly.
Look overhead where stretch the soaring
Plains of the sky and watch the slight
Disc of the moon glide o'er them, pouring
Upon the earth its steady light.
’Twill with a cloud spend moments fleeting
And bathe it in its dazzling ray,
Then leave it, and, another meeting,
Illumine it and drift away.
To chain a maiden's heart by saying,
"Be faithful to a single love,"
Is as to keep the moon from straying
Over the lone expanse above...
Grieve not.


ALEKO

She loved me!.. O’er me kneeling,
She passed the lonely hours of night,
With open gladness and delight
Her tenderness and love revealing!..
Full of a childish gaiety,
How oft with sweet and guileless chatter
Or rapturous kisses did she scatter
My darksome thoughts and drive from me
The gloom that would at times invade me!..
And now ... my own Zemphira, she
Who loved me so, she has betrayed me!


OLD MAN

Come, hark to me and listen well:
Of my own self a tale I'll tell.
It happened long ago, Aleko,
When Moscow held no threat for us—
(These words of mine contain an echo
Of times and matters ominous).
The sultan then we stood in fear of;
Ensconced in lofty Ackerman,
A pasha ruled Budjak... Now hear of
Less awesome things. I was a man
Young, full of life, and overflowing
With spirits gay; my locks were black,
No silver thread among them showing...
Of lovely maids we had no lack,
But there was one — e’en to behold her
Was bliss — I loved her from afar...
Then came a day — my own I called her.

As swiftly as a shooting star
Youth flashes past, but love grows cooler
And passes faster still, a ruler
Whose reign is brief: for but one year
Held I the love of Mariula.

Once, when we'd set our tents up near
Kagul, there joined us of an evening
An alien tribe of Gypsies. They
Made camp nearby and there did stay
For two short nights, the camp-site leaving
By stealth just as the third came round.
With them without a word of sound
My Mariula went, forsaking
Her sleeping child. At dawn awaking,
I found her gone... In vain did I
Search for her endlessly and cry
Her name — she'd vanished... I was stricken...
Zemphira wailed; with her I wept.
E’er since the thought of love would sicken
And irk me; to myself I kept
The more as time went on, refusing
All offers of a mate and choosing
To live alone these many years.


ALEKO

Why did you not pursue the fierce
Beast and your wife, that sweet deceiver,
And, moved by passion's blinding fever,
Their hearts with vengeful dagger pierce?


OLD MAN

Freer than a bird is love: endeavour
To cage it, and from you ‘twill fly.
It comes, and then, alas, for ever
It goes, however much you try
To keep it...


ALEKO

What?! From vengeance shying,
To cede what is your own by right?
Nay, never!.. For a wrong or slight
Pay back in full I would... If, lying
Above the sea, my rival I
Found on a shelf of rock, then, by
The gods I swear, that I'd not leave him
To sleep there peacefully, but heave him,
Defenceless though the villain be,
Over the edge, and roar with laughter
In doing so, o'erjoyed to see
His fear, and for a long time after
At thought of it be filled with glee.

___________


YOUNG GYPSY

One more caress... Be you not chary
Of kisses, wench.


ZEMPHIRA

My husband is
A jealous man and bitter. Tarry
I dare not...


YOUNG GYPSY

Wait! One last, sweet kiss...
When do we meet?


ZEMPHIRA

We must be wary.
I'll see you when the moon has set,
Beyond the mound.


YOUNG GYPSY

You'll not deceive me?
You'll come?


ZEMPHIRA

Go now and do not fret.
I will be there, dear heart, believe me.

___________


Aleko sleeps and in his dream
He is pursued by blurred and fleeting
But frightful visions. With a scream
He starts awake, and gropes with beating
Heart for his mate... His faltering hand
Encounters tumbled sheets, but, meeting
Naught else, hangs limp... He rises and
Looks round... The hush about him reigning
Tells him the worst... No more restraining
His rising fears, he goes now cold,
Now hot, by turn, and blindly stumbles
Outside... All's dark... The steppeland slumbers
About him... Strands of mist enfold
A furtive moon... Around the sleeping
Camp-site with visage pale and grim
He prowls alone... The stars shine dim,
Their wavering light, through cloud banks seeping,
Discovers tracks... Across the lea
He follows them impatiently.

A grave beside the roadway showing,
White in the dark, now draws his gaze.
With sick foreboding filled, his slowing
Steps, in a kind of trance or daze,
He thither drags... His lips are shaking
And, too, his knees... Ahead there loom
Two shades, two figures... Toward them making,
He hears them whisper in the gloom,
Above the sullied stone...


FIRST VOICE

Nay, truly,
I must away...


SECOND VOICE

Would you thus coolly
Leave me and go? Wait until day.


FIRST VOICE

I mayn't. ’Tis trouble you are wooing.


SECOND VOICE

Your love is shy.


FIRST VOICE

Of my undoing
You'll be the tool...


SECOND VOICE
Go not, I pray.

FIRST VOICE

What if my husband wakens?


ALEKO

Stay!
He has awakened and salutes you.
Bide here, I beg, this graveside suits you.


ZEMPHIRA

Run, love!..


ALEKO

Why haste you to be gone?
Be not so quick, my handsome one.
Lie still!

Stabs him with a knife.

ZEMPHIRA

Aleko!


GYPSY

I am dying...


ZEMPHIRA

You've killed him!.. Look! His blood's upon
Your hands... You meant for him to perish,
I know it!..


ALEKO

What is done is done.
Now in his love can you take relish.


ZEMPHIRA

You ghoul, you ruthless villain! I
Who loved you once despise and scorn you
And curse the demon who has borne you!..


ALEKO

Die then!

Stabs her.


ZEMPHIRA

With love for him I die...

___________

The dawn-lit East shone bright... Still holding
His knife, upon the grave's cold stone,
The steppe before him calm unfolding,
Aleko, dark of face, sat lone
And motionless, his clothing bloody,
And at his feet stretched out, his own
Zemphira lifeless lay, her body
Beside her lover's... Round them milled
The Gypsies, troubled they and fearful.
One after one, their women, chilled
By sorrow, o'er the dead bent, tearful,
And gently kissed the sightless eyes.
Zemphira's father, paralysed
With grief, watched as the two were carried
To where the new-dug grave did lie
In wait for them and where, slain by
One hand, they now were placed and buried...
Aleko from afar looked on,
And when of earth the final handful
The bodies hid, he toppled down
From off the stone, his senses reeling,
And lay there void of thought and feeling...

The old man then drew near and said:
"Go, proud one, leave us! We are led
By different laws and want among us
No murderer... Go where you will!
By your black deeds and foul you wrong us
Who do not like to wound or kill.
Your love of freedom — how you flaunt it!
Yet for yourself alone you want it,
This freedom, and a stranger dwell
Here in our midst. We're kind and humble;
You're hard; where you dare tread, we stumble –
So go in peace and fare you well."

This said he, and with noise and rumble
Of wheels the Gypsy camp was soon
Upon its way, the scene deserting
Of nightly horror and of doom.
'Fore long, the fateful valley skirting,
The caravan was lost to sight...
O'erhung by rugs whose tints, once bright,
Had dulled, a van still stood forlornly
Out in the steppe... So on a lonely
And misty dawn, with winter near,
A flight of cranes will leave the drear
Fields and with shrill and piercing clamour
Fly south, not to return till summer,
Their badly wounded, trembling mate
Abandoning to cruel fate...
Dusk came, then dark; the van, benighted,
Stood lone and empty; no man kept
Vigil beside it, near it lighted
A fire, or ’neath its rooftop slept.

___________


EPILOGUE

So out the past, time's passage scorning,
The magic wand of poesy
Now days of joy, now days of mourning
Evokes and brings to life for me.

In parts where battles once roared unending
And where the limits of its rule
The Russians, with the Turks contending,
Triumphant, showed to Istanbul,
Where still our old, two-headed eagle
Of glories past the mantle regal
Wears, in the steppeland, once the seat
Of vanished clans and war-camps ancient,
The gay-voiced Gypsies, tramping patient
Down dusty roadways, I did meet.
They freedom loved and peace, and, roaming
The steppe with them, their simple fare
And simple life I liked to share,
And 'fore their camp-fires, in the gloaming,
Dozed off and found such slumber sweet.
Their merry songs my heart was full of
And oft the name of Mariula
With tenderness did I repeat.

And yet, O nature's children, nurtured
And reared in want, you, too, like we,
By dreaded dreams and visions tortured,
Know little of true felicity.
In those poor, makeshift tents you fashion
From troublous life you cannot flee.
There's no defence from fatal passion
And no escape from destiny.


1824




 

Оригінал твору

Бібліотека ім. О. С. Пушкіна (м. Київ).
А.С. Пушкин. Полное собрание сочинений в десяти томах