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Aleksandr Pushkin

Aleksandr Pushkin

ALEXANDR PUSHKIN: The Gypsies

The Gypsies

1824
The Gypsies in the noisy throng
Stray Bessarabia around.
Today over the river, long,
They’re lodging in their tents, worn out.
Like freedom their night-resting is –
And peaceful sleep the heavens under.
Between the wagons’ tired wheels,
Covered with rugs, long-used in wonders,
A fire’s flamed. A family’s 
Preparing, round it, a dinner;
A horse is gazing in the fields,
Is sleeping, free, a teamed bear-thriller.
Amidst the steppes all well lives:
The peaceful tasks of families,
Ready by morning for a travel,
And songs of wives, and children’ weeps,
And ringing of a mobile anvil.
But now, over the Gipsy camp,
The dozing silence is prevailing,
And heard is, in the sleeping steppe,
Just a dog’s barking and steed’s neighing.
Extinguished is each single light,
All’s peaceful now. The moon is shining,
Alone in the heaven height,
And at the quiet camp is lighting.
Just one old man’s not sleeping, yet,
Sitting by ambers in his tent,
Warmed with their last heat – fast by-passing –
He’s looking at the fields’ extent,
Covered by clamps of the steam, rising.
His daughter, youthful one and light,
Went for a walk in a field, empty.
She’s used to freedom, full and zesty,
She will come back, but there’s a night...
And soon the crescent, still a-ruling,
Will leave the distant clouds’ set –
Zemphira’s absent, and is cooling
A dinner the old man prepared.
But there is she. Through the steppe, lone,
A youth is following her steps;
For the old gipsy he’s unknown
“My father,” the young maiden says,
“We have a guest. I’ve found him, missing,
In a desert that mound behind
And called for our camp for a night,
He wants to be like us – the Gipsy;
He’s prosecuted by a law.  
I’ll be his friend, the true and fair –
His name’s Aleko – and therefore
He vowed to follow me everywhere.”

The Old Man

I’m glad.
Stay till the morning ray is sent,
Under the vaults of our tent
Or stay mach longer, in a whole, –
Just as you want. And I am glad
To share with you and home and bread.
Be ours – get used to our dole,
Our straying freedom, dearth and soul –
And at the dawn, a road along,
Our single cart will us all bear;
Choose any job, for which you long:
Forge iron or just sing a song
And lead through villages a bear.
  
Aleko

I’ll stay with you.

Zemphira

                             He will be mine:
Who could take him from me whenever?
But ‘tis late... And the crescent, fine,
Is gone. The fields - in misty pine,
And sleep sends me its non-asked favor...

That’s light. The old man’s easy browsing
Around the full of silence tent.
“Wake up, Zemphira: the sun’s rising,
Wake up, my guest! The time is spent!...
O, children, leave your lodge, the languorous!...”
And people noisily came at once;
The tents are failed and now the wagons
Are ready for their usual path.


[TO BE CONTINUED] 


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, March 27, 2005


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