К России (English translation)

  • Artist: Vladimir Nabokov (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков)
  • Song: К России

К России

Отвяжись, я тебя умоляю!
Вечер страшен, гул жизни затих.
Я беспомощен. Я умираю
От слепых наплываний твоих.
Тот, кто вольно отчизну покинул,
Волен выть на вершинах о ней,
Но теперь я спустился в долину,
И теперь приближаться не смей.
Навсегда я готов затаиться
И без имени жить. Я готов,
Чтоб с тобой и во снах не сходиться,
Отказаться от всяческих снов;
Обескровить себя, искалечить,
Не касаться любимейших книг,
Променять на любое наречье
Всё, что есть у меня, – мой язык.
Но зато, о Россия, сквозь слёзы,
Сквозь траву двух несмежных могил,
Сквозь дрожащие пятна берёзы,
Сквозь всё то, чем я смолоду жил,
Дорогими слепыми глазами
Не смотри на меня, пожалей,
Не ищи в этой угольной яме,
Не нащупывай жизни моей!
Ибо годы прошли и столетья,
И за горе, за муку, за стыд, –
Поздно, поздно! – никто не ответит,
И душа никому не простит.
Submitted by Alexander FreiAlexander Frei on Fri, 15/02/2019 - 23:53
Last edited by sandringsandring on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 12:19
Submitter's comments:

1939, Париж

To Russia

Let me be, on my knees I'm begging!
Evening scares, life’s buzz died for good.
I am helpless and now I’m dying
From these blind run-on thoughts ‘bout you
He who freely abandoned his homeland
Might be free to bewail on the top
As for me, I’ve gone down to the lowland
From then on, never dare come close
Till the end, I can live lying low
Or without a name. I’m all set
Not to see you in dreams come and go
I am set to go sleepless for that
Or bleed white after self-mutilation
Not to touch any books that I love
To trade in for the first come-by language
All I have now left – mother tongue
But for that, oh, my Russia, through tears
Through the grass of the two detached graves
Through the palsed black spots on a birch-tree
Through what’s made my whole life since young days
With your blind eyes, I love beyond measure
Don’t you stare at me, give me grace
Don’t keep searching this charcoal-bunker
Into life of mine, don’t probe, forget
Because years have passed, aeon, I'd say
But for pangs, shame and woe of mine -
Late, it's late and no one will answer
And my soul will forgive no one.
Submitted by sandringsandring on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 12:15
SchnurrbratSchnurrbrat    Thu, 16/05/2019 - 06:38

Nice translation, thank you.
Few remarks though:
1) bleed white is idiomatic expression, you have no problems using one? It clearly would be misinterpreted by the reader. Maybe bleed "something" but not white?
2) It is pulsed spots, not palsed i believe. Or is it palsied?
3) come-by - what does it mean there, what part of speech? iMHO it's a verb. I kinda doubt it legitimate use before the noun.

sandringsandring    Thu, 16/05/2019 - 09:57

Here "bleed white" is not idiomatic at all. Nabokov meant a real thing and so did I. The spots are "palsed" to emphasize his morbid state of mind. "Come by" is used as a pp, it's a stretch, I know, but let it stay. Regular smile

SchnurrbratSchnurrbrat    Thu, 16/05/2019 - 16:32

Ok, I guess bleeding white could be interpreted literally when it is followed by self-mutilation; but it would also be interpreted idiomatically by many.
I still can not justify "palsed". Is it a word? I'm not sure, but "palsy" is. To me it looks like unnecessary complication of the line. I could easily imagine "pulsing spots of... [in my eyes]"
Nice translation regardless.