Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Calamity Again

June 7, 2015

by Taras Shevchenko

Statue of Taras Shevchenko in Lviv


Dear God, calamity again! …
It was so peaceful, so serene;
We but began to break the chains
That bind our folk in slavery …
When halt! … Again the people’s blood
Is streaming! Like rapacious dogs
About a bone, the royal thugs
Are at each other’s throat again.

ca. 1854, Novopetrovsk Fortress,
St. Petersburg.
Translation by John Weir.

Мій боже милий, знову лихо!..
Було так любо, було тихо;
Ми заходились розкувать
Своїм невольникам кайдани.
Аж гульк!.. Ізнову потекла
Мужицька кров! Кати вінчанні,
Мов пси голодні за маслак,
Гризуться знову.

ca. 1854, Новопетровське
укріплення — С.-Петербург

Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) is one of Ukraine’s greatest poets, writers, and painters. A tireless campaigner for Ukrainian culture, language, and political liberty, he was subjected to years of imprisonment and exile under the Russian Tsar Nicholas I. Weakened by the conditions of his captivity, he died a few years after his release.

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