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Showing posts from May, 2011

Robert Burns, #1

Another one of my favorite poets is Scotland's Favorite Son - Robert Burns. I first read his poems in Russian translation when I was a little kid and liked them right away. I enjoy them still in both Russian and English.
His poetry is full of beautiful simplicity and lyricism, and that is why, I think, it lands itself so well to Russian translation. Well, judge for yourself:


My Heart's In The Highlands
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow; Farewell to the straths and green valleys below; Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods; Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the …

Omar Khayyám, The Rubaiyat #1

I am a big fan of poetry and "The Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayyám is one of my favorites. Naturally, I have first discovered him in Russian translation and I still enjoy it the most (by far), but recently I have been exploring English translation of his work as well; and some things are not bad at all.
So, I decided to do a few posts of my favorites in both languages to showcase the differences and the similarities. This is a first one (hopefully, of many):
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse I made a Second Marriage in my house; Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed, And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
                          ***
Мы чашей весом в ман печаль сердец убьем, Обогатим себя кувшинами с вином. Трикраты дав развод сознанью, званью, вере, На дочери лозы мы женимся потом.

Nothing to lose

I was listening to an NPR broadcast driving back from work when one thing caught my ear. The topic of discussion had something to do with the use by US judges and supreme justices of various verses from American POP and Rock culture. One example was the following verse from "Like a Rolling Stone" - a 1965 song by Bob Dylan: "When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose". This sounds all good and dandy, but I think this is just a paraphrase of: "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains" from the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" by Marx & Engels published in 1848. So, they've got Dylan beat by about 117 years :)