In Prison: IV Leave Not Your Dear Mother

Translated by Clarence A. Manning

"Leave not your dear mother," they told you,
But you paid no heed and went off.
She sought for you but could not find you,
At last she abandoned her effort.
She died 'mid her tears. Long ago
No playmate was left of your comrades.
Your dog has strayed off and is vanished.
A window is broke in your house.
In the garden the lambs go to pasture
By day, and when darkness is come,
The owls wake the night with their cries
And give to the neighbors no quiet.
Your bridal wreath grew and it flourished
But now it is faded to dust,
For you did not pick it. Your pond
Dried up in the neighboring forest
Where you once delighted to bathe.
That forest is sad and lies low.
No bird is still singing within it,
You carried them off when you went.
In the meadow the spring is not flowing,
The willow is leafless and fallen.
The path where you formerly wandered
Is covered with many a thorn.
Where did you direct your sad footsteps?
To whom have you flitted away?
In an alien land, amid strangers
Whom do you rejoice? Unto whom,
To whom have your arms been outstretched?
My heart whispers that you are happy
In palaces, where you ne'er think
Of the home that you once have abandoned.
God grant that no drop of remorse
May ever disturb your sweet slumber,
That it may not enter your palace,
That you never turn on your God
And never your own mother curse.

                          1847, St. Petersburg