In Prison: VII To N. Kostomarov

Translated by Herbert Marshall

A bright and merry sun was hiding
Midst smiling springtime clouds agliding.
Their guests, in manacles that clink,
Were given wretched tea to drink,
And meanwhile sentries changed the guard,
Uniforms of blue they wore.
Both to the locked and bolted door,
And to the window multi-barred
I'd got a little used, and did not pine
At those long since done with,
Long since buried, long forgotten,
Bloody painful tears of mine.
And there were poured out not a few
On futile ground.... If but rue grew,
But not a single thing appears!
And I recalled my native village.
How many there did I desert?
Both father and mother in their coffins...
And my heart with sorrow hurts,
That there's no one to remember me!
Oh my brother, your mother I see
Blacker than the blackest earth she walks,
As if taken down from the cross...
I pray, oh God, to Thee my prayer!
Thee I'll never cease to praise!
For that with no one shall I share
My prison and my heavy chains!

                       1847, St. Petersburg