“Boundless freedom’s cogitation” (“О свободе небывалой”) Osip Mandelstam

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A discussion with Ian Mac Eochagáin prompted me to revise the translation I had previously called “Such a liberty unwonted”. I think it’s an improvement: it is a little closer to the original, and I’ve addressed some scansion issues; but it remains cryptic – in any language.

Boundless freedom’s cogitation –
Sweet in glint of candle’s light.
“Just remain with me a moment,”
Sobbed fidelity at night.

“Just permit me stretch, imposing
Wedding crown upon your pate,
Law- and freedom-wards disposing,
yielded you in loving state…”

“Law and freedom, they are fated –
Wedded soon are they – so see
Such a crown so feather-weighted
Surely isn’t meet for me.”

Catapulted into darkness
Destined are we soon to die,
We’ll bemoan a beauty endless,
We’ll fidelity decry!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

О свободе небывалой
Сладко думать у свечи.
— Ты побудь со мной сначала, —
Верность плакала в ночи.

— Только я мою корону
Возлагаю на тебя,
Чтоб свободе, как закону,
Подчинился ты, любя…

— Я свободе, как закону,
Обручен, и потому
Эту легкую корону
Никогда я не сниму.

Нам ли, брошенным в пространстве,
Обреченным умереть,
О прекрасном постоянстве
И о верности жалеть!

2 thoughts on ““Boundless freedom’s cogitation” (“О свободе небывалой”) Osip Mandelstam

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