“I have come to say good morning” (“Я пришел к тебе с приветом”), Afanasy Fet

af_fet

Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet (1820-1892) was considered a dour old thing by many of his contemporaries, but here, at least, he is in lyrically joyful mode. Someone suggested it was time I tried something less depressing. The joy was perhaps less of a challenge than Fet’s clarity – it gives the translator little room to hide. My original version started with “I have come with salutation,” but someone (Ian Mac Eochagáin) was determined that this was too flowery. So I have tried to simplify the first stanza. (It helps to be non-rhotic sometimes…)

I have come to say good morning
to declare that night is ending,
that the warming sun is dawning
and to leaves new hue is lending.
 .
To declare the forest’s rousing
and that every tendril’s threading
and the birds in song carousing
are the signs that spring is spreading.
 .
To declare as I’m returning
That I haven’t lost my ardour,
That my soul no less is burning
And I’ll serve you all the harder.
 .
To declare that from all angles
I am blown by windy bellow,
That I know not how song’s tangles
Will develop – it will mellow.
 .
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
 .
Я пришел к тебе с приветом,
Рассказать, что солнце встало,
Что оно горячим светом
По листам затрепетало;
 .
Рассказать, что лес проснулся,
Весь проснулся, веткой каждой,
Каждой птицей встрепенулся
И весенней полон жаждой;
 .
Рассказать, что с той же страстью,
Как вчера, пришел я снова,
Что душа все так же счастью
И тебе служить готова;
 .
Рассказать, что отовсюду
На меня весельем веет,
Что не знаю сам, что буду
Петь – но только песня зреет.
 .
Translation by Rupert Moreton

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