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