A pithy epigram about the Decembrist uprising that presents quite a challenge. One of the two translations below the literal one is mine; the other is Ian Mac Eochagáin’s.
Едва царем он стал,
То разом начудесил:
Сто двадцать человек тотчас в Сибирь послал
Да пятерых повесил.
He had hardly become tsar
Than he all at once worked wonders:
One hundred and twenty people he straightaway sent to Siberia
And hanged five.
He’d barely been crowned tsar
When he set wonders clanging:
One hundred twenty men he banished to afar
And sent five to their hanging.
No sooner was he tsar
A sign he made of hallows:
Without delay he sent to exile full six score
And five he hanged on gallows.