Taras shevchenko — i am unwell

I Am Unwell

I am not feeling well, I fear,
And yet the eye sees something near,
The heart for something seems to wait.
It weeps and whimpers, yearns and aches,
Just like a tot that's not been fed.
Perhaps the things that lie ahead
Will evil prove? Await no good,
Long longed-for freedom don't await —
It is asleep: our gracious tsar
Lulled it to sleep. But if you'd wake
This sickly freedom, all the folk
Into their hands must sledges take
And axes sharpen well — then go
That sleeping freedom to awake.
If not, the wretched thing will stay
Asleep right up to Judgment Day!
The master class will keep it lulled,
More palaces and shrines they'll build,
Their drunken tsar they will adore,
Sing praises to Byzanthian ways,
And, all the signs say, nothing more.

Taras Shevchenko
St. Petersburg, November 22nd, 1858.
Translated by John Weir, Toronto