Taras shevchenko — silver poplar

Silver Poplar

(Maiden's song from "Topolya" — Silver Poplar.)

Swim, o swan, my snowy cygnet,
O'er the sea's blue water!
Keep on growing taller, taller,
Slender silver poplar!
Rise up slim and straight and stately
To the clouds above
And ask God if I am fated
Ne'er to find my love?
Rise until your topmost branches
See across the sea!
On that side's my happy future,
Here — just misery.
There, perhaps, my handsome lover
Spends his days at play,
While I wait and weep and wither,
Years slip fast away.
Tell my sweetheart how I suffer,
How the people jeer;
I will die unless my dear one
Comes back home to me!
E'en my mother, deaf to pity,
Drives me to my grave . . .
Who'll then care for her and tend her
When she's old and grey?
Who will nurse her, soothe her forehead
When the fever burns?
Oh, my mother! … My misfortune! . . .
I've nowhere to turn!

Look across the sea, o poplar!
And, if he's not there, —
Face the east when day is dawning,
Drop a silent tear . . .
Grow up straight and tall and stately,
Slender silver poplar!
Swim, o swim, my snowy cygnet,
Sail upon the water!

Taras Shevchenko
1839, St. Petersburg.
Translated by John Weir