Vladimir Vysotsky. Collected Songs

@Rhymes from Russia Popular Poetry Page Vladimir Vysotsky Collection of Songs in English translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov ________________________________________ Contents: 1. The Tale Of The Wild Mammal 2. The Story Of The Truth And The Lie 3. The Reincarnation Song 4. Saying Good-Bye To The Mountains 5. The Ships 6. I Was Fond Of Nasty Tricks And Women 7. The City Romance 8. The Song Of The New Times 9. The Song Of Clairvoyant Cassandra 10. I Love You Now 11. Execution Of Mountain Echo 12. The Icy World 13. Apples From The Garden Of Eden 14. The Common Graves 15. I Need Changes 'Cause For Years 16. It's No Use To Talk To You. I Think 17. He Hasn't Returned From The Fighting 18. The Birds Are Alarmed Here, Boding No Good 19. The Informer 20. Both The Pets And The Wild Beasts Of Prey 21. There Is The Entrance But, You Know 22. The Song Of The White Elephant 23. The Fords Are Deep. The Bridges Have Burnt Down 24. The Stars 25. The One Who Didn't Shoot 26. I Honor Dorian Gray And Faustus... 27. My Heart Aches, So Does My Head, I Think 28. The Ballad Of The Time 29. We Were To Meet. I Waited For The Day 30. In My Soul 31. I Have Two Selves In Me 32. Make A Bridge On The Occasion 33. The Silly Dream 34. I'm Feeling Shivery Again. My Heart 35. What The Hell, You Viper... 36. I Am On The Job 37. The Song Of The Criminal Code 38. My Own Island 39. Suddenly Our Trodden Ways Must Part 40. The Ballad Of A Bath-House 41. If You Are In A Strange Land At Night 42. My Sorrow Won't Fade 43. Well, Now, My Hands Don't Shake At All 44. Up To The Mountain Height 45. I'll Answer All Your Questions 46. The Masks 47. The Letter 48. When By The Rhymes And Poems I Get Bored 49. In The Beginning There Was A Word 50. I Am Fated To Argue To Very Last Day ________________________________________ The Tale Of The Wild Mammal E7 Am In a kingdom where everything was quiet, A7 Dm With no cataclysms, no wars and no shocks, Am A monstrous animal came as a plight, F E7 Am A kind of buffalo, a bull or an ox. The king had stomach trouble and asthma Frightening everyone to death with his cough. In the meantime the terrible monster Ate up people, or carried them off. The king proclaimed three decrees that ran as follows: "We must now do away with the beast, The one who dares to do it, I promise, Will take my daughter, the princess, to the priest." In that kingdom outraged by the catcher Somewhere right near the border line There lived a one time peerless archer Who enjoyed his disgraced, reckless life. There were people, wrapped in skins, on the ground, Their feast was going on with a swing When the air was rent by a trumpet sound And the archer was carried to the king. "I'll not lecture you on morals, you youngster," Said the king as he coughed like a beast, "If you manage to kill that big monster You will take our princess to the priest." The archer said: "Your award is quite senseless! I would rather have a barrel of wine! I don't care a thing for the princess,- With the beast I shall work out fine." The king said: "Yes, you shall marry the princess, Or I'll throw you to prison right off After all, it's the king's lawful heiress." "No," - the man said,- "ne'er in my life!" While the king was arguing with the weird man The big mammal, that monster,- oh my! - Had eaten up almost all hens and women And would hang around now nearby. Nothing doing, they agreed on the wine, and He killed the monster and ran off with the game. That is how the disgraced archer happened To put the king and the princess to shame. The story of the Truth and the Lie Am Dm Delicate Truth, all dressed up, had a beautiful bearing, E Am Smartening herself up for cripples and wrenches and freaks. A7 Dm Lie tricked the Truth into visiting her at her dwelling E Am Telling her that she could stay for the night, or for weeks. G C Gullible Truth fell asleep with no bad premonition, A7 Dm Slack'ning, she broke into frivolous smiles in her dream.. Dm Am Rough Lie pulled up to herself all the blanket and cushion, E Am Driving her sting through the Truth she was pleased, it would seem. Then she got up, and she pulled her a bulldog's face rudely, She 's only a woman, so why should she bother at all? There is no diff'rence between Truth and Lie, absolutely, (certainly, if you can strip them to swallow them whole)... Then she untwisted the beautiful band from her hair, Then grabbed some shoes and some clothes taking measures by sight, took all the money, the watch and the documents, too, lying there, swore like a fishwife, spit out and then took to flight. Only at daybreak the Truth had discovered the loss and, taking a look in the mirror, she stood in surprise: someone had daubed her with soot, she looked dirty and glossy, but on the whole, she believed, she was looking all right. When she was beaten and stoned Truth would laugh in their faces. "She has my clothes on. She lies. I reject all the blames ..." Two freaks wer' taking the minute. They weren't very gracious, scolding her angrily, shouting and calling her names, calling her "wicked" and saying "she's worse than just wicked", setting a dog at her, smearing all over with mud... shouting: "She's got to be exiled, kicked out, evicted, twenty four hours will be sufficient for that!" They wound up with a long angry scolding conclusion (having imputed additional crimes to the Truth): "She took the name of the “Truth”, for the sake of confusion, while she had swapped all her things for indulgence and booze". Genuine Truth wept and sobbed, swore by God and by honour, wondering, going through poverty, illness, what not. Dirty Lie'd stolen a thoroughbred horse from the owner, and she set off at a gallop before she got caught. There is a crank that still fights for the truth with persistence, though there is little of truth in what truth-seeker says. "Truth will undoubtedly triumph one day if, for instance, she plays the treacherous tricks as the lie always plays…" Sitting at table with friends, drinking wine or whatever, you never know if you'll manage to really get by. You'll be relieved of your clothing, as sure as ever. Look at your trousers worn by insidious Lie. Look at your watch on the wrist of insidious Lie. Look at your horse ridden by the insidious Lie. ________________________________________ The Reincarnation Song Some may believe in Jesus, some in Mohammed or whatever, Some don't believe in anything, just to spite them all. There is a good belief in India, and it is rather clever: That when we kick the bucket we don't pass away for all. To rise to heaven you may strive: You'll have a dream when born again, But if you've lived a piggy's life, A piggy you'll remain. If people look askance at you, take all reproaches easy, Don't worry, you'll be born again a man with a mordant tongue, And if you've seen the death of a foe, there's every reason To think that after death you will be born a keen-eyed man. So keep on living, and have fun, Be happy and don't bother, Maybe, your soul will settle down In some big boss's body. If you are engaged in sweeping streets, you'll be an engineer, And maybe slowly grow into a minister in time. But if you're dull and stupid, you'll be born a baobab-tree an' Will remain one for a thousand years or more, until you die. It's bad to live a parrot's life, Or be a snake-like demon, Hadn't one better live a life Of just a decent human? Well, who is who and who was who, to this there is no answer, Geneticists are off their nuts o'er chromosomes and genes. Perhaps that shabby looking cat at one time was a rascal, And this good natured person was a friendly dog, it seems. I jump for joy, just like a kid, And I avoid all hindrance, A very good belief indeed Has been thought up by Indians! Saying good-bye to the mountains Am To the bustle of streets, flow of cars, traffic blocks ?7 Dm To city life we return, we come back, as it happens. Am We descend from the conquered high mountaintops E7 F7 E7 Am And we leave our hearts, and we leave our hearts in the mountains. Refrain: Dm There is no use to argue about it, Am I have known for a very long time: Dm There is one thing that's better than mountains, E7 And it's mountains F7 E7 Am that we haven't climbed. Who would want to be left in the lurch, with no hopes? Who would want to give in, his heart disobeyin'? We descend from the conquered high mountaintops... Nothing doing: gods, too, used to come down from heaven. There is no use to argue about it, I have known for a very long time: There is one thing that's better than mountains, And it's mountains that we haven't climbed. Many beautiful songs, many hopes, words of love Are inspired by mountains, they eternally call us. Yet we have to descend, for a year or for life For we have to return from the mountains... always. There is no use to argue about it, I have known for a very long time: There is one thing that's better than mountains And it's mountains that we haven't climbed. The Ships Am They will stay for a while, and then they'll take course A7 Dm But they will return breaking through winds a-wailing. Dm Am And it won't take six months till I'm back at my house. Dm E7 Am E7 Just to set out again, To set out for a six month's a-sailing. Am Dm Am And it won't take six months till I'm back at my house., B E7 Am Just to set out again, To set out for a six month's a-sailing. Everybody returns but the best of our friends, And the best loving, faithful, adorable women. Everybody returns but for those we need most I believe not in fate, I believe not in fate Nor myself I believe in. Yet I really want to believe I am wrong, And that burning one's boats will be soon void of meaning. I am sure to return full of dreams, friends along, And it won't take six months, and it won't take six months Till I get back to singing. * * * I was fond of nasty tricks and women, And at changing them I didn't draw the line. There were stories about my demeanor And the numerous love-affairs of mine. Way down south near the sea - I mean it - I was walking once along the road, And I encountered one of those women That in my life I came upon a lot. She was kind, a very generous creature, And as open-hearted as could be, She was nicely shaped, and had fine features, While I didn't have a coin about me. What she wanted were little presents, Such as brandy, golden rings, perfume. In return she'd grant the little pleasure Of her dubious service, I presume. "If it comes to that, I'll give you, honey, The most precious thing I have," she said. "I agree,- I said,- to pay ye a hundred, Otherwise, I'll pool it with my friend." Women are like very angry horses, Bit between their teeth, they'll wheeze and chafe... I might've got her wrong, she was ferocious, Made her farewell and left. Later on the passions had calmed down. She turned up, her anger shaken off. My impression was that now she found The price I'd offered suitable enough. ________________________________________ The City Romance Am E7 Am I happened to be walking around Am G7 C(A7) And I hurt two people by chance, A7 Dm Am They took me to militia grounds Am E7 Am Where I saw her... and broke down at once. I knew not what on earth she was doing there, She was probably getting a pass. She was beautiful, lovely and fair... I decided to look for the lass. I just followed her, walking behind her, She wouldn't talk to a bully, I thought. Then I made up my mind to invite her To the nearest restaurant. Why not? As we walked people smiled at my pretty one, I was furious, my mind on the blink! I just smote the face of a weird man 'Cause he dared to give her a wink. She found the caviar delicious, And I didn't grudge the expense, I ordered smash hits to musicians, And the last tune they played was "The Cranes". I made promises, showing my feeling, I repeated one thing the whole night: "For five days I haven't been stealing, Believe me, my love at first sight." I said that my life had been ruined, Blew my nose and wiped tears from my eyes, And she said: "I believe you, yours truly, You can take me at a reasonable price." I slapped her on the face in despair, I was boiling like crazy inside. Now I knew what she really was doing there, In militia, my love at first sight. The Song Of The New Times Am Dm Like the toll of the late at night heavy footsteps resounded, G7 ? ?7 Thus we, too, will soon have to say our good-byes and get under way. Dm G7 ? Am Through the pathless terrain, at a gallop, had the horses come round Dm E7 Am (?7) Carrying their riders to a good or bad end, which no one could say. Times have changed, yet to-day, as before, we keep striving for happiness, And we chase it, running head over heels, but it leaves us behind, And on the run we're losing the best of our friends, as it happens, Without noticing even that our friends are no more by our side. For a long time to come yet we'll take any light for a fire, And on hearing the creak of high-boots, a menace we'll sense, Little children will play their old games of war, shoot and fire, And we'll long yet divide ourselves into enemies'n friends. And when rambles and fires and tears are all over'n done with, When our horses get tired of running and, faded, lose force, When our girls change their uniform coats into dresses and blouses I wish none of the moments would be ever forgotten, forgiven or lost... ________________________________________ The Song Of Clairvoyant Cassandra Dm A# Though besieged and threatened to be torn asunder Dm C7 Troy remained impregnable to the assailant, Gm if the Trojans had believed foreseer Cassandra A# A it would probably have stood up to the present! Dm The frenzied maid kept shouting like witless: D[7] Gm "I clearly see Troy lay in ruins, fall and break!" Dm But clairvoyants ( just like those who bear witness ) A# A were always put to death by burning at the stake ! Gm A Dm were always put to death by burning at the stake ! At night when death on Troy descended, coming out straight from the horse's womb, winged, like a sudden blaster, somebody cried over the terror-stricken crowd: "The witch! The witch is all to blame for the disaster!" That night, amidst the massacre, unrest and devastation when her predictions had come true now, like a dazzle, the crowd might have seized the suitable occasion to savagely inflict their usual reprisal... The end was rather disappointing, though not tragic: a certain Greek had found her abode's location and took her, not just as Cassandra with her magic but as insatiable conqueror's possession. The frenzied maid kept shouting like witless: "I clearly see Troy lay in ruins, fall and break!" But clairvoyants (just like those who bear witness) were always put to death by burning at the stake! ________________________________________ I Love You Now I love you now, in fact, And I don't hold it back. It's not "before", not "after" - your rays set me afire. Whether I weep or I smile I love you in this while,- the future I don't want, the past I don't desire. "I loved you" (in the past) is worth than breathing last. My wings are cut, and I'm restrained by tender feeling, although the greatest poet stated once: "I was in love with you - my love may still be living"… As if it were disavowed, faded, for it implies compassion, condescension, it's what one feels for overthrown kings. There is regret in it for something outdated, subsided striving, softened aspiration and disbelief in "love you" kind of things. My current love has got no detriment, no spot. My age is under way - I want no venesection! At this continuous present I do not live in the past nor dream of future foundation. Through thick and thin I'll get to you somehow, you bet! - my feet put into chains and bound with heavy irons. But when I say "I love you", even yet don't make me add "I will", by error or with bias. "I will" has got a bitter connotation, for it implies a counterfeit, decay - unpleasant, a loophole for retreating, anyhow, insipid poison and contamination, slap in the face, affront upon the present, a doubt that I really love you now. I dream my dream in French, it has a wide tense range, the future and the past are different from ours. I'm pilloried, disgraced and outraged, The language seems to set me at defiance. The language gap, oh my! I'm about to cry ! Yet we can work it out, we have our firm intentions. I love you at the times which will comply with Future, Past and Present Perfect tenses. ________________________________________ Execution Of Mountain Echo Am F7 Bm6 In a mountain pass where the rocks for the winds are no checkers (no checkers), Bm6 Gb F7 where no one has ever set foot, so steep is the rise (so steep is the rise), B7 Ebm Gb there once lived a jubilant cheerful mountain echo, F7 Bm it answered the calls and responded to cries, human cries. When loneliness suddenly fills our heart with despair (despair) and when a low sound of pain down the cliff is about to land (about to land), adroitly, the echo will pick up the call and handling with care will then make it louder and with solicitude take it in hand. Some scoundrels, crazy and drunk, must have gotten around (gotten around), in order that no one might hear the footfall and snort (footfall and snort), intending to silence and murder the gorge, living canyon, they bound the echo and stopped up its mouth before it was shot. And so it went on, their bloody ferocious enraged merrymaking, no sound was heard as they trampled the echo, made fun of it, mocked... They shot in the morning the quietened mountain echo (mountain echo) and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock... and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock... and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock... ________________________________________ The Icy World C#7 F#m Mother Earth is all covered with ice - Hm F#m all year long it is covered with ice. Hm Mother Earth is all covered with ice - E A There's no spring, it appears, nor summer - Hm F#m White as snow is the planet's garment - C#7 F#m now and then someone falls on the ice. Hm C#7 F#m Mother Earth is all covered with ice - C#7 F#m all year long it is covered with ice… Mother Earth is all covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. Everything is covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. You may fly all around the Globe and may not even touch the ground,- anyway you are sure to drop an a slippery plain or slope... To be crushed underfoot you are bound! Mother Earth is all covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. Everything is covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. There is nothing but ice, like glass, but it isn't a rink for skating. Perhaps a beast will quietly pass... All is iced ! A two-legged one has to land on all fours - no escaping. Mother Earth is all covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. Everything is covered with ice, all year long it is covered with ice. Apples from the garden of Eden Am A7 Dm I shall die for some day we all reach our last destination. Dm Am E7 Am And I'd rather be stabbed, than decease just like that in my bed. Am A7 Dm People pity the killed, pay them tribute and promise salvation... Dm Am E7 Am I'm not sure of the living, however, we cherish the dead. I shall fall on my face, turn to one side and then to the other, and on stolen old horses my soul will then gallop ahead. In the magical Gardens of Eden some apples I'll gather... It's too bad that the gardens are guarded,- they shoot in the head. When we got to the place what I saw there wasn't quite pleasant: just a wide open space, barren soil with no plants and no trees, and a huge iron gate towering over the boundless desert, and a crowd of convicts, thousands of them,- on their knees. Now the wheel-horse got very excited. I calmed him by calling him "darling", and removed all the prickles on him, and smoothed out his mane. In the mean time, a grey-haired man fumbled, humbling and grumbling, with the bolt, but, alas, his attempts were vain. And the worn out people did not even utter a sound. They just rose from their knees to sit up, they were at a loss... Den of thieves, mob of gangsters came out to welcome the crowd! All returned to it its source, and a man was up there on the cross.. Well, we all have some wishes, but was it so much that I wanted? All I need is my friends, and my wife,- to shed tears when I'm dead. I shall gather some rose-colour apples for them - good and sorted... It's too bad that the gardens are guarded, they shoot in the head. I could tell who the grey-haired man really was from his tears: it was Peter, the holy apostle, while I was a stupid blockhead. There they were, the gardens, with pink frozen apples. Oh, cheers!.. It's too bad that the gardens are guarded,- so I was shot dead. Then I urged on the horses, away from the horrible premises ! And I rushed,- I had oats for the horses and apples for you. Whip in hand, I was driving, like mad, on the brink of the precipice. You were waiting for me to return from the Paradise, too. The Common Graves Am Dm They don't put up crosses on communal graves, E Am And widows don't come to shed tears; Dm But flowers are laid and eternal flames E Am Will never be quenched, it appears. A7 Dm The earth that was shaking and heaving of late G C E With granite and marble is plated. Am Dm Dm6 There isn't a single separate fate, H7 E Am All fates are in one integrated. We see in the flame our burning tank, A house on fire and smolder, The burning Smolensk and the burning Reichstag, The burning heart of a soldier. The tearful widows don't visit the place, To give and receive the blessing. They don't put up crosses on communal graves But does it make less distressing? * * * Am I need changes'cause for years Am Dm there have not been many. G There's no money, and no girls, G C and there can't be any.. C Dm I have filched for many years, Dm Am and have not been lazy,- E7 should have saved a heavy purse, E7 Am but I drank like crazy. I'm as poor as a mouse, haven't got a penny, got no friends and got no house, and I can't have any. I have filched for many years, and have not been lazy, should have saved a heavy purse, but I drank like crazy. Somehow, I still get along playing cards and drinking. All I ever did was wrong, not just the beginning... * * * It's no use to talk to you. I think all you say is unintelligible chatter So I'd better go and have a drink and discuss with friends a serious matter. They have vital questions to decide, For example: "Who's a better drinker?" Their range of interests is wide - From a grocery to places selling liquor. We debate two quite important points, as we hold a heated conversation: one is how to get the missing coins and the other - who will fetch libation. You are giving me your brew instead of wine… Can I justify your twilight vision? Your intelligence doesn't equal mine You should polish up your erudition! He Hasn't Returned From The Fighting Em Am(Fis) Why has everything changed? Life goes on as it should... Am ?7sus ?7 Em There's the sky over us, blue as ever, Em Am Em As before there's the air, the water, the wood... Em F#7 ?7 Dm6 But he's lost in the fighting for ever. E7 Am Em As before there's the air, the water, the wood... Em F#7 ?7 Em But he's lost in the fighting for ever. I do not understand who was right, who was wrong In disputes that we had, rather biting. It was not until now that I started to long For the one who did not come from fighting. He'd be awkwardly silent, he'd sing out of tune, And his absence of mind was exciting, He would not let me sleep, sitting up by the moon... but last night he did not come from fighting. I'm destitute now, and I've just touched the ground, It occurred to me : I'd been beside him... And I felt as if I had my fire blown out when he didn't return from the fighting. Like a prisoner from jail, spring has broken away. By mistake I addressed him now, shouting : "Got a lighter, old man?" - but what could he say?- If last night he did not come from fighting. In the dugout we had room enough to get by, And for both of us time would be sliding... But now he is gone, and I think it was I * * * The birds are alarmed here, boding no good, The fur-trees are all of a tremble. You live in a magical mystery wood, To leave it you are unable. Though the cherry-trees dry their linen in space And the lilac-trees bloom over here, I'll take you away to the Palace,- the place Where trumpets and pipes you will hear. The wizards have hidden your world from man For ages ahead, I imagine. You think that no other thing under the sun Is greater than this wood of magic. Though the dew drops at day-break do not leave the trace, Though the moon and the sky cause commotion, I shall take you away to the tower,- the place With a wonderful view of the ocean. So when will it happen? What time and what day I'll see you discreetly come out And in my arms I shall take you away To where you cannot be found? I'll kidnap you if only you give your consent, Just think of the pains I have taken! Now to love in a cottage you'll have to assent Once the Palace is no longer vacant. The Informer In our gang no strangers we would let. And so one day - God damn - I took my chances - I brought the man along with me and said "He's one of us, now let us charge the glasses". He kept us company and seemed to be content, We welcomed him like a good friend, or brother, However, he betrayed us in the end. It was my fault, do not blame any other. I don't recall the trial, what a plight! And then there was the barrack, cold as grave, and It seemed to me it was a pitch-black night, And it was not a dream, it was apparent. I will reserve myself and I'll revive; He thinks that he will never ever see me, He was too fast to bury me alive, He was mistaken, boys, believe me. The day will come, the night will not last long, I'll ask you when atonement is around: "It was my fault, I brought the man along, Give him to me, and I will have it out". * * * Both the pets and the wild beasts of prey Have human taste, smell and other senses, While humans have to prance and dance attendance, They are fated to act in that way. Today spectators, today spectators Do not want to see the charmers and the tamers! And if you want to tame a pet, or beast, You have to join the criminal police. Very few decent humans today Have human taste, smell and other senses, While beasts and animals must dance attendance, They are fated to act in that way. Today spectators, today spectators Do not want to see the charmers and the tamers! And if you want to tame a pet, or beast, Go join the circus - you will be pleased. * * * Am Dm There is the entrance but, you know, E Am I have a habit - don't you hinder - Am Dm Of coming in through a back-door G C A7 And going out through a window. Dm I don't want to upset anyone, Dm Am I can be an unbearable man, Am Dm I was on the booze yesterday E Am And was badly struck with dismay. I spat upon the drunken ass, Wrapped up my face in curtain tissue And threw myself straight through the glass Into the arms of the militia. All in blood and humiliated, Outraged and infuriated, With a good reputation, I was brought to the station. And, going far over the line, They kicked me, walloped and belabored, And then they made me pay a fine And told me not to be so wayward. Poor creature, all bandaged, And unfairly damaged, I accepted the offer to sleep on the sofa. I woke up in the dead of night And felt my anger was abating, I walked up to the window but It had a heavy iron grating. Well, I had an experience In confronting a hindrance But those bars over there Made me filled me with despair. And when the morning came, you know, I got up shaking and put out, But I walked out. Through the door! And ever since I've been in doubt. Life is quiet and ethical, Very clean and symmetrical, I feel low I'm hurt easily, And I'm living in misery. The Song Of The White Elephant Somewhere in India since the ancient times There were wild grey elephants of tremendous size. They rambled in the jungle here and there at random, And somehow one of them was white among them. It was known for its wisdom, noble birth and breed, Had a friendly look and gentle spirit. Being white it was "a rare bird" indeed In the herd among its swarthy kindred. Once the Indian ruler - how could I expect?- Gave me the white elephant out of respect. "What do I need it for?- I asked him humbly, "It has a heart of gold," - he answered calmly. Then it made a curtsy and I made a bow, And the speech I made was soft, not vicious, Now I knew the elephant was actually a cow, Or, in other words, it was a female specious. Sitting on the elephant I really looked grand, I would roam around the Indian fairyland. We'd ramble here and there and everywhere, And every inconvenience we'd share. We would go and sing our serenades of love, Ladies would jump off their beds like crazy, I should say, the elephant was talented enough, And his music gift was just amazing. You have seen a world map or an atlas, haven't you? And you know in India there's a river, too. My elephant and I would feed on mangoes And somehow we were lost around the Ganges. I would dash around restlessly for days on end Having undermined my flesh and spirit. Later on they told me: "Your white elephant Had encountered a herd of its white kindred". I was angry and upset at first but then I received an elephant from India again: As an ornament of cane in all its finery: Nice white elephant but made of ivory. Having seven elephants at home is good, They allegedly protect us from misfortune. I would rather have them wonder in the wood, And I wish they wouldn't bring me fortune. ________________________________________ * * * The fords are deep. The bridges have burnt down, And only skulls are visible. It's close. The ins and outs are blocked all around. There is one way to go,- it's where the crowd goes. Like harnessed horses fastened to a vehicle and as a vivid proof that our world is small, The crowd moves in an exclusive circle Without any bearings at all. Caught in the rain the pallet spreads about A gallops bursts into a polonaise, smells, flowers, tones and rhythms have faded out, And oxygen has vanished in the haze. No act of thoughtlessness nor inspiration Can stop this spinning movement,- never once. Is this the everlasting circulation And what we call' perpetual advance'? ________________________________________ The Stars Am Dm Shall I forget it, that fighting, oh my! G ? Death overhung all around, Dm Am Stars were falling like rain from the sky E Am down on the ground. There is one falling… I'll live, in so far as I made a wish, willy-nilly... Now I have bound my life with a star, Isn't it silly? I thought the trouble had past and I had Managed somehow to escape it... Falling from heaven, a star hit my heart, So unexpected. We were ordered to capture the height, "Don't spare bullets!" - they told us... There's another one falling now right, Down on your shoulders. Plenty of starlets, both seen and unseen, There are to be had in the heaven. I'd be a hero now hadn't I been lost in the hell then. I'd give the star to my son, as a note, A keepsake and all... Stars in the sky go to waste for they've got Nowhere to fall. ________________________________________ The One Who Didn't Shoot Am E7 I'm not deceiving, really, it's true, upon my word! E7 Am One morning I was nearly shot by a firing squad. Am A7 Dm Why did this silly, saddening misfortune come my way? Dm6 E7 Am I know it but that's something I'm not supposed to say. Am Dm Am Commander almost saved my life Am A7 Dm But somebody insisted : "Execute!". Dm Dm6 Am The squad had worked it out well enough, Am E7 Am But there was one who didn't want to shoot. Am Dm Misfortune for some reason had been attending me: E7 Am I captured once a prisoner but somehow let him flee. Am A7 Dm The sneak, who was a sort of a fidget, a strange lot, Dm E7 Am Had made a mental note of that case, for his report. Dm Am Then he disclosed it, and he brought along Am A7 Dm The filed material he had, the brute! Dm Am No one could help it, the effect was strong... Am E7 Am But there was one who didn't want to shoot. Am Dm The hand fell in the abyss, and "Fire!" was the word, E7 Am Thus I was given access to the unknown world. Am A7 Dm But then I heard a shout: "He is alive. How nice! Dm E7 Am Now call the doc. We cannot execute him twice.". Am Dm Am The doctor clicked his tongue and, with a sigh, Am A7 Dm Extracted all my bullets, pitching mood, Dm Am Meanwhile I was delirious, and I Am E7 Am Kept talking to the one who didn't shoot. Am E7 I licked the wounds, and never Took treatment, it would seem; E7 Am In hospitals, however, I was in high esteem, Am A7 Dm Beloved and well reputed by all the sisterhood : Dm E7 Am "Come, you, half-executed, a shot will do you good.". Am Dm Am Our battalion fought on the Crimean shore, Am D7 And I would send glucose there, when I could, D7 Am To sweeten up the bitter pill of war Am E7 Am For that same man, the one who didn't shoot. Am E7 I had my tea and drowned in spirit now and then; E7 So I did not break down and went to fight again. Am A7 Dm I joined my own unit. "Fight on,- the major said,- Dm E7 I'm glad they failed to do it, and you were not shot dead". Am A7 Dm I should have felt quite happy, but instead Am A7 Dm I howled like a wolf, in a terrific mood, Dm Dm6 Am Because a German sniper shot me dead Am E7 Am By killing that same man who didn't shoot. ________________________________________ I Honor Dorian Gray And Faustus... I honor Dorian Gray and Faustus. However, I cannot sell my soul to Deuce - no way! Why did I listen to the gypsies ?- Well, I never! - They prophesied my death up to a day. Don't bear it in mind, put it away, Don't mark it in your calendar. On no account! Or, when it comes to that , just change the day, Lest I should wait for it and crows fly all around, Lest wining angels should be fluttering about And people sneer, setting up for wit. Before too long, please keep me safe, I bid! Now hurry up, and don't delay a bit For they have filled my heart with fear and doubt. And, truly, in return for immortality I don't want much: a road, a horse, a friend... I beg you, humbly bending down my head, The instant you release me in the end Don't cry for mercy and sentimentality! * * * My heart aches, so does my head, I think Please believe me, I am not pretending. Help me out, and I'll give you anything. And I'll do my best as long as aid is pending. I will go where pine-trees grow and winds are blowing, It's more interesting there - it's just my ambition! I will give you cigarettes, and I'm going To present you with my singing in addition. Give me just a gulp of new fresh air Dare I grumble? Yes, I have a ground. Is it some perfume? The smell I just can't bear... I shall thank you, when I get around. I've got iron nerves, that are the worse for wear, I have lost the peace of mind for ever. Oh my nerves, my poor nerves, you're bare! If you came to life you'd be disabled. Bitter will be every word I'll say,- I have pursed my lips to curse and swear. To the thick wild forest I would run away Hide myself - and howl in despair! The Ballad Of The Time Am Dm7 Ancient castle, worn out by time, is now clad F7 E7 In a tender, green cover of sprouts, Am A7 Dm But the reticent granite will throw off the plaid G7 C To disclose the historical past it has had Dm F E7 With its conquests, crusades, fights and bouts. Am F Time has not wiped heroic deeds out. Dm E7 Just unveil what is hidden from view, Am A7 Dm Take the time by the throat and, no doubt, F E7 It will open its secrets to you. Am ?7 Heaps of fetters and locks will fall out like one, Dm E7 Am A7 And the numerous ages will seat to the bone, Dm Am F And from hundreds of poems old legends will flood, Fm Dm E7 Tales of tournaments, archers, and sieges and blood. Am Dm7 Be prepared to listen to tunes you've heard of, G7 C Look attentively, with comprehension, Dm Am F After all, love is love and will always be love, Fm E7 Even there, at your destination. Steel would crack with a clank, at the slash of the sword, And the bow-string would fume under tension, Death would settle on spears, and groan, sitting squat, Foes, appealing for quarter, would fall on the spot, And surrender themselves at discretion. Anyhow, not all of survivals Have retained their kindness of hearts, Though they've saved their good names from rivals And from downright lies of the rats. It is good if the horse dashes off all at once, And the fighter has got a good grip of the lance; It is good if he knows how the arrow may fly, And it's bad if it comes from the back, on the sly. What about the rogues ? Do you fight them ? OK. Do the witches inspire you with horror ? Don't you think, what is known as evil to-day Will be known as evil tomorrow 'cause for ages it's been an unwritten law That the cowards and traitors are battered, That a foe is a foe and a war is a war, That the cell is too dark, and freedom's last straw, And we always hope for the latter. Time has not washed away all these notions. Just remove the top layer of mud, And a flood of eternal emotions Will gush out upon us like blood. Nowadays it's acknowledge as ever, old man, That the price is a price, and that wine will be wine; And it's good if you've saved your good name from offense And you have a reliable backing from friends. Plainness, purity come from the ancients to us, From the past we take fables and legends For the good will be always the good : in the past, And in future, as well as at present. * * * We were to meet. I waited for the day. It felt like waiting for a terrible disaster, But we began to live together right away, Without fearing what might come after. I got you out of gutter, dressed you, and I cut the number of your doubtful connections, You had a trail behind, without end, A long-long trail of casual relations. I battered, I recall, your so called friends, I don't know why, but I just didn't like them, Although there might have been, I sense, Nice fellows, genuine friends, among them. I'd do whatever you would ask me to. I wanted every hour to be night of wedding. One day I nearly killed myself for you, but my attempt, thank God, was unavailing. And if you'd waited for me on the year When I was driven to the "country-house", I would have stolen skies for you, my dear, and in addition stars from Kremlin towers. I'll give you anything, or I'll be damned! Don't drink, don't lie, and I'll forgive you, sinner! I'll give you Opera and Ballet and The smaller building of the Sports Arena. I'm not inclined to meet you now, my dove, I'm scared of our act of love occurring, The way the Japanese are scared of the horror of Hiroshima recurring. ________________________________________ In My Soul They light up candles for me every evening, Your fumigated image, is so sweet. But I don't want to know that time is healing And everything must pass along with it. I'll never know the loss of peace and quiet For all I had, stored in my soul, for a whole year, She took along with her when setting out First for the voyage, then for the trip by air. I have a desert in my soul, all bare. Why should you stand like that over my empty soul, all day? I've got song snatches and a web in there, And nothing more,- she's taken all away. My soul has roads without destinations, Just search it, and you'll find for once Some phrases and unfinished conversations, The rest is taken up by Paris, France. They light up candles for me every evening, Your fumigated image, is so sweet. But I don't want to know that time is healing, It doesn't heal but lacerates my feeling For everything must pass along with it. ________________________________________ I Have Two Selves In Me I am an exotic man, to put it mildly, My tastes and my demands are rather strange, I can, for instance, nibble glasses madly, And read the works of Schiller for a change. I have two "Selves" in me, two poles of planet, Two absolutely different men, two foes, When one is eager to attend a ballet The other straight off to the races goes. I don't take liberties, when I turn out To be myself, going the whole hog, My other "Self" will frequently break out Appearing as a rascal and a rogue. And I oppress the scoundrel's intrusion, My life! I've never known such distress... Perchance (I am so scared of confusion), I'm not that other "Self" whom I oppress. When in my soul I open up the facets In spots where sincerity should be I pay the waitresses, on trust, in assets, And women give me their love for free. But suddenly all my ideals go to grass, as I'm impatient, angry, rude and such a bore! I sit like mad, devouring the glasses, And throwing Schiller down on the floor. The hearing is on. I stand and speak austerely, Appealing to the jury, showing tact: "It wasn't me who'd smashed the window, really, It was my other wicked "Self", in fact. Do not be strict to me. You'd better Give me a chance, but not a prison term. I'll visit court-rooms just as a spectator and drop in on the judges as a chum. I won't smash windows any more, distinctly, Nor fight in public - write it in your scroll ! I'll bring the halves of my split, sickly, Disintegrated soul into a single whole. I'll root it out, bury it and quench it; I want to clear and reveal my soul. My other "Self" is alien to my nature, No, it is not my other "Self", at all. * * * Dm Make a bridge on the occasion, Am Or a tunnel through the brine,- E Come without hesitation Am A7 To my shish-kebab and wine.. Put in tune the old guitar which You'll be coming to me with; Cheer up, screw up your courage, Don't forget to hide your teeth. When you get to the idea That all roads will lead to Rome Then you will be welcome here, Come, we'll have a chat at home. Hide your horns and draw your claws in, Get unrigged, and don't be grim. Make at least a little crossing,- Throw a pole across the stream. You had better set about Mowing, sowing right away. If you miss the boat, look out,- You will rue the hapless day. In the morning you will stare Wond'ring, as you wake up: who Laid the bridges here and there, Without even telling you. Make at least a river crossing, Or a tunnel, underneath; Don't forget to draw your claws in And to hide your sharpened teeth! ________________________________________ The Silly Dream The silly dream had beaten me With a big truncheon, And in that dream, as I could see, I wasn't catching. For in my sleep I told a lie, Betrayed and dreaded... I really didn't know that I Was so degraded. I also saw me clench my fist And then hit out. It was a kind of twist of wrist, Unstrained, soft clout. All of a sudden, from the dream I would arouse, But then my eyes would grow so dim, And I would drowse. I didn't walk, but dragged my feet Along the paling. I only tried to step on it In fear and trembling. I fawned like crazy on the strong, Stooped to the wayward. I knew that all I did was wrong but wasn't wakened. It's rubbish! Half asleep, I heard My own murmurs, And it was I, in fact, who had - That dream. Not others. When I came round I discerned My murmur's meaning. I blinked my eyes, and though it hurt It was relieving. My vision hovering above Crawled on the ceiling. Prophetic dream? So here I have The question sneering. It gave me shivers for I had To take decision: What was a lie and what was right About my vision. For if a dream is just a dream I should be joyous. But what if it's the vicious scheme Of clairvoyance? Are dreams what our days reflect? Oh no, I doubt it! But when I come to recollect I get dumbfounded. And when I hear: "Burn!" I seem To have no spirit. I'll be ashamed like in the dream Where I was timid. Or if they say: "Sing on the beam. Be energetic!..." And I will know that it's a dream Which is prophetic. ________________________________________ * * * I'm feeling shivery again. My heart Is rumbling like a boulder in a barrel: A vicious rogue is living in my blood, With horny, hairy hands of a big scoundrel. When, noticing my anguish, people say Reproachfully: "He'll take to drinking," I cannot get along with him. No way. He breathes, in my stead, while I am shrinking. He's not my double nor another me,- No use to give a stupid explanation. He is my flesh and blood. How can it be? It is beyond all imagination. He's waiting till I finish up my twine, When he can use my hand to write the summery, And I become a prudent, ruthless swine Betraying everybody, all and sundry. I do not want to look for an excuse, My life may fade, go past, dissolve or harden; But I will not excuse myself when, cutting loose, He gets a hold on me, all of a sudden. But I will summon all my power and strength, This time he won't elude and dodge it: I'll swallow poison, let him gorge it And turn to dust,- I've cheated him at length! What The Hell, You Viper... Tell me, why you, viper, have your eye-brows pencilled, And what the hell you've put on your blue beret for. You are going out for a dance, I sense it, You have got two tickets to the club, I know. You should have no doubt that I dote upon you, I can do the stealing for you night and day, But you are unfaithful, and I want to warn you, I will put you down if you go astray. I have no objections if it's Nick or Slavka, I don't mind you going out with my friends, But if it is Victor from Pereyaslavka I shall crush you, stinker, tear you to threads! Listen to me, hussy, I'll be frank and solid: You had better get that beret off your head; If you don't, I'll have you buried in my soul, and You will not be found,- coated with cement. When you come back, maybe, later in the summer, I'll have found a woman,- a real bit of jam, Then you'll burst with envy, like a dirty bummer, Saying: "Please forgive me", but I won't give a damn. I Am On The Job I am on the job, I've got a knife, Don't hurt me, or you'll lose your life. And then I go to have a drink. No matter what the rumors say, What I have earned I drink away. I'll always act that way, I think. A man comes up to me and says: "Life isn't easy nowadays, And men like you I want to kill". But I have outdone the boy, I do not talk, but I destroy, I kill my foes and always will. And if you care for a chat, Let's have a drink, sit down, lad. We'll work it out anyway. But if you are like that young ass, There is one law for all of us, And it will always be that way. The song of the criminal code We don't need novels, stories and inventions. We keep ourselves enlightened all the time. The best of books to me is the collection Of laws that deal with punishment and crime. And if I cannot sleep, alarmed and saddened, Or if, after a spree, I get a head, I open Code of Laws at any page, at random, And read it carefully, from A to Z. I haven't given tips to my companions, Their cognizance of robbery is firm. I have just read about it in the manual: From three up to ten years of prison term. Just think about these lines, they are quite simple But more expressive than all novels of the world. Behind them there are barracks, wretched people, Cards, fights and scandals, cheating, and harsh word. I wish I wouldn't read these lines of drear. I see a person's life behind each phrase. It's nice when articles are not severe : Somebody may be lucky in that case. My heart jumps moaning like a wounded pigeon When I read articles concerning me. Blood hammers in my temples,- I envision: It's cops who hammer at my door, I see. *** My own island We are setting out for good To warm lands. Years on end we'll be en route Off the strands. You may put the wheels of fate In the way, But the storms we shall evade Anyway. Climb the mast and do it fast, my friend, Land for us is now vital: Maybe, you will see a continent, Or an island, for that matter. Someone wished so much to weigh Pros and cons, So he is now on his way To repose. All the others, stony broke, Do their best, They would rather go to work, Than to rest. You have turned, your fortune to a nun Laugh at her, and be silent, Some have continents and some have none, Some have their own island. They have boded me no good, Cards at hand, They foretold me that I would Find my land. But the sorcerer was wrong, Cards tell lies, I would like to sear
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Владимир Высоцкий на английском языке (с аккордами) Перевод Алика Вагапова см. также: http://zhurnal.lib.ru/a/as_w/
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