Nikolay Nekrasov: Russia's Lament

Dost thou know, my native country,
Any house or corner lone
Where thy Tiller and thy Sower,
Russia's peasant, does not moan?

In the fields, along the highways,
In the cells and dungeons black,
In the mines in iron fetters,
By the side of barn and stack;

'Neath the carts, his nightly shelter
On the steppes so wide and bare,
All the air is filled with groaning
Every hour and everywhere.

Groans in huts, in town and village —
E'en the sunlight's self he hates—
Groans before the halls of justice,
Buffetings at mansion-gates.

On the Volga, hark, what wailing
O'er the mighty river floats?
'Tis a song, they say—the chanting
Of the men who haul the boats.

Thou dost not in spring, vast Volga,
Flood the fields along thy strand
As our nation's flood of sorrow,
Swelling, overflows the land.

O my heart, what is the meaning
Of this endless anguish deep?
Wilt thou ever, O my country,
Waken, full of strength, from sleep?

Or, by heaven's mystic mandate,
Is thy fate fulfilled to-day,
Singing thus thy dirge, thy death-song,
Falling then asleep for aye?


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