Vladimir Vysotsky: A song about a friend

If your friend just became a man,
Not a friend, not a foe, - just so,
If you cannot conclude from the start,
Just what lies in his heart, -
To the peaks take this man -- don’t fret!
Do not leave him alone, on his own,
Let him share the same view with you-- 
Then you’ll know if he’s true.

If the guy on the peak got weak,
If he lost all his care -- got scared,
Just one step on the ice - he flies,
One missed step - and he cries, —
Then the one you held close is false,
Do not bother to yell-- expel, --
We can’t take such aboard, and in short,
We don’t sing of his sort.

If the guy didn’t whine or pine,
He was dull and upset, but went,
When you slipped from the cliff, he heaved,
Holding you in his grip;
If he walked right along, seemed strong,
On the top stood like he belonged, -- 
Then, whenever the outlook seems grim,
You can count on him!


Translation by Andrey Kneller


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