Remaining from the crown
With no state, no throne around,
There is no country left to govern—
All is damned!
Chased to holes like hunted game,
Caught like thieves to face the blame,
There’s only blood and shame,
It’s impossible to find,
With whom to split, with whom to bind,
Who’s with us and whom to mind,
Where to go, where to unwind -- we can’t tell!
Who are friends and who are strangers,
How did we neglect this danger,
Do we wish to cast this land to hell?
On all of those who value rest
On those, whose conscience is a pest,
Who cannot choose in all this mess
And like a bull during a fray,
Like a hawk after a prey,
Inviting ravens all to stay
For the meal.
Where’s the strength that lit your face?
Where’s the pride with which we’ve gazed?
To rest today -- it’s a disgrace!
Grip the pistol in your hand and go!
All is broken, all seems brittle,
We are left with just a little, --
Fire at your temple or the foe.
By Vladimir Vysotsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller