Ancient castle, worn out by time, is now clad In a tender, green cover of sprouts, But the reticent granite will throw off the plaid To disclose the historical past it has had With its conquests, crusades, fights and bouts. Time has not wiped heroic deeds out. Just unveil what is hidden from view, Take the time by the throat and, no doubt, It will open its secrets to you. Heaps of fetters and locks will fall out like one, And the numerous ages will seat to the bone, And from hundreds of poems old legends will flood, Tales of tournaments, archers, and sieges and blood. Be prepared to listen to tunes youíve heard of, Look attentively, with comprehension, After all, love is love and will always be love, 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 theyíve 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 itís 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? Donít you think, what is known as evil to-day Will be known as evil tomorrow ícause for ages itís 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 freedomís 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 itís acknowledge as ever, old man, That the price is a price, and that wine will be wine; And itís good if youíve 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.
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1999