In the darkest corner of Evil dark lands, out in the sticks, Once a plucky fellow roved, And he got but thorns and kicks. In offense he walked knee-deep, yeah, knee-deep, Sometimes was submerged he, And his endless, cruel grief Can be called unearthly. Drink until it makes thee bloated Even if thou’rt out of cash! It doesn’t matter how the rope twists, It will twist into a lash! Through the wide world grim fate drives Hapless ones to beg for bread. And between their fingers life Slips just like the spider’s thread. As for those who chose to walk, chose to walk For evil luck on highways - They were driven by the winds cold Straight into the dark jails. There’s no mercy here, it’s hopeless - Clench thy teeth and get a grip! It doesn’t matter how the rope twists, It will twist into a whip! What a wild, what a troubled land, I was scouring here for long - But thy scaffolds make thee grand, And thy slippery strong rope... Satan takes in his own hands those who’re hanged, Their bare heels he’s licking. There’s no even an earthly chance, And folks call this living! Laugh, don’t weep and quit thy groaning - There’s no pardon to those who cry. It doesn’t matter how the rope twists, Once it will be cut to size! Thoughts are bitter when comes night, But the carpenters don’t hang round. There folks don’t have their last rites - At too early hours they’re downed. There’s no sense for thee in thinking of this - What’s good in the slow motion? And the rope that waits for thee Surely has no knots on. Better lie down where it’s warmest - It’s the proper time to snooze... It doesn’t matter how the rope twists, It will twist into a noose!
© Akbar Muhammad. Translation, 2015
[Adapted from translations by other translators:
Margaret and Stas Porokhnya’s “The Outlaws’ Song”,
Sergey Roy’s “Highwayman’s Song”.]