I’ll just explain a little in a verse: With full account, alas, I’m not invested... I was conceived in sin, as you would guess, In sweat and jitters of the night of wedding. I was aware that taking off the ground, As we ascend, we’re crueler and thornier. I strode forth, calm and upright, to be crowned And, born in wedlock, acted as Prince Royal. I knew that all would be the way I willed. I never lost and always had a fair chunk. My school and fencing mates obeyed my will Like fathers theirs obeyed the Crown of Denmark. I didn’t care about the words I said, And effortlessly squandered my avowals - All noble kids believed me all the same, Assenting to my primacy of power. We startled watchmen on a beat at night, The time was ailing with us, like with smallpox. I slept on skins, ate, picking meat off knife, And harrowed an unruly horse with stirrups. I knew, one day, I would be prompted “Reign!” - My brow was branded by my lot on birthday. Beside chased harnesses, I felt like crazed, And stoically endured duress of learning. I mastered smiling only with my mouth, Whereas a covert look was cross and choleric For I’d been fostered by my father’s clown. Alas, that jester’s dead. Amen! Poor Yorick! Yet I refused to have a share in takes Of glory, privileges, plunders, tributes. I pitied suddenly a page had passed away... I tried to do no harm to greening offshoots. And I gave up the ghost on hunter’s zest, I was grossed out by coursers, hounds and beagles, From wounded game, I held my horse at length, Chastising huntsmen, and pursuers, and beaters. Aware that our pastime, day by day, Increasingly reminded of mistreatment, I washed the daily swinishness away In running water, late at night, in secret. It dawned on me that, getting sore in mind, I failed to note domestic folk intriguing. I didn’t like the age, nor did I like The people in it. And I took to reading. As avid as an eager beaver, brains Grasped everything I studied: rest and motion. But useless were both sciences and pains, When everything was their controversion. The ties with playmates in the long run split: The Ariadne’s thread turned out a game plan. I puzzled o’er “to be or not to be” Like over an unsolvable dilemma. A sea of troubles, though, keeps raging high. We twang at it, like millet at a bolter, Removing chancy answers thereby, Apart from this sophisticated poser. I heard my father’s call through dying hum And went behind, pursued by creeping doubts; A heavy load of musings tugged me up, While carnal wings lugged pitilessly down. The stuff, days welded me from, had been frail And given at the seams, while indurating, And I shed blood like others, and, like they, I turned out weak to waive retaliating. My last success was, in the end, my fall. Ophelia! Afterlife is not decayin’. But I became a murderer, therefore No better than the one, who I had slain. It’s I, prince Hamlet, I abhorred duress, I could care less about the Danish Crown, and Yet they suspected me of breaking necks Thus getting rid of rivalry for power. A bright insight, though, always looks like craze, In birth, a fatal end peeps out askance. And Perplexing are the answers that we raise, And shrouded are the questions to be answered.
© Vyacheslav Chetin. Translation, 2012