Lermontov: The Dream (From Russian)

After pissing off Tsar Nicholas I with a poem, Lermontov was exiled and sent to serve as an officer in the mounted infantry in the Caucasus, during which period this poem was written.

The Dream
By Mikhail Lermontov
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me read the original Russian

By noon heat in a dale in Dagestan,
A bullet in my breast, my body lay;
Deep was the wound and steaming even yet,
My blood was dripping drop by drop away.

I lay alone upon the valley sands.
Clustered above my head, the cliffs were steep,
Their tawny summits scorched under the sun
That scorched me too. But I was dead asleep.

And in my dream I saw a feast back home
With torches set for evening revelry,
And at that feast young women crowned with flowers
Busied themselves with merry talk of me.

But unconcerned by merry conversation,
One woman sat there in confounded thought,
One girl whose youthful spirit had been plunged
Deep in a grievous dream by God knows what.

Her dream was of a dale in Dagestan.
In that dale lay a corpse she had once met,
And in his breast a steaming wound went black
And blood ran in a cooling rivulet.

The Original

Михаил Лермонтов

В полдневный жар в долине Дагестана
С свинцом в груди лежал недвижим я;
Глубокая еще дымилась рана,
По капле кровь точилася моя.

Лежал один я на песке долины;
Уступы скал теснилися кругом,
И солнце жгло их желтые вершины
И жгло меня - но спал я мертвым сном.

И снился мне сияющий огнями
Вечерний пир в родимой стороне.
Меж юных жен, увенчанных цветами,
Шел разговор веселый обо мне.

Но, в разговор веселый не вступая,
Сидела там задумчиво одна,
И в грустный сон душа ее младая
Бог знает чем была погружена;

И снилась ей долина Дагестана;
Знакомый труп лежал в долине той;
В его груди, дымясь, чернела рана,
И кровь лилась хладеющей струей.


  1. Gemstone translation. 

  2. really good traslation, thank you!
    btw i`m from Daghestan)))

  3. It is a poem by Rasul Gamzatov, if it would be interesting for you.
    And here is the translation

    MY NATIVE TONGUESuch follies trouble us in sleep—Last night I dreamt I died:In a deep ravine I lie unseen,A bullet in my side.A stream is thundering nearby.In vain I wait for help.Upon the dusty earth I lie,Soon to be dust myself,For no one knows that here I die,And nothing conies in viewBut eagles wheeling in the sky,A shy young deer or two.To mourn my most untimely deathAnd weep in solemn chorusCome neither mother, wife, nor friend,None of the village mourners.Yet just as I prepare to dieUnnoticed and unsung,I hear two men go passing byWho speak my native tongue.In a deep ravine I lie unseen,I pine, but they with gleeRelate the wiles of one Hasan,The intrigues of Ali.And, as I hear the Avar speech,My strength comes flowing back—This is a cure no scholars teach,A balm the doctors lack.May other tongues cure other menIn their particular way,But if tomorrow Avar die,I’d rather die today!No matter if it’s hardly usedFor high affairs of state,It is the language that I choose—To me Avar is great!Shall my successors only readTranslations of Makhmud?Am I the last Avar to writeAnd still be understood?I love this life, the whole wide worldI view with loving gaze.But best I love the Soviet landWhich I—in Avar—praise.I’d die for this free land of toilThat ranges East and West.But let it be on Avar soilThat in my grave I rest,And let it be in Avar wordsThat Avars meeting thereSpeak of Rasul, their kinsman, poet.A poet’s son and heir!