Alexander Pushkin: "What's in my name for you?" (From Russian)

"What's in my name for you?
By Alexander Pushkin
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Russian

What’s in my name for you? What good?
It will but die as the sad sound
of a wave that's splashed its last aground,
a cry out in the toneless wood.

Lifeless its marks will lie among
these album pages: the design
of someone's epitaphic line
in some unfathomable tongue.

What's in it then? Lost to the past
in new emotions' wild infection,
upon your soul it will not cast
the tender rays of recollection.

But on a silent day of rue
pronounce it with a sigh of pain
and say "One memory is true!
There beats one heart where I remain!”

The Original:

Что в имени тебе моём?
Оно умрёт, как шум печальный
Волны, плеснувшей в берег дальный,  
Как звук ночной в лесу глухом.

Оно на памятном листке
Оставит мёртвый след, подобный
Узору надписи надгробной
На непонятном языке.

Что в нём? Забытое давно
В волненьях новых и мятежных,
Твоей душе не даст оно
Воспоминаний чистых, нежных.

Но в день печали, в тишине,
Произнеси его тоскуя;
Скажи: есть память обо мне,
Есть в мире сердце, где живу я…   

Čto v ímeni tebé mojëm?
Onó umrët, kak šum pečáljnyj
Volný, plesnúvšej v béreg dáljnyj,
Kak zvuk nočnój v lesú gluhóm.

Onó na pámjatnom listké
Ostávit mërtvyj sled, podóbnyj
Uzóru nádpisi nadgróbnoj
na neponjátnom jazyké.

Čto v nëm? Zabýtoje davnó
V volnénjah nóvyh i mjatéžnyh,
Tvojéj dušé ne dast onó
Vospominánij čístyh, néžnyh.

No v denj pečáli v tišiné,
Proiznesí jegó toskúja;
Skaží: jestj pámjatj óbo mne,
Jestj v míre sérdce gde živú ja...


  1. Thank you for this. I used this translation and sound file (beautifully read, by the way) in a high school English class I teach. Most of my students are Russian and Ukrainian Americans, by the way.

  2. On sands where it has splashed aground,
    A cry in a benighted wood.You are not using the word 'benighted' correctly. All Indo-Aryan languages have a concept of Darkness as different from Night and Night as different from Darkness, both by this 'muhabila' divorce becoming propitious.The essence of a poet's vocation is attentiveness to such 'distinctions without a difference'.But, big baby, you say to me 'drink my cum'.It seems you know every language save your own. But, 'drink my cum' cunt, Poets do Regime Change in their own fucking countries.You are worthless shite.

  3. But on a day of hushed regret
    pronounce it with a sigh of pain,
    and tell the cold: “There's memory yet!
    There is one heart where I remain.”

    Why is this bad? 'Hushed regret' is Auden, its a suburban English Doctor's son's English, not Russian.

    Also you dont rhyme regret with yet. They don't have equal valency.

    But, look at whom I'm talking to! 
    Yo, blood, drink my cum. You're shit and you know it.

  4. You could do- but you can't, you're crap- do you actually understand what Venuti was saying you risible purveyor of but your own rancid smegma?

    On a snow muffled day of frost and fire
    All breath, smoke, and smoke but ire
    Memory is yet its tree
    In the lungs or Regret, yet we.

    That's English. What you wrote aint. It's shite.
    Bet you don't understand why.

    The only way to translate a poem is by writing a poem. You can't do that. Why? Coz u don't know English. 

  5. Most excellent! Вам удалось сохранить не только ритм, рифму и размер, но и возвышенный слог, и изящество стиля, и романтическую грусть. СУПЕР!

  6. Lulz. You actually think languages have essences. "All Indo-Aryan languages.." Jesus H Christ. What can I say to someone who transforms language mythology into language religion without even realizing what an idiot he sounds like in so doing? Polysemy can be fostered by a transparent enough etymology. It's the reason why "a journeyman from far away" means something slightly more than "an apprentice from far away" as a line of tetrameter. Were you a reader, instead of valiantly pretending to be one, you might actually realize the true possibilities of this. Were you literate in either of the two languages involved, you'd know why I went for *this* particular instance of it.

  7. Nobody thinks languages have essences but you, big baby, drinking your own cum, think such people exist. I paraphrase a great Russian philologist and you are too ignorant to spot who I am talking about. I sound like an idiot? Drink some of your own cum why don't you, Jesus H. 'Polysemy can be fostered by a transparent enough etymology'- you actually wrote that, how fucking stupid are you actually? Journeyman means something different from apprentice- basically the guy has already or is in the process of presenting a piece of work worthy of the attention of the guild. There is no logical connection between these two sentences. Tetrameter? How fucking stupid are you actually? How does one 'valiantly pretend to be a reader'? By valiantly pretending you aren't a worthless cunt? Drink more of your own cum my dear fuckwit. Were you not retarded you'd appreciate my criticism of your sophomore style because years have gone by and you are still stuck at the sucking your own cock stage.