I'll leave the mortal world behind,
Take wing in an flight fantastical,
With singing, my eternal soul
Will rise up swan-like in the air.
Possessing two immortal traits,
In Purgatory I won't not linger,
But rising over jealousy
I'll leave behind me kingdoms' shine.
'Tis so! Though not renowned by birth,
I am the muses favourite,
From other notables a world apart-
I'll be preferred by death itself.
The tomb will not confine me,
I will not turn to dust among the stars,
But like a heavenly set of pipes,
My voice will ring out from the sky.
And now I see that feathered skin
My figure covers all around.
My breast is downy and my back is winged,
I shine with pearly swan-like white.
I fly, I soar-and see below
The world entire—oceans, woods.
Like mountains they lift up their heads
To hear my lofty hymn to God.
From Kuril Islands to the river Bug,
From White Sea to the Caspian,
Peoples from half the world
Of whom the Russian race's comprised,
Will hear of me in time:
Slavs, Huns, the Scythians, and Finns,
And others locked today in battle,
Will point at me and they'll pronounce:
"There flies the one who tuned his lyre
To speak the language of the heart,
And preaching peace to the whole world,
Enjoyed the happiness of all."
Forget a big and stately funeral,
My friends! Cease singing, muses' choir!
My wife! With patience gird yourself!
Don't keen upon what seems a corpse.
Gavril Romanovich Derzhavin (1743 - 1816) Russia
Translated by A. Wachtel, I. Kutik and M. Denner
Source: From the Ends to the Beginning: A Bilingual Anthology of Russian Poetry