Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. Family Affairs.

About Love in the Renaissance Epoch.Adapted from George Tokarev’s translation by Akbar Muhammad.

Once a dispirited painter
Cured himself with a pint,
After he started to crave for
Leaving in ages some new print.

Seeking a model, he spotted
Something that was quite drop-dead —
Long legs, which proudly trotted,
Topped with a beautiful head.

He rushed up straight to this Venus,
“Listen, to visit his wife,
Dante walked down to sinners,
Dwelling in Permanent Fire!

“There’s in Devil Home too much ardor,
Let’s be far off that hot way...
Darling, my name’s Leonardo,
Will ye undress right away?

“Don’t be afraid, I won’t touch you,
Only pure thoughts in my head —
Maybe, I’ll sculpture your statue,
Or I can paint you instead.”

“None of your tricks! Drop your dodging!”
She answered him with contempt.
“I’m a true Catholic virgin,
And I reject your attempt!

“Presently men are too filthy,
Lustful and horny as well.
Ye, Leonardo da Vinci,
Don’t try to be Rafael!

“If there’s no love, I’ll say ‘no’
Even if ye’re gonna burst!
Yes, art is sacred, I know,
But ye must marry me first!

“Then I’ll undress for you, artist,
Marriage will make this act true...
Maybe, ye’re really the smartest,
But what to do I dig too!”

“Woe’s me! I’ll lose inspiration!”
Cried out the painter. “I may
Miss the divine revelation!”
And they got married that day...

When I was visiting Pisa,
Whom did I suddenly meet?
It was, of course, Mona Lisa,
Who radiated conceit.

Bragging to several old spinsters,
Gleaming with triumph, she said,
“Thou must sometimes be a trickster,
If thou intend’st to be wed!”

More than a year the painter
Toiled on Gioconda’s sealed glance...
She chuckled gently and faintly,
Thinking, “I’ve captured thee, dunce!”

...This canzonet gives an answer
Those who think of her smile —
It’s Womankind quietly laughs at
Our, as they think, lack of mind!


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