Poems and Songs on Vladimir Vysotsky.

Commentary to the poem “The Poet’s dead! — a slave to honor...”

The words “The Poet’s dead! — a slave to honor...” are taken from Mikhail Lermontov’s poem “Death of the Poet”.

Here is the final part of this poem (the text is partly adapted from Thomas Beavitt and Yevgeny Bonver’s translations):

O you, smart and vainglorious sons

Of those who’re famous for their widely known mean actions,
Persons treading, with no shadow of a doubt, their paths
On the detritus of the unsuccessful clans!
You, standing pompously and proudly round the throne,
Cruel executioners of Freedom, Wit and Will!

You think yourselves the sovereigns of the throng
Who’re o’er the law, persons having hearts of steel!..

But there is Court of God, you evil manifold,

The terrible court that waits!

There Judge cannot be bribed with gold,

He in advance knows all your deeds and notions’ weights.
Then you’ll in vain recall the time before the flood,

When lies would clear your aberrations,

And you won’t wash away the Poet’s righteous blood

With all corrupt blood in your veins!

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