Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky.

Vladimir Vysotsky.

He, Who Was with Her Before.

I neither drank nor sang that night—
I looked at her with all my might,

As children stare, as children stare.

But he, who was with her before,
Declared to me that I should go,
Declared to me that I should go,

That my prayer’s bare.

And he, who was with her before,
Was rude to me, he wrangled and swore.

I can recall it—I was all sober.

When I made up my mind to quit,
She said to me, “Please, wait a bit.”
She said to me, “Please, wait a bit,

The night’s not over.”

But he, who was with her before,
Waylaid me later in the fall—

The lane was narrow, eight strangers blocked it.

My friend and I were only two
When they emerged out of the blue,
When they emerged out of the blue—

Hands in the pockets!

Upon my life! I’ve gotten a knife,
It’s gonna be a deadly strife!

Hold on, ye bastards! Hold on, ye bastards!

Why should I perish all in vain?
So I struck first and then again,
So I struck first and then again—

Had to be faster!

But he, who was with her before,
Resented ending in our draw.

He really meant it, he really meant it!

Somebody clubbed me. Shrieked my mate,
“Look backward!”—but it was too late.
He warned me when it was too late—

In blood I weltered.

Stay on your trail and never wail—
There is a hospital in jail,

There I was lying, there I was lying.

Those strangers cut me left and right,
The surgeon said, “Bro, try to fight!”
The surgeon said, “Bro, try to fight!”

And I was trying.

And all alone, I served my term—
My love didn’t wait for my return,

But I forgave her. My pardon’s given.

Her treason doesn’t hurt me anymore,
But he, who was with her before,
But he, who was with her before,

Can’t be forgiven!

Her treason doesn’t hurt me anymore,
But him, who was with her before,
But him, who was with her before,

I’ll meet up even!

1962.

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