We Stood in the Ranks

We stood in the ranks — as a mute crowd, once,
While putting our friend to a ground,
Heard our chaplain’s murmur and, by chance,
The roar of a tempest around.
The shakos sparkled over the sacred abode,
Immovable ones in a cloud,
With a cap of an uhlan and his fighting sword,
The coffin’s planks were laden out.
Not only one heart strongly beat in the breast,
All looks were aimed straight at a ground,
As if all, that’s given to it for the rest,
We wanted to be taken out.
The vain tears didn’t flow from our eyes:
A heavy pine burdened a soul,
A handful of earth, that in silence was cast,
Played over a coffin its solo.
Farewell, our friend, your young life was so short,
— A Bard with eyes blue as a heaven —
The wooden cross stands for your only award —
And our soul — forever!

by Mikhail Lermontov
Translated by Yevgeny Bonver

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