Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №8/2006

continued from No. 6, 7

The Bells

Краткая антология английской поэзии с русскими переводами и комментариями


Why are people still waging wars?

It’s a safe bet to claim that they wage wars because it is a profitable business. Waging a war is a sophisticated diplomatic play, a conflict of interests between economies. Those in power need some form of an international conflict to keep their economies going. It’s high time to realize that killing people doesn’t solve anything. Wars don’t achieve anything constructive. Various kinds of ideological excuses are merely a cover for the interests involved. Those in power unleash wars. Wars have nothing to do with common people. The way of negotiating is the only way for civilized nations to settle a conflict. It is becoming evident for all thinking people.

“There is no such thing as an inevitable war. If war comes it will be from failure of human wisdom.” – Law, English politician.

Why do men go to war?

There is a great deal of evidence to say: they rebel, they protest with other people against the rulers of their countries in order to stop wars.

“Older men declare war. But it is the youth that fight and die.” – Herbert Hoover, the 31st US President.

What transforms a multitude of men collected in one place into an army?

The greatest mind of the 20th century Albert Einstein who had the greatest ability of logical reasoning operated with formulas. There is a story which says that once after his lecture one of the audience asked him: “Mr. Einstein, you can formalize everything. Could you formalize how to make a career?” – “Certainly, – Einstien answered. He came up to the blackboard and wrote x + у = a career – “What does x stand for?” – he was asked – “x stands for proficiency” –”And what does у stand for?” – “It stands for the ability to keep your mouth closed”. I am sorry for the digression but it doesn’t seem irrelevant here as it proves that anything can be formalized. Were Einstein alive he would have formalized what transforms men into an army. He would have written a formula with a piece of chalk on the blackboard “x + у = an army”. “What does x stand for?” we would have asked him. – “It stands for drill practiced over days and months until it becomes automatic”. (When men move by command and march in step, when they obey a single commander and are ready to kill his enemies to achieve his goads.) – “And what does у stand for?” – “It stands for the psychology of a mob, being a part of which a person loses his identity.” – He would have said.

George Gordon Noel Byron was born in 1788 and died young when he was 36 in a Greek military camp, where he took part in the war of the Greek people against Turkish invaders. George Byron was an extraordinary personality with a powerful social temperament. A freedom-loving rebel he hated tyranny, oppression, violence, and brutality. He denounced the expansionist policy of Britain, he condemned wars which are hostile to common people.

(a Greek island)

The dead have been awakened – shall I sleep?
The World’s at war with tyrants – shall I crouch?
The harvest’s ripe – and shall I pause to reap?
I slumber not; the thorn is in my Couch;
Each day a trumpet soundeth in mine ear,
Its echo in my heart...


Встревожен мертвых сон – могу ли спать?
Тираны давят мир – я ль уступлю?
Созрела жатва – мне ли медлить жать?
На ложе – колкий терн; я не дремлю:
В моих ушах, что день, поет труба.
Ей вторит сердце...

Перевод А. Блока


“Let there be light! said God, and there was light!”
“Let there be blood!” says man, and there’s a sea!
The fiat of this spoil’d child of the Night
(For Day ne’er saw his merits) could decree
More evil in an hour, than thirty bright
Summers could renovate, though they should be
Lovely as those which ripen‘d Eden’s fruit;
For war cuts up not only branch, but root.


Oh blood and thunder! and oh blood and wounds!
These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem,
Too gentle reader! and most shocking sounds:
And so they are; yet thus is Glory’s dream
Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds
At present such things, since they are her theme,
So be they her inspirers! Call them Mars,
Bellona, what you will – they mean but wars.


There the still varying pangs, which multiply
Until their very number makes men hard
By the infinities of agony,
Which meet the gaze, whate’er it may regard –
The groan, the roll in dust, the all-white eye
Turn’d back within its socket, – these reward
Your rank and file by thousands, while the rest
May win perhaps a riband at the breast!

Yet I love glory; – glory’s a great thing: –
Think what it is to be in your old age
Maintain’d at the expense of your good king:
A moderate pension shakes full many a sage,
And heroes are but made for bards to sing,
Which is still better; thus in verse to wage
Your wars eternally, besides enjoying
Half-pay for life, make mankind worth destroying.

ДОН-ЖУАН (отрывки)

...“Да будет свет!” – Господь провозгласил,
“Да будет кровь!” – провозгласили люди.
И вот в боренье злых страстей и сил
Они взывают с ужасом о чуде.
Один жестокий час испепелил
Цветущий рай, и после в дымной груде
За сотни лет не разобраться нам:
Война вредит и кронам и корням.


О, кровь и гром! О, раны, гул и вой!
О, злая брань! О, раны, кровь и стоны!
Все эти звуки оскорбляют твой
Тончайший слух, читатель благосклонный,
Пойми изнанку славы боевой.
Хоть украшают именем Беллоны
И Марса эту бойню, но цена
И суть её во все века одна.


На поле боя поражают нас
Все виды человеческих страданий –
Сведённых рук, остекленевших глаз.
Все ужасы жестоких истязаний
Без всяких поэтических прикрас.
Так погибают тысячи созданий,
Иной же уцелеет как-нибудь
И ленточкой потом украсит грудь!

Но я люблю большое слово Слава:
Оно героям в старости дает
На пенсию заслуженное право,
А бардам – дополнительный доход.
В поэзии герои величавы,
Отсюда всё – и гордость и почёт;
А пенсии, без всякого сомненья,
Оправдывают ближних истребленье!

Перевод Т.Гнедич


And here and there, as up the crags you spring,
Mark many rude-carved crosses near the path;
Yet deem not these devotion’s offering –
These are memorials frail of murderous wrath;
For wheresoe’er the shrieking victim hath
Poured forth his blood beneath the assassin’s knife,
Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath;
And grove and glen with thousand such are rife
Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life.


Но посмотри, на склонах, близ дороги,
Стоят кресты. Заботливой рукой
Не в час молитв, не в помыслах о боге
Воздвигли их. Насилье и разбой
На этот край набег свершили свой,
Земля внимала жертв предсмертным стонам,
И вопиют о крови пролитой
Кресты под равнодушным небосклоном,
Где мирный труженик не огражден законом.

Перевод В.Левика

Byron’s death shocked the great Russian poets – his contemporaries who worshipped the sincere, profound, romantic rebel. They shared his ideals.


He думай, чтоб я был достоин сожаленья,
Хотя теперь слова мои печальны, – нет,
Нет! все мои жестокие мученья –
Одно предчувствие гораздо больших бед.

Я молод; но кипят на сердце звуки,
И Байрона достигнуть я б хотел;
У нас одна душа, одни и те же муки, –
О, если б одинаков был удел!..

Как он, ищу забвенья и свободы,
Как он, в ребячестве пылал уж я душой,
Любил закат в горах, пенящиеся воды
И бурь земных и бурь небесных вой.

Как он, ищу спокойствия напрасно,
Гоним повсюду мыслию одной.
Гляжу назад – прошедшее ужасно;
Гляжу вперед – там нет души родной!

М.Ю. Лермонтов, 1830

Explanatory Notes and Vocabulary

it’s a safe bet to claim it’s true to say
a profitable business доходное дело
sophisticated ant. simple
to settle a conflict урегулировать конфликт
proficiency competence
digression отступление, отход от темы
irrelevant not connected with other things, ant. relevant
to denounce обличать, клеймить позором
to worship to admire
profound deep, not shallow

Sharing Ideas

1. Do wars achieve anything constructive? Offensive wars and defensive wars. What is the difference?

2. Einstein could formalize everything. How did he formalize a career? How would he have formalized an army? How would you formalize a worthy life the way you understand it?

3. Analyze the first five lines in the English extract from Child Harold’s Pilgrimage. Why does Byron use the Present Perfect?

4. Analyze Byron’s poem “Journal in Cephalonia”.

5. Read and analyze the extracts from “Don Juan”.

By Ekaterina Gvozdeva

to be continued