Do Not Lose Hope

Apollon Maikov (1878), Translation by Dmitry Fadeyev (2016), Original poem is untitled

Do not lose hope, fight your fate,
Commanded me the Sun’s bright ray.
Do not lose hope, the Lord is with you,
This did the lark to me relay.

Do not lose hope, be patient now,
The gentle breeze bid me its will.
Do not lose hope, leave doubt behind,
Murmured to me the gleaming rill.

Do not lose hope, be patient now,
The laughing brook told me again.
Do not lose hope, leave doubt behind,
Did the blue flower me ordain.

Do not lose hope, so did May’s morning
Refreshed me with its pure light breeze,
And all of nature resurrected
Did life within my soul seize.

And from this moment on, I bless
That night and day, and sunny May,
The song of bird, the streamlet’s murmur,
All telling me: don’t lose your way.

Don’t say that there is no salvation,
That you, in sadness, lost your might,
The black night sky lets the stars shine,
The deepest sorrow brings forth God’s light.

Original in Russian

Не унывай, борись с судьбою
Твердил мне яркий солнца луч,
Не унывай, Господь с тобою
Мне жаворонок пел из туч.

Не унывай, имей терпенье,
Твердил, ласкаясь ветерок.
Не унывай, оставь сомненья,
Журчал, сверкая ручеек.

Не унывай, имей терпенье,
Мне повторял, смеясь поток.
Не унывай, оставь сомненья,
Твердил голубенький цветок.

Не унывай, мне утро мая
Дышало свежестью своей
И вся природа воскресала
Будила жизнь в душе моей.

И я с тех пор благословляю
Тот день и ночь, и светлый май
И говор струй и птичек стаю,
Твердивших мне, не унывай.

Не говори, что нет спасенья,
Что ты в печалях изнемог,
Чем ночь темней, тем ярче звезды,
чем глубже скорбь, тем ближе БОГ.

Share on Twitter Facebook Email

“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

My new book: a translation of selected short stories by Leonid Andreyev, the father of Russian Expressionism from the Silver Age of Russian literature. A piercing, pitiless glance into the heart of the human condition.

☛ Read online

Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

Sign up to my email newsletter to receive regular recommendations of exceptional books on a wide range of topics including design, art, history and philosophy. A summary of latest site updates will also be included. Sign up below: