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Горними тихо летела душа небесами

Language: Russian (Русский)

Горними тихо летела душа небесами,
Грустные долу она опускала ресницы,
Слёзы в пространство от них упадая звездами,
Светлой и длинной [за нею вились]1 вереницей.
Встречные тихо её вопрошали светила:
«[Отчего]2 так грустна и о чём эти слёзы во взоре?»
Им отвечала она: «я земли не забыла.
Много [оставила я там]3 страданья и горя.
Здесь я лишь ликам блаженства и радости внемлю,
Праведных души не знают ни скорби, ни злобы.
О, отпусти меня снова, создатель, на землю,
Было-б о ком пожалеть и утешить кого-бы!»

Translation(s): ENG FRE FRE

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Note on the text (provided by Laura Prichard): Tolstoy wrote this poem to honor Lermonotov’s famous poem "Angel" (1831), which is about an innocent soul encountering earthly sorrow for the first time. Tolstoy’s poem, in a similar meter, gives experience’s answer to innocence, since in this case, the soul longs to return to earth to comfort those who sorrow.

Note on the music (provided by Laura Prichard): Tchaikovsky’s main melody was inspired by, and modelled on, a duet for Christ and Mary Magdalen from Massenet’s oratorio Marie-Magdalen (1873), which he played through in 1880.

1 Musorgsky, Tchaikovsky: "вилися за ней" (vilisja za nej)
2 Musorgsky, Tchaikovsky: "Что" (Chto)
3 Musorgsky: "отвечала там я" (otvechala tam ja); Tchaikovsky: "оставила там я" (ostavila tam ja)

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by A. Aleksandrova ENG by Konstantin Afanas'evich Antipov.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "A soul flew quietly to the heavens", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Doucement l'esprit s'envola vers le ciel", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2017-10-11 12:39:24
Line count: 12
Word count: 83

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A soul flew quietly to the heavens

Language: English after the Russian (Русский)

A soul flew quietly to the heavens,
Sadly she lowered her lashes,
Shedding tears into the space from which stars fall,
Bright and long there curled behind her a trail [of tears].
Out of the quietness, a light shone on her and inquired:

«Why are you so sad, with tears in your eyes?»
She responded: «I haven’t forgotten the world.
Many who I left there suffer and are sorrowful.
Here I’m just an image of bliss and feel only joy,
Righteous souls know neither sorrow, nor anger.
О, let me return once again, Creator, to the earth,
That I might bring pity and comfort to someone!»

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  • Translation from Russian (Русский) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Text added to the website: 2016-10-23.
Last modified: 2016-10-23 18:45:09
Line count: 12
Word count: 106