by Ivan Zakharovich Surikov (1841 - 1880)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

Language: Russian (Русский)  after the Polish (Polski) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Идёт девочка – сиротка, 
	тяжело вздыхает,
а над нею горемычной,
	ласточка летает.

И летает, и щебечет,
	над головкой вьётся,
вьётся, крошка, и крылами
	в косу чуть не бьётся.

"Что ты вьёшься надо мною,
	над сироткой, пташка?
Ах, оставь меня, – и так мне
	жить на свете тяжко!"

– Не оставлю, не оставлю! 
	Буду я кружиться, –
щебетать тебе про брата,
	что в тюрьме томится.

Он просил меня: “Слетай-ка,	
	пташка, в край родимый,
поклонись моей сестрице,
	горячо любимой.

Все ль меня она, голубка,
	добром вспоминает?
все ль она ещё о брате
	слёзы проливает?”

Note (provided by Laura Prichard): Although this is an adaptation of Teofil Lenartowicz’s poem “Jaskółka” (Swallow), in the Russian version, Ivan Surikov transforms the girl from a carefree, pretty village girl to an abandoned orphan. Both Tchaikovsky and Taneyev referred to this song in their letters as “сиротка” (“orphan girl”). Surikov also chose to omit part of the brother’s (Polish) question: “Does she still wear a white rose in her hair?”– this image would not be consistent with the uses and colors of symbolic flowers in Russian folk peotry.

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Note on Transliterations


Based on

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 German (Deutsch), a translation by Hans Schmidt (1854 - 1923) ENG FRE RUS ; composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "The swallow", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "L'hirondelle", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Laura Prichard [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2003-11-03 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-10-23 18:57:05
Line count: 24
Word count: 92

Language: French (Français)  after the Russian (Русский) 
Une petite orpheline arrive, 
elle soupire fortement,
et au-dessus de la pauvre 
une hirondelle vole.

Et elle vole, elle gazouille 
dans les airs au-dessus de sa tête,
Elle tourne, la petite, 
les ailes frappant presque sa chevelure.

Pourquoi as-tu besoin de tourner autour de moi, 
l'orpheline, petit oiseau ?
Ah, laisse-moi vivre 
dans ce monde difficile !

Je ne te laisserai pas, je ne te laisserai pas ! 
Je tournerai
en chantant sur mon frère 
qui se languit en prison.

Il m'a demandé : « Toi qui voles, 
petit oiseau,
Salue ma petite sœur 

Est-ce qu'elle se rappelle 
de moi encore, ma colombe,
est-ce qu'elle verse toujours 
des larmes sur son frère ? »


  • Translation from Russian (Русский) to French (Français) copyright © 2016 by Guy Laffaille, (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: 2016-09-09 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-10-23 18:48:03
Line count: 24
Word count: 115