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by Lev Aleksandrovich Mey (1822 - 1862)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Language: Russian (Русский) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Зачем [ты мне]1 приснилася,
Красавица далёкая,
И вспыхнула, что в полыме,
Подушка одинокая?

Ох, сгинь ты, полуночница!
Глаза твои ленивые
И пепел кос рассыпчатый,
И губы горделивые -

Всё наяву мне снилося,
И всё, что грёза вешняя,
Умчалося, -- и на сердце
Легла потьма кромешная!

Зачем же ты приснилася,
Красавица далёкая,
Коль стынет вместе с грёзою 
Полушка одинокая?

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Tchaikovsky: "же ты" (zhe ty)

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Note on Transliterations


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

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

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Why?", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Pourquoi ?", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 57

Language: English  after the Russian (Русский) 
Why did I dream of you,
Distant beauty,
And why, like a fire, did
My lonely pillow burst into flame?

О, begone, specter of the night!
Your eyes are shiftless
And your decimated ashes crumble easily,
And your lips are haughty -

Everything seemed real that I had dreamed,
And everything, like a superficial daydream,
Whirled away, — and my heart
Rested in the pitch dark!

Why did I dream of you,
Distant beauty,
When alone with my visions,
My lonely pillow grows cold.


  • 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2016-10-23
Line count: 16
Word count: 84