by Ivan Zakharovich Surikov (1841 - 1880)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

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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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]

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-03
Line count: 24
Word count: 92

The swallow
Language: English  after the Russian (Русский) 
There goes a little girl – an orphan, 
	Breathing heavy sighs,
And over her unlucky head,
	A little swallow flies.

And flies, and chirps,
	Circling overhead,
Fluttering over the little mite of a child, with its wings
	Nearly beating against her braid.

“Why do you flutter over me,
	over a poor orphan, little bird?
Oh, leave me alone, – for me
	it’s so hard to live in this world!"

– Don’t leave, don’t leave!
	I’ll fly around, –
And twitter to you about your brother,
	Who is languishing in prison.

He asked me: “Fly on,	
	little bird, to that dear place,
Send my regards to my sister,
	My favorite and best beloved.

May I only have left to give to her, little dove,
	A few good memories?
Is only thing her brother can give to her
	The tears he sheds?” 


  • 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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This text was added to the website: 2016-10-23
Line count: 24
Word count: 140