Translation © by Sergey Rybin

Language: Russian (Русский) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Духовной жаждою томим,
В пустыне мрачной я влачился,
И шестикрылый серафим
На перепутье мне явился;

Перстами легкими, как сон,
Моих зениц коснулся он:
Отверзлись вещие зеницы,
Как у испуганной орлицы.

Моих ушей коснулся он,
И их наполнил шум и звон:
И внял я неба содроганье,
И [горний]1 ангелов полёт,
И гад морских подводный ход,
И дольней лозы прозябанье.

И он к устам моим приник
И вырвал грешный мой язык,
И празднословный, и лукавый,
И жало мудрыя змеи
В уста замершие мои 
Вложил десницею кровавой.

И он мне грудь рассек мечом,
И сердце трепетное вынул,
И угль, пылающий огнём,
Во грудь отверстую водвинул.

Как труп, в пустыне я лежал.
И Бога глас ко мне [воззвал]2:
,,Восстань, пророк, и виждь, и внемли,
Исполнись волею Моей
И, обходя моря и земли,
Глаголом жги сердца людей!``

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Rimsky-Korsakov: "gornikh"
2 Rimsky-Korsakov: "vzyval"

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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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sergey Rybin) , title 1: "The prophet", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev) (Gustave Flaubert) , title 1: "Le prophète", published 1876

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 30
Word count: 132

The prophet
Language: English  after the Russian (Русский) 
Tormented by spiritual anguish
I dragged myself through a grim desert, 
And a six-winged seraphim
Appeared to me at a crossroads;

With his fingers, light as a dream, 
He touched my eyes:
They burst open wide, all-seeing,
Like those of a startled eagle.

He touched my ears  
And they were filled with clamour and ringing:
I heard the rumbling of the heavens, 
The high flight of the angels, 
The crawling of the underwater reptilians
And the germinating of the grapevine in the valleys.
He pressed against my lips
And tore out my tongue, 
Both exuberant and sly, 
And into my frozen lips
The sting of a wise snake
He pushed with his bloody hand.

He cleaved my chest with a sword
And took out my trembling heart, 
And thrust into my opened breast
A flaming piece of coal.

I lay in the desert like a corpse. 
And God's voice called to me:
"Arise, my prophet, behold and hark, 
Submit to my will, 
And, traveling across the seas and lands, 
Spark people's hearts with verse."


  • Translation from Russian (Русский) to English copyright © 2017 by Sergey Rybin, (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: 2017-01-14
Line count: 30
Word count: 174