by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky (1839 - 1881)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Злая смерть
Language: Russian (Русский) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Злая смерть,
как коршун хищный,
впилась Вам в сердце и убила;
и убила;
Палач от бытия веков проклятый,
она похитила и Вас!
О, если-бы могли постигнуть
Вашу душу все те,
Кому, я знаю, дик
мой вопль безумный!
О, если-б Вам внимали...
В беседе, в жарком споре,
Мечтой, быть может смелой,
я начертал-бы людям
Ваш образ светлый,
любовью правды озаренный,
Ваш ум пытливый,
спокойно на людей взиравший.
Вы во-время порвали
с блеском света
связь привычки,
Расстались с ним без гнева
И думой неустанной познали
жизнь иную.

Когда кончиной матери любимой,
всякою житейскою невзгодой
Отброшенный от очага родного,
разбитый, злой, измученный,
Я робко, тревожно,
как пуганный ребёнок,
в Вашу святую душу постучался...
Искал спасенья...

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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 (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "Evil Death (Epitaph)", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Mort cruelle", copyright © 2015, (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: 32
Word count: 112

Evil Death (Epitaph)
Language: English  after the Russian (Русский) 
Evil Death,
like a rapacious bird of prey,
has sunken its claws into your heart
and murdered you;
The cursed Butcher of all existing ages
has taken even you.
O, if only they could understand
your soul,
those people to whom I know 
my wail of desolation sounds mad!
O, if only they could hear you
in conversation, in hot debate;
I would outline to the people
by means of a dream, perhaps a bold one,
 your radiant face,
lit by your love of truth,
your inquisitive intelligence
as you calmly gazed at people.
Just in time, you broke
with "brilliant society"
your connection of custom,
and parted from it without anger,
and through tireless thought,
you have known a different life.

When my beloved mother died,
all sorts of misfortunes befell me;
driven from my childhood home,
shattered, evil, tormented and exhausted, 
I timidly and anxiously -
like a frightened child -
sought refuge 
in your holy soul.


  • Translation from Russian (Русский) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 159