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Thread: Help with Lines from Kheraskov's Россиада

  1. #1
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    Help with Lines from Kheraskov's Россиада

    Всем здравствуйте,

    I was wondering if anyone here could help me comprehend and translate these lines accurately. I have struggled with them for quite a while and can sense there is still a lot of errors in my translations/interpretations and the overall meaning is still confusing. For example it seems to be saying Kazan was attacking Russia but also seeking help from the princes in Russia? Any help would be much appreciated.


    Когда светило дня к полуночи взирало,
    When the lamp of day looked toward midnight/to the north

    Стенящу, страждущу Россию обретало.
    It found moaning, suffering Russia.

    В ее объятиях рожденная Казань
    In her (Russia's) embraces Kazan (being) born

    Из томных рук ее брала позорну дань;
    Out of her (Russia's) weak/languishing hands took a shameful tribute

    Сей град, российскими врагами соруженный,
    This city built by Russian enemies

    На полночь гордою горою возвышенный,
    In the north elevated on/by a proud mountain

    Подняв главу свою, при двух реках стоит,
    Lifting its head, stands at two rivers,

    Отколе на брега шумящей Волги зрит.
    From where it views the banks of the resounding Volga

    Под тению лесов, меж пестрыми цветами
    Under the shade of forests, amidst multicolored flowers

    Поставлен Батыем ко северу вратами,
    Supplied by Batu with gates toward the north,

    Чрез кои в сердце он России выбегал,
    Through which he (Batu?) rushed out into the heart of Russia

    Селенья пустошил и грады пожигал.
    Devestated villages and burnt cities

    С вершины видя гор убийства и пожары,
    From the peak of the mountain viewing the murders and fires,

    Где жили древние российские болгары,
    Where lived the ancient russian Bulgars

    Разженны верою к закону своему,
    Stricken with (filled with?) belief in their law,

    Казань, поверженна в магометанску тьму,
    Kazan, plunged into Muhammadan/Islamic darkness

    В слезах на синий дым, на заревы взирала
    In tears at the dark blue smoke, gazed at the blazes

    И руки чрез поля в Россию простирала;
    And stretched across the fields its hands into Russia

    Просила помощи и света от князей,
    Requested help and light from the princes

    Когда злочестие простерло мраки в ней.
    When evil stretched its shadows in it

    Подвигнуты к странам природным сожаленьем,
    Moved by natural pity for the countries

    Народа своего бедами и томленьем,
    by the troubles and misery of their own people

    На части полночь всю расторгшие князья
    Having divided/broken up all the north the princes

    Смиряли наглых орд, во бранях кровь лия.
    Suppressed the arrogant horde(s), shedding blood in battles.


    ( https://rvb.ru/18vek/heraskov/01text/02poems/61.htm )

  2. #2
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    > Когда светило дня к полуночи взирало,
    > When the sun of day looked toward north

    "Светило" is abstract "source of light", but in most cases this word means "sun".
    It's very unusual today to see "полуночь" in meaning "north (lands)".

    Стенящу, страждущу Россию обретало.
    It found moaning, suffering Russia.

    В ее объятиях рожденная Казань
    In her (Russia's) embraces Kazan (being) born

    Из томных рук ее брала позорну дань;
    Out of her (Russia's) weak/languishing hands took a shameful tribute

    Сей град, российскими врагами соруженный,
    This city built by Russian enemies

    На полночь гордою горою возвышенный,
    In the north elevated on/by a proud mountain

    Подняв главу свою, при двух реках стоит,
    Lifting its head, stands at two rivers,

    Отколе на брега шумящей Волги зрит.
    From where it views the banks of the resounding Volga

    Под тению лесов, меж пестрыми цветами
    Under the shade of forests, amidst multicolored flowers

    Поставлен Батыем ко северу вратами,
    Located/placed by Batu with gates toward the north,

    Чрез кои в сердце он России выбегал,
    Through which he (Batu) rushed out into the heart of Russia

    Селенья пустошил и грады пожигал.
    Devestated villages and burnt cities

    С вершины видя гор убийства и пожары,
    From the peak of the mountain viewing the murders and fires,

    Где жили древние российские болгары,
    Where lived the ancient russian Bulgars

    Разженны верою к закону своему,
    Filled with belief in their law,

    Казань, поверженна в магометанску тьму,
    Kazan, plunged into Muhammadan/Islamic darkness

    В слезах на синий дым, на заревы взирала
    In tears (Kazan) gazed at the blue smoke, (and) blazes

    И руки чрез поля в Россию простирала;
    And stretched across the fields its hands into Russia

    Просила помощи и света от князей,
    Requested help and light from the princes

    Когда злочестие простерло мраки в ней.
    When evil stretched its shadows in it

    Подвигнуты к странам природным сожаленьем,
    Moved by natural pity for the countries

    Народа своего бедами и томленьем,
    by the troubles and misery of their own people

    На части полночь всю расторгшие князья
    Having divided/broken up all the north the princes

    Смиряли наглых орд, во бранях кровь лия.
    Suppressed the arrogant horde(s), shedding blood in battles.


    It's amazing that you can do this translation, because it's hard text for modern native russian speaker too.
    I think many words have shifted their meanings in some way throught hundrends of years which passed since writing this poem and many phrases looks strange/twisted now. Probably modern native russian speaker cannot understand it's mental image in all depths.
    However overall meaning is clear: Kazan was founded in Volga Bulgaria State and later was conquered by Golden Horde which made it large important centre between Russia and Horde - important city at the cross of routes. Later it was conquered by Russia.
    Today Kazan is capital of Tatarstan Region of Russia - nearly half of population are tatars - descedants of population of Khanate of Kazan.
    Lampada and Iskatel like this.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Alex!

    But is it saying Kazan, built by Batu, attacked Russia (Селенья пустошил и грады пожигал), and then asked for help from Russia, too (Просила помощи и света от князей)?

    It's definitely difficult to find some older words in dictionaries and other sources sometimes. One of the most interesting I have come across is росс for "a russian".

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iskatel View Post
    But is it saying Kazan, built by Batu, attacked Russia (Селенья пустошил и грады пожигал), and then asked for help from Russia, too (Просила помощи и света от князей)?
    Point of view of this poem is:
    1. ancient "russian Bulgars" lived in this area
    2. then Golden Horde conquered them and built Kazan (modern historians say that Volga Bulgaria State built Kazan and Horde developed it to big city)
    3. then Russia freed territory from Golden Horde
    That is why author says "Kazan asked help".
    For example wiki says 8000 russian slaves were freed in Kazan after Russia conquered.
    However it's political question. You can note that author of 17 century is not very political correct for example in describing alien religion.
    Iskatel likes this.

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