By Pavel Antokolsky
Translated by Yevgeny Bonver
He was just nobody. The one benighted idler,
The Stratford poacher, the awe of forest-guards,
The gaily friend of the Falstaffian buds.
Who was he, else? The supplicant admirer
Of a swarthy lady from the suburb’s wards.
Who was he, else? The joker and the king,
The old gray witch with spell for men and home,
The Venice girl, the plotter from the Rome –
Or were they roles he to play and sing?
Wait just a bit, and he will pour at boards,
Like from a pail, the jokers and the elves,
Will dress the beaches and will rise their honors,
And noise of bustle will give up you deaf.
Sailors will have enough of mind, well sharpened,
To held control over the drunkards’ bands,
To find the hazy and mysterious island
Where’s bare a savage, happy – Caliban.
And there’s the hero, forgotten his password,
Whose foe’s a king, and truth – his faithful sward,
Whose syllogism’s such acid and perfection
That poor Yorick will be raised in resurrection, —
Or it’s a role that was never stopped…