2: Confinement to the End of the Line

Follow Up

Confinement Games

Lossless Translation

  • Source I
    • Translated by Stephen Mulrine (Google Books):

      Now, let me say right off, as all mankind is my judge and I really must stress this point – I was opposed to this whole escapade from the outset. Barren as a fig tree, yes. (Actually, that’s neatly put – “barren as a fig tree”. Anyway, I said right at the start that a revolution only achieves something worthwhile if it’s made in men’s hearts, and not in haystacks. But once they’d begun without me, I couldn’t stand idly by. I mean, I might at least be able to stop excessive hardening of the heart, and limit the bloodshed.

      Anyway, just before nine o’clock GMT, we were sitting on the grass, waiting by the cattle yard. And whoever came up, we’d say to them: “Sit down, comrade, take the weight off your feet!” and they all remained standing, rattled their sabres, and repeated the agreed line from Antonio Salieri: “There’s no truth up there either”. Actually, the password was jokey, with a double meaning, but our minds were elsewhere: zero nine-hundred GMT was drawing nigh.

    • Translated by H. William Tjalsma (Google Books):

      Here I must qualify: in the face of the conscience of the whole of mankind I should say that from the very beginning I opposed this adventure, fruitless as a fig tree. (Well said, “Fruitless as a fig tree”!) From the very first, I said that revolution achieves something essential when it occurs in the heart and not in the town square. But once they began it without me, I could not remain aloof from those who began it. I would be able, in any case, to avert unnecessary bitterness of heart and to lessen the amount of bloodshed.

      Before nine Greenwich, in the grass next to the cattle yard, we sat and waited. To everyone who came up, we said, “Sit down with us; take a load off your feet, comrade”, and they all remained standing, clanked their weapons and repeated the agreed-upon phrase from Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin: “I love the ladies’ dainty feet”. This password was playful and ambiguous, but we weren’t up to that – nine-zero-zero Greenwich was approaching.

    • Original (Google Books):

      Тут я сразу должен оговориться, перед лицом совести всего человечества я должен сказать: я с самого начала был противником этой авантюры, бесплодной, как смоковница (прекрасно сказано: «Бесплодной, как смоковница»). Я с самого начала говорил, что революция достигает чего-нибудь нужного, если совершается в сердцах, а не на стогнах. Но уж раз начали без меня – я не мог быть в стороне от тех, кто начал. Я мог бы, во всяком случае предотвратить излишнее ожесточение сердец и ослабить кровопролитие…

      В девятом часу по Гринвичу, в траве у скотного двора, мы сидели и ждали. Каждому, кто подходил, мы говорили: «Садись, товарищ, с нами – в ногах правды нет», – и каждый оставался стоять, бряцая оружием и повторяя условную фразу из Антонио Сальери: «Но правды нет и выше». Шаловлив был этот пароль и двусмыслен, но нам было не до этого: приближалось девять ноль-ноль по Гринвичу…

  • Eugene Onegin