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Serenade (1875)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Songs and Dances of Death ('Pesni i pljaski smerti')


Nega volshebnaja, noch' golubaja,
Trepetnyj sumrak vesny.
Vnemlet, poniknuv golovkoj, bol'naja
Shopot nochnoj tishiny.
Son ne smykajet blestjashchije ochi,
Zhizn' k naslazhden'ju zovjot,
A pod okoshkom v molchan'i polnochi
Smert' serenadu pojot:
,,V mrake nevoli surovoj i tesnoj
Molodost' vjanet tvoja;
Rycar' nevedomyj, siloj chudesnoj
Osvobozhu ja tebja.
Vstan', posmotri na sebja: krasotoju
Lik tvoj prozrachnyj blestit,
Shchjoki rumjany, volnistoj kosoju
Stan tvoj, kak tuchej obvit.
Pristal'nykh glaz goluboje sijan'e,
Jarche nebes i ognja;
Znojem poludennym vejet dykhan'e...
Ty obol'stila menja.
Slukh tvoj plenilsja mojej serenadoj,
Rycarja shopot tvoj zval,
Rycar' prishjol za poslednej nagradoj:
Chas upojen'ja nastal.
Nezhen tvoj stan, upoitelen trepet...
O, zadushu ja tebja
V krepkikh ob"jat'jakh: ljubovnyj moj lepet
Slushaj!... molchi!... Ty moja!’’


Languid enchantment, the blue of the night,
The quivering half-light of spring.
Ailing, her head hung low, the young woman
Listens to the whisper of night’s stillness.
Sleep cannot close her shining eyes,
Life’s pleasures summon her still,
But under her window, in the silence of midnight,
Death sings this soft serenade:
‘In the gloom of confinement, severe and narrow,
Your youth is fading;
But I, a mysterious knight,
Will free you with my wondrous power.
Rise and look on yourself: your countenance
Shines with limpid beauty,
Your cheeks are flushed, and your rippling tresses
Encircle your waist like clouds.
The radiant blue of your eager eyes
Is brighter than heaven or flame;
Your breath is as the midday heat…
You have bewitched me.
Your hearing is captivated by my serenade,
Your whispering summoned this knight,
Who has come for his final reward:
The hour of rapture is nigh.
Your form is fair and your trembling – enchanting…
Ah, I shall smother you in my strong embrace:
Listen to my words of love!
Be silent!.... You are mine!’

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Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (21 March 1839 – 28 March 1881) was a Russian composer. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other national themes.

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