Old poetry translations: “The Prophet” trans. Ella Heath
Reading about the many translations of Oblomov I caught myself assuming that Russian poems were translated much less often. Then I realized that the opposite might be true, at least for the most famous short poems, and I thought I’d start collecting English versions of Pushkin’s “The Prophet” as a test. I now suspect that English-speaking readers are more likely to have read a 500-page Dostoevskii novel than a 30-line Pushkin poem, but that at least as many translators may have tried their hand at the Pushkin lyric.
I’ll wait until I gather a few more translations before getting into anything substantive, but for now an English grammar question: was “and… and…” instead of “both… and…” once possible? I’ve never heard it except from people who also speak French or Russian.
English translation of “Пророк”
Original poem: Pushkin, written 1826, published 1828
Translation: Ella Heath, 1903 (via an 1868 French prose translation)
Source: click on the text of the poem to see it in Scribner’s Magazine 34 (July-December 1903)