The Face of Heaven (1980, rev.-1987)

Text: John Keats, William Yeats, Heinrich Heine, Sàndor Petőfi

Russian translation by Samuil Marshak

Sergei Krasinsky, baritone

Igor Plitsyn, piano, synthesizer

Azerbaijan State Studio, Baku

Spring 1987

Sung in Russian

To one who has been long in city pent,

‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair

And open face of heaven,--to breathe a prayer

Full in the smile of the blue firmament.

Who is more happy, when, with heart’s content,

Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair

Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair

And gentle tale of love and languishment?

Returning home at evening, with an ear

Catching the notes of Philomel,--an eye

Watching the sailing cloudlet’s bright career,

He mourns that day so soon has glided by:

E’en like passage of an angel’s tear

That falls through the clear ether silently.

Up, up, my boy, and saddle quick,

And fling thee on thy steed,

And to King Duncan’s castle ride

Thro’ woods and fields, with speed.

Slip in his stable there, and wait

Till by the groom espied;

Then question him: “Say which one is

Of Duncan’s daughters bride?”

If says the boy: “The brown one’t is.”

Then quickly let me know;

But if he says: “The blond one’t is,”

Thou need’st not hurry so.

To Master Twinester then go out,

Buy me a rope there and--

Ride slowly back, say not a word,

But lay that in my hand.

Where be ye going, you Devon maid?

And what have ye there i’ the basket?

Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,

Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?

I love your meads, and I love your flowers,

And I love your junkets mainly,

But ‘hind the door, I love kissing more,

O look not so disdainly!

I love your hills, and I love your dales,

And I love your flocks a-bleating;

But O, on the heather to lie together,

With both our hearts a-beating!

I’ll put your basket all safe in a nook,

Your shawl I’ll hang up on this willow,

And we will sigh in the daisy’s eye,

And kiss on a grass-green pillow.

/ 2d verse is omitted in Marshak’s translation/

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;

She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.

She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;

But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,

And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.

She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;

But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

I. John Keats

To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent  

II.  Heinrich Heine

The Message (Die Botschaft)  

(Eng. trans. by Frances Hellman)

III. John Keats

Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid? 

IV. William Butler Yeats

Down By The Salley Gardens

V. Sàndor Petőfi

Give Me Now Twenty Kisses 

English translation will be posted later