Translated by John Weir
You did not play me false, O Fate,
You were a brother, closest friend
To this poor wretch. You took my hand
When I was still a little tot
And walked me to the deacon's school
To gather knowledge from the sot.
"My boy, just study hard," you said,
And you'll be somebody in time!"
I listened, studied, forged ahead,
Got educated. But you lied.
What am I now? But never mind!
We've walked the straight path, you and I,
We have not cheated, compromised
Or lived the very slightest lie.
So let's march on, dear fate of mine!
My humble, truthful, faithful friend!
Keep marching on: there glory lies;
March forward — that's my testament.
1858, Nizhny Novgorod