Sooner tears than sleep this midnight Come into my eyes. On my window the complaining Tempest groans and sighs.
Grows the noise now of its weeping, Sobbing to and fro – On the glass the tears come hurtling Of some wildest woe.
Why, O wind against my window, Come you grief to prove? Can it be your heart’s gone grieving For its own lost love?
By John Morris-Jones (1864 – 1929) translated by Tony Conran
Additional information: Sir John Morris-Jones (17 October 1864 – 16 April 1929) was a Welsh grammarian, academic and Welsh-language poet. In 1889 Morris-Jones was appointed as a lecturer in Welsh at the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University) where he was promoted to professor in 1895, a post he held until his death. Morris-Jones worked to standardise Welsh orthography.
Beneath is the original Welsh language version of the poem.
Cwyn y Gwynt
Cwsg ni ddaw i’m hamrant heno, Dagrau ddaw ynghynt. Wrth fy ffenestr yn gwynfannus Yr ochneidia’r gwynt.
Codi’i lais yn awr, ac wylo, Beichio wylo mae; Ar y grwydr yr hyrddia’i ddagrau Yn ei wylltaf wae.
Pam y deui, wynt, i wylo At fy ffenestr i? Dywed im, a gollaist tithau Un a’th garai di?
Lone sail against blue sea-mist: what is it seeking? What forsaken?
Wind, waves, and bending mast: not happiness... not happiness. In beam of gold, on azure the rebel flees for stormy seas.
by Михаил Юрьевич Лермонтов (Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov) (1832) translated by Anthony Wood
Below is the poem in its original Russian Cyrillic form:
Белеет парус одинокой В тумане моря голубом!.. Что ищет он в стране далекой? Что кинул он в краю родном?... Играют волны — ветер свищет, И мачта гнется и скрыпит... Увы! Он счастия не ищет И не от счастия бежит! Под ним струя светлей лазури, Над ним луч солнца золотой... А он, мятежный, просит бури, Как будто в бурях есть покой!
Additional notes: This is another alternative translation of Lermontov’s poem Парус compared to those made by Frances Cornford and Esther Polianowsky Salaman and Robert Chandler which, respectively, closely reproduced the original’s external form and presented a version which is more condensed. This version is the most concise retaining the incredible impact of the poem without losing it’s meaning.
The Sail was written when Mikhail Lermontov was only 17 years old in 1832. This was the year when he was forced to leave Moscow and his university studies. Recorded in a letter sent by Maria Lopukhina, whom he had sent the first version of the poem, upon his arrival in Saint Petersburg Lermontov immediately produced this poem’s outline while walking along the Gulf of Finland’s shoreline.