Онегин и дядя

 

Когда посвящаешь достаточно много времени переносу англоязычной литературы на русскую почву, иногда так и хочется отдохнуть и посмотреть, а что же двигалось между тем в обратном направлении. Ведь мы время от времени – кто с интересом, кто с удивлением – узнаём, что тот или иной английский или американский писатель, актёр, режиссёр, политик (нет, политики книжек не читают, иначе они не стали бы политиками – совесть не позволила бы) с детства полюбил русскую литературу, потому что прочитал Чехова, Толстого, Достоевского, а иногда и самого Пушкина. Разумеется, не по-русски. Хорошо, с первыми тремя именами я ещё смирюсь – это проза, её при хорошем знании собственного – то есть английского – языка можно перевести, сохранив от оригинала хотя бы образы и ощущение. А как быть с Пушкиным, если это поэзия, когда, кроме знания родного языка, нужно ещё быть накоротке с Музами и иметь божью искру стихотворного дара? Круг значительно сужается. Когда-то в юности я безоговорочно верил в талант Набокова и предполагал, что того же «Евгения Онегина» буржуи читают именно в его интерпретации. Каково же было моё глубочайшее разочарование, когда оказалось, что хвалёный муж Веры Евсеевны Слоним сделал это ещё отвратительнее, чем «перевёл» кэрролловскую «Алису» на русский. Вот его мазня:

 

My uncle has most honest principles:
when taken ill in earnest,
he has made one respect him
and nothing better could invent.
To others his example is a lesson;
but, good God, what a bore
to sit by a sick man both day and night,
without moving a step away!
What base perfidiousness
the half-alive one to amuse,
adjust for him the pillows,
sadly present the medicine,
sigh -- and think inwardly
when will the devil take you?

 

Причём это нигде не называется подстрочником, нет, это перевод Самого Набокова. Не буду развивать мысль метрдотеля из Монтрё, который ни разу не видел, чтобы писатель что-либо писал, а только гонял чаи и уходил бегать в шортиках за бабочками с сочком, тогда как с кипами рукописей всюду таскалась именно целеустремлённая Вера… Мне не всегда важно, кто писал; гораздо важнее – что и тем более как. Так что если дар был у госпожи Слоним, а не у её мужа – бог с ними…

Не будем о грустном. Потому что на самом деле повод для оптимизма есть, причём, как водится, никто про него не кричит взахлёб. Я имею в виду, что честные английские трудяги пера свою работу делали (и делают), и наш Александр Сергеевич тоже по-английски начинает звучать, причём, на мой вкус, не так уж плохо. Вот целая россыпь вариантов первой онегинской строфы, которую на всякий случай напомню:

 

Мой дядя самых честных правил,
Когда не в шутку занемог;
Он уважать себя заставил
И лучше выдумать не мог.
Его пример другим наука;
Но, боже мой, какая скука
С больным сидеть и день и ночь,
Не отходя ни шагу прочь!
Какое низкое коварство
Полуживого забавлять,
Ему подушки поправлять,
Печально подносить лекарство,
Вздыхать и думать про себя:
Когда же черт возьмет тебя!

 

Надеюсь, вы обратили внимание на то, что вторая строка заканчивается на точку с запятой, что перечёркивает многие досужие домыслы и расставляет акценты и смыслы совершенно иначе, нежели принято на эту тему рассуждать сегодня. Точка с запятой присутствует в издании «Онегина» в 1825 году, превращается в просто запятую в 1833 и снова становится точкой с запятой в 1835. Сегодня её, разумеется, нет, и весь текст читается сплошным потоком мысли о плохом дяде, который то ли просто заболел, то ли заболел и умер, а пока болел, заставил племянника скучать у постели в ожидании завещания.

Если вам интересно, как вся эта складность-ладность поэтической мысли не самого русского из самых русских поэтов звучит на английском языке, вот вам найденные мною примеры. Полагаю, что их гораздо больше. Оставлю вас наедине…

 

My uncle's goodness is extreme,
If seriously he hath disease;
He hath acquired the world's esteem
And nothing more important sees;
A paragon of virtue he!
But what a nuisance it will be,
Chained to his bedside night and day
Without a chance to slip away.
Ye need dissimulation base
A dying man with art to soothe,
Beneath his head the pillow smooth,
And physic bring with mournful face,
To sigh and meditate alone:
When will the devil take his own!

 

My uncle, of most fair persuasion,
When taken seriously ill,
Enforced respect on the occasion -
His best idea, if you will.
A deed, for others worth exploring,
But goodness me, it is so boring
To nurse the poor wretch day and night
And not to dare to leave his sight!
It's mean to offer dedication
To entertain the almost dead,
To shake his pillow, make his bed,
To bring with care his medication,
To heave a sigh, to wish him well,
And think: “When will you go to hell?

 

My uncle's in the grand tradition:
By getting seriously sick
He's wrung himself some recognition
And could devise no shrewder trick.
He's an example worth recalling
But God almighty is it galling
To tend a patient night and day
And never stir a step away...
There's just no worse dissimulation
Toward one so veritably dead,
Than to fluff pillows for his head,
Morosely fetch his medication
And think behind a makeshift sigh
"Get on with it. Just frickin' die!"

 

My uncle was a man of virture, 
When he became quite old and sick, 
He sought respect and tried to teach me, 
His only heir, verte and weak. 
He had the fun, I had the sore, 
But grecious goodness! what a bore! 
To sit by bedplace day and night, 
Not doing even step aside, 
And what a cheep and cunning thing 
To entertain the sad, 
To serve around, make his bed, 
To fetch the pills, to mourn and grim, 
To sigh outloud, think along: 
`God damn old man, why ain't you gone?'

 

My uncle, man of very honest life,
When he became in earnest sick,
Forced everyone to be obliging, 
And couldn't invent a better trick.
Example his - to others  is a moral;
But, oh, my God , how very boring 
To sit by a sick person day and night
Without even dare to step aside!
It is the perfidy of lowest kind
To entertain a man who is half-dead,
To fix his pad , 
Bring medications ,looking sad,
To sigh and think in secret to yourself
When will the devil carry you to hell!"

 

My uncle knew his situation,
So, taking promptly to his bed,
Exacted total dedication,
And rightly too, it must be said
(A lesson there for many another);
But oh, my God, the tedious bother
Of sitting with him, night and day,
And daring not to move away!
What miserable dissimulation,
Reading to him from six till eight,
Then setting all his pillows straight,
And measuring out his medication
With long-faced sighs, while low I groan:
'The devil come and take his own!'

 

My uncle -- high ideals inspire him;

but when past joking he fell sick,

he really forced one to admire him --

and never played a shrewder trick.

Let others learn from his example!

But God, how deadly dull to sample

sickroom attendance night and day

and never stir a foot away!

And the sly baseness, fit to throttle,

of entertaining the half-dead:

one smoothes the pillows down in bed,

and glumly serves the medicine bottle,

and sighs, and asks oneself all through:

"When will the devil come for you?

 

'My uncle always was respected 
But his grave illness, I confess,
Is more than could have been expected:
A stroke of genius, nothing less!
He offers all a fine example.
But, God, such boredom who would sample
As day and night to have to sit
Beside a sick-bed -- think of it!
Low cunning must assist devotion
To one who is but half-alive;
You puff his pillow and contrive
Amusement while you mix his potion;
You sigh and think with furrowed brow:
"Why can't the devil take you now?"

 

Now that he is in grave condition,
My uncle, decorous old dunce,
Has won respectful recognition;
And done the perfect thing for once.
His action be a guide to others;
But what a bore, I ask you, brothers,
To tend a patient night and day
And venture not a step away:
Is there hypocracy more glaring
Than to amuse one all but dead,
Shake up the pillow for his head,
Dose him with melancholy bearing,
And think behind a public sigh:
'Duce take you, step on it and die!'

 

'My uncle, man of firm convictions...
By falling gravely ill, he's won
A due respect for his afflictions --
The only clever thing he's done.
May his example profit others;
But God, what deadly boredom, brothers,
To tend a sick man night and day,
Not daring once to steal away!
And, oh, how base to pamper grossly
And entertain the nearly dead,
To fluff the pillows for his head,
And pass him medicines morosely --
While thinking under every sigh:
The devil take you, Uncle. Die!'

 

My uncle, matchless moral model,
When deathly ill, learned how to make
His friends respect him, bow and coddle --
Of all his ploys, that takes the cake.
To others, this might teach a lesson;
But Lord above, I'd feel such stress in
Having to sit there night and day,
Daring not once to step away.
Plus, I'd say, it's hypocritical
To keep the half-dead's spirits bright,
To plump his pillows till tehy're right,
Fetch his pills with tears veridical --
Yet in secret to wish and sigh,
'Hurry, dear Uncle, up and die!'

 

My uncle's acted very wisely,
to seek his bed when he's so sick;
his family's reacted nicely
and he's most happy with his trick.
He's set the world a good example,
which others would do well to sample,
but it's a bore, when night and day
the sick man forces you to stay!
To keep him sweet, as if he's dying,
give him his daily medicine
and make quite sure that it goes in,
adjust the pillows while one's sighing:
'Don't even think of getting well,
The devil take you, go to hell!'

 

My uncle is a man of honour,
When in good earnest he fell ill,
He won respect by his demeanour
And found the role he best could fill.
Let others profit by his lesson,
But, oh my God, what desolation
To tend a sick many day and night
And not to venture form his sight!
What shameful cunning to be cheerful
With someone who is halfway dead,
To prop up pillows by his head,
To bring him medicine, looking tearful,
To sigh -- while inwardly you think:
When will the devil let him sink?

 

 

 

 

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