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Home » Poems

Valerik – Mikhail Lermontov

Submitted by on Wednesday, 5 December 2012.    1,967 views No Comment
Valerik – Mikhail Lermontov

We present you with part of one of Lermontov’s poems, titled “Valerik”.

He wrote this poem after witnessing a battle between Chechen fighters and Russian soldiers in 1840, near the village of Valerik, Chechnya.

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…I asked him:
What is this place called?
‘Valerik’, he said,
Which means ‘the river of the dead’
And those who named it rest in Heaven.
— How many of them fought today?
— 7,000
— How many did the Mountaineers lose?
— Who knows? Why would they be counted!
‘They’ll be counted’, I heard a voice reply
‘This day of blood will not be forgotten’.
I turned and saw the Chechen, nodding,
With a grin of contempt upon his lips.

Mikhail Lermontov, ‘Valerik’, 1840

Original version in Russian:

…я его спросил,
Как месту этому названье?
Он отвечал мне: “Валерик,
А перевесть на ваш язык,
Так будет речка смерти: верно,
Дано старинными людьми”.
— А сколько их дралось примерно Сегодня?
— Тысяч до семи.
— А много горцы потеряли?
— Как знать? зачем вы не считали!
‘Да! будет, — кто-то тут сказал, —
Им в память этот день кровавый!’
Чеченец посмотрел лукаво
И головою покачал.

Михаил Лермонтов, ‘Валерик’ 1840

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