Translated by James E. Falen
THE BANK OF THE DNIEPER, A MILL.
The MILLER and his DAUGHTER.
I swear, you stupid girls, you’re all the same—
No brains at all. When some good man turns up,
A proper catch, and not some common sort,
You need to wrap him up and not let go.
And how? Through commonsense and right behavior,
Enticing and rebuffing him by turns;
And now and then, in passing as it were,
To hint at marriage,—but above all look
To keep your precious maidenhead intact—
That priceless gift—it’s like a spoken word—
Once let it go, you’ll never get it back.
Or if, for marriage, there’s no hope at all,
You ought at least to profit in some way,
Or benefit your kin; you have to think:
“He won’t forever love me like today
And pamper me with gifts.” But no, not you!
You’d never think of reaping while you can!
Whenever he appears, you turn to mush;
You cater to his every whim and wish;
You hang about his neck the whole day long,—
Then all at once… your charming fellow’s gone,
He’s disappeared without a trace. And you?
You’re left with nothing. Oh, you stupid girls!
I’ve told you this a hundred times or more:
Look out, my girl, and don’t be such a fool,
To throw away good fortune when it comes;
Don’t let the Prince escape, or waste yourself
By giving in too soon. And all for what?
So you can weep forever and lament
What’s lost and gone.
Pushkin, Alexander. Rusalka [The Water Nymph], trans. James E. Falen. Pushkin Review 04 (2001): 109 - 32. Retrieved from: <http://www.pushkiniana.org/index.php/vol-4-new-translations-/214-falen04translation>.