Оден Уистан Хью

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Уистан Хью Оден



The archaeologist's spade

delves into dwellings

vacancied long ago,

unearthing evidence

of life-ways no one

would dream of leading now,

concerning which he has not much

to say that he can prove:

the lucky man!

Knowledge may have its purposes,

but guessing is always

more fun than knowing.

We do know that Man,

from fear or affection,

has always graved His dead.

What disastered a city,

volcanic effusion,

fluvial outrage,

or a human horde,

agog for slaves and glory,

is visually patent,

and we're pretty sure that,

as soon as palaces were built,

their rulers

though gluttoned on sex

and blanded by flattery,

must often have yawned.

But do grain-pits signify

a year of famine?

Where a coin-series

peters out, should we infer

some major catastrophe?

Maybe. Maybe.

From murals and statues

we get a glimpse of what

the Old Ones bowed down to,

but cannot conceit

in what situations they blushed

or shrugged their shoulders.

Poets have learned us their myths,

but just how did They take them?

That's a stumper.

When Norsemen heard thunder,

did they seriously believe

Thor was hammering?

No, I'd say: I'd swear

that men have always lounged in myths

as Tall Stories,

that their real earnest

has been to grant excuses

for ritual actions.

Only in rites

can we renounce our oddities

and be truly entired.

Not that all rites

should be equally fonded:

some are abominable.

There's nothing the Crucified

would like less

than butchery to appease Him.


From Archaeology

one moral, at least, may be


to wit, that all

our school text-books lie.

What they call History

is nothing to vaunt of,

being made, as it is,

by the criminal in us:

goodness is timeless.

August 1973


Лопата археолога


пустующие с давних пор жилища,

столь странные свидетельства укладов

той жизни, жить которой никому

сегодня даже не пришло б на ум,

находки, что тут говорить,

которыми он доказал:


У знания есть собственные цели,

догадка же всегда

куда забавнее, чем знанье.

Да, мы конечно знаем, Человек

от страха ли, а может от любви,

всегда своих хоронит мертвецов.

Что все напасти, мучавшие город,

потоки извергавшихся вулканов,

вода разбушевавшейся реки

или пришельцев полчища,

что жаждали рабов и славы

так очевидны,

и мы уверены, что только

возведя себе дворцы,

правители их

присытившись развратом,

изнеженные лестью,

должно быть, и позевывали часто.

Но разве распознать по ядрам зерен

голодный год?

Исчезнувшие серии монет

свидетельствуют разве о

какой-нибудь глобальной катастрофе?

Быть может. Может быть.

Все статуи и фрески

лишь намекнут на то, чему

когда-то поклонялись предки,

но никогда на то,

что заставляло их краснеть

и пожимать плечами.

Поэты нам поведали легенды,

но сами от кого узнали их?

Мы в тупике.

А норманны, заслышав гром грозы,

действительно ли верили, что

слышат молот Тора?

Нет. Я бы сказал: бьюсь об заклад,

всегда все люди уживались с мифом,

считая его просто небылицей,

единственной заботою их было

найти причину, ту, чтоб оправдала необходимость ритуальных действий.

Ведь только в ритуалах мы способны преодолеть все странности свои

и целостность в итоге обретаем.

Не все из них, конечно,

нам по нраву:

иные вызывают омерзенье.

Нет ничего Распятому противней, чем

в его же честь

устроенная бойня.


Из археологии одну,

по крайней мере, извлечем мораль,

а именно, что все

учебники нам лгут.

Тому, что мы Историей зовем,

на самом деле, вовсе нечем хвастать,

лишь порождение

всего дурного в нас

лишь наша доброта в веках пребудет.

Август 1973


The Ogre does what ogres can,

Deeds quite impossible for Man,

But one prize is beyond his reach,

The Ogre cannot master Speech:

About a subjugated plain,

Among its desperate and slain,

The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,

While drivel gushes from his lips.

September 1968


Людоед творит, похоже,

То, что Человек не может,

Одного не одолеть

Связной речью овладеть,

По истерзанной долине,

По слезам и мертвечине

Он, ступая руки в боки,

Льет беcсмыслицы потоки.

Сентябрь 1968


(d. January 1939)


He disappeared in the dead of winter:

The brooks were frozen, the air-ports almost deserted?

And snow disfigured the public statues;

The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.

O all the instruments agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness

The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,

The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;

By mourning tongues

The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was last afternoon as himself,

An afternoon of nurses and rumours;

The provinces of his body revolted,

The squares of his mind were empty,

Silence invaded the suburbs,

The current of his feeling failed: he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities

And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections;

To find his happiness in another kind of wood

And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.

The words of a dead man

Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow

When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,

And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,

And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom;

A few thousand will think of this day

As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

O all the instruments agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day.


You were silly like us: your gift survived it all;

The parich of rich women, physical decay,

Yourself; mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.

Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,

For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives

In the valley of its saying where executives

Would never want to tamper; it flows south

From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,

Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,

A way of happening, a mouth.


Earth, receive an honoured guest;

William Yeats is laid to rest:

Let the Irish vessel lie

Emptied of its poetry.

Time that is intolerant,

Of the brave and innocent,

And indifferent in a week

To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives

Everyone by whome it lives;

Pardons cowardice, conceit,

Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse

Pardoned Kipling and his views,

And will pardon Paul Claudel,

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