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Songs

Skazhy o chom v teni vetvej ('Oh say, what is it, in shady branches')

by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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Text & Translation

Skazhy o chom v teni vetvej ('Oh say, what is it, in shady branches')
Russian source: Fyodor Sologub

Skazhi, o chjom v teni vetvej,
kogda priroda otdykhajet,
pojot vesennij solovej
i chto on pesnej vyrazhajet?
Chto tajno vsem volnujet krov'?
Skazhi, skazhi, kakoje slovo
znakomo vsem i vechno novo?
Ljubov'!

Skazhi, o chjom najedine
v razdum'e devushka gadajet,
chto tajnym trepetom vo sne
jej strakh i radost' obeshchajet?
Nedug tot strannyj nazovi,
v kotorom svetlaja otrada.
Chego jej zhdat'? Chego jej nado?
Ljubvi!

Kogda ot zhiznennoj toski
ty, utomlennyj, iznyvajesh'
i, zloj pechali vopreki,
khot' prizrak schast'ja prizyvajesh'
chto uslazhdajet grud' tvoju?
Ne te li zvuki nezemnye,
kogda uslyshal ty vpervye --
Ljublju?!

Oh say, what is it, in shady branches
English translation © Philip Ross Bullock

Oh say, what is it, in shady branches,
When nature is at rest,
That makes the nightingale sing in spring,
And what it is that his song expresses?
What stirs our blood so mysteriously?
Oh say, oh say, what word
Is known to all and is so ever new?
It is love!

Of say, what causes, all alone,
The maiden to wonder and presume,
What fills her sleep with secret trembling,
And promises fear and joy?
Oh name that strange affliction,
Full of radiant delight, for which
She longs and so desires:
It is love!

Oh say, when burdened by life’s cares,
You languish in exhaustion,
And yet for all sad care,
You still summon up the ghost of happiness,
What brings gladness to your breast?
Is it not those unearthly sounds,
When you first heard
The words, the words of love!

Skazhy o chom v teni vetvej ('Oh say, what is it, in shady branches')
Russian source: Fyodor Sologub

Oh say, what is it, in shady branches
English source: Philip Ross Bullock

Skazhi, o chjom v teni vetvej,
Oh say, what is it, in shady branches,
kogda priroda otdykhajet,
When nature is at rest,
pojot vesennij solovej
That makes the nightingale sing in spring,
i chto on pesnej vyrazhajet?
And what it is that his song expresses?
Chto tajno vsem volnujet krov'?
What stirs our blood so mysteriously?
Skazhi, skazhi, kakoje slovo
Oh say, oh say, what word
znakomo vsem i vechno novo?
Is known to all and is so ever new?
Ljubov'!
It is love!

Skazhi, o chjom najedine
Of say, what causes, all alone,
v razdum'e devushka gadajet,
The maiden to wonder and presume,
chto tajnym trepetom vo sne
What fills her sleep with secret trembling,
jej strakh i radost' obeshchajet?
And promises fear and joy?
Nedug tot strannyj nazovi,
Oh name that strange affliction,
v kotorom svetlaja otrada.
Full of radiant delight, for which
Chego jej zhdat'? Chego jej nado?
She longs and so desires:
Ljubvi!
It is love!

Kogda ot zhiznennoj toski
Oh say, when burdened by life’s cares,
ty, utomlennyj, iznyvajesh'
You languish in exhaustion,
i, zloj pechali vopreki,
And yet for all sad care,
khot' prizrak schast'ja prizyvajesh'
You still summon up the ghost of happiness,
chto uslazhdajet grud' tvoju?
What brings gladness to your breast?
Ne te li zvuki nezemnye,
Is it not those unearthly sounds,
kogda uslyshal ty vpervye --
When you first heard
Ljublju?!
The words, the words of love!

Composer

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the Romantic period. His works are still among the most popular music in the classical repetoire, and he is widely acknowledged as the first Russian composer to make a lasting international…

Performances

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