Emperors, rulers, kings, and dictators
Fainting in the frankinscence of praise,
Opened their mouths like huge, gaping craters,
— We’re the symbols of the age
— Those not with us are hateful to God
— Those not with us are foes of all. —
They were showered with scraggly laurels,
By their bow-legged feet they would fall.
And their cheap little lickspittle servants
A band of invalids that knew what pays,
So as not to die from famine or of scurvy,
Fed the monarchs with their sycophantish praise.
And so the idols, kissed and fawned upon,
Pranced away with great to-do;
And then stood the rulers uncrowned:
Coriphaeuses — sovereigns true —
Copernicus rose and Giorgione,
And Shevchenko lifted his brow.
And by their eternal ethereal thrown
There was no sycophant to bow
For the true, the honest heavens
You just cannot paint with a brush.
For real greatness never needed
Fake idolatry as a crutch.
Перекладач: Andriy M. Freishyn-Chirovsky