The Plagiarist’s Song (The Muse)
Words and music by V. Vysotsky
I’m simmering with unexploded anger,
I’m set to blow like 20 tons of TNT.
The Muse dropped by the other night – but dang’er!
She up and left, didn’t even stay for tea!
I honestly can’t blame her for departing,
I’m sure she had good grounds to walk away.
Just think: the Muse, at night, in my apartment.
Imagine that! What would the neighbors say?
Yet I am hurt, I’m feeling sad and weakened,
I wasn’t even worth a one-night stand!
And yet with Blake, I hear, she hung our every weekend.
With Shakespeare she would stay for weeks on end.
I hurried to my desk, for greatness famished.
Here comes an epic poem, nothing less!
But she is gone, my inspiration vanished,
As did 10 dollars – for a cab, I guess.
I pace the dirty floor, all hot and bothered.
Still, I forgive her, even though it’s tough.
She went away, she left me for another,
My company just wasn’t good enough.
The giant cake with candles meant to dazzle
Has crumbled, and I’m down with the blues.
My so-called friends, meanwhile, have found and guzzled
The French champagne intended for the Muse.
The years slip by like undiscovered island.
My life has soured like mediocre wine.
She went away in enigmatic silence,
And yet she left me two amazing lines.
Two perfect lines – no poet ranks above me!
Now fame and fortune’s sure to come my way!
Two perfect lines: “Thou art so temperate and lovely!
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
[Adapted from a translation by Serge Elnitsky]