You're unhappy, sick at heart:
Oh, I know it-here such sickness isn't rare.
Nature can but mirror
The surrounding poverty.
All is ever drear and dismal,
Pastures, fields, and meadows,
Wet and drowsy jackdaws
Resting on the peaked haystacks;
Here's a drunken peasant driving
His collapsing nag
Into far-off blueish mists,
Such a gloomy sky . . . It makes one weep!
The rich city is no better, though:
The same storm clouds race across the sky;
It's hard on the nerves-steel shovels
Scraping, screeching as they clean the streets
Work's beginning everywhere;
From the fire tower an alarm goes up;
A condemned man's brought outside
Where the executioners already wait.
At the break of day a prostitute is hurrying
Home from someone's bed;
Officers inside a hired carriage
Leave the city-there will be a duel.
Shopkeepers have roused themselves
And they rush to sit behind their counters:
All day long they need to swindle
If they want to eat their fill at night.
Listen! Cannon fire from the fortress!
There's a flood endangering the capital . . .
Someone's died: Upon a scarlet cushion
Lies a first-class Anna decoration.
Now a yardman beats a thief-he got him!
Geese are driven out to slaughter;
From an upper floor the crackle
Of a shot-another suicide. .