Anna Akhmatova

(23 June 1889 – 5 March 1966 / Odessa)

Gray-Eyed King


Glory to you, inescapable pain!
The gray-eyed king died yesterday.

The autumn evening was sultry and red,
My husband returned and quietly said:

'You know, they brought him back from the hunt,
They found his corpse by the old oak tree.

I pity the queen. He was so young! ..
In just one night her hair turned white.'

He found his pipe on the mantelpiece
And went out to his nighttime shift.

I'll go and wake my daughter now,
I'll look into her little gray eyes.

While outside the rustling poplars say:
'Your king is no longer upon this earth…'

Another translation.
By Yevgeny Bonver:


The Grey-Eyed King

Hail! Hail to thee, o, immovable pain!
The young grey-eyed king had been yesterday slain.

This autumnal evening was stuffy and red.
My husband, returning, had quietly said,

'He'd left for his hunting; they carried him home;
They'd found him under the old oak's dome.

I pity the queen. He, so young, past away! ...
During one night her black hair turned to grey.'

He found his pipe on a warm fire-place,
And quietly left for his usual race.

Now my daughter will wake up and rise -
Mother will look in her dear grey eyes...

And poplars by windows rustle as sing,
'Never again will you see your young king...'


Ilana Weich's translation in 2013:

Yesterday evening the grey eyed king died


Evening, the 73853autumn was glowing and harsh
Husband mine home came, calm and so hush
After the hunting they brought him back here
Body was found under old oak so near.

Pitied be Queen. He was young and so bright
Gray turned her hair just after one night.

Searched for his pipe husband of mine.
Went back to work for a very long night

My little daughter, she sleeps very tight
I’ll wake her to look into lovely gray light.
Under the window the trees whisper’s soft
Gone is your king from this very world.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010
Edited: Monday, June 17, 2013

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