Schevchenko – Testament

Schevchenko statue

When I die, make me a grave
High on an ancient hill
In my beloved Ukraine,
Out on the endless steppe:
Where one may see vast fields of wheat,
The steep banks of Dnipro
And hear the wild river’s
Turbulent roar.

Not until Ukraine’s forces
Have swept the enemy’s blood
Into the deep blue sea
Will I depart from these hills
And wheatlands forever :
Leave all behind, and ascend
To the throne of God
Where I’ll make my prayer.
But until that time
I’ll know nothing of God.

Make my grave there—rise up,
Throw off your shackles,
Bless your freedom with the blood
Of the enemy’s evil veins !
Then in that great family,
A new and free family,
Never forget, with kindness,
Speak of me fondly.

Taras Schevchenko

(version by John Lyons)


Taras Schevchenko (1814-1861), is Ukraine’s national poet and the personification of the Ukrainians’ thirst for liberty and independence. The statue stands in Taras Schevchenko Park opposite the National University in Kyiv. 

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Schevchenko – Do not envy

Schevchenko - a peasant family
         The peasant family, Taras Schevchenko (1843)

Do not envy the rich man,
He knows nothing ever
Of friendship nor of love—
For those he must pay.
Do not envy the powerful,
They are obliged to bully ;
Do not envy the famous
For they know well enough
It’s not they who are loved
But their bitter fame

Which in order to please gushes
From the blood and tears of bitter pain.
And to the young they meet,
All is quiet and blissful
As in paradise—but see :
Something is really wrong.

Therefore, envy, no one ;
Look around—and you will never
Find paradise on this earth,
Nor, indeed, in heaven above.

Taras Schevchenko

(version by John Lyons)


Taras Schevchenko, (1814-1861) is Ukraine’s national poet and the personification of the Ukrainians’ thirst for liberty and independence. Schevchenko was born into serfdom, but in 1838, a group of artist friends purchased his freedom with the proceeds from a sale of their paintings. Schevchenko was an accomplished painter of landscapes and historical canvases

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