Ivan Krylov
The Musicians

A wealthy music-lover who possessed
A household glee club, lured an unsuspecting guest
To dinner, as a captive audience for his chorus.
Over dessert, he called them in and said, “Sing for us.”

They lifted up their voices, each one singing
With all his might, and in his own good key.
The guest turned pale: his ears were ringing,
And his head was whirling dizzily.

“Spare me!” he begged in agony.
“Your glee club is impossible!
Such bellowing — like a wounded bull!”

“They’re pretty bad, all right,” his host commiserated.
“Just as you say, they tend to bellow.
But each one is a fine, upstanding fellow
Who never in his life has been intoxicated.”

Better to drink a bit, I say.
But do things the right way.

Translated by Guy Daniels

Иван Крылов

Сосед соседа звал откушать;
Но умысел другой тут был:
Хозяин музыку любил
И заманил к себе соседа певчих слушать.
Запели молодцы: кто в лес, кто по дрова,
И у кого что силы стало.
В ушах у гостя затрещало
И закружилась голова.
«Помилуй ты меня, — сказал он с удивленьем, —
Чем любоваться тут? Твой хор
Горланит вздор!» —
«То правда, — отвечал хозяин с умиленьем, —
Они немножечко дерут;
Зато уж в рот хмельного не берут.
И все с прекрасным поведеньем».
А я скажу: по мне уж лучше пей,
Да дело разумей.

Перевод стихотворения Ивана Крылова «Музыканты» на английский.