Poems for Lent: In vain I hide my heart’s fierce pain

In vain I hide my heart’s fierce pain

By Aleksándr Sumarókov

In vain I hide my heart’s fierce pain,

In vain pretend to inner calm.

I can’t be calm a single hour,

I can’t no matter how I try.

My heart by sighs, my eyes by tears,

reveal the secret misery.

You make all my efforts vain,

you, who stole my liberty!


Bringing a savage fate to me,

you troubled my spirit’s peace,

you changed my freedom to a jail,

you turned my delight to sorrow.

And secretly, to my bitterest hurt,

perhaps you sigh for some other woman,

perhaps devoured by a useless passion,

as I for you, you suffer too for her.


I long to see you: when I do I’m mad,

anxious, lest my eyes give me away:

I’m troubled in your presence, in your absence

I’m sad that you can’t know how I love.

Shame tries to drive desire from my heart

while love in turn tries to drive out shame.

And in this fierce conflict thought is clouded,

the heart is torn, it suffers, and it burns.


So I fling myself from torment to torment.

I want to show my heart, ashamed to do it,

I don’t know what I want, oh, that’s true,

what I do know is I’m filled with sorrow.

I know my mind’s held prisoner by you,

wherever I am it conjures your dear image:

I know, consumed by the cruellest passion,

there’s no way to forget you on this earth.