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The Rhyme of the Three Sealers

Повесть о котиках

Joseph Rudyard Kipling


Джозеф Редьярд Киплинг

В переводе Лапина Бориса Матвеевича и Хацревина Захара Львовича

Joseph Rudyard Kipling – Джозеф Редьярд Киплинг
30 декабря 1865 года – 18 января 1936 года

The Rhyme of the Three Sealers Повесть о котиках
                     Away by the lands of the Japanee,
                         When the paper lanterns glow
                     And the crews of all the shipping drink
                         In the house of Blood Street Joe,
                     At twilight, when the landward breeze
                         Brings up the harbour noise,
                     And ebb of Yokohama Bay
                         Swigs chattering through the buoys,
                     In Cisco's Dewdrop Dining Rooms
                         They tell the tale anew
                     Of a hidden sea and a hidden fight,
                     When the Baltic ran from the Northern Light
                         And the Stralsund fought the two!
Послушай повесть о котиках и о бурных белых морях,
О тайных охотах, о дальних портах, о старинных моряках,
И о том, как умер Томас Холл, и о той кровавой войне,
О которой я записал рассказ в далекой теплой стране
(В Японии), где гейши живут и кумирни тонут в цветах,
И матросы спирт глушат и орут в горящих огнем домах,
И ветер опасных плаваний доносит шум морской
В часы, когда в спящей гавани полощется прибой.
В харчевне старого Циско-Джо я этот рассказ записал –
О скрытых боях возле скрытых скал,
Когда «Зунд» в тумане «Штральзунда» гнал,
О тумане, в котором Рюбен Пейн
На черный дек упал.
Now this is the Law of the Muscovite, that he proves with shot and steel,
When ye come by his isles in the Smoky Sea ye must not take the seal,
Where the gray sea goes nakedly between the weed-hung shelves,
And the little blue fox he is bred for his skin and the seal they breed for themselves;
For when the matkas seek the shore to drop their pups aland,
The great man-seal haul out of the sea, aroaring, band by band;
And when the first September gales have slaked their rutting-wrath,
The great man-seal haul back to the sea and no man knows their path.
Then dark they lie and stark they lie – rookery, dune, and floe,
And the Northern Lights come down o' nights to dance with the houseless snow.
And God who clears the grounding berg and steers the grinding floe,
He hears the cry of the little kit-fox and the lemming on the snow.
But since our women must walk gay and money buys their gear,
The sealing-boats they filch that way at hazard year by year.
English they be and Japanee that hang on the Brown Bear's flank,
And some be Scot, but the worst, God wot, and the boldest thieves, be Yank!

It was the sealer Northern Light, to the Smoky Seas she bore.
With a stovepipe stuck from a starboard port and the Russian flag at her fore.
(Baltic, Stralsund, and Northern Light – oh! they were birds of a feather – 
Slipping away to the Smoky Seas, three seal-thieves together!)
And at last she came to a sandy cove and the Baltic lay therein,
But her men were up with the herding seal to drive and club and skin.
There were fifteen hundred skins abeach, cool pelt and proper fur,
When the Northern Light drove into the bight and the sea-mist drove with her.
The Baltic called her men and weighed – she could not choose but run – 
For a stovepipe seen through the closing mist, it shows like a four-inch gun
(And loss it is that is sad as death to lose both trip and ship
And lie for a rotting contraband on Vladivostock slip).
She turned and dived in the sea-smother as a rabbit dives in the whins,
And the Northern Light sent up her boats to steal the stolen skins.
They had not brought a load to side or slid their hatches clear,
When they were aware of a sloop-of-war, ghost-white and very near.
Her flag she showed, and her guns she showed – three of them, black, abeam,
And a funnel white with the crusted salt, but never a show of steam.
There was no time to man the brakes, they knocked the shackle free,
And the Northern Light stood out again, goose-winged to open sea.

(For life it is that is worse than death, by force of Russian law
To work in the mines of mercury that loose the teeth in your jaw!)
They had not run a mile from shore – they heard no shots behind – 
When the skipper smote his hand on his thigh and threw her up in the wind:
"Bluffed – raised out on a bluff," said he, "for if my name's Tom Hall,
You must set a thief to catch a thief – and a thief has caught us all!
By every butt in Oregon and every spar in Maine,
The hand that spilled the wind from her sail was the hand of Reuben Paine!
He has rigged and trigged her with paint and spar, and, faith, he has faked her well – 
But I'd know the Stralsund's deckhouse yet from here to the booms o' Hell.
Oh, once we ha' met at Baltimore, and twice on Boston pier,
But the sickest day for you, Reuben Paine, was the day that you came here – 
The day that you came here, my lad, to scare us from our seal
With your funnel made o' your painted cloth, and your guns o' rotten deal!
Ring and blow for the Baltic now, and head her back to the bay,
For we'll come into the game again with a double deck to play!"

They rang and blew the sealers' call – the poaching cry o' the sea – 
And they raised the Baltic out of the mist, and an angry ship was she:
And blind they groped through the whirling white, and blind to the bay again,
Till they heard the creak of the Stralsund's boom and the clank of her mooring-chain.
They laid them down by bitt and boat, their pistols in their belts,
And: "Will you fight for it, Reuben Paine, or will you share the pelts?"

A dog-toothed laugh laughed Reuben Paine, and bared his flenching knife.
"Yea, skin for skin, and all that he hath a man will give for his life;
But I've six thousand skins below, and Yeddo Port to see,
And there's never a law of God or man runs north of Fifty-Three.
So go in peace to the naked seas with empty holds to fill,
And I'll be good to your seal this catch, as many as I shall kill."

Answered the snap of a closing lock and the jar of a gun-butt slid,
But the tender fog shut fold on fold to hide the wrong they did.
The weeping fog rolled fold on fold the wrath of man to cloak,
And the flame-spurts pale ran down the rail as the sealing-rifles spoke.
The bullets bit on bend and butt, the splinter slivered free,
(Little they trust to sparrow-dust that stop the seal in his sea!)
The thick smoke hung and would not shift, leaden it lay and blue,
But three were down on the Baltic's deck and two of the Stralsund's crew.
An arm's length out and overside the banked fog held them bound;
But, as they heard or groan or word, they fired at the sound.
For one cried out on the name of God, and one to have him cease;
And the questing volley found them both and bade them hold their peace.
And one called out on a heathen joss and one on the Virgin's Name;
And the schooling bullet leaped across and showed them whence they came.
And in the waiting silences the rudder whined beneath,
And each man drew his watchful breath slow taken 'tween the teeth –
Trigger and ear and eye acock, knit brow and hard-drawn lips – 
Bracing his feet by chock and cleat for the rolling of the ships:
Till they heard the cough of a wounded man that fought in the fog for breath,
Till they heard the torment of Reuben Paine that wailed upon his death:

"The tides they'll go through Fundy Race but I'll go never more
And see the hogs from ebb-tide mark turn scampering back to shore.
No more I'll see the trawlers drift below the Bass Rock ground,
Or watch the tall Fall steamer lights tear blazing up the Sound.
Sorrow is me, in a lonely sea and a sinful fight I fall,
But if there's law o' God or man you'll swing for it yet, Tom Hall!"
Tom Hall stood up by the quarter-rail. "Your words in your teeth," said he.
"There's never a law of God or man runs north of Fifty Three.
So go in grace with Him to face, and an ill-spent life behind,
And I'll take care o' your widows, Rube, as many as I shall find."

A Stralsund man shot blind and large, and a warlock Finn was he,
And he hit Tom Hall with a bursting ball a hand's-breadth over the knee.
Tom Hall caught hold by the topping-lift, and sat him down with an oath,
"You'll wait a little, Rube," he said, "the Devil has called for both.
The Devil is driving both this tide, and the killing-grounds are close,
And we'll go up to the Wrath of God as the holluschickie goes.
O men, put back your guns again and lay your rifles by,
We've fought our fight, and the best are down. Let up and let us die!
Quit firing, by the bow there – quit! Call off the Baltic's crew!
You're sure of Hell as me or Rube – but wait till we get through."
There went no word between the ships, but thick and quick and loud
The life-blood drummed on the dripping decks, with the fog-dew from the shroud,
The sea-pull drew them side by side, gunnel to gunnel laid,
And they felt the sheerstrakes pound and clear, but never a word was said.

Then Reuben Paine cried out again before his spirit passed:
"Have I followed the sea for thirty years to die in the dark at last?
Curse on her work that has nipped me here with a shifty trick unkind – 
I have gotten my death where I got my bread, but I dare not face it blind.
Curse on the fog! Is there never a wind of all the winds I knew
To clear the smother from off my chest, and let me look at the blue?"
The good fog heard – like a splitten sail, to left and right she tore,
And they saw the sun-dogs in the haze and the seal upon the shore.
Silver and gray ran spit and bay to meet the steel-backed tide,
And pinched and white in the clearing light the crews stared overside.
O rainbow-gay the red pools lay that swilled and spilled and spread,
And gold, raw gold, the spent shell rolled between the careless dead – 
The dead that rocked so drunkenwise to weather and to lee,
And they saw the work their hands had done as God had bade them see!
«Говорят, Сибирь – золотое дно и надо быть только смелым,
Говорят, песец там дешевле зайца, а соболь ручной, как собака,
Говорят, сибирские инородцы дрожат перед каждым белым,
Говорят, что лихо хлещут водку и надо быть только смелым...»
Но сибирский закон, говорят, суров (о, горе тебе, зверолов!).
Пушки и пули ждут хищников у русских берегов.
Горе тем, кто бьет голубых песцов, кто стреляет морских бобров, –
Заковав в кандалы, сведут их в острог, а шхуны идут с торгов.
И песец – это много вина и еды, это верно, как банковский чек,
А соболий хвост светит ярче звезд для моих Мэд, Марьон и Мэг,
И с тех пор как белые женщины носят мех и подарков ждут,
Корабли идут по морским волнам и люди зверя бьют.
Послушай рассказ о котиках и о том, кто бежал в туман.
(А ты покамест, кабатчик Джо, налей мне еще стакан!)
Говорят, весной самки котиков плывут к холодной земле –
Впереди их ждут большие самцы и победно ревут во мгле,
И как только первый сентябрьский свей дохнет из темных морей,
Большие самцы уходят назад, и никто не найдет их путей.
И снова чисты, и снова пусты мели и устья рек
Да сполохи пляшут, из темноты светясь в бездомный снег.
И дух морей, направляющий рыб по путям ледовитых глыб,
Слышит жалобный крик полярной лисы да пурги протяжный всхлип.
...Парусник «Зунд» взял норд-норд-ост, пройдя камчатский маяк,
И в рубке его был звездный флаг, а над гротом был русский флаг.
Он был похож на русский фрегат и грозно скользил в туман,
И грузные бревна к борту привязал, как пушки, его капитан.
(О, как был хитер его капитан, но черт был хитрей его,
Но черт, друзья, был хитрей его, умней и хитрей его!)


















(...Капитан «Штральзунда» стоит на спардеке в розовых, как заря,
 подтяжках. Его зовут Томас Холл. Я ясно представляю себе, как
 лицо его наливается кровью, он прыгает на коротких ногах, машет рукой:
 «Свистать всех наверх! В залив вошел русский фрегат!..» Матросы кидаются
 к лодкам бросив шкуры убитых котиков на берегу, и «Штральзунд» подымает паруса.)













Пяти кабельтовых они не прошли, не слыша выстрелов вслед,
Когда шкипер хлопнул по лбу рукой и свистнул себе в ответ.
«Обман за обман, – воскликнул он. – Да не будь я Томас Холл,
Здесь у вора шкуры вор украл и вора вор провел.
Куда девались мои глаза, когда я дал ход назад,
И будь я повешен, если тот корабль был русский фрегат!
Во имя всех шхун Ванкувера и всех твоих шлюпок, Мейн, –
Всё это проделал не кто иной, как старый Рюбен Пейн.
Он чинил и белил свой треклятый бот (пусть дьявол его возьмет!),
Но я узнал декгауз его судна, и он от меня не уйдет».
...В ответ ему звонко щелкнул затвор, и залп раздался в упор,
Холодный длинный унесся крик, и снова щелкнул затвор,
И резкий, рваный, щемящий треск начавшейся стрельбы
Терялся в плотной туманной мгле, как разговор судьбы.
И туман всё полз, и в нем был скрыт весь мир со всех сторон.
И каждый стрелял туда, где ему послышался крик или стон.
И в молчании дня вперед-назад только ржавый скрипел штурвал
Да с ржавым скрипом каждый моряк зубами душу сжимал,
И слушал свист, несущий смерть, и видел близость конца,
Стирая жестким рукавом холодный пот с лица.
Как вдруг раздался сдавленный крик, словно кто-то воздух ловил,
Это раненный насмерть Рюбен Пейн, как женщина в муке, вопил:
«Том Холл, Том Холл, сумел твой глаз мишень в тумане взять:
Так вот где ты, мой последний час. О, если б мог я знать...
Отлив пройдет Лаврентьев проход, но мне не вернуться с ним,
Не увидеть седого руна волны, скользящей по галькам сырым,
Не ложиться в дрейф рядом с тральщиком, не тянуть морской улов,
Не следить в непогодную хмурь глазки веселых огней маяков.
И горько мне. В этой хмурой стране для себя я конец нашел,
Но придет и твой беспощадный суд – и вспомни меня, Том Холл».
Другой усмехнулся, как жирный кот: «Ты это славно сказал.
Ступай просить суда у моржей на скаты приморских скал.
Пусть с миром ползет до адских ворот твоя душа, пират,
Поверь, я утешу всех твоих вдов и выпью за свой возврат».
Услышал ли это добрый туман? Но едва он окончил речь,
Как туман осел и пополз к воде и словно начал течь.
Он слегся, как парус, спущенный вниз, раздался, спал к сторонам,
И все увидели море, лазурь и котиков по берегам.
И с плеском прилив наползал в залив стадами серебряных грив,
И люди, омытые блеском лучей, стояли, глаза опустив.
And a little breeze blew over the rail that made the headsails lift,
But no man stood by wheel or sheet, and they let the schooners drift.
And the rattle rose in Reuben's throat and he cast his soul with a cry,
And "Gone already?" Tom Hall he said. "Then it's time for me to die."
His eyes were heavy with great sleep and yearning for the land,
And he spoke as a man that talks in dreams, his wound beneath his hand.
"Oh, there comes no good in the westering wind that backs against the sun;
Wash down the decks – they're all too red – and share the skins and run,
Baltic, Stralsund, and Northern Light, – clean share and share for all,
You'll find the fleets off Tolstoi Mees, but you will not find Tom Hall.
Evil he did in shoal-water and blacker sin on the deep,
But now he's sick of watch and trick, and now he'll turn and sleep.
He'll have no more of the crawling sea that made him suffer so,
But he'll lie down on the killing-grounds where the holluschickie go.
And west you'll turn and south again, beyond the sea-fog's rim,
And tell the Yoshiwara girls to burn a stick for him.
And you'll not weight him by the heels and dump him overside,
But carry him up to the sand-hollows to die as Bering died,
And make a place for Reuben Paine that knows the fight was fair,
And leave the two that did the wrong to talk it over there!"
И легкий ветер скользнул в снастях, завяз горбом в парусах,
Но никто не вертел тяжелый штурвал и трос не держал в руках.
И Рюбен Пейн тяжело вздохнул последним вздохом своим,
И Том Холл сказал: «Одному капут. Пора и мне за ним».
В глаза его пал великий сон свидания с черной землей,
И он говорил, как сквозь дрему больной, с прижатой к ране рукой:
«Западный ветер... сломанный лед... он мне ничего не несет...
Отмойте палубу... кровь с борта... и бегите из этих вод...
Эй, «Зунд» и «Штральзунд», ровно делить!.. Шкуры поровну всем ловцам.
Вы встретите новый день, но Том Холл никогда не встретится вам.
Он навеки ушел от пьяной волны и от грязных рыбных снастей,
И теперь он уснет на тех берегах, где лежбище сивых моржей.
Держите на запад и снова на юг, где льдов и туманов нет,
Пусть там веселые девушки услышат его привет.
И вы не несите к его холмам и не ставьте каменных плит,
А заройте его у песчаных дюн, где Беринг был зарыт,
И рядом пусть ляжет Рюбен Пейн – он знал, как сладок бой,
И покиньте нас, и потом подчас вспоминайте между собой».
Half-steam ahead by guess and lead, for the sun is mostly veiled – 
Through fog to fog, by luck and log, sail ye as Bering sailed;
And, if the light shall lift aright to give your landfall plain,
North and by west, from Zapne Crest, ye raise the Crosses Twain.
Fair marks are they to the inner bay, the reckless poacher knows,
What time the scarred see-catchie lead their sleek seraglios.
Ever they hear the floe-pack clear, and the blast of the old bull-whale,
And the deep seal-roar that beats off shore above the loudest gale.
Ever they wait the winter's hate as the thundering boorga calls,
Where northward look they to St. George, and westward to St. Paul's.
Ever they greet the hunted fleet – lone keels off headlands drear – 
When the sealing-schooners flit that way at hazard year by year.
Ever in Yokohama Port men tell the tale anew
        Of a hidden sea and a hidden fight,
        When the Baltic ran from the Northern Light
And the Stralsund fought the two!
Переводчик: 
Лапин Борис Матвеевич и Хацревин Захар Львович

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