Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My understanding is that the poem is by Tyutchev, and is called Tears, but for some reason I can't find an English translation of this poem. The fact that I can't find it makes me think I have the author or title wrong. So... Any help?

share|improve this question
Hi. This question might not be on topic here, but it will definitely be on topic on the Music Fans SE. Please commit to the proposal at, in order to make it to beta! – Meaningful Username Aug 18 '14 at 12:33
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Here's Nabokov's translation:

Human tears. O the tears! you that flow when life is begun - or half-gone, tears unseen, tears unknown, you that none can number or drain, you that run like the streamlets of rain from the low clowds of Autumn, long before dawn...

It's available in "Verses and Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry," edited by Brian Boyd and Stanislav Shvabrin.

Here's the original Russian as published on the piece:

Слёзы людские, о слёзы людские,
Льётесь вы ранней и поздней порой…
Льётесь безвестные, льётесь незримые,
Неистощимые, неисчислимые, —
Льётесь, как льются струи дождевые
В осень глухую порою ночной.

Also worth noting, Nikolai Tcherepnin set this poem in his Four Songs, Op. 16 — you might be able to find CD notes that provide a less poetic translation than Nabokov's.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.