Vladimir Vysotsky: Songs: Trans. by Slava Katz

Vysotsky's Lyrics: Translation by Slava Katz

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Song about a friend
Russian title: Pesnya o druge
If a friend isn't a friend anymore,  
And he's neither a foe but a draw;
If you can't understand at once
If he's good   take a chance.

Take him once for a climb at dawn,
On a trail do not leave him alone:
When your rope is the same as his 
You will learn who he is.

If his spirit is lost at the start,
If he keeps you for nothing on guard,                             
If he's scared when steps on ice,
And when slips then he cries.

Then you know that he may betray,   
Do not chide him, just send him away:
Those, who are like him don't belong,
They are not for a song.   

If he did not repine, did not whine,                           
Though gloomy and angry but climbed,       
When you fell from a cliff on ascent       
He just groaned but held;

If he's been like a combat cohort,
On the peak has been high with your horde,
Then you know   on bright day or dim
You can count on him.
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