Eino Leino


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Eino Leino was a bit of a Finnish Shakespeare, he modified and even recreated the Finnish language. His use of language is incredible, and most certainly I haven't been able to translate it all.

The poem Löysäläisen laulu ~ Song of a drifter, is from early 1920's, after the civil war / liberation war we had, right after our independence. It's a kind of fighting song, Leino was active on all levels of human being - it contains love and sorrow, hunger and trust, as well as politics. It's a bit sorrow, but that's how we Finns are. Do pay attention to the verrrrry strong rrrrrrrrrrrrr we have!

Sang by Vesa-Matti Loiri, also found in http://windowsforum.com/threads/comedy-club.178446/#post-581765

Lyrics, translated by me:

The road travels
a bookless, cattleless man

The ride of Crown would probably
be too much for him

strange as are for him
home country, homestead and stove,

party, family and else,
taxes, baize and debt and yoke.

Not part of community,
not part of society,

the worst of all
citicens he is,

unless he belongs
to the most certain state of life,

with castles and countries
near to heaven's sun.

But he sings!
Listen how he walking

hums smiling
like hymns of a foreign country.

Words are confused.
Mixed sounds from his songs,

but they hum
in wilderness murmur:

"The draught of life took my flower.
All left was work -

endless days,
heartpain of winter night.

Organize, poor brains,
or heaven will strike:

Human woman or man,
who'll eat bread next autumn.

But I laugh,
I cry now, always,

the weakness inexorable
of persecutors of word, freedom.

What can they do?
Pain a bit,

prolong what is
the fulfilment of the law.

Who? Challenges?
Way, work, truth and work.

Around us sickness and winter
and hunger and poverty and night.

I would still, ah, shame the one
who eats his bread

when father, mother and child
and dear is struck by death.

Oh dear, dearest!
You still hear me?

My sorrow calls
like a far cry

I remember You
as a beauty lost.

My feel, pain makes me
far, far away from You!

But even if they take me
to far off heavy waves

where my love and song
has its high country

what can they do?
The Higher,

they never saw,
never they will see.

The road travels
a bookless, cattleless man

The child of Earth or Heaven?
Or to Hell fire?

Strange as are for you
home country, homestead and stove,

party, family and else,
you have your own yoke.
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Extraordinary Member
Premium Supporter
One more, for enjoyment or nuisance. It's a poetic presentation / demonstration of a young Nation, and the despair felt. I'm quite sure similar can be found elsewhere, like America. It's about the birth of independent Finland. Very beautiful, I listened to it some 100 times before I understood it: the red stripe, which was used in first elections. There's a book by Ilmari Kianto, and a film and opera made.

Eino Leino

Haihtuvi nuoruus niinkuin vierivä virta. Fades youth as a rolling stream.

Langat jo harmaat lyö elon kultainen pirta. Threads already grey hit by life's golden rail.

Turhaan, oi turhaan tartun ma hetkehen kiinni, In vain, oh in vain I catch the moment,

riemua ei suo rattoisa seura, ei viini. no joy in pleasent company, or wine.


Häipyvät taakse tahtoni ylpeät päivät. Disappear my days of proud will.

Henkeni hurmat ammoin jo jälkehen jäivät. Charm of my spirit long disappeared.

Notkosta nousin. Taasko on painua tieni? Rose from the hollow. Again to go down?

Toivoni ainoo: tuskaton tuokio pieni. My hope only: painless small moment.


Tiedän ma: rauha mulle on mullassa suotu. I know: peace granted in ground for me.

Etsijän tielle ei lepo lempeä luotu, Way of mild rest was not for the searcher,

pohjoinen puhuu, myrskyhyn aurinko vaipuu, north speaks, sun sets in storm,

jää punajuova: kauneuden voimaton kaipuu. leaves a red stripe: powerless longing of beauty.


Upposi mereen unteni kukkivat kunnaat. Sunk in the sea my flowering hills.

Mies olen köyhä: kallit on laulujen lunnaat. Poor a man: expensive ransom on songs.

Kaikkeni annoin, hetken ma heilua jaksoin, Gave all, could sway a moment,

haavehen kullat mieleni murheella maksoin. gold of dream paid with sorrow of mind.


Uupunut olen, ah, sydänjuurihin saakka! Tired I am, ah, to the roots of my heart!

Liikaako lienee pantukin paatinen taakka? To much of given wordly burden?

Tai olen niitä, joilla on tahto, ei voima? Or one of those with will, but not power?

Voittoni tyhjä, työn tulos tuntoni soima. Victory nought, work rebuked by my conscience.


Siis oli suotta kestetyt, vaikeat vaivat, Thus needlessly bared, hard suffers,

katkotut kahleet, poltetut, rakkahat laivat? cut chains, burned, dear vessels?

Nytkö ma kaaduin, kun oli kaikkeni tarpeen? Now I fell, when all was needed?

Jähmetyn jääksi, kun meni haavani arpeen. Turn ice, when my wounds scarred.


Toivoton taisto taivaan valtoja vastaan! Hopeless fight against heavenly powers!

Kaikuvi kannel; lohduta laulu ei lastaan. Sounds kantele; song doesn't comfort its child.

Hallatar haastaa, soi sävel sortuvin siivin. Lady Frost challenges, tune turns with broken wings.

Rotkoni rauhaan kuin peto kuoleva hiivin. I go to rest in my ravine like a dying beast.
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