a song by Alexander Gradsky
I don’t know how many English speakers ever heard or read this comic seduction tale, Wha Is That At My Bower-Door?, but its translation, Финдлей (Findlay), is probably one of the best-known and loved poems of the Bard in the Russian-speaking world. In a much smaller world of Russian speakers, which includes myself, the iambic trimeter of the even lines is easily adapted to form humorous utterances like писец, сказал монтёр, which I find indispensable in daily life. The structure of English (Scots) version is slightly different and, in my view, does not lend itself to such use. Also, Marshak’s verse has more diversity: the fourth line of every stanza is always different! Even though I know that the name pronounced as /ˈfɪnlɪ/, I really like the boldly “wrong” Russian pronunciation /fɪnˈdleɪ/.
Wha Is That At My Bower-Door
|Роберт Бёрнс, перевод С.Я. Маршака|
“Wha is that at my bower door?”
— Кто там стучится в поздний час?
Финдлей is one of five songs on Burns’ lyrics written by Alexander Gradsky in early 1970s. They first appeared on a LP Размышления Шута issued by Melodiya in 1987. In contrast to the hits В полях под снегом и дождём and Наш старый дом, the rest of these songs never became a regular part of his repertoire. Today, it sounds a bit dated, but please keep in mind that Финдлей was one of the first (probably the first) prog-rock compositions ever recorded in the USSR.