“Dark Eyes”


“Dark Eyes” (Russian: «Очи чёрные», Ochi chyornye; transl. “Black Eyes”) is probably the most famous Russian romance song.

In “The Book of World-famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk“, published in 2000, the author, J.Fuld, mentions that a Soviet musicologist had reported to him that the song is not “a Russian Traditional song but a cabaret song”, published in a songs book by A. Gutheil in 1897 and mentioned, at p. 131, as a “Gypsy romance based on the melody of Florian Hermann’s Valse Hommage.” Of the original melody author, Florian Hermann, not a single music score is known.


Translation of the lyrics:

Black eyes, passionate eyes,
Burning and beautiful eyes!
How I love you, how I fear you,
It seems I met you in an unlucky hour!

Oh, not for nothing are you darker than the deep!
I see mourning for my soul in you,
I see a triumphant flame in you:
A poor heart immolated in it.

But I am not sad, I am not sorrowful,
My fate is soothing to me:
All that is best in life that God gave us,
In sacrifice I returned to the fiery eyes!