(A Novel in Verses)
“ Petri de vanite il avait encore plus de
cette espece d’orgueil qui fait avouer avec
la meme indifference les bonnes comme
les mauvaises actions, suite d’un sentiment
de superiorite, peut-etre imaginare.”
Tire d’une letter particuliere.
Not planning fun for noble people,
And liking friendship so far,
I'd show you a present, little,
That might be better than your are,
Much better than a charming soul,
Than a procured holy dream,
Than poetry of life and goal,
Than simple style and high thoughts' stream;
But so be it - in a biased role,
Receive the different chapters' lot:
Half-simple ones, partly half-solemn,
Ideal or from people, common, --
The careless fruit of playful thought,
Of sleepless nights, light inspirations,
Unripe and faded years, passed,
The cold mind's intent observations
And heart's sore notes in the past.
“He’s in a hurry to exist and feel.”
"My uncle, of the best traditions,
When being almost deceased,
Forced men to treat him with distinction,
Which was the best of his ideas.
Yes, his example - to us for learning,
But, Heavens, how it is boring
To sit with him all day and night,
Not having right to step aside!
What a deplorable deception
To entertain the man, half-dead,
To fix a pillow in his bed,
To give him drugs with sad attention,
To sigh and think in deeps of heart:
When will the deuce take you apart?"
Thus thought the youthful high world's lion,
Flying on horses of a stage,
He was, by a Zeus' will, the scion
Of all his kin of older age.
Friends of Ruslan, Liudmila's lovers!
Permit me, straight from novel's covers,
Without delay and camouflage,
To show my central personage.
Onegin, my good-natured peer,
Has once been born on Neva's sides,
Where maybe you've seen first your light,
Or self shed light, my reader dear.
There once, I've had my walking, too,
But north brings me just cold and flu.
Serving with perfect attestation,
His father lived deeply in debt,
Put every year three balls in action,
And brought his assets to the end.
The fate was humane to Evgeny,
At first, Madam was his kind 'nanny',
Then one Monsieur took him to breed.
The child was spry, but very sweet.
Monsieur l'Abbe, the Frenchman poor -
Not to exhaust the little child -
Made his tuition droll and mild,
Didn't bore him with a moral cruel,
He softly groaned at child's jests -
The Summer Garden was their place.
But when the time of youth, rebellious
Evgeny was obliged to meet -
The time of hope and gentle sadness -
Monsieur was thrown to the street.
Evgeny's free on his life's road,
His hair is cut to suit a mode,
Like London dandies, he is dressed -
And put under the high world's gaze.
He held his French in perfect fashion,
Could write and speak it at a chance,
Led smoothly a mazurka-dance,
His bows were simple and well-stationed.
What do you want, else? They agreed:
The youth is smart and very sweet.
We all have studied, if a little,
Some blurry thing in some vague ways,
So, thank the Lord, among our people,
He's praised who somewhat lore displays.
Onegin was, as thought the crowd -
The judge, decisive one and loud -
A well-learned fellow, but a prude:
He has a talent very good,
In every talk, without tension,
To touch all easily, with a grace,
With air of a learned man and ace,
Stay silent through the dispute's session.
And to invoke smiles of dames,
With unexpected epigrams.
Latin got out of the fashion:
To tell the truth, he knew enough
Words of this once extinguished nation,
To understand an epigraph.
To mention Juvenal at meeting,
Put vale in the text, completing
A letter, he knew (God, acquit!),
Two little rhymes from Aeneid.
He hadn't any lust for digging,
In chronological sad dust,
Depictions of the peoples' past.
But stories, calling for a-giggling -
From Romulus till present days,
His mind held in firsthand a place.
Not having the inspiring passion
To lose his life for tunes and hums,
To all our struggle and agitation,
He couldn't tell trochees from iambs.
For ancient Greeks he claimed some hatred,
But Adam Smith was high-respected:
Being a learned economist,
Evgeny could discourse, at least,
How can a country get more riches,
What is its basis, then, and why
It need not any gold supply,
While having just a product simplest.
His father couldn't him understand,
And used to mortgage all his land.
To list all things, Evgeny'd known,
I can't because of time control;
But what did bear his genius, own,
What did he know best of all,
What was for him from his young years
His labor, blissfulness, and tears,
What did support through daily light
His leisure full of pine and plight -
Was science of the passion precious,
Which once was sung by Nason's heart,
For that, a sufferer, he cut
His life, the brilliant and rebellious,
Amidst Moldavia's wild plains,
Far from his Italy's green lanes.
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How soon he started to dissemble,
To be just jealous, and to hide
Some kind of hope, to be able
To show faithfulness and pride,
To look like one, who's grim and plighted,
Indifferent and, yet, delighted!
How silent was he in his pine,
How hot his talk was, how fine,
How untidy in a letter!
With single breath, with single love -
How he appeared self-deprived!
How swift his glance could be and gentle,
Brazen and shy, and by a chance,
Shined with a controlled tear, at once!
How could he seem to be as novel,
Upset with humor a naive,
Shock with despair, playing a role,
Amuse by flattery in grief,
Catch every moment of light sweetness,
By mind's and passion's might and swiftness,
Win shyness of the virgin years,
Wait for a minute of a grace,
Pray and demand a full confession,
Feel first exertion of a heart,
Chase hidden love and - and, at last,
Receive a "yes" for date of passion.
And later, in a lone place,
Teach her in silence and in grace!
How early, he could, make quite fev'rish
Hearts of the coquettes on the list!
When he desired fully to vanquish
Some one of his adversaries,
How caustically he talked scandal,
What nets he used for them to handle!
But you, so many husbands, blest,
You've stayed to be his bosom friends:
He's welcomed by a sly male spouse -
The long-time student of Foblas,
And by an old and leery ass,
And by a cuckold, filled with grandness,
Pleased with himself, through all his life,
With his fat dinner and his wife.
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They would bring him the morning letters,
When he's still lying in his bed.
What? Invitations? Yes, the matter's:
Three evening parties in a set.
There’ll be a ball, an evening children's.
Where will he go, this lad mischievous?
Who will be first? That's all the same:
It's simple to visit all of them.
But now in the morn's attire -
A wide hat, a la Bolivar,
Onegin rides to the boulevard,
And walks there, calm and free entire,
Until the watchful watch's alarm
Will advertise the dinnertime.
It's dark: he sits in sledges, low,
"Let's go! Let's go!" - a cry is cast;
His beaver collar's covered fast
By silver dust of frost and snow.
He darts to Talon where, he's sure,
Kaverin waits him with a lure.
He's in - a cork flies up into the height,
The wine streams like a comet bright;
He sees the roast-beef half-bleeding,
Truffles - a dream of children's nights,
The great French kitchen's artifacts,
A pie from Strasbourg, ever-living,
Between the live (from Limburg) cheese
And the pineapple's golden mist.
Tho’ thirst's still looking for wine-glasses -
To cool the cutlets’ flaming fat,
Ring of a watch clear apprises
Them of the ballet's starting act.
The theater's lawmaker, frantic,
A worshipper (but not fanatic)
Charms of the nymphs, which jump or sing,
A decent citizen of wings,
He fled to realms of Terpsichore
Where all, with breath of freedom's air,
Applaud to entrechat, unfair,
Blame Cleopatra, Theodora,
Call for Moina, (that's a choice -
Someone to hear someone's voice).
A fairy land, a fairy kingdom!
There, once, of all satire king,
Fonvizin, the best friend of freedom,
Shone, and versatile Kniazhnin;
There, Ozerov shared the levy
Of men’ applause and tears heavy
With young Semenova - in half;
There, our Katenin made alive
Corneille's genius, grand and gorgeous;
There, sharpest Shahovskoy has sought
His comedies - a humming lot;
There, was Didlo crowned with laurels,
There, in these wings’ inspiring place,
Days of my youthfulness did race.
My goddesses with calling glances!
Do hear my nostalgic voice:
Are you the same or other lasses,
Have come, lacking that charm of yours?
Will I be else pleased by your chores?
Will see the Russian Terpsichore's
High flight supported by the heart?
Or will I never catch in sight
A known face on this stage, boring,
And see the world, so strangely set,
Through my dissatisfied lorgnette,
A passive watcher of what's going,
And, silent, I will only yawn,
And think of days that had been gone?
The hall is filled, the boxes glow,
The pit, the stalls - all moves and boils,
The ‘gods’ applauding in their rows,
The rising curtain makes a noise.
Agreed with magic tunes of fiddles,
Among the nymphs - in their middle,
Istomina arises there -
As if she's made of light and air.
One of her feet touches the boards,
Another - slow moves aside,
But suddenly - a jump, a flight -
A puff's flight in the air flows;
She bends her body and unbends,
And beats her leg her leg against.
They all applaud. Onegin enters,
Goes mid rows, through their feet,
His doubled lorgnette, for instant, centers
On boxes with new ladies’ seats;
Having observed at once all places,
He caught it all: with dresses, faces
He's awfully dissatisfied;
With gentlemen on all the sides
Exchanges bows; in distraction
Glanced once at the proceeding play,
And, yawning, turned his head away,
And cited: "All must be refashioned:
I've born the ballets long enough,
And now hate this Didlo's stuff."
Still devils, cupids, imps and serpents
Are jumping with the ballet's tricks;
Still, by the entrance, tired servants
Are sleeping on fur-coats, thick;
Still men are blowing their noses,
Applauding, making other noises;
Still out of buildings and inside,
The lanterns are dispersing light;
Still freezing horses beat on ground,
By their tough bridles being bored,
And coachmen, too idle and cold,
Are blaming gents bonfires around, -
Onegin's hurried downstairs:
He goes home to change dress.
Can I depict in rightful colors
His cabinet - the lone place,
In which this fashion's student, tireless,
Is dressed, undressed and once more dressed?
All, that for humane whim, tremendous,
Trades with grim London, void of errors,
Which, through the Baltic waters’ flat,
Drives straight to us for wood and fat,
All that the hungry taste of Paris,
Having obtained the useful crafts,
Invents for idle people's fun,
For luxury, for bliss of fashions, --
All was collected here to cheer
A thinker in his eighteenth year.
The Turkish pipes’ sedating amber,
The Bronze and China in one place,
The perfumes in a crystal’ slumber -
The bliss of the exquisite sense;
The combs, the small saws, smartly handled
The scissors straight, the scissors angled,
And brushes, made in thirty ways,
Used for his teeth or fingernails.
Rousseau - Just a little lesson! -
Couldn’t understand why pompous Grim
Dared clean his fingernails near him -
An eloquent but madcap person.
The priest of liberty and rights
Was, in this case, at all not right.
It may be that a man of business
Thinks of conditions of his nails,
Don't live with your age in uneasiness:
A custom rules in our days.
Chadaev's precise imitation,
Afraid of zealous condemnation,
Onegin was a prude with dress -
That's what we call a dandy, else.
At least, three hours in running
Spent with his mirror face to face’
And then was walking from his place,
Like Venus, when this goddess charming,
By clothes of a male arrayed,
Was going to a masquerade.
The grooming of the modern fashion
Having attracted curious stare,
I'd, for a scientific session,
Describe his dresses’ whole fair;
Of course it would be bold to mention,
But still, description's my profession:
But pantaloons, tail-coat, vest -
There're no such words in Russian, yet,
I see (and ready to be blemished),
That my essentially poor verse,
(Which was not richer till these pearls)
Is thus with foreign language furnished,
Though, in past years, I'd take a look
In the scholastic thick wordbook.
But it's not good for our approach:
Let's better hurry at the ball,
Where in the lightning-quick stage-couch,
Onegin's driven to his toil.
Before the buildings, dark and low,
Along the sleeping street, in rows,
Lanterns of carriages and carts
Emerge their gay and promised lights
And lighten rainbows on the snow;
All set in candles, tall and bright,
The splendid house wakes the night;
Along paned windows, shades go,
Flash profiles of the people heads -
Of dames and fashionable lads.
He's by the entrance, our fellow;
Passed a door-keeper by, and fled
On marble steps, like a light arrow.
Fixed his curled hair with his right hand,
Came in. The hall is full of people,
The loud music's spent a little,
Mob's busy with mazurka-dance,
There is a noise and crush at once;
Ring spurs of the horse-guardsmen, shining,
Fly little feet of the sweet dames,
And follow their charming trace,
The males’ looks, so fast as lightning,
And roar of fiddles makes unheard
Whir of an avid female lot.
In days of gaieties and desires
I was delighted by the ball -
Best places for the lovers' fires
And for the little notes’ hold.
Oh, you, deeply respected husbands!
I'll show you a little kindness;
I beg you, follow my speech:
Be very cautious, I beseech!
And you moms, as the goodly parents,
Look better after your girls' gait,
Hold straight and high your big lorgnette,
If not - if not, then help us Heavens!
I write this all my stanza in
'Cause long ago I stopped to sin.
Alas! For many different pleasures,
I spent the lot of my life's space!
But if our morals weren't in danger,
I should love balls until these days.
I like the youthfulness, so crazy,
The crush, the shine, the frolic frenzy,
And the thought-out ladies' dress;
I like their little feet, but guess,
You'll not be able, in Russia whole
To find three pairs of slim feet, yet.
Oh, how long I couldn’t forget
Two little feet - in my grim dole,
I still recall them and in dreams
They wake my heart like sunny beams.
Just when and where, in what a desert,
Will you, a madman, them forget?
Oh, little feet, where is your trace laid?
Where do you make spring florets flat?
In eastern bliss having been grown,
On whiteness of the northern snow
You have not left your trace at all:
You loved the carpets' soft and tall,
Delightful touch at every season.
For you, I frequently forgot
The thirst for fame and loud laud,
My native land and my dark prison.
It’s gone – the young years’ happiness
Line on the leas your easy trace.
Diana's breasts and cheeks of Flora
Of course, are gorgeous, my sweet friend,
But little feet of Terpsichore
Are more delightful for me, yet.
They, giving to the looks of leisure,
A promise of the heavens' pleasure,
Arise with their imposing form
The unrestricted wishes’ swarm.
I like them, my Elvina, blessed,
Under the dinner tables’ cloth,
In spring, on green of grass and moss,
In winter, by the fireplaces,
On glassy parquet of a hall,
On the seacoast's granites, tall.
I see the sea before a tempest:
How jealous I was of the waves,
Running in their ferocious series
To lie by her feet with a grace!
How wished I with the waters’ splashes,
To touch them with my lips in flashes!
No, never, midst the ardent days
Of my enraptured yore, else,
With such a torture, I desired
To kiss the lips of young Armids,
Or roses of their cheeks, sweet,
Or breasts, full of the hidden fire;
No, never loving passions, hard,
Such tortured, else, my poor heart!
But I recall the days of yore!
In dreams I cherish in chanced mood,
I hold the stirrup, happy whole -
And my hands touch the little foot;
Again boils my imagination,
Again this heavenly sensation,
Fires blood, running through my heart,
Again there is my love and plight!
But let us stop praising the proud
With my so talkative a verse,
In fact, they never could be worth
The songs and passions they'd inspired
These fairies’ words and glances, sweet,
Are as deceitful as their feet.
What of Onegin? In a doze,
He drives from dances to his bed:
While Petersburg, by drum rolls, close,
Has been turned up from sleeping state.
A merchant wakes, a peddler roams,
To his cab-stand a cabman goes,
With her filled jug a milkmaid fleet
Tramples the snow under her feet.
It's wakened - noise of pleasant morning.
Shutters are opened, and in frost
Smoke from chimneys - like blue posts;
And baker, the unerring German,
In his cap, made of paper fast,
Has opened up his wasistdas.
But, tired of the noisy dances,
Having turned morning to night's late,
The child of luxury and fancies
Sleeps peacefully in cozy shade.
He'll wake in afternoon - no toiling,
His life is ready till the morning -
Life of monotony and play:
Today is all like yesterday.
But was he happy, our friend precious -
The one who's free in his best years -
Amidst his brilliant affairs,
Amidst the everlasting pleasures?
Was he, amidst the feast and wealth,
A man of negligence and health?
No: his soul was cooled early;
He was exhausted by balls’ noise;
The charming ladies were not, fairly,
The subjects of his thoughts and choice;
Adultery had made him tired,
His friends and friendship were expired,
Because he actually couldn't
Beef-steaks and Strasbourg pies, tho’ good,
Wet with the streams from Champaign bottles,
And go with sharp worlds ahead,
Having a very heavy head;
And tho’ he was a scoundrel, godless,
He had disliked all of the field -
The battle, the sable and the lead.
The illness, whose well-hidden reason
Long time ago we have sought,
Like English spleen of a bad season,
In short, handra - a Russian word -
Slow brought him into its possessions;
To shoot himself, thank holy patience,
He didn't attempt in his sore strife,
But wholly lost his zest for life,
Like Childe Harold, all pined and aimless,
He visited receptions’ lot;
Neither waltz-Boston, nor a word,
Nor a sweet look nor a sigh shameless
Nothing touched his extinguished soul:
He simply did not feel this all.
XXXIX, XL, XLI
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Oh, whimsical high world's she-lions!
He'd left you first of your sex fair;
And, truly, in the time of ours,
We're bored with the high world’s air;
Though, maybe, any clever’ lady
Were talking Sey and Bertram gladly,
But, really, their whole chat
Is nonsense of a virgin set;
To add to that, they are so pure,
So full of the grandeur, and mind,
And decent features of all kinds,
So circumspect, and, yet, self-sure,
So estranged to any sin,
That just their air begets a spleen.
And you, my dear youthful beauties,
Who're, at an hour to pray,
Carried away by horses-brutes,
Along the capital's highway.
And you’ve become for him forbidden.
This runner from the bliss of Eden -
Turned his own home into a den,
And, yawning, took the ink and pen -
Wanted to write - but work, rigorous,
Was death to him, and nothing else
Was going out of his pens,
And he didn't fall into the quarters
Of the brave men, which I can’t judge,
Being involved in the same charge.
Again enslaved by idling’ dole,
Pined by the blankness of his heart,
He took a table with a goal
To own the fruit of someone's mind.
He filled his shelf with set of volumes,
And read, and read - to no purpose:
'Tis a deceit, a bore, a mess;
'Tis has not any shame or sense,
All has the different kind of fetters:
All that is old became too old,
And all that's new is old, twice-told.
He left the books, like other matters,
And with a taffeta for dead
Covered the volumes’ dusty set.
Having got off the world's traditions,
Like him, from vanity fatigued,
Then I became his friend, auspicious.
I liked the features he'd achieved,
His faithfulness to dreams and fancies,
The non-impersonated strangeness,
His mind, so sharp and so cool.
I bred a hate, he - a dark mood;
Both of us knew the play of passions;
Both were pined by our life hard;
In both - failed the light of heart;
Both were awaited by aversion
Of men and doom without eyes
In early mornings of our lives.
Who'd lived and pondered, in his soul
Can't help despising people, at last,
Who'd felt - is troubled by his dole,
By spirits of the sunken past:
He has no more sweet attractions,
He's gnawed by lots of recollections,
As by a serpent in his heart.
This very frequently imparts
A strong delight to conversation.
At first, the language, he displays,
Was strange, but I got into ways
Of all his sharp argumentation,
His jokes with a gall by half,
His caustic epigrams’ dark stuff.
How often at the summer, silver,
When it is transparent and bright
The night sky o'er the Neva-river,
And waters don't reflect the sight
Of pale Diana in their mirrors,
Having recalled our former dears
And love of our former day,
Again so sensible and gay,
In silence of the nightfall, pitying,
We drank its aromatic breadth!
As from his prison to greens’ wealth
Was brought a prisoner half-sleeping,
Thus our sweet dreams were carrying us
To the beginning of young lives.
Having heart, full of light frustration,
And leaning on the granite, cut,
Onegin stood in contemplation,
As did that self-describing bard.
All's silent, only on occasion,
Night wards exchanged with exclamations
And sound of drozhky's distant tread
Was heard far from the Million-street.
A boat, waving with her ores,
Sailed softly sleeping waves along:
And we were lured by a song
Of the small horn and voice in chorus.
But sweeter for the fun, night-long,
Are octaves of Torquato's song!
Oh, waves of Adriatic azure,
Oh, Brenta! No, I shall see you
And, full of spiritual pleasure,
Enjoy your charming voice and view!
They’re sacred for Apollo’s heirs;
They’re my, I know them entire
Through Albion’s poetic sight.
I will enjoy the bliss of night
Of Italy, so free and golden,
A young Venetian close by,
Who’s sometimes loud, sometimes shy,
Glissading in a mystic gondola;
With her my language will obtain
Petrarca’s words of love again.
Will ever come my freedom, treasured?
It’s time, It’s time! – I call for this!
Roam by sea; wait for some weather,
And lure sails of the distant ships.
Under the storms, with fast waves vying,
Along the waters, freely lying,
When will I start my blessed race?
It’s time to leave the boring place
Of nature that appears so alien,
And midst my African wide lands,
Between blue skies and flaming sands,
To sigh about Russia, sullen,
Where I had suffered and loved,
Where I had buried my heart.
Onegin, then, was fully bound
To see with me the alien lands,
But soon by fortune’s turning, sudden,
We were to be in different place.
His father left his earthly dole.
Before Onegin gathered whole
Horde of the greedy creditors,
Each with his own mind and course:
Evgeny, hating suits and trials,
Contented with his present fate,
Left them all heritage for debts,
Not giving any great defiance
Or knowing from someone’s piece,
His ancient uncle’s fast decease.
He suddenly received, exactly,
A note from his uncles’ land,
He wished to see his nephew, badly,
To say farewell on his deathbed.
Having read this despondent message,
Evgeny, on a set of stages,
Rode to his uncle’s place at once,
And started yawning in advance,
Preparing self for gold, for pillage
To sighs, to boredom, to deceit,
(With this my story was conceived);
But having come to uncle’s village,
He found him on one of tables,
As a prepared tribute to earth.
He met a whole yard of service;
To the dead man from all four sides
Were coming former friends-contenders,
The lovers of the solemn rites.
They buried his uncle together.
Priests, guests were feasting without measure,
And then they gravely dispersed,
As if for next important phase.
Onegin’s, since, a country dweller –
The owner of woods and lakes,
Of plants and arable rich lands –
The former spend-all, fierce rebel,
He’s very glad that his past ways
Were thus replaced by something else.
At first, he took them as the new ones –
The silent, solitary fields,
The groves’ shadows and coolness,
The quiet songs of crystal streams;
In third day, groves, hills and meadows
Were not the objects he was pleased with;
Then they brought him just sleep and dreams,
Then he concluded that, it seems,
The village’s too the former bore,
Tho’ without palaces and streets,
Verse, balls and couches with steeds.
Handra was grasping him once more,
And following his present life
As if his shade or faithful wife.
I have been born for peace, entire,
For stillness of the country realm,
It’s louder in it – a lyre,
And brighter every fruitful dream.
Being involved in leisure harmless,
I roam over waters’ silence,
And far niente is my law.
I wake up every morning for
My dear liberty and leisure:
Read very little, often sleep,
Don’t follow fame’s jumps and flips.
Is it not former life of pleasure,
When in sweet laziness and shade
My happiest days were slowly led?
Love, village, life without business,
Fields! I am your enduring serf.
I'm always glad to stress a distance
Between Onegin and myself
To force a reader, if he's drastic
Or any publisher, sarcastic,
Producer of the complex lie,
Comparing features his and mine –
Not to reiterate, unholy,
That I had drawn my portrait,
Like Byron, of the proud trait,
As if - unyielding, in a whole,
To see another in a verse,
Besides a duplicate of yours.
The poets of all times and countries
Were friends of love and those who loved.
I used to see my dear items
In my deep dreams, and my poor heart
Has saved for me their trace, elated,
My muse then turned them animated:
Thus sang I, heedless one and blessed,
The girl of mountains – my best,
The she-slaves of the blue Salgire.
And from you all, my dear men,
I often heard a question, then:
“Of whom sighs now your sad lyre?
To whom from jealous lasses’ throng
You now dedicate your song?
Whose glance, disturbing inspiration,
Brought sweet caresses, as award,
To songs of ponder and sensation,
Who was a goddess of your world?”
Oh, friends, there's nobody, I swear!
The love’s mad trouble and sore tear
I'd suffer'd through a whole term.
He's happy who combined with them
Heat of his rhymes, and thus redoubled
The poetry's delirium, blessed,
While following Petrarca's trace,
Pains of his heart he thus threw out,
And caught his fame on such a route;
But, loving, I was deaf and mute.
My love had gone, my muse – appeared,
And fully clear'd my dark mind,
And, free, again I look for peer
Thoughts, sounds, senses to my chant;
I write, my soul is not in grievance,
My pen doesn't draw, like oblivious,
On poems, left without their ends,
The female feet or female heads;
Extinguished ashes have no fire,
I am still sad, but tear's suppressed,
And very soon the tempest's trace
Will vanish in my heart entire:
And then I will begin, headlong,
The poem of the twenty songs.
I've thought about my plan's structure,
And how will I call my man;
Having obtained just some conjuncture,
I finished the first chapter's span;
Revised all things very severe:
There're many contradictions here,
I would not make it all correct.
I'll pay the censor my sad debt
And put at hungry journals' mercy
The humble fruits of my long toils:
So, flutter to the Neva's shores,
Newborn of my creative fancy,
And bring me back the fame's award –
False rumors, noise and a bad word.
“ O rus!...”
The village of Evgeny's dullness,
Was an enchanting, quiet place;
A lover of the pleasures, harmless,
With such one, would be fully blessed.
The big and lonely gentry's mansion,
Walled by a hill from winds' invasion,
Stood by a stream. And far away
Before it, thriving, were far-laid
Green meadows and fields of gold,
Flashed villages; and by a chance,
Herds roamed on the green of grass,
And made dense canopy more broad
The immense garden, grown old,
The thoughtful dryads' cool abode.
The honored castle was created,
As all such castles must be raised,
The very strong and well-sedated
In fashion of the good old times:
A set of high and airy chambers,
The guests' room with the silk wallpapers,
Emperors' portraits on the walls,
Tiled stoves in the rooms and halls.
All's in an awful declination,
I do not know only why;
But the ambitious friend of mine
Paid to this all a little attention,
Considering, he always yawned
In halls, the modern ones and old.
He settled in the chamber, quiet,
Where the old-timer of these lands
Was scolding maids, catching flies, tired,
And looking out - for forty years.
All was there simple: floors of oaks,
The downy sofa, table, two drawers,
And nothing like an inky blot.
He opened drawers on the spot;
Found, in one, expense accounts,
In second - bottles of liqueurs,
Of juices from the apple-sauce,
A calendar, which time passed out:
The old man, having much to do,
Did not look other volumes through.
Alone midst his wide possessions,
For spending more time to that,
At first, Onegin made intentions
To give his serfs a new mandate.
In his wild realm, this sage of desert
The yoke of corvee, so ancient,
Transformed into a light quitrent;
And slave was thankful to his fate.
But in his corner, dark and timeless,
His neighbor pouted his lips,
Seeing an awful wrong in this,
Another smiled with hidden slyness:
And he was called, his back behind,
'A crackpot of a dangerous kind;'
At first, all visited his mansion;
But soon, because at his back doors,
Without making one exception,
Was always furnished a Don's horse
As soon as from the distant road,
They heard noise of a couch, broad, -
Having large offence of such whim,
All neighbors stopped befriending him.
"Onegin is a boor, the maddest,
He's a freemason; drinks at once
The red wine by a whole glass;
He kisses never hands of ladies;
Says no or yes, not no-s or yes-s" -
Was judgment of the common sense.
To his estate in the same bout,
Has come its youthful new landlord,
And the same rumors him about
Had many reasons to be brought:
Bearing a name Vladimir Lensky,
And soul in the Gottingen's key,
Adonis - in his prime and right,
A Kant's admirer and a bard.
From misty Germans he brought here
The light of education's beams:
The realm of freedom-loving dreams,
The spirit flaming, though queer,
The speech, which always burns and boils,
And long, touching his shoulders, curls.
Not having time to fade till now
From the cold lech'ry of the world,
His soul was still so warm and proud
Midst friends, attached, and maidens, fond.
His heart was virgin and not tired,
The dazzling hope it inspired,
And world, the noisy one and bright,
Still charmed his inexperienced mind.
He entertained with sweet illusions
The doubts of his flaming heart;
The goal of existence, hard,
He thought a riddle and confusion:
He racked his young brains over that,
And marvels were his main suspect.
He was assured that a kin soul
Had to unite with him, at last,
That, in unhappiness and dole,
It always waits for him with trust;
That comrades, for his honor's reason,
Are ready for the chains and prison,
And that their hand will not be weak
To break the slander's lies and tricks;
That, chosen by their good fortunes,
Exist the people's holy friends;
That their clan, overcoming death,
With beams, inevitable and gorgeous,
Will illumine the planet, once,
And carry bliss to all of us.
Strong indignation and deploring,
The clear love of people's good
And wish of fame, such sweet and sore,
Early was troubling his young blood.
A lyre was his mate in travels;
The Schiller's heavens, Goethe's heavens,
With flame of poetry, so strong,
Prepared his soul for a song.
The art of lofty muses, here,
It never stood to be ashamed:
In all his songs, he fully saved
His senses, always high and clear,
The thrusts of his untainted dream,
And charm of all that's main and simple.
He sang pure love, by pure love knighted,
Therefore his song was clear and bright,
Like thoughts of maidens, simple-hearted,
Like baby's dreams, like moon of night –
In deserts of the heaven, thoughtless,
Of gentle sighs’ and meetings’ goddess.
He sang depression and egress,
And something and the misty space,
And the alive, poetic roses,
He also sang the distant land,
Where his tears, so alive and sad,
Were shed amidst the silent lodges.
He sang a fade of men’ life, else, --
In his not whole eighteen years.
In deserts where Evgeny, single,
Could validate his holy gift,
He did not like the gentry's mingling
In close neighborhood, the feasts;
He ran from noisy conversations.
Their talk, profound, without passions,
About haying and good wines,
About cousins, dogs and hunts,
Of course, he didn't glisten with senses,
Nor with good jokes, nor with mind,
Nor with a flame of a high kind,
Nor with the art of good attendance;
And talks of their enchanting wives
Were worse, and nearly not as wise.
Our Lensky, very rich and handsome,
Was taken as a fiancé;
Such is the virgin country's ransom –
All want their girl to have affair
With the half-Russian neighbor, special;
If he has come, then conversation
Consists of words, just by the way,
Describing bachelors’ bad days;
They call for tea the dear neighbor,
And Dunya pours this tea in cups;
And “Be alert!” she is advised.
And then a guitar is in favor:
Dunya will cry (oh, save us, God!):
Come into my abode of gold!...
But Lensky hadn't still aspiration
To bear the bonds of marriage, hard.
He wanted to install a friendship
With our Onegin, with his heart.
They came together. Waves and stones,
Or flame and ice, or verse and prose
Are not so different as were they.
At first, when difference prevailed,
They were by their meetings bored;
Then liked each other, then, I'd say,
They rode together every day –
And weren't divided, any more.
Thus man (and I'm, too, to be blamed),
In leisure, makes himself a friend.
But we haven't friendship like these fellows.
Having killed all our myths in past,
We think of all as of the ‘zeros’,
And only of themselves as – ‘ones’.
We seek in selves Napoleon's features,
The crowds of the two-feet creatures
Considering only as our tools
And senses – privacy of fools.
More forbearing than many,
Tho’ knowing the people's race
As just an evil and disgrace –
As an exception, our Evgeny
Could see some men in different lights,
And praise them in his heart of hearts.
He'd hear Lensky, easily smiling.
The youthful poet's’ flaming speech,
His mind, in reasoning still trying,
His look with inspiration rich --
All, for Onegin, was so novel;
He tried to hold the word from falling,
That would, in some way, cool that flame,
And thought: it'll be a silly game –
Trying to spoil his short diversion;
Without me this time will come;
Let him still live in it some time
With faith into the world's perfection;
Ascribe to fevers of young years
Their young delirium and stress.
They paid to all their deep attention,
All was in their discussions put:
The peaceful former tribes’ relations,
The fruits of science, bad and good,
And myths – the heritage of ages,
And coffin's secrets, outrages,
And fate, and life, that's passing by –
All was a subject for their eye. .
The poet, in the heat and brightness
Of arguments, read them across
The poems of the misty North,
And our Evgeny, in indulgence,
Observed attentively them,
Tho’ with a cognitive problem.
But, oftener, the burning passions
Were occupying their young minds,
Having escaped their wide possessions,
Onegin mentioned them with sighs
Of somewhat sadness, unintentional:
He's blessed who had the love's sensations
And left, at last, them him behind;
More blessed – who hadn't them in his mind,
Who cooled his love with separation,
A row – with gossips, and, some time,
Yawned with his wife and his friends, prime,
Not troubled by the jealous passion,
And fathers’ money, his life through,
Did not trust to the cunning ‘two.
When we will come under the banners
Of silence, that's the prudent, once,
When will extinguish flame of passions,
And seem ridiculous to us
Their thrusts or willfulness of action,
And all their very late reaction,
That's difficult to be controlled, --
We like to listen to the roll
Of rebel passions in the others:
This agitates our heart again.
Thus, any old man-veteran
Is braced to hear, gladly rather,
The younger warriors’ report,
When in his hut he is forgot.
But, and the youthfulness of fire
Couldn't anything from people hide,
It never can conceal, entire,
Love, anger, sadness, joy and pride.
A judge in deals of loving, fair,
Onegin listened with an air,
When, liking owning of his heart
This pure, simple-hearted bard
Cited himself; his faithful soul
Then, could be easily scrutinized,
And soon Evgeny recognized
A young tale of his love, the whole,
With deepest senses, over-poured, –
Which long ago we knew as old.
Oh, Lensky loved, and he did so,
As they haven't now loved; as one
All crazy soul of a poet
Is still convicted to have done.
Always there is the single dreaming,
The single whish, that's ever-living,
The single sadness, as a sense.
Not distance, ever-cooling space,
Nor many years of separation,
Nor beauties of the foreign place,
Nor hours of the muses’ grace,
Nor sciences, nor celebrations --
Nothing could change the poet's heart,
Warmed with this crystal, virgin light.
Still a teenager, charmed by Olya,
And still, not knowing of heart's pains,
He was a witness – a touched soul –
Of all her childish games and plays;
In shadows of the cozy groves,
In all her fun partook they both:
”Such friendship with a bridal ends,”
Thought their kind dads – the neighbors-friends.
In woods, under a shelter, low,
Full of the innocent allure,
Under the looks of parents, sure,
She grew, like the dale's lilies grow:
Unseen in wealthy grass and moss
For hungry bees or greedy moths.
She'd gifted, then, a bard, elated,
With youthful ecstasy's first dreams,
And thoughts of her made animated
First moans of his lyre, slim.
Farewell, games of the shining gold!
He's liked the woods without roads,
Full silence, loneliness, and soon, –
And night, and stars, and, even, moon –
The moon, the icons’ lamp of heavens,
To which we were allotting, once,
Our walking midst the evening’ darks,
And tears – the secret tortures’ gladness –
But now, we think, her only task’s
To shine instead of lanterns, dusk.
She's always dutiful and modest,
Always, like morning, gay and bright,
Like kiss of love, she's sweet and honest,
Like poet's life, has simple heart.
Her eyes, so blue as blue is heaven,
Her smile and hair, so curled and flaxen,
Her movement, voice, her slender waist –
All was in Olga – but you else
Could find in every book this treasure –
Her portrait: it is very sweet,
And once I'd very much liked it,
But it'd bored me, beyond all measure.
Permit me, dear reader, hence,
To give her older sister place.
Her older sister was Tatyana…
For the first time, with such a name,
Like a self-chosen ‘hosanna’
Will glorify this novel's frame.
Why not? It’s very sweet and sound;
But, I am sure, strongly bound,
With memory of ancient times --
Or with the maidens’ room! We must
Admit a vulgar test, abiding
In multitude of our names,
(Not speaking, too, of our verse),
We're a taboo for all enlight'ning,
And our heritage is, hence,
The mincing manners – nothing else.
So, Tatyana – her first name was.
Neither with sister's dazzling charms,
Nor with her ever rosy freshness,
She could allure the people eyes.
Being all shy and sad and silent,
Like doe of the forest frightened –
She in the family of hers
Appeared as one of stranger-girls.
She could not anyhow caress
Her kind dad, or her gentle mom;
And though a child in children's mob,
She didn't partake in games of theirs,
And by a window all day,
Sat often in a lone way.
A reverie, her girl-friend precious,
Beginning from her cradle days,
Arrayed stirs of her country leisures
With her dreams’ animated plays.
Her delicate, transparent fingers
Didn't know any kind of needles;
And, to the usual tambour linked,
She didn't embellish cloth with silk.
A token of lofty desire –
A child, with her obedient doll,
Prepares self in a funny stroll
To decency – the high-world's sire,
Repeating to her in grand form
The lessons of her dear mom.
But even in these years’ procession,
Tatyana did not take a doll,
And did not have long conversations
With her about ‘dress and all’.
And frolics of the little people
Were strange for her; but stories, crippling,
In winter and a dark of night,
Were always close to her heart.
And when her nanny brought together,
For Olga, under summer sun,
Her little friends to have some fun,
She didn't partake in common pleasure,
Being just bored with their laugh
And all that heedless, noisy stuff.
She, on the balcony, alone,
Preferred to meet with the sunrise,
When on a sky of pallid tones,
Dissolves the round dance of stars,
Horizon then becomes self- lightened,
And fans light wind, the morning's advent,
And slowly rises daily light.
In winter, when the dark of night
Is still on half-of-world exposed,
And still in silence, like in swoon,
Under the cold and misty moon,
The East lies in the lazy doze –
In hours, that she always handles,
She woke up to a light of candles.
She's early liked the modern novels;
And substituting them for all,
She was in love with fairy stories,
With Richardson and great Rousseau.
Her father was a thorough feller,
The former century's good dweller,
Who didn't see the wrong in books;
Not having cast on them a look,
Considered them the trinkets, worthless,
And never had a single thought:
Which one of the unknown lot
Under the daughter's pillow dozes?
His wife, with her in unison,
Was wild about Richardson.
This Richardson was her mom's hero,
Not because she had read him, once,
Or Grandison, the noble fellow,
Was sympathized, but not Lovelas.
But in the past, the Princess Lina,
Her cousin of the Moscow's lineage’
Often repeated those names.
In this good time, her husband, blessed,
Was her betrothed, but she was sore,
And sighed about another man,
Which with his mind and soul, then,
Was pleasant to her heart much more;
Her Grandison was a gallant,
A gambler, and a man of Guard.
Like him, she always was attired
To make for fashions perfect match;
But not regarding her desire,
The girl was driven to the church.
To dissipate her deepest sadness,
The clever husband took the precious
Into his village, where she, lost
In rough environment, at first,
Was mourning without measure,
Even intending to divorce,
Then made herself involved, of course,
In household, and found there pleasure…
Our habits are the Heavens' gifts –
They are the substitutes for bliss.
Customs had pacified the sorrow,
Which couldn't be done without them;
And one discovery much more
Had comforted her heart, the same:
She'd, between laboring and leisure,
Discovered how could be pleasured
Her faithful husband and controlled,
And then all got a full concord.
She drove along to check serfs' struggles,
Made pickled mushrooms, winter's fruits,
Expense accounts and recruits,
On weekends, went to her bathhouse,
Beat maidens, being in bad sense, –
All – absent of her man's assents.
She used, with blood, to write the rushes
In albums of the gentle girls,
To call ‘Polina’ her Parasha,
And mouth in a singing voice,
Wear the narrow stays of fairies,
‘N’ of the Russian, as in Paris,
Pronounced lazily through nose;
But soon, all that was fully lost;
The albums, corsets, princess Lina,
And copy-book of poems – all
She had forgot: started to call
Akulka former her ‘Selina’.
And renovated – a last step –
The cotton shlafer and nightcap.
Her husband, truly, loved her heartily,
Didn't enter in her escapade,
Always has faith in her, undoubtedly…
In dressing-gown, drank and ate;
His life rolled, peaceful one and quiet;
By evening oft, there was united
A company from ‘next-door’ lands,
The good, unceremonious friends –
For little sore and talking scandal,
For little laughing something at.
Time's passing by, and after that
They drink a tea, by Olga handled,
Then dinner's ready, then comes night,
And guests drive out of the yard.
They saved, in life, void troubles and fears,
Traditions of sweet ancient days;
Had, for fat weeks before the Easters,
The Russian, richly oiled pancakes;
Twice in a year, fasted and mourned;
They liked the merry-go-round,
The Christmas songs, the round-dance;
On Trinity, when a man’ mass,
All yawning, listens at the service;
They poured a tear (twice or thrice)
At the first show of the sunrise;
Like air, they needed ale, the freshest,
And at their table, all their guests
Were served in order of the ranks.
Thus, they were coming older, both.
And gaped a coffin, at the end,
Before the husband – and then closed
With a new crown on his head.
He passed away before his dinner,
Deplor'd by his friend, living near,
By his offspring and faithful wife
Stronger than many, lost of life.
He was the kind and simple barin,
And there, where his dust now lies,
The gray gravestone says to us:
The humble sinner, Dmitry Larin,
The brigadier and slave of God,
Enjoys his peace in this abode.
Having returned to his heath, own,
Lensky respectfully stopped by
The neighbor's sorrow tombstone,
And dedicated him a sigh.
For long, his heart was wounded badly.
“Poor Yorick!” he pronounced sadly,
“He held me in his own arms.
How often played I with his brass,
Received for the Ochakov medal!
He tended Olga for my bride,
He said: will come this to my sight? -- "
And with sincere feeling saddened,
Vladimir made, at once, a draft
Of this gravestone's epitaph.
And there, with mournful inscription,
He honored, pouring sore tears,
His parents’ place of last partition…
Alas! On the life's plowed fields
In shortest reaping, generations –
By secret heavens’ obligations –
Would grow, ripe, and, trackless, fall;
And others after them make stroll…
The same – our heedless generation,
It grows up, makes noise and raves,
Pressing grandfathers to their graves.
It'll come, it'll come and our succession:
And our grandchildren – help them, God! –
Will press us out this blessed world.
Right now, be with it delighted –
With easy life, my dear friends!
By it's base mindlessness well granted,
I have not any good aspects;
I hold my sight off false existence,
But hopes, in the misty distance,
Sometimes, my poor heart embrace:
Without some non-sighted trace,
I would be sad to leave this dole.
I live and write not for the praise,
But I'd – it seems to me sometimes –
Make famous my sad fate, in whole,
For, like my faithful friend, for me,
A single sound would make plea.
And it'll touch someone's soul, grievous;
And had been saved by a kind fate,
It never else might be oblivious –
The line, that I try to create;
And maybe, – though a week hope –
In future, someone - lazy oaf
Would look at my famous portrait,
And say, “He was a poet, yet!”
So, take my humble presentations,
Oh, fan of the peaceful Aeneids,
You, whose remembrance will permit
To save my fluttering creations,
Whose such beneficent a hand
Will sometimes stir the old bard's grand.
Elle etait fille, elle etait amoureuse.
"Where are you going? Damn these poets!" -
"Good bye, Onegin, I've to leave." -
"I don't delay you, but would know, yet,
Where do you spend your every eve?" -
"At Larins' home." - "What a wonder!
For goodness sake! What could be harder
Than killing every evening there?" -
"Not in the least." - "I can't infer.
I can from here estimate it:
Firstly, - just listen: am I right? -
The simple Russians at a sight,
Their hospitality is splendid,
Their jam and talk without restrain
About cattle, flax and rain." -
"I didn't see there a disaster." -
"But boredom is disaster there." -
"I hate your world where styles are masters.
The home circle I prefer,
Where I can." - "Back to shepherds' verses!
For sake of God, please stop this nonsense.
Well, you are riding. I regret.
Listen, my Lensky: can I, yet,
Behold this shepherdess, the endless
Subject of all your thoughts, and pens,
And tears, and rhymes, and other trends.
Show me to them." - "A prank?" - "I'm earnest." -
"I'm glad." - "Then, when?" - "Let's go at once.
They will be glad for both of us.
Let's go." - Rode on the comrades,
Appeared there; and each obtains
A service - sometimes hard - of oldest
And very hospitable days.
A rite of feeding, the well-known:
They carry, on a plate, jams own,
Put on a table for guests' use
Jugs with a cowberry juice.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
They, by the road, shortest here,
Are flying to their own lands,
And we'll in secret try to hear
The talk of our heroes-friends.
"So, Onegin, are you yawning?" -
"A custom, Lensky" - "Is it boring
You more than before.?" - "The same,
Maybe this darkness's to be blamed;
Go on, Andrushka! Speed the horses!
What in the world, a silly place! -
Mrs. Larin's of the simplest case,
But very pleasant an old hostess;
A cowberry juice, I feel,
Would make me in some future ill.
Tell me, which one there was Tatyana?" -
"Well, she who was all evening sad
And silent as if were Svetlana,
Who'd entered and by window set." -
"Lord! Your sweetheart's the younger sister!" -
"Why not?" - "I'd choose another, mister,
If I were, just like you, a bard.
The Olga's features are too hard,
Like ones of the Vandyke's Madonna:
Her face is round one and red,
Like this ludicrous moon, that's hanged
On this ludicrous sky, alone.
Vladimir coldly answered him,
And all the way was mute and grim.
The first Onegin's visitation
To Larins families' abode
Gave to his neighbors great impression
And entertained them all a lot.
Guesses were followed by guesses.
All fell into the talking, restless,
With somewhat sinful judge and mirth,
Planning for Tanya her betrothed.
Some of them even cried in passion,
That marriage was agreed at all,
But stopped for time, a very small,
'Cause there were no rings of fashion.
Relating Lensky's marriage thoughts
Have long ago received consort.
Tatyana heard with great vexation
Such kind of gossips, but she yet,
With somewhat heavenly sensation,
Was forced to think about that;
And in her heart grew an idea -
Her time has come, her love is here.
Thus a slim seed, fallen in earth,
Is made alive with flamed spring's breath.
How long, her bright imagination,
In flames of bliss and sadness set,
Was craving for the food of fate;
How long, her heart's unconscious passion
Was pressing on her virgin breast
And soul seeking… someone blessed,
And found, at last. Her heart got rightness;
She said for sure, "It is him!"
Alas! Now her light and darkness,
And single, caught by fire, dream -
All's filled with him, all to heart maiden's,
With strongest charm, with music endless,
Repeats his name. She's deadly bor'd
By sounds of her kin' good word,
By servants' full of care glances.
In deepness of her sore sense,
She does not hear talks of guests,
And curses their existence priceless,
Their comings always in surprise
And great length of their visits' times.
With which a serious attention
She reads a novel of delight,
In which a highest fascination,
She drinks the coaxing deceit!
By a blessed vigor of sensations
Recalled to be alive, creations -
Julia's lover - sweet Volmar,
Malek-Adel and de Linar,
And Werther-sufferer rebellious,
And void of equals Grandison,
Who tends us to a-sleeping, stone, -
All, for she-dreamer our precious,
United in the image, single:
In single Onegin all were mingled.
Seeing herself in masterpieces
Of the creators, whom she loved, -
Delphina, Julia, Klarissa -
Tatyana roams in the wild
Alone with a novel, dangerous;
She seeks in it and finds her precious
And secret fire and dreams, bright -
The fruits of fullness of her heart;
Sighs sadly, taking, as her own,
Another's ardor and grief, hard,
In deep forgetfulness, by heart,
A letter for her hero moans.
Whoever, then, our hero was,
Not Grandison he was, of course.
Having attuned his style to greatness,
An author of the flaming lines,
Used to present his hero, blameless,
As the ideal one to us.
He catered his man beloved,
Which always was unfairly hounded,
With soul sensible, and mind,
And with a face good to remind.
Burning in flames of clear passions
And great delight, a hero praised,
Was always braced to sacrifice,
And in the last chapter's procession,
A sin was punished and diseased,
And goodness - crowned with a wreath.
And now all the minds are misty,
The morals force us to go sleep,
In novels, sins are well-existing,
And celebrate their winning trip.
The British muse's sullen fables
Stir dreams of any girl, defenseless,
And now her main idol is
Vampire, full of deep ideas,
Or Melmot-vagabond, the restless,
Eternal Jew, the strange Corsair,
Or the mysteries Sbogair.
Lord Byron, with his whim successful,
Dressed into grim romanticism
Even the helpless egoism.
My dear friends, what's good in all that?
May be, by a divine decree,
I soon shall cease being a poet,
A new imp will reside in me:
Having disdained the threats of Phoebus,
I'll fall into a prose, cheerless;
Then a long tale of the old set
Will entertain my life's sunset.
Not a masked evildoing's sore
I'll draw awfully in it,
But simply, truthfully repeat,
A Russian family's old lore,
The dreams of one, who lives and loves,
And rites of our good old times.
I shall recite the speeches, simplest,
Of fathers or of uncles, old,
The children's shyly arranged meetings
Near the limes and ringlets, cold;
Unhappy love's sharp pains and fears,
Their separation, sore tears,
Conciliation, break - at last,
Shall make them married very fast...
I shall recall the lofty leisure's
Words of the ever-pining love,
Which, in the days of former strife
By feet of my unearthly treasure,
Chanced to embellish my flamed speech -
I now came estranged from which.
Now, I pour my tears of passion
With you, Tatyana, my sweet maid!
To the tyrant of a cold fashion
You've given your entire fate.
You'll perish, but before, my darling,
You, in a hope, so shining,
Call for a pleasure of a hell,
You recognize life's bliss and spell,
Drink charming poison of desire,
You're haunted by your own dreams,
Your own eye all over sees
Your dates, full of delighted fire;
Wherever were you, to your sight,
Your temper sheds his fateful light.
The pine of love wraps Tanya round -
She goes to the garden, sore,
Her looks are suddenly put down,
And she is lazy to walk more.
Breasts heaving, and her cheeks entire
Are covered with a sudden fire,
Her breath is stopped her lips behind,
In ears - a noise, in eyes - a shine.
A night will come; a sentry, flawless -
The moon - goes the skies along,
A nightingale begins her song
In darkness of the distant groves.
Tatyana does not sleep in night,
Speaks with her nanny of her plight.
"I can't sleep in this hot abode!
Open the window and come." -
"What's bad, my Tanya?" - "I am bored.
Let's talk about an old time." -
"About what? I'd used to know
A lot of fables, high and low,
About evil spirits' trades,
About princesses and maids;
But now all of them got out
Of my so weak and aged mind,
All that I've known - left behind,
And only dark is left around." -
"Tell me about your young years:
Were you in love - or something else?" -
"Oh, no, Tanya, in those ages
We'd heard just nothing of all that,
Because my mother-in-law, late,
Would have killed me in other cases." -
"But how then you still got married?" -
"It seems, the will of God prevailed it.
'Your Vanya's younger.', I was told -
And I was thirteen years old.
For two weeks, she-match-maker here
Called on my family, at last,
My dad gave me his blessing fast.
I wept then sorely for fear;
Braiding my hair, they wept much,
And, singing led me to a church.
And left me living midst the strangers.
But you aren't listening to me." -
"Oh, nanny, nanny, my heart aches,
I'm so unhappy, do you see?
I feel like crying, sobbing crazily!." -
"My dear girl, you are not healthy;
My Lord, be merciful to us!
What 'tis you want, my child, just ask!"
Let me sprinkle you with holy water.
"You're burning hot." - "I am not ill;
Oh, nanny. I'm in love, I feel" -
"Our holy Father, save your daughter!"
And a nanny, praying, with her hand,
Made sacred signs over girl's head.
"I am in love," again she whispered
In sadness to the old above.
"My dearest, 'tis only illness" -
"Leave me alone: I'm in love."
Meanwhile, the moon in skies was shining
And with a languorous light was lightning
All Tanya's features, pale and fair,
Her splendid, loosely falling hair,
Her tears, and the old woman here,
With a kerchief on her gray head,
In her old, warm, too long jacket,
Sitting before our maiden, dear.
And all was sunk in silence soon
Under the pale inspiring moon.
And Tanya's heart was very distant,
While she was looking at moon's rays.
Her mind begot a thought in instant.
"Leave me alone, go away.
Give me a pen, a sheet of paper,
And move the table; I'll lie soon later;
Forgive me!" She's alone left.
All's quiet. She, in moonlight set,
Leaned on the table, writes a letter,
Only Evgeny's on her mind,
And the sincere lines behind,
Only the virgin's love's the matter.
The letter's ready, bent and pressed.
Tatyana, what is its address?
I knew the beauties very proud,
Like winter, clear ones and cold,
Unmerciful and 'not-be-bribed'
Unfathomed for the minds at all;
I wondered to their air of fashion,
To their high virtue, so natural,
And, I admit, I ran from them,
And read, in awfulness and shame,
On their foreheads the grim hells' scripture:
Leave all your hope - and for good.
The thought of love brings them bad mood,
To scare men makes them feel richer.
Maybe, on Neva's both sides,
Such dames were objects of your sights.
Being among the slaves delighted,
I saw the 'queens' of other kinds,
Indifferent and self-conceited
For any flatteries and sighs.
And I have found with a wonder
That they, their cold behavior under,
Intimidating lovers, plane,
Could fascinate all them again,
At least, by only gentle sadness,
At least, by sounds of their speech,
Seemed with some gentleness enriched -
And, brought by his light faith to madness,
A young admirer runs again
Behind the coquette, cold and vain.
Why have we to brand Tanya's action?
Maybe, because in her sweet ease,
She does not fathom a deception,
Trusts to the best of all her dreams?
Because in love she's so artless,
Caught by the natural senses vastness,
Because she so trustful is,
Because she bears Heavens' gifts:
Imagination, so rebellious,
Mind and her willingness, alive,
Character, ready now to strive,
And Heart, the flaming one and precious.
So, you will not condemn the girl
For passions' thoughtlessness, at all!
A coquette in a cold blood measures,
Tatyana seriously loves,
And gives to love all her heart precious,
Like a sweet baby often does.
She does not say: 'let us postpone.',
Making a price of love more grown,
Or rather, luring to a net;
At first, we'll prick with self-respect,
With hope, then begin to torture
Your heart with puzzles, in last phase,
Make it alive with rival flames -
Because a prisoner, non-virtuous,
Bored by pleasure, always plans
To throw off his charming chains.
I see another hindrance here:
Saving the honor of our land,
I have the letter of the dear
Tatyana now to translate.
Her Russian was of bad condition,
She did not read our journals' fiction,
And spoke in a way, that's bad,
The language of her native land.
The French was language that she wrote.
What can we do! I've said above
That until now, ladies' love
Does not speak self in Russian mode,
Our proud tongue, till our age,
Hasn’t used to prose of postage.
I know they would force our ladies
To read in Russian. Dread of dreads!
Can I imagine - for a second -
Them with "The Loyal" in their hands!
I'm asking you, my dear poets:
Is this a truth that your sweet objects,
To whom, as penance for your sins,
You've written sacramental hymns,
To whom you've given all your soul,
Having with Russian time so hard,
All of your wonderful sweethearts
So sweetly twisted it in whole,
And on their lips the language strange
Was like the native one arranged?
I dread to meet at a ball's gala,
Or at departure on porch's steps,
A cleric in a shawl yellow,
Or a professor with nightcap!
As rose cheeks without smiling,
Repels me Russian speech, abiding
Without faults in grammar fine.
And, maybe, to bad luck of mine,
The novel beauties' generation,
Having heard journals' praying voice,
Would make the Grammar our choice
And Verse - the general convention;
But I... don't take it in my mind,
And would stay true to the old rite.
The babble, that's negligent and sore,
Pronouncing the worlds not right -
Will raise up, in my breast, once more,
Strong palpitation of my heart.
I have no strength for my repentance,
I'll like a French word in a sentence,
As left in days of yore sins,
As Bogdanovich's golden strings.
Enough of that. I've to be busy
With a note of my charming lass,
I gave my word, and, Lord, help us!
I feel that it will not be easy,
Because the gentle Parnee's times
Aren't entertaining more to us.
Singer of Feasts and languid sadness,
If you were staying with me late,
I with appeal, somewhat shameless,
Would trouble you, my dear friend:
Translate into your songs, bewitching,
The alien speech, laid in the scripture
By my so passionate a lass,
Where are you? Come! My sacred rights
I'm passing to you with a bow.
But midst a solemn rocky mass,
Alone and unused to praise,
Under the Finland skies he now
Is roaming, and his kind heart
Won't hear my sufferings so hard.
Before me lies her letter precious,
I faithfully take care of this,
Read with the hidden sore passion,
And never can this reading cease.
Who forced her to be so gentle,
So pleasantly with words unsettled,
So sweet in glance, so filled with light,
So crazy in a talk of heart -
The talk intriguing and dangerous?
I do not fathom all this; yet
I made translation, very bad, -
The living picture's copy breathless,
Or famous 'Freeshot', when it's played
By fingers of the bashful maid:
Translated by Yevgeny Bonver