O dreams, my dreams,

Where is your sweetness?

Where are you,

Joy of nightly fleetness?

They’re gone away –

My fancies, gay,

And now alone

In darkness grown

I, sleepless, stay.

A mute night hovers

My bed above

In a flash lone

Turned cool and gone

Dreams of my love,

Like a tense crowd.

But still heart beats

The longings’ sound

And catches bits

Of dreams around.

Love, hear my plea,

Hark to my prayer:

Send back to me

Your visions, fair,

And by morn sky,

Again enchanted,

Let . . . Let me die

Still unawaken’d.


Amidst the noisy ball

Amidst the noisy ball, in Hell

Of everyday distress,

I’ve seen you, but the secret’s veil

Was covering your face.

Your fair eyes were sad and bright,

And voice was so sweet,

As sound of a pipe apart

Or murmur of the sea.

I’ve liked your fine and slender waist,

And thoughtful image, whole,

And sound of your voice — it nests

Forever in my soul…

When tired, in my lone nights,

I lie down to pause —

And see your beautiful sad eyes,

And hear your merry voice.

And, sad, I fall asleep to see

My dreams that run above…

I’m sure not whether I love thee —

But, maybe, I’m in love.




In desert, withered and burned,

On ground that is dry and sultry,

Anchar, alone in the world,

Stands like an awful, silent sentry.

The nature of the thirsty land,

Has borne him on the day of terror,

And flesh of roots and boughs, dead,

Was filled with venom blood forever.

The poison oozes through his bark

And melts at noon in beams from heaven,

And thickens in the evening dark–

A tar, transparent one and heavy.

And birds don’t visit him at all,

Not any tiger for him wishes

And only, sometimes, comes a whirl,

To fly away, but as pernicious.

And if, by chance, a cloud sprays

His leaves in wandering alone,

From all his twigs, the poisoned rains

Pour into scorching sand and stone.

But once a man had sent a man,

To desert — to the poison demon,

The slave obediently ran,

And by the morn he brought the venom.

He brought the resin of the death,

A twig with faded leaves, by morning,

And heavy sweat, on his pale face,

In icy rivulets was rolling.

He came, and lay, and fell in fit,

In shadow of the tent, in fluster,

The slave had died by the feet

Of his inexorable master.

The prince immediately breathed

The evil tar into his arrows,

And sent with them the poison-death,

To alien lands–the lands of neighbors.



By gates of Eden, Angel, gentle,

Shone with his softly drooped head,

And Demon, gloomy and resentful

Over the hellish crevasse flapped.

The spirit of qualm and negation

Looked at another one , of good,

And fire of the forced elation

First time he vaguely understood.

Ive seen you, he enunciated, –

And not in vain you,ve sent me light:

Not all in heaven I have hated,

Not all in world I have despised.



The lazy artist-boor is blacking

The genius’s picture with his stuff,

Without any sense a-making

His low drawing above.

But alien paints, in stride of years,

Are falling down as a dust,

The genius’s masterpiece appears

With former brilliance to us.

Like this, the darkly apparitions

Are leaving off my tortured heart,

And it again revives the visions

Of virgin days I left behind.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver

Aleksandr Pushkin(Born 1799, Died 1837) is, by common agreement — at least among his own compatriots — the greatest of all Russian writers. The major part of his lyrical poetry was written between 1820 and 1830, but some of his poetical masterpieces were composed in the last seven years of his life, when he was turning his attention to prose. A development can be traced from the sparkling ebullience of his early verse — the crowning achievement of which is the first chapter of Evgeny Onegin, written in 1823 — to the concetrated expressiveness and restrained power of his later poetry. By effecting a new synthesis between the three main ingredients of the Russian literary idiom — the Church Slovanic, the Western European borrowings, and the spoken vernacular — Pushkin created the language of modern Russian poetry. His personal life was made difficult by his conflicts with the authorities who disapproved of his liberal views. He was killed in a duel.

From “The Heritage of Russian Verse,” by Dimitri Obolensky

(to be continued)


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