The Pushkin Page - Poems by Year
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Poems by Year
1821-23 : 1824-26 : 1827-29 : 1830-32 : 1833-36
Rose-maiden, no, I do not quarrel
With these dear chains, they don't demean;
The nightingale embushed in laurel,
The sylvan singers' feathered queen,
Does she not bear the same sweet plight,
Near the proud rose's beauty dwelling,
And with her tender anthems thrilling
The dusk of a voluptuous night.
Liza is afraid to love.
Or could this be just her fashion?
What if Dian's not above
Keeping dark her taste for passion?
Downcast lids, might they at all
Hide sly glances, holding wily
Muster of us, searching shyly
Which of us might help her fall?
You're the kind that always loses,
Bliss and you are all at odds:
You're too sweet when chance refuses
And too clever when it nods.
O Muse of satire, breathing fire!
Oh, come and heed my urgent call!
I do not need the thundering lyre,
Hand me the scourge of Juvenal!
Not the pedestrian imitators,
Not the penurious translators,
Nor rhymesters echoless, poor lambs,
Shall fester from my epigrams!
Peace to the poet wan with hunger,
Peace to the journals' gossipmonger.
Peace unto every harmless fool!
But as for you, my scoundrels cool,
Come forward! I shall surely hook one,
Hook all you scum with piercing pen,
And if by chance I overlook one,
Please do remind me, gentlemen!
Ah, mugs with sallow slander horrid,
Ah, forehead after brazen forehead,
All due from my avenging hand
The ineradicable brand!
I love you-- though I rage at it,
Though it is shame and toil misguided,
And to my folly self-derided
Here at your feet I will admit!
It ill befits my years, my station,
Good sense has long been overdue!
And yet, by every indication,
Love's plague has stricken me anew:
You're out of sight-- I fall to yawning;
You're here-- I suffer and feel blue,
And barely keep myself from owning,
Dear elf, how much I care for you!
Why, when your guileless girlish chatter
Drifts from next door, your airy tread,
Your rustling dress, my senses scatter
And I completely lose my head.
You smile-- I flush with exaltation;
You turn away-- I'm plunged in gloom;
Your pallid hand is compensation
For a whole day of fancied doom.
When to the frame with artless motion
You bend to cross-stitch, all devotion,
Your eyes and ringlets down-beguiled,
My heart goes out in mute emotion
Rejoicing in you like a child!
Dare I confess to you my sighing,
How jealously I chafe and balk
When you set forth, at times defying
Bad weather, on a lengthy walk?
And then your solitary crying,
Those twosome whispers out of sight,
Your carriage to Opochka plying,
And the piano late at night...
Aline! I ask but to be pitied,
I do not dare to plead for love;
Love, for the sins I have committed,
I am perhaps not worthy of.
But make believe! Your gaze, dear elf,
Is fit to conjure with, believe me!
Ah, it is easy to deceive me!. . .
I long to be deceived myself!
Under the blue skies of her native land
She languished and began to fade. . .
Until surely there flew without a sound
Above me, her young shade;
But there stretches between us an uncrossable line.
In vain my feelings I tried to awaken.
The lips that brought the news were made of stone,
And I listened like a stone, unshaken.
So this is she for whom my soul once burned
In the tense and heavy fire,
Obsessed, exhausted, driven out of my mind
By tenderness and desire!
Where are the torments? Where is love? Alas!
For the unreturning days'
Sweet memory, and for the poor credulous
Shade, I find no lament, no tears.
To the Emperor Nicholas I
He was made emperor, and right then
Displayed his flair and drive:
Sent to Siberia a hundred-twenty men
And strung up five.
Through the murk the moon is veering,
Ghost-accompanist of night,
On the melancholy clearings
Pouring melancholy light.
Runs the troika with its dreary
Toneless jangling sleigh-bell on
Over dismal snow' I'm weary,
Hungry, frozen to the bone.
Coachman in a homely fashion's
Singing as we flash along;
Now a snatch of mournful passion,
Now a foulmouthed drinking-song.
Not a light shines, not a lonely
Dusky cabin. . . Snow and hush. . .
Streaming past the troika only
Mileposts, striped and motley, rush.
Dismal, dreary. . . But returning
Homewards! And tomorrow, through
Pleasant crackles of the burning
Pine-logs, I shall gaze at you:
Dream, and go on gazing, Nina,
One whole circle of the clock;
Midnight will not come between us,
When we gently turn the lock
On our callers. . . Drowsing maybe,
Coachman's faded, lost the tune;
Toneless, dreary, goes the sleigh-bell;
Nina, clouds blot out the moon.
Parched with the spirit's thirst, I crossed
An endless desert sunk in gloom,
And a six-winged seraph came
Where the tracks met and I stood lost.
Fingers light as dream he laid
Upon my lids; I opened wide
My eagle eyes, and gazed around.
He laid his fingers on my ears
And they were filled with roaring sound:
I heard the music of the spheres,
The flight of angels through the skies,
The beasts that crept beneath the sea,
The heady uprush of the vine;
And, like a lover kissing me,
He rooted out this tongue of mine
Fluent in lies and vanity;
He tore my fainting lips apart
And, with his right hand steeped in blood,
He armed me with a serpent's dart;
With his bright sword he split my breast;
My heart leapt to him with a bound;
A glowing livid coal he pressed
Into the hollow of the wound.
There in the desert I lay dead,
And God called out to me and said:
'Rise, prophet, rise, and hear, and see,
And let my works be seen and heard
By all who turn aside from me,
And burn them with my fiery word.'