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Reviews, essays, and translations

Entries in Lermontov (2)

Wednesday
Nov282012

Lermontov, "Поэт"

A work ("The Poet") by this Russian man of letters.  You can read the original here.

When Raphael the last inspired blush,
Upon the saintly maiden's sacred face,
His fingers trembling less than his fine brush,
Enthrall'd by his own artistry, did place,

He fell, in ecstasy, before the sight! 
Yet soon this burst of wonder left his breast, 
So silent, young, and so bereft of rest, 
That he in shortest time forgot that white,

That heavenly white flame which he once caught. 
Such is the poet: should thought so sparkling shine, 
So shall his quill disgorge in sweetest rhyme, 
His soul in full.  Loud lyres in their assault

Enchant the earth; yet in his silence seems    
The poet, to all oblivious save you, 
You, idols of his soul! Utopian dream! 
And suddenly his cheeks grow cold and blue:

His heart's concerns will soon fall quiet, still – 
And there before his eyes a spectre flees!  
But so long shall his weary mind yet keep
Those very first impressions of his thrill. 

Thursday
Dec152011

Lermontov, "Сон"

A work ("Dream") by this Russian poet.  You can read the original here.

250px-Mikhail_lermontov.jpgIn noonday heat, in Daghestanian vale,
I lay unmoving, lead’s soft fleshy nest;
A wound of smoke, a deep and savage gale,
As drop by drop sweet life oozed from my breast.

I lay alone upon the valley sand,
Around me ledges of each cliff grew tight;
And sun–sent yellow peaks burnt in their brand,
And burnt in me, asleep in death’s black night.

But, shining, I then dreamt of farthest fires:
An evening feast in distant homeland mine;
Twixt maidens young with garlands thick as pyres
Came merry talk about my fate’s fierce line.

But one did not enjoy warm banter's crowd,
Alone she sat, in deepest thought apart;
And saddest dream her soul, unold, did shroud,
God knows what weight still burdened this young heart.

And Daghestan’s lost vale became her dream:
A body known to her lay there in smoke;
A breast bled black, a hole of leaden steam,
Life pouring dry in coldest mortal choke.