Russian Poetry. Study Guide

Alexander Pushkin

I remember the wonderful moment:
You appeared before me,
Like a fleeting vision,
Like a spirit of pure beauty.

As I languished in hopeless melancholy,
Amid the anxieties of the noisy and restless world,
Your tender voice long echoed in my mind,
And I dreamt of your beloved features.

Years passed. The storm's turbulent gusts
Scattered the dreams of yore,
And I forgot your tender voice,
And your wonderful features.

In a remote corner of the earth, in the darkness of exile
My days dragged slowly on,
Without divinity, without inspiration,
Without tears, without love.

Awakening came to my soul: 
And lo, you appeared again,
Like a fleeting vision,
Like a spirit of pure beauty.

And my heart beats in ecstacy,
And once more within it,
divinity, inspiration, life,
Tears, and love are born.


The Prophet

Tormented by spiritual thirst,
I dragged myself through a somber desert.
And a six-winged seraph
Appeared to meet me at the crossing of the ways.
He touched my eyes
With fingers as light as a dream:
And my prophetic eyes opened
Like those of a frightened eagle.
He touched my ears
And they were filled with noise and ringing:
And I heard the shuddering of the heavens,
And the flight of the angels in the heights,
And the movement of the beasts of the sea under the waters,
And the sound of the vine growing in the valley.
He bent down to my mouth
And tore out my tongue,
Sinful, decitful, and given to idle talk;
And with the right hand steeped in blood
He inserted the tongue of a wise serpent,
Into my benumbed mouth.
He clove my breast with a sword,
And plucked out my quivering heart,
And thrust a coal of live fire
Into my gaping breast.
Like a corpse I lay in the desert.
And the voice of God called out to me:
'Arise, O prophet, see and hear,
Be filled with my will,
Go forth over land and sea,
And set the hearts of men on fire with your Word.'


I loved you once: it may be that love
Has not completely died in my soul;
But let it not trouble you any more;
I do not wish to sadden you in any way.

I loved you silently, hopelesly,
Tormented now by difidence, now by jealousy;
I loved you so truly, so tenderly,
As God may grant you to be loved by another.

Fyodor Tyutchev

Silence Be silent, hide yourself, And conceal your feelings and your dreams. Let them rise and set In the depths of your soul, Silently, like stars in the night; Contemplate them in admiration, and be silent. How will the heart express itself? How will another understand you? Will he understand what it is you live by? A thought that is spoken is falsehood; By stirring up the springs you will cloud them: Drink of them, and be silent. Know how to live within yourself: There is in your soul a whole world Of mysterious and enchanted thoughts; They will be drowned by the noise without; Daylight will drive them away: Listen to their singing, and be silent. -----------------------------

Mihkhail Lermontov

I am weary and sad, and there is no one To whom I can strech out my hand In the hour of my soul's distress... Desires! What is the use of desiring vainly and forever? And the years slip by - all the best years. To love? But whom? For a time it's not worth the trouble, And to love forever is impossible. If you look within yourself, there is no trace of the past there; The joys and the torments - everything there is worthless... What of passions? Sooner or later their sweet sickness Will vanish at the word of reason; And life, if you look around with cold attention, Is such a hollow and stupid farce... -------------------------- Alone, I come out on the road. The stony way glistens through the mist; The night is still, the wilderness is listening to God, and star is talking to star. All is solemn and wonderful in the sky; The earth is sleeping in pale blue radiance... Why then do I feel so much pain and heaviness of heart? Am I waiting for something, regretting anything? I expect nothing from life, And do not regret the past at all. I seek for freedom and peace, I would like to find oblivion and to fall asleep... But not with the cold sleep of the grave: I would like to fall asleep forever, So that the forces of life would slumber in my breast, And that it would heave in gentle breathing; So that an enchanting voice, delighting my ear, Would sing to me of love day and night, And a dark evergreen oak Would bend and rustle over me.