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446. EPIGRAM{*}

(On Vorontzov)

Half-merchant and half-prince
half-scholar and half-dunce,
half-knave — but there's a chance
he'll be complete for once.

447. THE NAME{*}

What is my name to you? 'Twill die:
a wave that has but rolled to reach
with a lone splash a distant beach;
or in the timbered night a cry…
'Twill leave a lifeless trace among
names on your tablets: the design
of an entangled gravestone line
in an unfathomable tongue.
What is it then? A long-dead past,
lost in the rush of madder dreams,
upon your soul it will not cast
Mnemosyne's pure tender beams.
But if some sorrow comes to you,
utter my name with sighs, and tell
the silence: «Memory is true —
there beats a heart wherein I dwell».


A magic day — sunshine and frost —
but you, in dreamland still are lost…
Come, open your enchanting eyes
with honeyed indolence replete....
Star of the North, arise to meet
Aurora in her wintry skies.
That blizzard yesternight! It spread
dimness and tumult overheard.
The moon through a lugubrious veil
was but a blur of jaundiced grey,
and you were listless.... But to-day —
well, let the window tell its tale:
Fabulous carpets of rich snow
under the cloudless heavens glow.
Alone the gauzy birches seem
to show some black, while green occurs
among the frost-bespangled firs,
and blue-shot ice adorns the stream.
The room is flooded with a light
like amber, and with all its might
the hot stove crackles. Lolling there
in meditation is no doubt
enjoyable… but what about
a sledge behind the chestnut mare?
Sweet friend, together we shall speed
yielding to our impatient steed
on new-born whiteness, fleet and free,
and visit silent fields of snow,
woods that were lush two months ago,
a lakeshore that is dear to me…

Михаил Лермонтов{*}

449. FAREWELL{*}

Farewell! Nevermore shall we meet,
we shall never touch hands — so farewell!
Your heart is now free, but in none
will it ever be happy to dwell.
One moment together we came:
time eternal is nothing to this!
All senses we suddenly drained,
burned all in the flame of one kiss.
Farewell! And be wise, do not grieve:
our love was too short for regret,
and hard as we found it to part
harder still would it be if we met.
<Ноябрь 1941>


If I do love my land, strangely I love it:
'tis something reason cannot cure.
Glories of war I do not covet,
but neither peace proud and secure,
not the mysterious past and dim romances
can spur my soul to pleasant fancies.
And still I love thee — why I hardly know:
I love thy fields so coldly meditative,
native dark swaying woods and native
rivers that sea-like foam and flow.
In a clattering cart I love to travel
on country roads: watching the rising star,
yearning for sheltered sleep, my eyes unravel
the trembling lights of sad hamlets afar.
I also love the smoke of burning stubble,
vans huddled in the prairie night;
corn on a hill crowned with the double
grace of twin birches gleaming white.
Few are the ones who feel the pleasure
of seeing barns bursting with grain and hay,
well-thatched cottage-roofs made to measure
and shutters carved and windows gay.
And when the evening dew is glistening,
long may I hear the festive sound
of rustic dancers stamping, whistling
with drunkards clamoring around.
<Ноябрь 1941>


I dreamt that with a bullet in my side
in a hot gorge of Daghestan I lay.
Deep was the wound and steaming, and the tide
of my life-blood ebbed drop by drop away.
Alone I lay amid a silent maze
of desert sand and bare cliffs rising steep,
their tawny summits burning in the blaze
that burned me too; but lifeless was my sleep.
And in a dream I saw the candle-flame
of a gay supper in the land I knew;
young women crowned with flowers.... And my name
on their light lips hither and thither flew.
But one of them sat pensively apart,
not joining in the light-lipped gossiping,
and there alone, God knows what made her heart,
her young heart dream of such a hidden thing....
For in her dream she saw a gorge, somewhere
in Daghestan, and knew the man who lay
there on the sand, the dead man, unaware
of steaming wound and blood ebbing away.
<Ноябрь 1941>