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Pétri de vanité, il avait encore plus de cette espèce d'orgueil qui fait avouer avec la même indifférence les bonnes comme les mauvaises actions, suite d'un sentiment de supériorité, peut-être imaginaire. (Tiré d'une lettre particulière) Formed by vanity, he possessed still more of that species of pride that leads one to confess to good and evil actions with a like indifference, due to a sense of superiority which is perhaps merely imagined.
Contents Dedication.....................................................................................................5 Chapter One...................................................................................................6 Chapter Two................................................................................................34 Chapter Three..............................................................................................55 Chapter Four................................................................................................81 Chapter Five..............................................................................................104 Chapter Six................................................................................................126 Chapter Seven...........................................................................................149 Chapter Eight.............................................................................................177
Of your sublime clear poetry. witty. The fruit of carefree hours. The intellect’s cold observation. The bitter record of the heart. 5 . tragic. Such as they are. your noble dreams. or fading art. The casual. Insomnia. Unripe powers. With fond indulgence. Your spirit’s true simplicity Lines more worthy of such themes. pale inspiration. the idealistic. unplanned. view these extremes These varied chapters in your hand.Dedication To Peter Alexandrovich Pletnev Indifferent to the world’s delight Seeking the pleasure of my friends I only wish the words I write Might have been turned to better ends – Reflecting you.
as if he were trying. what tedium to sample That sitting by the bed all day. Thinking with a mournful sigh. Let us all follow his example! But. demeaning. what a worthy man. Of cosseting one who’s half alive. All night. Prince Vyazemsky 1 ‘My uncle. Puffing the pillows. and makes haste to feel. barely a foot away! And the hypocrisy. Rushes to live. Falling ill like that. “Why the devil can’t you die?”’ 6 . and dying.Chapter One И жить торопится и чувствовать спешит. It summons up respect. God. one can Admire it. you contrive To bring his medicine unsmiling.
Then off to ramble in the park. Ducked the moralizing sermons. born and raised There beside the Neva’s shore. Meet my hero of romance. Eugene Onegin. Before you. A mild rebuke. There I too strolled to and fro: Though the North affects me so. By the will of Zeus the Just. As his horses plough the dust. Here without an ounce of bother. Friends of Ruslan and Ludmila. Monsieur L’Abbé. you understand.2. French and thin. as sole relation. Such our young dog’s meditation. Where you too were nourished or Found your fame. His father had a fine career And gladly lived a life of debt Always gave three balls a year And died with all he owed unmet. Taught him everything by whim. Then Monsieur taught the child A pleasant-natured lad but wild. let him now advance. perhaps amazed. 7 . Inheriting. 3. a sharp remark. But Fate took Eugene by the hand First Madame. Spared the lad from weary lessons.
We’ve all acquired some education A bit of this a bit of that. Then like a very sage could seem When talk was of some graver matter. un-clam With some ready epigram. God be thanked. Now. And we can all display éclat. What more is needed? All agreed That here was wit and charm indeed. Danced the mazurka deftly too. French he spoke and wrote with ease. Bowed to each acquaintance new. Did all that was required to please. Monsieur was packed off in brisk fashion. some imitation. Yet make the ladies smile. For conversation’s art created. Touching lightly on each theme. Into society he rode. He had the gift of easy chatter. Those years of hope and tender rage. when Eugene reached the age Of restless youth’s tumultuous passion. And my Eugene was free at last. but opinionated. 5. acute as any) As well-read. 8 . he was deemed by many (Critics stern. Onegin. A London dandy safely classed His hair cut neatly a la mode.4.
But kept the juiciest stories ever From Romulus to our own day. 7. He knew enough I would allow To read an epigraph. the what and why With staple products its supply. He lacked the passion and desire To give his life for poetry. and might Mention Juvenal by the way. his knowledge slight. 9 . or thought he did. Two whole lines of the Aeneid. where Deep in all things economic The wealth of nations was his topic. And knew by heart. In his memory tucked away. As for finding ancient treasure He’d no desire to dig the dust Of history all turned to rust. No need to keep reserves of gold. Left his father. he told. Or end a letter with vale. stunned by theory. Of mortgaging his land quite weary. Latin’s not in fashion now. Truth to tell. Of how it lives. Despite all efforts. On what the state relies.6. or aspire To tell iambic from trochee. Bored by Theocritus and Homer. Adam Smith was more his tome.
sometimes humble. How passionate his eloquence. with tender art. an obedient tear! 10 . loving one thing. Ended on the Black Sea shore. One thing alone he studied well. Seem to pine. But as for genius. torment and delight. or see appear. Glistening. coy. be sad or gloomy. All attentive. 9/10. exiled for that very thing Plus another hidden reason. Conceal his hopes. The wealth of things my Yevgeny Mastered I’ve no time to tell.8. That occupied each night and day. Gain trust. And kept dull boredom far away – The science of the tender passion The one poor Ovid used to sing. he’d spread confusion. Roguish. And. or cause pure disillusion. From the first. Sometimes proud. How utterly himself forgetting! His glance now bold. if any. feign jealousy. His labour. How swift his letters from the heart! Breathing one thing. His springtime occupation bright. Far from Italy’s allure. or just mumble! How languid was his reticence.
burn flattery’s incense. Silently impart love’s teaching! 12. that whole set. Beseech. of that clan Content forever with their life. Their dinner-table and their wife. foolish. 11 . The careful spouse as much his man. a husband from a novel. intimacies meeting. Were ever dearest friends of his. Though young he learnt the way to stir The heart of a confirmed coquette! And when he wanted to refer To his rivals. and thereby Secure a secret assignation. Pursue love wholly. As some suspicious aged devil. Ingenuous naivety. Listen for the heart’s first cry. involuntary. Await the touch.11. Or cuckold. the men in wedded bliss. How skilfully he’d feign the new. How poisonous the words he used! What traps he set for those abused! But you. elicit true confession. Betrayed. Or frighten with a glance or two Of despair. And daze the eyes of innocence. Then later. Overcome with wit and passion. Catch the first flush of emotion.
often. adorns the table. Parading there with all the rest. luxuries of youth. the cork pops. Limburger cheese. here a ball. The French cuisine’s finest proof. rare. A roast-beef. And Strasbourg pies. while he’s still abed. So. And truffles. on a tray. Where will my young idler call? Which to visit first? No matter. Frost’s silver powders on it lie. calculating His friend Kaverin will be waiting. What? Invitations? Swiftly read.13-15. now is dinner-time. heaven! The Comet’s vintage. renowned in fable. He’ll have time still for the latter. Three houses offer a soirée: A birthday party. He saunters on the Boulevard. soft and pungent. He arrives. 16. year eleven. Three notes appear. Until his Breguet’s sleepless chime Tells him. He’s off to Talon’s. His beaver-collar shines away. 12 . Meanwhile in his morning dress Complete with wide-brimmed Bolivar. As it grows dusk he takes a sleigh: ‘Clear the road!’ loud sings the cry. The pineapple’s pure golden unguent.
Where. merely In order to be heard more clearly. Denizen of the wings. 13 . And Knyazhnin’s imitative rhymes. hisses Phaedra. Ozerov’s tragedies for years Won tributes of spontaneous tears. As his watch’s chimes repeat The ballet’s beat he should be at. There Didelot too crowned his day. Shakhovskoy. My youth fled by. 18. Fonvizin shone there. at An instant hails the entrechat. so sardonically. Boos Cleopatra. legislator. Glass on glass to drench the heat Of that last cutlet’s fiery fat. with Semyonova. Or shouts for his Moina. This ruthless critic. to the theatre where He breathes the air of freedom.17. Freedom’s lover. The artiste’s flatterer and traitor. Shared wild applause. To all unfaithful by and by. he’ll fly Onegin. enchantment clings. Land of bewitchment! In past times Satire’s most audacious master. Produced his hive of comedy. in the shadow of the wings. And our Katenin moreover Translated the sublime Corneille.
The rustling curtain as we breathe Soars. Spins. beats one foot on the other. serious One foot planted. Twists her waist one way. glistening half-ethereal. To the magic bow in thrall. 14 . Are you as you were? Have new Idols replaced you. The orchestra. The theatre fills. the stalls. A host of nymphs around her. like down. Silently to yawn and sigh For all those years long sped by? 20. The circle claps to make all happen. they seethe. another. the boxes glisten. sets Off as if blown by Aeolus. Tired of the laughter of the age. My goddesses! Where? Where are you? Listen now to my sad voice.19. so Istomina stands. Turning on the alien mass My disenchanted opera-glass. pirouettes Takes a leap and. a worse choice? Do I hear once more your choir sing? See a Russian Terpsichore wing Her way again in soulful flight? Or must my dull gaze fail to light On any fond face on this stage.
Sniffing. He notes the boxes. Threads the rows among the feet. Borne away to change at home. Doze on the fur coats in the lobby. While both indoors and outside Lanterns glitter far and wide. ranked. ‘They’re all past they’re best’ he sighs. hissing. Turns on the stage indifferent eyes.’ 22. Then he turns away – and yawns. Fill him with dissatisfaction. The coachmen by the fire free Their absent masters to berate. But our Onegin’s off to roam. Then come Cupid. Onegin enters. serried places. The audience. faces. the fashions. chilly. imp and snake. ‘What do I haunt the ballet for? Didelot too is quite the bore. 15 . Sees it all. Their harness chafing. Vast applause. then views the action.21. restlessly. their feet still tapping. Askance his opera-glass now centres On unknown faces. While weary servants half-awake. complete. Bows to friends. wait. clapping. coughing. Treading the boards interminably. The carriage horses. Within its glow no interest dawns.
undressed and dressed again? All that. at bay! Freedom’s champion. all solitary. quickly paid. For teeth or nails. And to delight the sensual Perfumes in finely-crafted crystal. The useful arts. Scissors with straight blades and curved. Shall I depict with faithful pen Where fashion’s loyal devotee Is dressed.23. 24. China and bronzes fill the table. files in various guises. For timber and tallow. That dressing room. can devise. Ingenious London without cease Sends us through the Baltic trade. was here all wrong. Brushes of thirty different sizes. For idleness and sense to waste – All in our sage’s cell appears Our philosopher of eighteen years. Eccentric. 16 . Steel combs. Rousseau (I mention it by the way) Could not conceive how haughty Grimm Dared clean his nails in front of him. ever strong In human rights. to sate boundless caprice. both are served. That fashion or luxury supplies. And everything Parisian taste. A pipe of amber from Istanbul. eloquent.
A second Chadayev. and prevails. or for vest. 26. dress-coat. And for you. no less. knowledgeable race. You’re curious for every detail. For trousers. my Yevgeny. A full three hours at least he’d spend Before the mirror. I ask forgiveness. As it is. I might try to tell the whole tale. 17 . Why quarrel with the age fruitlessly? Custom is a tyrant. confess. Though I’m an adept at description. Was a very dandy in his dress. My style is rendered quite absurd Too often by a foreign word. No reason why a man of energy Should disregard the subject of his nails.25. Fearing all the barbs of envy. Garbed to the modern taste. Like Venus if she’d condescend In masculine attire displayed To enter on the masquerade. It’s peppered with them to excess. Though I’ve consulted frequently The Academic Dictionary. I’ll not deceive. But there’s a risk in such fiction. then would leave His dressing room. A pedant in the details. No Russian terms exist.
Enters. The crush intense. The light-footed girls sweep by. the noise is loud. Better to hurry to the ball. 18 . 28. Oil-lamps bright on window sills. Since with a cab hired from the stand.27. Down the streets where evening drowses. With a hand he smoothes his hair. Through the hall. The room is gyring. As ardent glances swiftly fly In pursuit. Heads. Of lovely woman. edges crop. The sumptuous mansion gleams. A Horse Guard’s spurs go jingling. Orchestra already tiring. That’s not the business we’ve in hand. Onegin has outpaced us all. A mazurka holds the crowd. While behind the window streams A flow of silhouetted stills. The twin lights of the carriage throw A rainbow glitter on the snow. our hero’s there. Along the rows of darkened houses. the dancers mingling. While drowned by frantic violins The jealous ladies whisper sins. Soaring up the marble stair now. Past the doorman like an arrow. freakish fop. in profile.
confess That. search all Russia though. now My services to you I vow! Pay attention now I beg you. they made me long despair Two slender feet…Now sad and cold I still remember.. Ah. 30. I love youth’s frantic energy. hear me too. For I stopped sinning long ago. the gaiety. and it seems They yet can thrill me in my dreams. Or else…. I bid. From my words take warning due. the lights. You’ll not find three lovely pair. Yet were they wholly innocent I’d still wander those bright bowers. on every stray amusement I’ve wasted far too many hours. may God forbid! I dare to write about it so. 19 . The dance-floor was my passion: The safest place for a lover To pass a note of assignation. esteemed husbands. Raise your lorgnettes. watch them closely. Guard your daughters most severely. Oh you. I love their little feet. The crush. Alas.or else. In days of dream and ardour. You mothers.29. The girls in fashionable dress.
Its subtle beauty lights the fires Of a swarm of sweet desires. I forgot. I find! Yet Terpsichore’s foot I’d seek Far more enchanting. praise. but loved instead The sensual touch. My country: exile was my lot. foretelling to my gaze Pleasure in a thousand ways. 32. In the springtime on the moss. 20 . Are enchanting. Diana’s breast or Flora’s cheek. But where. little feet where do you stand? On what spring flowers are you set? Pampered in eastern luxury On our northern snows. to my mind. could your heart forget? Ah. on rugs to tread And carpeted voluptuousness. In winter. Was it for you all that distress? So youth’s happiness must pass. Or the granite of the shore. Since. in what deserted strand Madman. Beneath the table’s damask gloss. Such I adore. The call of fame. You left no trace. so gloomy. resting on the fender. Or on the ballroom’s gleaming floor. Brief as your footprints on the grass.31. friends. my dear Elvina.
never in the fiercest fires Of tortured youth and its desires Did I so long with painful ardour To kiss the young Armida’s lips. a simple touch amazes. again love’s art! Enough of praise though for the proud. Recall the sea before a storm. They’re never worth the singer’s fire. Each falling there as they form To lie at her feet. Yet prove as faithless…. Or her breast. both are sweet. 21 . How I envied the waves then. Again imagination blazes. filled with languor. Again. Another day I bring to mind! Sometimes in my fondest dreams I hold that stirrup.as their feet. Nor ever so consumed my soul! 34. Enough of my loquacious lyre. The roses of her burning cheeks. The little foot I touch it seems. No. blessed by time. Again the pain. passion took no greater toll. Stirs blood inside my weary heart. in peace again! How I longed to be those seas Kissing her dear feet as they please! No.33. My songs inspired by that crowd. their looks. Their words.
in truth. Monotonous and varied. To his stand the cabman drives. Shutters part. But Petersburg that restless heap Its drum pounds fit to wake the dead. The punctilious German baker. and in the flower of youth. Blue columns rising over folk. His life till dawn the same as ever. Midst glittering victories. Midst oft repeated amusement? Was he as vigorous and carefree As at the feast he seemed to be? 22 . The city’s sounds swiftly wake her. and finds his bed. say. He wakes at noon. But was dear Yevgeny content Free. 36.35. Worn out by the ballroom’s noise And turning morning into night Sleeps peacefully in blissful joy The child of luxury and delight. The merchant and the beggar rise. The milkmaids from Ochta go Crunching over morning snow. or even later. More than once in white night-cap Has opened up his serving flap. And my Onegin? Half-asleep He flees the ball. Tomorrow just like yesterday. chimneys smoke.
37. No, for his early feelings faded, Exhausted by society, Not for long were lovely ladies The object of his constancy; Faithlessness was not amusing Friends and friendship were confusing, Since even he at times would sigh At more beefsteak and Strasbourg pie Endless bottles of sparkling wine And fail to offer a word, to make A bon mot, with a fierce headache, And though a womaniser fine, In the end he too grew bored With duelling, pistols, and the sword. 38. The sickness, with which he was smitten, The cause of which it’s time to seek, That spleen (so Englishmen are bitten) Or chondria, when we Russians speak, Had gradually overwhelmed him, Thank God no desire claimed him, To blow his brains out, as we’re told, Yet his life grew sad and cold. Like Childe Harold, mournful, dour, He’d wander through a drawing room, No gossip could dispel his gloom, Cards, or glance, or sweet sigh’s power, Nothing touched his feelings there, He noticed nothing, did not care.
39-42. You were the first, capricious belles, He would neglect and then abandon. Today we know, truth to tell The crushing boredom of bon ton. Though it’s true some woman may Talk of Bentham and of Say, Generally their conversation Though innocent tries one’s patience. Besides they are so pure, so pious, So clever, and so circumspect, So blameless in their intellect, So inflexible, so virtuous, So unapproachable, serene, Their very presence causes spleen. 43. You too, sweet girls, who late at night, When all of Petersburg’s abed, The speeding cabs whirl out of sight Over the darkened stones instead, You too Yevgeny quite deserted. From every pleasure he retreated, Onegin, shut himself indoors, Would join the literary bores, Tried to write, it makes him ill All serious effort – no words flow, He yawned inordinately, and so Failed to join the shameless guild, Of Writers: whom I cannot blame Since, I’m one too and just the same.
44. As emptiness possessed his soul, Once more resigned to being idle He chose – a more than worthy goal, The thoughts of other men to rifle; Great shelves of books he read and read But still found nothing in his head, All’s tedium, madness, and pretence Here no conscience, there no sense, All chained to their pre-conception, The old ones utterly out-dated, The new ones simply antiquated, Like women, books proved a deception, Across the literary stack, He drew a mourning veil of black. 45. I too cast off the social burden, At that time, and retired from view, I made a friend of Eugene then. I liked his face, his manner too, Liked his dreamy tendency, His unique eccentricity, His mind, incisive, and chilly; I was bitter, he was gloomy. Both had known the play of passion Both had wearied of the game, In both our hearts a dying flame, Both had known Fate’s passing fashion, All mankind’s malicious ways In the morning of our days.
46. He who’s lived, he who’s thought Cannot but despise it all, He who feels, is quickly taught The pain of time lost, past recall: Enchantment fails such men as he, Bitten by the snake, Memory, Absorbed by remorse at things done Though it adds to conversation, Lends it charm, intense delight. I thought Onegin’s talk disturbing But later found it re-assuring, His virulence, his scorn, alight With witticisms forged with guile, His epigrams topped up with bile. 47. How often, on a summer’s night, The sky aglow above the Neva, With that pale diaphanous light, Where no face showed of Diana In the water’s smooth still glass, Recalling romance of time past, Recalling many a lost love there Sentimental, free from care, In silent joy, of night’s bounteous Benediction we drank deep! Like prisoners released in sleep, To roam the forests green, so us, Carried in dream to that land where All life, before us, seemed so fair.
48. His heart consumed with regret Leaning, musing pensively, On the granite parapet, As Muraviev, our Yevgeny. All is still, only the guards Call to each other in the yards, Or far sounds rise, as wheels meet The cobbles of Milyona Street. A single boat with outspread oars Swims across the drowsy stream, A horn rings out, enchanted dream, A distant strand of singing soars; Yet Tasso’s murmured octaves are Sweeter, in night’s embrace, by far. 49. Waves of the distant Adriatic, Oh Brenta! No: yet I’ll rejoice When inspired again, ecstatic, I hear the magic of your voice! Sacred to scions of Apollo, Albion’s proud lyre I follow, To know its beauty, be its friend. Where Italy’s gold nights descend, I’ll breathe free, take my ease Float in a gondola’s embrace, With some fair Venetian face, Silent, chattering, as you please, My lips from hers will softly prove The tongue of Petrarch and of love.
50. When shall I ever loose my tether? Now! Now! With joy, I call aloud, I pace the shore, wait for fair weather, Signal each passing sail, each shroud. When, storm-wrapped, shall I be free To fight the waves, and scour the sea, When will my wings begin to soar? It’s time to leave this tedious shore, This hostile climate where I wander, And with southern oceans nigh Roam beneath my African sky, To mourn there for gloomy Russia, Where I’ve loved, where I’ve suffered, Where my heart has long been smothered. 51. Onegin and I planned to travel, To feast our eyes on foreign lands, But soon we saw our plans unravel, Our fates lay in Fortune’s hands. Then his father passed away, And creditors had him at bay, Each man to his own ideas, He with lawyers round his ears, Hating all this litigation, Content with life, took a stance, Relinquished his inheritance, Finding it small deprivation, Or else, reviewing distantly, His uncle’s frail mortality.
52. In fact he soon received a letter From his uncle’s man, to say His uncle lay at death’s door, better Say farewell without delay. Yevgeny read the gloomy note, Then grasped the instant by the throat, Took to the road, went post-haste, Yawning the while as he raced, Prepared, for the sake of gold, For boredom, and hypocrisy, (The place where we began, you see) Yet he arrived, his uncle cold, The corpse on a table laid, Nature’s debt already paid. 53. The house was filled with commotion, Friends and enemies from afar Had called to show their true devotion, Or enjoy the funeral, as you are. The dead man buried priest and guests Did full justice to the rest, Ate, drank, then left, solemnly Pleased that they had done their duty. Now our Eugene’s a countryman, With vineyard, water, wood, and field, He who had never once concealed His wastefulness and lack of plan. Glad now that his former ways Were changing with the passing days.
He saw as clear as the dawn. I read a lot. By the third. and cards. No longer even stirred his will. poetry. Careless of fame. the silent furrow. In happiness. The solitariness of the meadow. The country caused the same ennui Despite the lack of streets and yards. with such pure pleasure. And far niente is my law. I was born for quiet existence For rural silence. I doze a little. in idle ways. The babbling brook. While disillusion dogged him constantly. Every dawn produces more Dear liberty and leisure. or a wife. wood. where the lyre Sounds more sweetly in the silence. and hill. the brittle. Like a shadow. Pursued him endlessly through life. For two days it was all quite new. 55. In ease and innocence I take A walk beside the lonely lake. I once spent my sweetest days? 30 . He even felt the urge to yawn. Of dances.54. field. Was it not. And spirit finds creative fire. The coolness of the dark glades too.
pride’s perfect poet. And ignominiously repeat That I have here daubed my portrait. Do you now voice your thoughts aloud? 31 . And so in careless rapture I Sang the maid on mountain high. fields. Flowers. As though we can never treat Of someone other. ‘Whom does your sweet lyre hold dearer? For whom among that jealous crowd. All poets. lest some sly. Some tell-tale. 57. Like Byron. love. O country life! I like you all. recall It. caustic reader. To dream affection constantly Was once my sole preoccupation. That Onegin is not me. Pleased as I always am to stress. and idleness. My soul preserved its memory The Muse gave it eternity. But now my friends I often hear. Love in imagination. And captive girls by the Salgira. it seems to me. or vile inventor Of over-elaborate slander try To pair Yevgeny and I. never own To any but ourselves alone.56. Your question ringing in my ear.
Now free. The cold ash hides no smouldering ember. foolish in the game. I’m grieving still. thought. seem To ease heart’s suffering. Rewards with its fond caress Your pure. My darkened mind grew clear again. find fame: But I was mute. I suffered without hope or joy. and pain. truly! Love’s madness. twenty-five! 32 . wild and unruly. ‘Whose glance. but free of tears. 59. Love faded then the Muse appeared. Follow in Petrarch’s steps. I write.58. my friends. The storm that shook my soul for years Soon. Beside some lines still incomplete. my heart no longer suffers. Sketching women’s legs and feet. pensive incantation? Who in your verse is your goddess? No one. A poem in cantos. I tell you. my verse no longer feared Music’s magic. soon my mind will not remember: Then what an epic I’ll contrive. My pen I find no longer wanders. creating inspiration. Happy is he who can employ Fevered rhyme on such a theme So he’ll double the intensity Of the sacred flames of poesy.
My newborn work. little book: find Neva then.60. I’m ready now for chapter two. To journalists for their consumption I’ll feed the proceeds of my pen. The hero’s name I’ve given too. I’ve scanned the pages of my fiction. Noise. Go. incomprehension. And though they’re filled with contradiction. blame! 33 . My rhyming novel’s well in hand. I’ve sketched the underlying plan. my sweet creation. It’s not my job to work them through. Earn me the first fruits of fame. The censors must have work to do.
Russia! 34 .Chapter Two O rus! Horace O. the country! O.
there another. who can say. Screened by the hills when storms intruded. Though why it is. flowery meadows. All this is out of fashion now. On every side. Stoves shone with ceramic tiles. the whole display Moved our hero. 2. Here a village. Stretched the pastures far and wide. I’ll allow. Our bored Yevgeny’s place of leisure Was in fact a fine estate. With all the taste we used to see. soft shadows Deepening the garden’s shade. Every salon high and handsome. Damask in the drawing-room. Cattle grazing in the clover. Golden cornfields. Parkland. overgrown. Firmly founded on the land. Where lovers of life’s simple pleasure Would thank the heavens for their fate. The manor house was quite secluded. An ancient house or one new-born Both of them would make him yawn. Yet none of it. Where the pensive dryads played.1. The stately pile was nobly planned As such fine mansions ought to be. Ancestral portraits stretched for miles. Beside a river. 35 .
Was not enamoured. His calculating neighbour though. Killed the flies. A prophet in the wilderness. The serfs applauded his intent. 4. found In one a ledger taken hostage. Onegin searched the cupboards. That simple stall. To running things the modern way. While others sneered at the show. no less. predicted bad. A stoneware jug of cider handy. where the aged fellow For forty years had berated His housekeeper. of year eight vintage: The old man had no time to look At any more demanding book. And substituted light quit-rent. chests of drawers. in truth. Alone amongst his new possessions. Simply to pass the time away Yevgeny took. But one and all. And not the least ink-stain around.3. thought him mad Saw nothing good. with oaken floors Settee and table. gazed out the window. He scrapped the old corvée. and rusticated. In another home-made brandy. An Almanack. 36 . In that room. in dreamy sessions. agree He’s a menace in the first degree.
briskly rode.5. For reasons that I’ll indicate. And he then rapidly skedaddled. 37 . A mason. From misty Germany he brought The fruits of learning’s golden tree. ‘The man’s a lunatic. A friend of truth: a poet then. is the man Handsome. near his abode. a Kantian. Vladimir Lensky. But as. Wine by the bottle. and forever drinking. They took offence. young. At first the neighbours visited. a Don thoroughbred. what’s more Says yes and no. Once he heard. Ardent and eccentric thought. Meanwhile another landowner Newly arrived on his estate. Eloquence to inspire the bolder. 6. and once offended The brief acquaintances were ended. was saddled His stallion. at the back porch. caused an equal stir. but never sir Or madam’ so they all concur. And dark hair hanging to his shoulder. Their carriage wheels. Won’t kiss the ladies’ hands. His fervent dreams of liberty. His neighbour. a boor. never blinking. Whose soul was formed in Göttingen.
In life’s fresh glow. His generous spirit still could bless With warmth a comrade’s manly kiss. the eternal lover. he still could find Enchantment. That there existed chosen vessels. Trusted also his friends were there Ready to save his honour. He sweetened with delightful dreams The doubts that stirred in his soul Life was a riddle.7. with an unspoiled mind. for his pains. it seems. 8. Over it he’d rack his brains. Holy friends of the human race Immortals clasped in fate’s embrace. share His prison. That somewhere there was another. prepared to fly To his defence should slander lie. 38 . To whom hope her brightness lent. Or a young girl’s shy caress. At heart a simple innocent. grieved For him alone. Who longing to unite them. to illuminate and bless A future world with their caress. Un-blighted by the world’s cold malice. and its goal A puzzle that seduced. Who with radiant light would wrestle. Seeking miracles. One day. loyal. In kindred souls too he believed.
Sailing the untroubled skies. Blessed with skill. From the start. As a girl’s thoughts. His living tears obscured his glance. Misty climes. Imbued with true poetic fire.9. He sang of love. A pure devotion to the good The bitter-sweet lure of ambition. Compassion. To sing of life’s dry withered flower. unaffected. In his songs kept pride of place. The world he wandered with his lyre. A child’s slumber. At eighteen years he had the power. The charms of sweet simplicity. and vague tomorrows. had fired his blood. Queen of mysteries and sighs. They the masters. or the moon. to love subjected. 39 . 10. Moments of grave sublimity. the Muses’ art He never managed to disgrace. to his eyes. and indignation. Schiller’s skies. Sang of all the far-off lands Where on quiet desert strands. Under Goethe’s. Clear and serene his tune. For the passions of the heart. Of roses in some high romance. He sang of parting and of sorrows.
Marry their daughter. The pleasures of the local gentry Not such as to engage his mind. Lensky. The glow of the poetic flame. 12. no shine There of wit. Yevgeny Alone. with the samovar. to prompt her minstrelsy. They bring on the poor child’s guitar. Their family. or wine. Their solid grasp of every matter. No sentiment to temper reason.11. While the babble of their wives. love!’ 40 . The talk turns with quiet persistence To a bachelor’s sad existence. Concerning harvesting. Was dross enough for many lives. In that rural wilderness. was the plan. The young man fled their noisy chatter. Before. above!) ‘Come to my golden chamber. true conversation. Thus the country view of hooking Any fish to make a match. No flavour of the social game. To this half-Russian gentleman. to Lensky’s taste inclined. When he shows. And Dunya sits to pour the tea. or the hounds. Was thought something of a catch. And then she squeaks (Oh Lord. wealthy and good-looking.
in intent. No two men were less the same Like stone and water. Wished sincerely to acquire Onegin’s friendship. Valued feelings. but liking grew. Our minds are full of prejudice. lacking the desire To bear the marriage-yoke as yet. Emotion’s only fit for fools. Prose and poetry. ice and flame. So people (I openly confess) Make friends. We all possess Napoleon’s features. with empty heart. The millions of two-legged creatures Are only instruments and tools. Until. We think the others noughts. But Lensky. 14. so they met. such good friends were they They were one instead of two. Friendship like that’s to us unknown. Yet (as all rules exceptions boast) Some he liked and placed apart. 41 . from sheer idleness. At first they seemed indifferent To each other. alone Ourselves the integer in this. They rode together every day. And as a rule despised each face.13. Though he knew the human race. Eugene more tolerant than most.
Though they seemed devoid of sense. The secrets of the grave. Its doomed despite my interdiction. Were all their constant study. His gaze inspired: how he could preach! – All this fresh to Onegin. as in reverie. The poet burning with opinion Recited. what science taught. let’s forgive Its madness and its rage to live. The prejudices of the ages. Between them every disputation Sparked a deeper train of thought.15. Let him but breathe the passing fiction. Good and evil. Listening with tolerance. He thought: what folly to work ill With such ephemeral happiness. His mind. The poet’s bold impassioned speech. still malleable the while. He heard our Lensky with a smile. The histories of every nation. the pages Of life itself and destiny. Bits of Northern poetry Yevgeny heard with condescension. Believe all things are for the best: Youth is a fever. till The sarcastic and the chill Words upon his lips were still. 42 . 16.
Their violence seems ridiculous And all their echoes false to us. Finding all jealousy absurd – Whose capital he’s proved able To keep from the gambling table. Who has cooled love’s agitation With parting. Listens to the young bloods still. And in his hut. Just as at wars of long ago The veteran is stirred. When their unbridled stirrings cease. He who yawns away his life With his relations and his wife. with a will. That even now can stir us so. Having escaped those stormy regions Onegin spoke of them with care. We still tremble. The history of the passing gale. But most of all they talked of passions. Happier he who never knew them. 43 . being sober. grows pale. 18. My two youthful hermits there. To hear the tale told by another. When passions’ flames have wavered. Dispassionately gave a sigh.17. vengeance with a word. When to the flag we have gathered Of rationality and peace. Happy the one who has passed by.
He gave heart and soul expression. one alone Possessed of the poet’s finer rage. earnestly Telling the story of his ardour. so placed. Ever desire’s habitual stream. Love. he had loved as in our age One loves no longer. Nor foreign beauties. Besides. His virgin fire a living coal. Nor study. Oh. His youthful love. or hate.19. Nor hours given to the Muse. Of every joy and suffering. As a veteran. Onegin heard the poet’s confession. 20. Is doomed to feel such love. That distance. solemn faced. Considering himself. 44 . it shouts the truth. nor loud celebration. Could alter Lensky’s loyal soul. the enthusiasm of youth Could never yet conceal a thing. quencher of belief. Nor long years of separation. and moan: Always the one pure constant dream. foreign views. Swiftly apprising Yevgeny Of all that sentimental stew That to us is nothing new. Ingenuous. trusting. Ever habitual pain and grief. warm and tender.
a tear. Their fathers saw them marrying. 22. And the moon’s celestial light. Humbly living out existence. though inferior. Never having felt love’s blade. To which we dedicated then Our wanderings and again Our secret balm. a sigh… Yet now we only see in her A street-light. Considered it a certain thing. the golden days! He sought the forest’s shadowy ways. A flower in deepest grass. By Olga. Oh. A lily in the morning dew. alone.21. dark of night. The moon. When but a boy his heart was captured. Under her parent’s gaze she grew Filled with grace and innocence. and as one enraptured He watched her as she sang and played. Olga was the first to stir In him the poet’s exaltation. To bee and butterfly unknown. a lamp in the sky. 45 . farewell now. They exchanged their childish vows. silence. His first pipings were of her. Thoughts of her his inspiration. Solitude. Under the oak-trees’ sheltering boughs.
Reader. Always smiling as the dawn.23. has left us blessed By affectation – not the rest. but now it bores me. the first time ever It’s been willingly displayed. Although inseparable I’ve found From memories of long ago. manner. Flaxen hair. I’ll enhance the vista. always truthful. Like the poet’s life as simple. a heavenly blue. all gleaming. 24. too. Let me describe her elder sister. It’s true we don’t possess good taste. slender waist. In the names that we rehearse (To say nothing of our verse). Here’s the first use of it made In romance. indeed. One I adored. Sweet as the kiss of love. A charming portrait. that’s born Of sky-blue eyes. Always humble. Her sister’s name was…Tatyana. yes. Why not? It has a pleasant sound. 46 . Such was Olga…you can paste Her description here from any Novel that you choose to read. Enlightenment has been a waste In our regard. And the servants’ quarters! No. Voice.
the manner. Her tender fingers never held A needle. she is called Tatyana. Her dearest friend was reverie. never once excelled. Prepares herself for protocol.25. Her head above the silk inclined. Not a beauty like her sister. The child with her obedient doll. not her way To delight in childish play. the slow stream Of placid dull rusticity Enriched by meditative dream. So. wild. From the cradle. 47 . mother. retiring. Fleeing at the sign of danger. the will to rule appears. Like a doe seen in a clearing. 26. Melancholy. In working something she’d designed. Repeating to it solemnly What mother preaches constantly. Early. For social worlds beyond her years. She never took to caressing Her father. To attract a passing lover. Lacking rosy cheeks. But often to the window glued She’d sit all day in solitude. With the others. sweetly dancing. To her family a stranger.
In winter when the shades of night Still hold half the world in thrall. She loved to greet the break of day. lightly Stirs the breeze. Their raucous games so frivolous.27. While. And lost in misty moonlight all The East is indolently white. brings on the morn. horror stories Were what gave her most delight. At tag in the meadows. herald of the morning. petty glories Were not her forte. Childhood mischief. At the same hour’s sweet caress. By candle-light she’d rise and dress. But even in her earliest days Tatyana had no doll to nurse. News from town. Told in winter. Tatyana such things rejected. As the stars’ choir fades away. 28. And when nurse had collected Olga’s little friends to play. tedious. When the light has barely shown. Their laughter noisy. As the half-light turns to dawn. 48 . the latest craze. late at night. On her balcony. And the edge of earth grows brightly. say. She never chose to rehearse. alone.
Princess Alina. nor preferred really To his Lovelace. Her great delight. she had seen her. That slept beneath her pillow thus. Though not indeed that she was one. And never bothered for a moment About the volume’s true content. 30. adept at cards. His wife was quite another one. And since he never read a page. Whatever chapter most entrances. To read him. In Richardson or in Rousseau. Her father saw no harm in reading. Since she was mad for Richardson. Betrothed though against her will: She was sighing for another. 49 . Long ago. When.29. Grandison. betrothed. But she had heard of them a dozen Times from her dear Moscow cousin. Of whom she could not get her fill. though yet conceding His taste was of a former age. she loved them so. From the first she craved romances. Who pleased her very soul. A dandy. a lover. A decent sort. Her Grandison. ensign in the Guards. He thought them quite innocuous. Richardson she loved quite madly.
32. heaven sent. Then plunged into domestic labour. They wed her. Wept violently in her sorrow. swiftly left For his estate. Kept the books. Habit joy’s surrogate. With that secret. Beat the servant girls and cursed. Looked for a divorce tomorrow. Habit soothed her agony. All went smoothly from that day. where she. And ruled him like an autocrat. bereft.31. without her consent. bathed Saturday. Like him she wore the latest fashion. In their hours of work and leisure She quietly took her husband’s measure. 50 . Her prudent husband. and shaved the hair Of levied serfs. Habit brought her quiet content. Pickled mushrooms for the winter. (Though he thought that country life Would soon settle his new wife) With God knows who for neighbour. Until a fresh discovery Consoled her and brought relief. But regardless of such passion. gave her dictat. Nothing else could end her grief. Like him her dress was elegant. And never asked her husband first.
All forgotten. Hours roll on. bedtime. in blood. Call Praskovya. swap the latest gossip. And wore. Yet her spouse loved her dearly. devoid of ceremony. Let her pursue her own sweet way. Then supper. Books of sentimental verse. Pauline. Olga’s here with tea to sip. Laugh at whatever tickles them.33. Trusted her himself. Pauline. and rehearse Names like Akulka. 34. by and by. her last defences down. Peacefully their lives progress. again. But in the end came to prefer Life without albums. The hour when all must say goodbye. Pinched her waist with tight laces. Some decent neighbouring family Plain. not Céline. In the album of some sweet friend. A mob-cap and a quilted gown. Used the nasal ‘n’ in places Where French sounds were de rigeur. 51 . waists. Time was when she would write. and then. quite clearly. and would Her sing-song voice in gossip blend. They’ll grumble. And dined with her déshabillé. Sometimes they receive as guests.
loved Christmas carols. Now he rested from his labours. And died just before his dinner. a poor sinner. 52 . At Whitsuntide. By his children and his wife. 36. Like fresh air they loved their kvass. their eyes quite red. Folksongs. their tears they’d shed On the flowers. God’s servant and a brigadier. Wore the funeral crown at last. Beneath this stone. And was wept for by his neighbours. The congregation sit and yawn. Their sentiments were re-born. The husband was the first to pass Through the grave’s gloomy portal. like all things mortal. When through the thanksgiving Mass. He’d led a good and simple life. They held to.35. and the wedding chorals. And at the table. dinner served. rests quietly here. Where his honoured dust now lies His epitaph discreetly sighs: Dimitry Larin. in their peaceful state. and they’d fast Twice a year. Due rank and custom they observed. And so grew old. Traditions of the ages past. So on Shrove Tuesday always ate Russian pancakes.
Even now I hear him say.37. Rise and ripen. ‘Who’s next? Alas. Returning to his home. and truly Paid tribute with a tear. with fervent weeping. He sat down and wrote another. Took his old medal for a toy! He hoped Olga and I would wed. Our grandchildren think it no crime To crowd us out before our time! 53 . ‘In his arms I played. Honouring. Pushes its grandsires to the tomb. young Lensky Went to pay his fond respects. At his neighbour’s grave. 38. contented. the same old way. briefly nourished. for a funeral Elegy penned a madrigal. ‘Shall I live to see that day?’ And full of grief that he was dead. we too. Then too. where they lay sleeping. When I was but a little boy. Lensky. poor Yorick!’ he lamented. others flourish… So our heedless race today Grows recklessly and fills the room. We too. Where they fall. Both his father and his mother… Alas! From life’s dark furrows rise The human harvest to our eyes.
Who keep my pyramid from rust. While pointing out my famous bust. disciple of the Muse. Perhaps too (oh. of me. like a fond friend. Some fragment of my precious art. I write but not for praise. Pronouncing: ‘He was a poet!’ Even though he cannot know it. and grateful dues. and how it ends.39. 40. from my days To leave a name for fate to find. The ageing laurels of my crown! 54 . I’m blind to all its illusion. Yet within my heart’s confusion. preserved by fate. enjoy the fleeting hour Of this fickle life. So. Distant hopes will sometimes start: It would be painful to depart Leaving not a trace behind. my friends! I count myself free of its power. But you. I live. flattering hope!) Some fool may yet achieve a trope. My verse may touch someone’s heart. Some stanza. But only. Receive my thanks. it seems. That one line in the memory May speak. Know its worth. Saved from Lethe’s darkened spate. Whose kind hand will smooth like down.
Chapter Three Elle étoit fille. elle étoit amoureuse. she was amorous. Malfilâtre She was a girl. 55 .
All make for home in the end. these poets!’ Goodbye. Your tears.’ ‘Ah. Hospitable.. crops.1. enough! Have pity! You’re really going? And so swiftly? But. This idol for your mind. Introduce me. They’d welcome you with great delight. Eugene. an elegy! Dear Lord. boredom. et cetera.’ ‘Now. and endless prattle. ‘I don’t see what’s so bad about it. ‘You’re off again? Oh. when shall I see This Phyllis. Tea. if I’m right): A simple Russian scene. who’s so interesting. listen.’ – ‘How very odd.’ 56 . by night. and pen. you’re jesting. I can’t see it. Here’s what you’ll find I imagine (say. I declare. my friend. Aren’t you bored to death. verse. a family grind. and cattle…’ 2.’ ‘No.’ ‘I’ll not keep you. dear God. that’s what’s bad. I must be leaving.. Killing the hours dozing there?’ – ‘Not at all. About the weather. and jam. You fritter away your evenings?’ – ‘At the Larins.’ ‘I hate the fashionable circuit. when? .’ – ‘With pleasure. Lensky.’ – ‘Well. but where is it. enough. Where we can…’ ‘Oh.’ – ‘When?’ – ‘Tonight.
I fear Those dishes of preserves appear. Are treated in the kindest way With old-fashioned hospitality. the same. They sat and sat. and greeted heartily. Filling the silences with gossip: Time dragged slowly or it flew. and travel quickly: Reader. Jugs of cranberry juice. Homeward they go the shortest way.’ ‘A habit Lensky. this stupid countryside! So: Madame Larina. you’d know what they say? Then listen now. ‘Let’s go. in secret. you’re yawning. Lenksy loth to leave. Politely mentioning various topics. They exit.’ They leave without delay. while we ride. quicker! Oh. I found an honest plain old dear. Since it’s late.3. And passed the time as people do.’ ‘You find life boring.’ 57 . all that Custom demands. Though that cranberry juice may kill: It’s bound at least to make me ill. More than usual?’ ‘No. Press on! Andryushka. Arrive. ‘My dear Onegin. Too dark for driving some would claim. 4. with me. quicker. Until (a wealth of thanks conceive). The polished table shines.
There was no end of speculation. temporarily. Meanwhile Onegin’s first session At the Larins had produced On one and all a strong impression. I’d prefer her sister. All that was settled long ago. with that round face. As for Lensky’s fate. Yet diplomatic. All the neighbours were seduced. ‘And tell me. held his tongue. as you are Olga’s less alive by far. The foolish horizon honours. which was Tatyana?’ ‘The one who sat by the window.’ Vladimir thought him quite wrong. Jokes and carping comments too. 6.5. Stated it quite positively. Fashionable rings they need. Hosts of rumours in circulation. Tatyana was betrothed: some knew! Some claimed the marriage was agreed. If I were a poet. As the foolish moon in space. Delayed though. you know. As though she had a private sorrow’ ‘Can you really love the younger?’ – Why not? – Well. Sad as Zhukovsky’s Svetlana. Just like those Van Dyck Madonnas. 58 . Pretty yes.
Fired by longing. 59 . Her eyes are opened. that fevered. and sit.he is here. Speak of him. For that fatal sustenance. His presence: kindness is vexation. it is he! Now night and day he will appear In dreams. an innocent. And time gives nurture to the thing.7. The one awaited…. Her soul was waiting…but for whom? 8. solitary. A thought took root in her heart. The servant’s looks pure irritation. She pays no attention to their guests Curses their hours of idleness. Felt inexpressible elation. So a seed begins to start Heated by the warmth of spring. In solitude her heart was burning. Tatyana listened. Hates the tedium of their visit. Lost in her deep melancholy. and endlessly All things declare. Their tendency to sit. To all this. Crushed by adolescent gloom. with vexation. Their visits an unwelcome folly. Her dreams had long since set her yearning. yet. and magically. circumstance. At the least unguarded moment.
though he may be one. and her dream. She sighs and in herself possesses Another’s joy. Now with greater concentration. Yet ours. The lover too of Rousseau’s Julie Womar. A single image as it were: The foolish dreamer sees them whole In Onegin’s form. To find her passion. or Delphine. Her overflowing heart. and soul. Wanders among forest choirs With some dangerous volume roams. de Krudener’s de Linar. Werther. In those soft seductive glances! Each figment of imagination. Clarissa. Through its pages swiftly combs. Who sends me to sleep. another’s sorrow. 10. Is certainly no Grandison. addresses. 60 . Cottin’s Malek-Adhel. all were as one. She reads the sweet romances. Every writer’s fine creation. Finds a deeper fascination. love’s gleam. And sees herself the heroine Of all the authors she admires.9. Julie. And the peerless Grandison. born to be a martyr. A little note then for her hero In her mind she writes.
All the British Muse’s lumber Now disturbs a young girl’s slumber.11. Her idol. Pure devotion his desire. Nodier’s Jean Sbogar too. Is the blood-sucking Vampire. Maturin’s traveller. And even there. Displays a hopeless egotism As saturnine romanticism. at last. Morals makes us nod. An author of romantic fiction Had to present his hero as A paragon of pure perfection. Always unjustly persecuted. vice wins. not sins. virtue’s dowdy. While virtue won a noble crown. Melmoth. His character was executed To show intelligence and grace. Lord Byron with a shrewd despair. someone to admire. Vice was ruthlessly put down. In the high style of the past. But now our minds are somewhat cloudy. in the final chapter. 61 . The Corsair or the Wandering Jew. His heart forever burned with rapture. Prepared for sacrificial fire: And always. A sensitive and handsome face. Even in books. 12.
Defying then the dread Apollo. Uttered in those days of bliss. Then by the stream. 62 .13. Love’s enchantments: and my verse Our ancient customs shall rehearse. far from this. beneath the beech The breathless meeting of young lovers. then they sigh. Tears of reconciliation. I’ll record the honest speech Of an old uncle. No villain’s hidden agony. The paths of humble prose I’ll follow Write novels in established ways To fill up my declining days. No fear and menace in my tale. A simple Russian family With that my readers I’ll regale. and end my poetry. where’s the sense in it? Perhaps by some divine decree. My friends. Then to the altar. In a time far. Fierce jealousy. I’ll recall the words of longing. A second quarrel. At my mistress’s feet lying. sad separation. or some father’s. 14. by and by…. A fresh demon will inhabit Self. Lost now that power of being young. Words that flowed from my tongue.
from woodland gloom Its rich sonorous cadence rolls. While such dreams pursue you. Near her room. Thinking every place you view To shelter lovers’ trysts aspires. A nightingale. her cheeks aflame. You’ll drink the poison love employs.15. Burning suddenly with shame. While fated everywhere to find. eyes dazed… Night falls. my dear Tatyana! I share those tears that agitate: To the hands of fashion’s monster. 16. A roaring in her ears. till her languor. Her breast heaves. walking Eyes downcast. 63 . Haunted by love’s pain. and the moon patrols The vault of heaven. But first what hopes you’ll cherish. Tatyana. You now consign your fate. You’ll learn its bliss. Blinded. To her nurse is softly sighing. Tatyana. The breath on her lips is glazed. its desires. Prevents her from even moving. My dear one you’re doomed to perish. Tatyana. in the darkness lying. Your true seducer in your mind. dazed by sombre joys. Takes to the garden.
Were you in love? I must know!’ 18. I was just thirteen. Old tales they were. tell me. in rhyme. We’d never heard the word. and said yes. and I. And sang me to church. What a pair!’ 64 . fit to die.’ ‘What is it Tanya. Would chase me about. a lovely maiden. dear?’ ‘It’s trifling: Nurse. no less. bless her ways. I knew scores and scores. it’s stifling! Open the window then sit by me. Nurse. I’m muddled now!’… ‘But Nurse. tell me a story. ‘Tanya! What a notion! In those days. It was God’s will now. long ago. fables laden With Evil spirits. you should have heard me crying.17. When you were young. it’s gone. I’m bored. if you could have seen Us then. Yes. Was just a lad. All that I knew forgotten.’ ‘A story. ‘I can’t sleep.’ Then how did you come to wed?’ ‘Tanya. Tanya. my Vanya. Oh. Then father blessed me. Tanya? In my time. Still wept as they unwound my hair. One sigh And my mother-in-law. I must confess. my memory. Time’s done it’s work. The matchmaker spent two weeks trying To persuade my parents.
I long to sob. I long to weep…!’ – ‘My little one. 20. I’m not ill: I’m…Nurse. 65 .’ Meanwhile.19. ‘Dear. Nurse. the sad moon dreams. Bathed in the moon’s enchanted glow. fetch holy water. May the Good Lord preserve us still!’ – The sign of the cross she made Over the girl. Leave me alone. It seems to me I’m ill. ‘So I joined another family. you can’t be well. The nurse. In a soft whisper. My husband’s folk…do you hear?’ ‘Ah. ‘I am in love’ Tatyana sighs.’ replies. tears bright. its tranquil light Silvering loosened hair. By our heroine sits. Heavens above. I’m so unhappy. where the nurse In kerchief and quilted gown. you see…I’m in love. Oh Lord! What can I get you. and trembling prayed. below.’ – ‘Oh my child. daughter… Let me sprinkle you. The bench beside her. you need to sleep. gives a moan. Nurse. my dear. spell-bound. And all the world lies still. ‘It’s love. On the girl’s pale beauty gleams. Shines above. You’re in a fever…’ ‘No.
I’ll be sure To sleep later. sealed… Tatyana! Whose name is revealed? 22. The letter’s done. They abhor it when we’re tender. I’ve known women.21. one or more. 66 .’ Alone. as rigid. and as frigid. all the while. Perhaps you’ve seen. To keep well clear of them. Tanya watches the moon’s sphere. And that inscription on their brow. on Neva’s shore. The one on Hades’ Gate: Surrender All hope. proud and cold. The moon sheds light. I vow. Thinking of Eugene. chilly glance.’ What consoles them is our fear. Iron virtue. even to the bold. Her soul in distant regions wanders. is folded. in silence. as distant. That breathes a young girl’s innocence. The like of them.’ She swiftly ponders: ‘Bring me ink and paper. I marvelled at their arrogance. free of guile. draw That table nearer. a sudden thought shines clear: ‘Nurse. A simple letter. As stern. Propped on her elbow. now she pens. all you who enter here. Now goodnight. go now. And then. As pure as winter’s ice. Unfathomable.
23 And I’ve seen other beauties too Ringed by loyal devotees, Indifferent to me or you, To sighs, or praise, or flatteries. And yet I was amazed to find Them often feign a change of mind, Frightening a timid love away Reviving it the following day: At least a pretence of empathy, At least their words seeming more, Kind and tender than before. So the gullible would blindly, Young and fond, pursue again, That fatal sweetness, though in vain. 24. Why then consider Tanya guilty? Because her simplicity, it seems, Is ignorant of deceit, and still she Believes completely in her dreams? Or because her love lacks art, Follows the promptings of her heart? Because she’s trusting, and honest And by Heaven has been blessed, With profound imagination, A fiery will, a lively mind, A soul for passion’s fires designed, A spirit tuned to all creation? Surely, then, you can forgive, A fierce desire to love and live?
25. Tatyana is no cool coquette, She loves in all seriousness, Yields to it like a child, as yet Full of innocence and sweetness. She’d never argue: Let’s delay Increase love’s value, find a way To mesh him deeper in our net. First rouse his vanity and let Him hope, deploy uncertainty, Exhaust him, now, let him doubt, Till the flame is dying out; Then calmly stir his jealousy, Lest tired of pleasure, freedom won, He ends the struggle and has done. 26. Now, I’m in some difficulty, Since, to preserve my reputation, I must give her letter, error-free, In Russian, honouring our nation. But Tanya wrote it all so badly, Never read Russian papers, sadly, Had never, even when young, Been fluent in her native tongue. And so she wrote in French of course … What’s to be done? As we all know, No lady’s ever deigned to show Her love thus, since, despite its force, Our great language, in its pride, Has never with letters been allied.
27. I know: they’d like to force our girls To read in Russian. Ah, what horror! Could you conceive those golden curls, Izmailov’s Journal set before her! Is it not true, my fellow poet, Those dear creatures, oh, you know it, For whom, to expiate our crimes, We wrote all those secret rhymes, To whom our hearts were consecrated, Didn’t they mutilate our speech, Our Russian language, and yet each Fault was charming, though it grated? A foreign tongue it is that slips, Habitually, between their lips. 28. May I never meet, at a ball, By the entrance step, or on it, A scholar, in a yellow shawl, An Academician in a bonnet! Like rose-red lips without a smile, Russian without such faults is vile, Lacks charm. The new generation, Of beauties, with the press’s clamour, May yet accustom us to grammar, Make poetry their occupation; As for me….they’re not my ways, My heart is with the good old days.
29. Their incorrect and careless chatter, Their errors of pronunciation, Still add emotion to the matter, Stir the same old sweet sensation. I’ve not the strength for repentance, French still entrances in a sentence, Like the sins that youth rehearses, Or Bogdanóvich’s light verses. Enough. It’s time for that letter, Written by my pure young beauty, I gave my word, and it’s my duty, Though blank pages would be better; We’ve no use for Parny’s rhymes In these far less tender times. 30. Singer of Feasts and melancholy, Baratynsky, were you with me now, I might commit a daring folly And ask your Muse to take a bow, Borrow your bewitching skill, Translate my Tanya, with a will, Into verse that would amaze us, All those foreign words and phrases. Where are you, now? It’s your right, I cede my own in deference….. But no, beneath Finland’s skies, Far now from praise, he sighs, Among sad cliffs for preference. In spirit, he abandons me To all my plaintive misery.
gave the notion.31. Read it secretively. incomplete. And never fully plumb its measure. By nervous hands. Who inspired such tenderness. rare excess? Who taught her this intense emotion. Pale. Of a living work. mind half-obeyed. yet here’s my translation. sadly. 71 . So charming and so perilous? I know not. Surrender’s language. an imitation. Tayana’s letter’s here before me. as dubious As an air from Weber’s Freischütz played. I treat it as a sacred treasure. This heartfelt speech.
hear you speak. to disturb us? Lost in our rural solitude? I’d not have known you. Although we welcome you. you never would have heard Of shame or misery. Have that to think. they say That the country bores you. This fever born of youth once past. If I’d reserved a hope. Utter a few words of greeting. faithfully. Be in your presence. 72 . Why did you come. content To see you but once a week. sadly. one word. upon. and thus Been spared this deep inquietude. served at last. Yet had compassion a part to play In your thoughts. As wife and mother. so gladly. Thus. At first I wished to stay quite silent. Day and night. And not abandon me to fate. You’re unsociable. And then. And we….TATYANA’S LETTER TO ONEGIN ‘I write – what more is there to say? How shall I add to my confession? I know it’s in your power today To punish me with your derision. till our next meeting.don’t shine in any way. In time (who knows?) I might have viewed My world with equanimity. while you were gone. you would wait. Found another. and think.
Fresh hope on which my heart is fed? 73 . In works of charity. all through The hours of anguished prayer I knew..No. I was struck dumb. I avow. My hearts ablaze. this heaven-sent Vision. Deep. When my head ached so painfully? And now. standing by my bed. with love and solace bright. I cried: ‘It’s he’.. My life was but a pledge till now Of our prophetic meeting: yes. at this very moment. alone… It’s Heaven’s will: I am yours. Is it not you. did you not speak to me. Long ago…. My soul heard your voice ring clear. and instantly. Stirred by a stranger’s glance. Is it not true? I often heard you: In quiet. As yet unknown. no there’s none On earth but you my heart adores! That was ordained by fate. God sent you to me. Till in the grave we shall rest… You appeared to me in dreams. it seems. in the translucent night To bring..It was no phantom! You appeared.Another? . In my thoughts. I held you dear.
force of evil: Dispel my doubts. The tears flow from my eyes.Are you then my guardian angel. Or my tempter. or understand my moan. wake hope in my heart. I’m alone: Silently. I am blind. Perhaps this is all vanity. My mind in torment. I await you: one look turned Towards me. I beseech your protection… Conceive it. No one here to cherish Me. in shame and terror… On you alone I must depend Boldly trusting in your honour…’ 74 . So be it! My fate now lies In your hands.must end! My heart sinks now. Mine another destiny…. The fancies of a foolish mind. I’m doomed to perish. my direction. Or make this painful dream depart Speak the reproach I have earned! I tremble to re-read….
A shepherd’s pipe wakes the dale. 33. old Filipevna. The letter trembles in her hand. my early bird. it’s day: Ah. all is one. The wafer meant to seal it’s dry. Sits with head downcast. your bright face. To my Tatyana.32. She barely notices the dawn. the stars grow older. Her night-dress slips from her shoulder. Poised above the letter’s folds. my darling. Morning comes: the dark is done. how well you’re looking! Last night what a fright you gave me! I see your fretting’s left no trace. Bringing breakfast on a tray. The radiance dies: there the vale Shines with mist. Soon the dawn will bring new light. now but you’re up already! See. Here a stream Is turned to silver. still holds The seal with her monogram. Still quivering there on her tongue. The moon no longer shines as bright. Save us. From it’s dream. Enters softly and disturbs her. Tatyana moans then gives a sigh. ‘It’s time to rise my child. Her head sinks. The nurse.’ 75 . Red as a poppy.
Nurse. When I was young.’ – ‘Then send your grandson. I’m getting old. well. a mere suggestion…’ – ‘Nurse. And never breathe a word of it. is there something you need?’ – ‘Nurse. Tanya. Don’t be cross with me. indeed. My mind…. and short of wit. only say…’ – ‘Don’t think…truly…don’t accuse me… No suspicions… nurse.But you’re pale as a sheet: Child. don’t you see.’ – 76 . now. why I can’t count them if I try. obey. you know. as God is holy. I feel fine. – ‘Oh. And he must never mention me…’ – ‘To whom. who is this he? I know I’m slow. Old. Go now.’ 35. how slow you are to guess!’ – ‘My darling. But we’ve so many neighbours. and he Must take this letter. and my mind…God bless. it’s nothing. take this note of mine. What has all that to do with me. to O… To our neighbour… he. It’s for Onegin.34. This letter here. Once master had no need to scold.’ – My sweet child. secretly. you won’t refuse me. that’s not the question. my sweet.’ – ‘Of course not darling. – ‘Nurse.’ – ‘Yes. my dear.
never spills A drop of that dark fragrant stream. for one line! Then Olga’s suitor. ‘It seems he has forgotten us!’ Tanya was blushing. the samovar is gleaming Adorns the table. once again. Tatyana hovers at the window. A dark reproach in every word. It glows and hisses. trembling. Her little finger’s traced. a shadow. curious. softly steaming. She’s lost in thought now. 77 . Vapour wreathes the china pot. Perhaps the mail’s caused some delay. Dusk falls. and still no sign. The day slips past. and quietly fills The shining tea-cups. ‘He promised he’d come. pale. 37. with no reply. Breathing on the icy pane. today. On the misted glass. Another day. Dressed at dawn. as if she heard. boiling hot. she gives a sigh. A shadow. The sacred letters. Lensky’s here: ‘Tell me will your friend appear?’ Asks Larina. Olga’s there.36. A serving-lad hands round the cream. Tanya downcast. Ah. O and E. I see.’ She heard our Lensky answering.
Past the flowers. closer it appears. Sinks to rest… ‘Here’s Yevgeny! Oh God. From porch to yard. what must he think of me?’ Her heart still. ‘Eugene! Ah!’ – Light as a wraith Tatyana flies. burning. filled with tears. she stops. or copse. Her eyes are clouded. The sound of hooves! . Through the borders. pathway. in it’s agony. lake. Far off a choir of girls sing Picking berries in the evening. hurrying on.. Not looking backward for an instant. gains the stream.38. Preventing them from doing wrong!) 78 . A clever scheme of rural song. Past the bridge. as swift as faith. and pond. Not daring to stop. Galloping. And on the rustic bench’s gleam 39. By slyly thieving one or two.Sent to freeze Her. Breaks the lilacs. in a moment. At nothing. Still bears a hope. in fear: Is this him. a dream darkly. now? She cannot hear. Her heartache feels like some disease. down the lawn. for then It’s clear they’re not eating them. She trembles.. (As their master told them to.
THE GIRLS’ SONG Come you maidens. Never spy on what we do. And draw to us a handsome lad. a merry song. unbind your hair. in a trice. Raspberries. pretty maidens. What we sing’s not meant for you! 79 . on the grass! Sing a song. Let’s surround him. Foot it sweetly. Pelt him. When we see him. When we see our lad approach. when he’s near us. A song we love. my pretty ones. now and neatly. To our dance. Foot it sweetly. with ripe red cherries. Come away. sweet redcurrants: Eavesdropper. to our choir. don’t you dare Listen to our secret song.
caught By some careless lad for sport. Still the throbbing is fierce. So a poor butterfly will seek To beat once more its rainbow wing. Before I meditate the rest. She halts. concealed. I’ll not give it. as if scorched by flame. Waiting there. It is Yevgeny. in shame. But the end to this encounter. So unlooked-for. his eyes ablaze. As lightning in his visage plays.40. Glimpsing from the distant field The huntsman by the hedge. and saw before her: ‘Why. Lack the strength just now to live it. But scarcely comprehends their art. Rooted to the ground. Tatyana hears their distant choir. At last she gave a sudden sigh. Standing there. Or a hare trembles.’ sees him plain. Frantic and quivering. And the flame in her cheek. And rose from the bench again. 41. But still the pounding in her ears. hapless thing. After such unremitting labour. Tries to calm her beating heart. 80 . A walk indeed would suit me best. her cheeks on fire. Turned.
81 . Necker Morality is in the nature of things.Chapter Four La morale est dans la nature des choses.
Hearing the same outworn objections. The easier she is to win. The less we show our love to woman. Gone.1-7. with the fashions we abuse. Old monkeys of another age. In seduction’s net of sin. And praised to the skies above. Deceit. Administering the same corrections To prejudices rarely seen In little girls of scarce thirteen? Who’s not exhausted by their rages. rings and tears. and slander. Fit only for our grandsire’s stage. We’ve toppled Lovelace as we ought. The heavy friendship of a spouse? 82 . Wigs and scarlet-heeled shoes. Bringing the science of persuasion To bear on things we’ve all eschewed. entreaties. 8. Who is not bored with evasion. The easier to snare and ruin. Threats. all that debauchery Considered as the art of love. Tired of repeating platitudes. Letters running to six pages. Once cold-blooded lechery Was praised. That serious and heartless sport. Aunts and mothers keeping house. vows and fears.
passes thus his days. sits and plays. and home has gone. without pain or regret. 83 . With not a thought in the morning As to where he’ll spend his evening. Unbridled passion was his truth. Then disenchantment. Such were my Yevgeny’s thoughts. For he was victim from his youth Of follies fit to test the courts. Stifling a yawn with laughter: Eight years he killed. Sleeps soundly. went un-missed. Deceived – a welcome rest would take. He followed still. In the sound. Distanced from the claims of beauty. for an evening game of whist.9. delighted that he’s found her. life’s finest flower. Spoilt by each casual encounter. Indifferently. Some girl. Yet bored again by conquest’s mire. Their love. bored desire. and met Their loss. Squandered youth. the game is done. for customs sake. So. their hatred. Refused – found consolation swiftly. hour by hour. A casual guest comes. 10. Hearing in the crowd. and after. He leaves again. He sought them without joy. That sad protest in his soul. and silence cold.
Perhaps the ancient flame of passion. Your candour: that is dear to me. For two long minutes neither spoke. Thrilled him in its former way. so long quiescent. It brought to life. in that fashion. Those feelings. I broke The seal. I’ll leave the verdict up to you. with your assent: But hear my confession through. Yet now.11. Her face possessed his memory. A love that’s innocent. sincere. All that you sincerely meant I’ll requite. Don’t disavow it.’ 84 . Onegin’s heart was deeply moved. Saying: ‘You wrote to me. as we know. Where Tanya met him. instantly. The tender style in which she wrote. The simple girlish way she loved. And then Onegin approached her. 12. I find here. receiving Tanya’s note. head first. Though he’d no wish to betray A soul so trusting. into the stream. Her pallor. and delightful dream. A harmless. That’s no ready compliment. I have read your letter. But we must to the garden go. He plunged. and her melancholy.
Your grief. ‘Could I happily circumscribe My life with the domestic round. in this life. Could kindly fate for me prescribe A role as husband. Then you would weep. yet your tears. spur me to depart. You alone would be my wife. What thorns. not roses. no less Am I unworthy. good. found My being in family existence For but a moment. However I wished to prove true. would never move my heart. father. Believe me (conscience is my guide) Wed. But madden me. Many a night. the fire would soon have died. and many a day? 85 . And be as happy…as I could! 14. All such is alien to my mind. A cure for my sad history. you would find.13. No rhetoric. I’d find in you my heart’s ideal. Habit would cool my love for you. through the years Would Hymen strew along our way. mind and sense – Then truly. Of your perfection too. ‘I was not born for happiness. no flattery. Find that youthful folly real. Token of every beauty.
A household. Was it this you sought. darkly threatening. nothing can renew…. Fresh dreams will replace the last. share your belief: The inexperienced come to grief. And then…our hearts we must restrain. through life. Not all will see what your soul weaves. With your pure and ardent mind. As heaven dictates. What in the world is worse than this. Spring clothes the branches with new leaves. sullen.15. but as true: So hear me without tears or anger. (Cursing the hour of his birth). Is ever-jealous. Know you as I. More tender even. A girl will often change her lover. While the spouse. Her days and nights alone. Was this what you hoped to find. My love for you is as a brother’s. As. 86 . You’ll love again. and dour! Such am I. His days and dreams. knowing her worth. what man recovers? My soul. a neglected wife. sour. Cold. after winter’s icy blast. Dealt you by the cruel Fates? 16. This the message your note brought? Is this the destiny that waits. Mourning her husband’s absent kiss.
Dealt with her sympathetically. No one finding any harm In that. Tanya leant. made no reply. together. so dear. Upon it. those friends. head bent. Entered. Not for the first time. my Reader. Blind with that mist that veils the eye. So Eugene preached. for rustic life to pardon. 18. 87 . Not without cause I hail them here. through the kitchen-garden. may God preserve us! Oh! Those friends. From foes we can ourselves protect: But from our friends. Castigated ruthlessly By both friend and enemy.17. in his way. There such freedoms are allowed. She scarcely breathed. Surely. Saw nothing through the tears that glistened. As much as in Moscow. yet spite Never placed him in the right. made display Of nobility of soul. He gave his arm: downcast. you’d agree Our friend behaved well. as they say) And slowly they both made their way Homeward. as she listened. arm in arm. (Both are perhaps synonymous) Who showed him ambiguous respect. (Mechanically. sadly. the proud.
H’m! My valued Reader.19. no foulness. Ten times. Yet he is yours. Our face will never cross their mind… Ah well. Show respect to. That there’s no infamy so deep. At least. to spell Out clearly what relation means.like your dearest kin! 20. denoting our regard. and smile. Whom we are obliged to cherish. to them may God be kind! 88 . What of it? Well. Without a hint of hate or guile. no dire Epigram in all its coarseness. it seems. But in parentheses I’ll mention. so allow me. Are all your relations well? You might enjoy it. Or to whom we send a card. That a friend would not repeat. He loves you…. Then. love. through thick and thin. my true intention Is still to lull dark thoughts to sleep. No absurdity. Relations then are those. and relish Visits to at Christmas-tide. For your enlightenment. of a liar Nurtured by the mob. In decent company. the year through. in a garret. and never miss a beat. we can hide. tell me. Born.
You may trust through storms above. 89 . Who support us when we wander. whom to believe in. Love is a mere game of Satan’s. Be amused by our vices. Are subject to infatuations. On whom alone shall we depend? Who will fit their speech and action. it’s expected. To our measure. Whatever trouble you are in. Though you’re a spouse respected. In every vicissitude of life. Estimable Reader: come. in the end? Who will refrain from slander. No more deserving lover. you’ll discover. Or more fitting. Ah. By your good and virtuous wife. Or waste your efforts on the air Love yourself. Opinions they express in town… The gentle sex is light as down. Yet the most loyal. Whom to love. a tender beauty’s love.21. your only care. More sure than that of friends or kin. but then the whirl of fashion. 22. Of course. And the waywardness of passion. Who is never bored by us? Never pursue a phantom.
Worse. She. dear Reader. Her smile.23. Forgive me: I’ve loved from the start My Tatyana. heart’s beating. Neighbours shook their heads. Poor Tanya’s youth fading fast: As a storm will often shroud The dawning day in sombre cloud. Sleep deserted her entire. 90 . wreathed in its sadness. Health. no incitement. I painted over this sad scene. life’s beauty. her calm serenity. more pallid. The soul. forever Sighing: ‘It’s high time she was wed!’… Enough. Though. 24. But. with a joyless madness Poor Tatyana was on fire. Tatyana’s bloom is all but gone. It’s high time that instead. and more silent! Nothing can provide distraction. Whispering solemnly together. by pity I mean. sweetness past. with all my heart. I confess I’m overcome. not difficult to guess! Love’s violent pains. the outcome of their meeting? Alas. Or stir her soul. Like lost fading echoes flee. All those torments that oppress. And portrayed love’s happiness.
in her room Side by side. Till Lensky. Nature passages of a power Beside which Chateaubriand’s pale. But not without a blush. Silent. Deep in thought. Sometimes he read to Olga. 91 . Or in the garden. Or in some corner. So. (Fancies. Encouraged by his Olga’s smile. He’d dare to toy with a tress. Timidly. an hour or so. I fear. leaning on an elbow. They’d stroll about on the lawn. Some profoundly moral tale. elated. in the gloom. Surrendered himself completely. Skipping over certain pages. Vladimir more captivated Hour by hour. With his pawn took his own rook.25. And then? Full of confusion. Modest. Unsuitable for girls to hear). with abstracted look. by Olga’s beauty And her youthful charms. Over a game of chess they pored. once in a while. Always together. fables of the ages. Or kiss the hem of her dress. sweet illusion. above the board. tender. in the dawn. 26.
enduring rhyme. a Cyprian shrine to love. long. And on the first page. Annette’. Applies himself with diligent Attention to her album: find. or a riddle. You’ll often have seen. At home he renders it apparent That Olga occupies his mind. Which their friends will all endorse With friendship’s and wisdom’s pearls. Such albums of provincial girls. Lines too short. and mis-spelt. for inspection: ‘Qu’écrirez-vous sur ces tablettes?’ Above ‘t(out) à v(ous). Lightly sketched. One with which she’s acquainted. Ill-rhymed verse. by tradition. He leaves a tender verse behind. That stands impervious to time. A tomb. of course. His dream’s mute monument. 28. a rural landscape painted. rendition. Anywhere. Perched on a lyre a little dove. with wash and ink. or middle.’ 92 . On the next page let them write. a link From passing thought. Or on a page some other’s signed. end. start. A scribbled.27. Within. While the last has this reflection: ‘Whoever’s love for you’s more bright.
the suspect volumes bound. In secret regions underground. Abodes of demons and of monsters. That stirs dark epigrams within me. Prompting something steeped in gall. some flowers. in my heart of hearts. Two hearts. in quarto. The rage and spite she cannot know. To torment fashionable rhymesters. Though she requires a madrigal! 93 . And there you’ll see. And argue whether it shows wit. By critics of the higher arts. Some army type too will have written.29. How love to the tomb will endure. With many a solemn vow round about. May Heaven’s lightning wither you! When a fashionable lady Offers me her own. Who’ll solemnly consider it. Grateful. a torch assure. decorated With lines by Baratynsky too. An ironic stanza of how he’s smitten. illustrated By Fyodor Tolstoy. But you. 30. without a doubt. You handsome albums. I must confess I scarcely mind Adding to albums of that kind. The eager nonsense I may pen Will not be picked apart again.
Will at some far distant date. Enough.31. my friend?’ – ‘No! Your pen. Tell the story of your fate. No madrigals from Lensky flow Into Olga’s album here. he notes. and so you’d show us. Must write true odes. his hours he devotes. carefully. And recreate the magic hoard. Lamenting what is done and gone. His tributes. This perpetual sterile talking. All he sees and hears. 32. The classic mask. Cries: ‘Cease your endless squawking. it’s time now to move on!’ – ‘You’re right. To Olga. Through our work. the trumpet. His lines breathe love alone. of lost genius: That’s it. 94 . he fashions. Full of life’s sincerest passions. odes gentlemen. when you’re inspired Singing. To our poetic brotherhood. and no Sparkles of icy wit appear. sword. The wretched wreath of elegy (sic). So Yazykov. your art. The noble elegies you’ve sired. But hush! You hear? Our sternest critic Commands us to reject for good. from your burning heart God knows whom and what.
With tumult in his heart and head. How blessed is the modern lover Who reads the works of his creation. and so empty. it’s all the same. but the elegy’s so light. While she gazes at the cover! Blessed is he…although she might Be more amused by something light. but here’s the thing.’ Well now. 34. and sparse. Remember what Dimitriev said In his deft satire: Is all you’ve read All of that ancient rhetoric. by freedom bitten. Better than one dour modern lyric?’ – ‘Ah. To the object of his adoration.33. day or night. I’d not set the ages quarrelling. In love with fame. So thin. 95 . What odes might Vladimir have written. As they composed them long ago…’ ‘– Only the solemn choral ode! Enough. I might Challenge that. his latest verses? They say there’s no sweeter delight Than that for poet. you know. The ode shows pure nobility Treads the skies. Which Olga never would have read. As in the olden days they flowed. Is there a poet who rehearses For his love.
By the lake I’ll walk. a Second stroll. what of Onegin? True. who of Gulnare sings. then for coffee rings. the chime Of my verse by the water’s side Startling the wild ducks till they Rise from the shore. and rhyme. His daily round I’ll describe here. Of wisdom. Like a hermit in his heaven. On summer morns. The indulgence of a childhood friend.35. he’ll rise at seven. Who’s dropped by accidentally. Or after a long tedious dinner. Then take his way. And then he’ll dress. For your pleasure. I’ll seize a neighbour by the collar. To the stream below the hill. and soar away. The fruits of my own meditation. dear Reader! Your forbearance now I’ll crave. And choke him with a tragedy. and then et cetera… 96 . He swims that little Hellespont. despite the chill. Like Byron. I read to my old nurse. Then sips the news from some vile font. Or else (all joking aside) Exhausted by regret. so be brave. may write a letter. But. who’ll lend To products of my inspiration. 36-37.
A parody of southern winter. a walk. white-skinned maid to keep The heart alive with kiss and look. Shorter and shorter grow the days. A lively horse and responsive. and in no time Though we’d deny its flight. Shadowy woods and crystal brook. is over. 40. Flashes by.38-39 A book. A bottle of sparkling wine. And. 97 . in noisy clans. Who find November at the gate. Sad rustling fills the woodland ways. With all their mysteries laid bare. not too pensive. Southward stretch the caravans Of wild geese. The sky with autumn’s breath is clouded. Gave himself to it instead. But summer in our northern clime. Peace and quiet – such the fine And cloistered life Onegin led. Ceased to count the summer days. A light dinner. A tedious season we await. A dark-eyed. mist on meadows everywhere. Forgetting friends and city life. He gently yielded to its ways. And tiresome pleasures full of strife. More often now the sun is shrouded. sleep that’s deep.
A great fat goose her red-webbed feet Extends. Glittering. frozen noses. Abandoned. The wary traveller first shivers. Nor calls them to their pen at noon.41. in a trice. Slithers. Slides to rest. since you’re so eager!) Brighter than finest parquet gleams The ice that paves the hidden streams. 98 . and tries the gleaming ice. Toying happily with the Fates. and slips. Then dashes off uphill. the fields are silent. Meadows silver. that loom From the fog. Now from the shed at morning light The hand no longer drives the cattle. snorts and quivers. The merry lads cut with their skates. the first winter snow Stars the frozen shores below. Frost already. And hungry wolves. sunlight meagre… (My Reader thinks the rhyme is roses: Take it then. Indoors the maid will softly croon To the spinning-wheel’s low rattle. Dawn breaks in a chilly gloom. the horse can scent On the highway. 42. The faithful friend of wintry nights. Her work the crackling firewood lights. in flight. her fall complete.
The cue’s abandoned. With icy baths his days begin. His three roans in a troika. rage. his only occupation. A true Childe Harold. He waits then Lensky appears. From dawn. Not more.43. it’s time to dine! 99 . Triumphant you’ll see winter through. the gloomy evening. Down he’ll slip. Alone. half-lights fade. reading? There’s Dominique de Pradt. and throw you too. What can one do in such a season? Walk? The countryside you roam Is bare. inevitably bores. To strike a billiard-ball or two. the reason: It’s as monotonous as home. Sliding on ice. tomorrow too. Goes somehow. Spend the time indoors. engrossed in calculation. drink. Beside the fire a table’s laid. with an old blunt cue. 44. At home all day. Fine. or Scott. Then as the rural evening nears. You don’t care for them a lot? Accounts. my Onegin Yields to pensive idleness. with his worn shoe. more or less. Now at last. Go riding on the empty steppe? Be careful of your horses step.
today. foaming ways. Cheerfully. nowadays. and in sorrow. but empty too… To Champagne I’m no longer true. are a friend In misfortune. The heavenly drink. Bottles of Cliquot or Moët. Wilful. quarrels: ah. lively. But you. Sparkling. With its hissing. In chilled bottles. for the poet. Bordeaux. Bordeaux. it’s golden bubbles seen.45. like the Hippocrene. Bordeaux! 100 . Joy of our hours of leisure. I’d give my all To imbibe it. and capricious. Verses. so Here’s to my dear friend. Champagne is like a mistress. tomorrow. What laughter from enchanted streams. you’d agree. Once. (Likenesses too. what dreams! 46. wild. I tell the waiter: That’s my favourite. Reaches the table. speedily. of this and that) Enchanted me: I often sat Captivated by its essence. Ready to serve. It sparkles. friends: recall? How many follies in its presence. Always faithful to the end. Yet to my stomach it’s a traitor.
they’d be delighted.’ Though why. pale. Around the hour the French name As being entre chien et loup. The hearth glows. You must go. hiss. your fair neighbour. a slender thread Of smoke scarce visible. and send you Their greetings. Your Olga. ah. I love a friendly glass. Up through the flue. the ashes veil The golden coals. The fire dies down. 48. Then settle like the evening mist… (I love such conversation too.) Our friends now are in its spell. and then Never once called on them again: Besides. how’s Tatyana too?’ – ‘Just a little more. Spirals upwards. ‘How is she then. You visited them twice. no matter what.’ – 101 . the same.47. a flavour… Fine…They’re all well. so lovely. bubble. soft. her shoulder! What spirit too! Before we’re older. pipe-smoke passes. Like the fool I am. what a beauty Olga’s turned into. sparkling glasses On the table. my friend. overhead. I can hardly tell. you’re invited. Her neck. I clean forgot! You must go. her throat.
Heavens above. ‘I must?’ – ‘Yes: for Tanya’s birthday. Was made for this very part. in his exultation: Forgetting Hymen’s gifts. vexation. Love’s sweet crown so long awaited. Scene after dull. Tell me that you’ll go. of Hymen’s charms the foes.’ – ‘Oh there’ll be no end of babble. Lensky is overjoyed. nobody. Such stuff as Lafontaine’s suppose… My poor Lensky. He dreams of. Talks of Olga: such is love! 50. 102 . The secrets of the marriage bed. His wedding two scant weeks ahead. all the rabble…’ – No. Drains his glass then. elated. and the pain. assuredly! Who’ll be there? Just the family. Take domesticity to mean. To join them. Olga and her mother ask you. Cold yawns with their icy train. While we. What do you say?’ – ‘Alright!’ – ‘Bravo!’ – Toasting his fair neighbour.49. Lensky. it’s next Saturday. exhausting scene. Oblige me. There’s no reason for you not to. from the heart. And the crowd. All the trouble.
the man who lives a fiction. action. Blessed. for whom each Motivation. And calms his fears with a kiss. Yet wretched the man who foresees all. He was loved…such his conviction. Like a drunken traveller at an inn. The sober-headed. less harshly. Rests. on the fantasy within. Never doubting. Or. experienced.51. Is hateful. Whose heart. lived in bliss. like a butterfly Sipping the hour as it slips by. grown chill. No longer forgets itself. 103 . at will. speech. in its essence. gall.
Thou. my Svetlana. Zhukovsky 104 .Chapter Five Oh. be spared these fearful dreams.
1. though Mother scolds him from the window. seated. Winter! . and fences. wield the lash In sheepskin coats with scarlet sash. Nature waited.. A wintry carpet deep and light. All around her. performs amazing feats. at night. Silently: the dawn was bright. It’s fun. glittering white. He trots. Steps delicately on her way. His fingers frostbitten of course. Woods cloaked with a silver veil. Frosted glass. Magpies in the courtyard screaming. and far hills gleaming. Dasher: he’s the horse. pale. the autumn lingered. That year. A whiteness covering the ground: Garden. On his sledge the yard-boy seats The best dog. roofs. 105 . despite the pain he’s in. 2.The peasant with delight Makes a fresh road with his sleigh. The swift kibitkas’ runners trace Powdery furrows as they race. And waking early. Their coachmen. His mare snorts at the snowy light. Tanya found. In yards and fields. loath to go.. icy-fingered Winter stalled its fall of snow Till January the third.
again. With purer inspiration fired. In the old way. Gives us the first snow’s measure. maids foretelling To what their mistresses were fated. The gleaming radiance on snow. All the shades of wintry pleasure. Sledge rides. Herself not certain of the reason) Loved that cold perfection too. a campaign. Pink softness of its sunset glow. The delights of frosty days. 4. Epiphany they celebrated. In the silent misty evening. 106 . Promising. A soldier-husband. perhaps this winter scene You may consider unattractive. Tatyana (Russian through and through. and the far-off haze. each year.3. Nature’s vulgar. Prince Vyazemsky. Charms us with sublime invention. To challenge him I’ve no intention Nor Baratynsky. But. Muse-inspired. who has made Fine verses on his Finnish Maid. over-active. Loved Russia in the winter season. Gentle Reader: low and mean. The glittering frost on shiny days. Secret rendezvous in sleighs.
A black-cowled monk. Tanya believed in every tale. Her face grew pale. at her left side. Her secret wish to it confide. The simple lore of bygone days. If she met. 6. From the stove on which it sat. With sad expectancy would wait For some malignant blow of fate. and purred. and she’d quiver. before it died. that too Left her uncertain what to do… In her confusion she’d take fright. Leaving a shining trail. in panicked flight. And hurriedly. All objects spoke mysteriously. grew pale At the moon’s meaning. if suddenly she spied The crescent moon. she’d shiver. each chill phase. all unaware. Warning her of this and that. Watching its flight with anxious eye. What dreams or cards portend. anxiously.5. And fled through the fields. 107 . And when a meteor crossed the sky. or if a hare Crossed her path. Of guests arriving brought the word. Trembled at omens. Strange presentiments: even the cat That washed its face. And then.
And life a transient mystery: No matter. (Since. Now Tanya stares in fascination Watching the molten wax assume. can see Its fate in death’s gaping portal. Shovelling silver with a spade. hope in childish guise Beguiles. Shapes where her own imagination. Lifted from the water. For careless youth’s without regret. fortunes made. 108 .7. Finds delight to come. but sorrow Is where that fair song is heading: Girls prefer The Kitten’s Wedding. Christmas comes. And life’s horizons broad as yet. fond of contradiction. While the girls recite old rhymes. with its seductive lies. Knowing all our joy is mortal. 8. rings are taken. joys unfold. While age. Yet she found a secret charm. We sing those who. in spectacles. shaken. Melds fascination with alarm) Even in the midst of terror. or doom. The fortunes of the young are told. As for Tanya this one chimes: ‘Peasants there in riches wallow. Then from a dish. Live in glory…ah. Nature.
but learns Nothing from that darkened glass. The glittering stars. Seeing its sad face tremble. For fortune-telling they prepare And in the bath-house. Taking her nurse’s fond advice. Instead we see. She rushes to him. their endless trains. my Tatyana. Like a reed-pipe. 109 . Tanya sleeps. A frosty night: the sky is clear. The love-god. at peace below. Tatyana takes herself to bed. Her voice tender. still these girls will hide A mirror underneath the pillow. But she takes fright. pass… The crunch of snow…someone goes by. 10. sweet and low. not for me. heedless of the cold. This fortune-telling. His rustic answer: ‘Agafon’. in a trice A table’s readied for the pair. pure. her sigh: ‘What is your name?’ He moves on. And. on tiptoe. Move in their harmonious sphere… Tatyana the pale garden gains. I’ll let be.ah. overhead Hovers.9. Lel. While Zhukovsky’s Svetlana I too recall…. she turns A mirror on the moon. her sash untied.
Among the snowdrifts. still the same. To make a passer-by think twice: And in deep perplexity. She stumbles on – and yet. She’s followed closely by the bear! 110 . 12. helplessly. But wonders come to her in dreams: She wanders through a snowy vale Wrapped in mist and gloom.She hears a roar. Rises from his hidden lair.. She sorrows at the dark divide. A snowdrift shifts. Tatyana screams! . foaming. she gathers strength And putting out a trembling hand Lets him draw her to dry land. Two slender boughs glued by ice. He offers her a long curved claw. it seems Hidden from the world: while pale. A thing the winter cannot tame. There she stands. roars A seething torrent. pours Into the shadows. To help her cross. Stretched across to form a bridge.11. No one is there. A delicate and trembling ridge. To lead her to the other side. As if before some mournful parting. beyond its seething.. a shaggy bear. Along the fragile bridge’s length. beware.
he follows. All the world seems lost in sleep. Until her strength is all but gone. Heaped with snow. No time to retrieve it. And scratch her neck. 111 . With starlit crowns. The soft snow reaches to her knee. Here’s a wood: in beauty. or look behind. Drowned in snow. on and on. as she stumbles on. he grunts and follows. and buried deep. From that dark forbidding face. Her handkerchief is next to go. Lift her trailing hem. The creature once again is near. She dare not. in her fright. Far into the silent hollows. glittering there Birch. in her sad mind. the track is gone. and lime. She dare not stop. She runs. Through the wood she flees the bear. A branch leans down to snag her hair.13. and aspen bare. in flight. She quickens her despairing pace. and stubbornly Pluck the gold earrings from her ears. pines Meet the sky in sombre lines. There’s no escape. And then one wet shoe disappears Covered by the powdery snow. in her shame and fear. Their branches. 14. She plunges on.
gazes round. One a cockerel’s head. and see A frightful witch with a goatee. Trees crowd round. A skeleton haughtily in place.. One window yields a rosy glow.. all The clamour of a wake. swiftly sheathing His sharp claws. And sets her down upon the floor. imagine it! One has a horned and doglike face. unsure. He pushes through the open door. the clash of glasses. A dwarf who sports a tail. the bear alert Rushes to lift her. half a cat! 112 . she lies inert. warm yourself. The bear speaks: ‘Friends live here. She recovers. my dear. The bear has gone. Cries. Here’s a hut. Behind a door cheers resound. From inside there’s noise and clatter. it’s drowned in snow. she’s in a hall. 16.Around a table sit A monstrous crew. Ignore the tumult and the chatter’. there? .15.. and barely breathing. Seems half a heron. She finds a spy-hole in the door. Now along the track he crashes. Come in. And. In his grasp. and that. She falls to the snow.. to which he dashes.
wonderful. It’s plain that he’s the master here. The one she fears and idolises – Who but the hero of our novel? Onegin drinks amidst the roar. 113 . Glancing stealthily at the door. Its sails a creaking whirligig. he rushes to the door. laugh. Our poor Tatyana recognises. behold a spider Sits a crayfish. In red night-cap. sing and screech. 18. He frowns – and everyone is still.17. He laughs – and they all fall about. Bark. whistle. a skull! A windmill dances a wild jig. a second rider Mounts a goose’s neck. And stranger still. He drinks – the creatures howl and swill. Tanya recovers from her fear. confusion reigns. All rise. With glittering eyes Onegin there Clatters his chair against the floor. And curious as young girls are. Pushes the door till it’s ajar… But suddenly a draught of air Agitates the candle-flames. Among them all. Horses’ hooves and human speech! Then in the crowd inside that hovel. He nods – and there’s a mighty shout.
see her try To flee the place. she’s mine!’ 20. Eugene lifts his arm. And all their voices now combine To cry aloud: ‘She’s mine. 114 . reveals Her to that hellish crew – and peals Of raucous laughter swell. at his shout. She cannot move. cold as death. When suddenly they’re visited. Fang and tusk and blood-stained jaw. The wild host vanishes from sight. furiously. Onegin quietly carries her To a frail bed in a corner. Turn to her. all eyes. point her out. tufted tail. sharp gleaming claw.19. Yevgeny’s voice rings out. ‘Mine’. Eugene flings wide the door. The less of use her efforts prove. Tanya lies there. On her shoulder leans his head. Beard. Contests their entry in a breath. Of horn and hoof and crooked snout. And bony finger. As if to raise a magic charm Against intruders. there. Light flashes. Filled with terror. and every guise. By Olga and her lover Lensky. And leaves them in the gloomy light Alone together. The greater her attempts to fly.
Even the fashion page. wakes…! She gazes round. But Tanya.21. Then Lensky falls. with rapt attention Turns its leaves. till a dreadful Scream rings out…the cabin shakes… And Tanya. Whom did your dream reveal to you?’ 22. bright. Through the frosted glass. crimson. Compelling truth. no word or tear. Diviner. The dawn is breaking. Though Racine. Light as a swallow. Olga’s there. Reader of dreams to the age. and then The door flies open. Seizes a book. and as fair And rosy as Aurora when She lights the North: ‘Now. Yevgeny swiftly grasps a knife. Byron. and Chaldean sage. tell me true. Louder and louder grows the quarrel. Yet the book has no pretension To yield poetic inspiration. seeming not to hear. full of terror. 115 . or Seneca Virgil. robbed of life. could not Enthral like Martin Zadeka. the room grows light. Walter Scott. or illustration. The shadows thicken.
He was her solace and delight. and two Petriads (Our dear Lomonosov). Fables: Zadeka though was better. and the rest. 116 . Her nightmare seeming to portray. storm. A prize which Tatyana bought Along with Cottin’s work Malvina. darkness. A clue the index may afford her. Her dream is deeply worrying her. Not knowing what it signifies. fir and forest Snout.23. For several days thereafter she Is troubled by its mystery. A wandering pedlar had brought This deep and learned opus to her. Though in exchange he took as well. snow. In every sorrow that she had. Sharing her pillow every night. with the cover bare. 24. The price three-fifty for the pair. But her mounting trepidation Martin Zedeka can’t allay. bridge. Seeking its meaning from the wise. Endless future tribulation. She makes him her interpreter. a grammar. Volume Three of Marmontel (Those Memoirs). warlock. Dog-eared. Laid out in alphabetic order: Bear.
Petushkov next. The parlour’s full of unknown faces. squire and farmer. shoving. The Skotinins. But now. broughams. 26. old-time gangster: Glutton. right enough). in a row. Lap dogs yapping. And clog the Larin’s steps and drive. hair full of fluff. Tanya’s birthday. from out the vales of morning Aurora. Buyanov. carriages and britzkas. And the ex-councillor Flyanov. The hall is crowded. and kibitkas. Young girls kissing. Calashes. Pustyakov the plump arrives. the day is dawning. Inveterate gossip. As neighbouring families arrive. While nurses screech. 117 . the local beau. noise and crushing. and infants roar. rosy-fingered. Here. and prankster. Whose serfs live miserable lives. filled with greetings. (You know the fellow. With children of all ages. say From two to thirty. And here’s Gvozdin. Then my ‘cousin’. In peaked cap. bribe-taker. With coaches. brings The new-born sun. pushing. with his wife. Guests bow politely at the door. a portly charmer.25. airs and graces. turning grey.
as is his custom. while all are seated. The band will come: they’re on their way. Substituting – belle Tatiana! 28. With a familiar melody: Réveillez-vous. 118 . who passes. ingenious poet. the company commander. grace is repeated. From the local camp. belle endormie.27. Then a buzz. the couples pair. what rapture! The girls’ true idol. where Tanya’s the centre of all this. The Tambov wit. dares. The colonel’s sent them. a song that children sing. so. Lo. With his offspring on display) Always the Frenchman. They cross themselves. a dance! The young girls dream. In a red peruke and glasses. He enters…ah. Boldly replacing its belle Nina. hurray. had to bring For Tanya. Monsieur Triquet. Go. (With Panil Kharlikov. arm in arm to table. Anticipating future bliss. in a trance. what news. But dinner’s served. He found it in some dusty album Printed among the ancient airs. To rescue it. at least the older Ones whose Mamas plot his capture. Triquet.
and with Onegin. The room is loud and growing louder. wide it flies. smiling. Lensky’s here. near suffocating. alas. each finds a chair. ‘Ah. With passion’s fire she is blazing. The door swings open. Plates. room’s made for the pair. Hoot or argue. Forced between her lips. But now her reason and her will. All around. She’s paler than the moon at dawn. a whispering. All the noise of talk and laughter. With the glasses’ clinking sound. Two words. they just speak. And. shout or shriek. Guests squeeze up to let them in. in unison. and to hold her nerve. 119 . darker. Lowered eyes grown clouded. will serve To greet them. No one listens. They sit across from our Tatyana. There’s a lull in conversation. dishes chime. poor thing. Trembling like a hunted fawn. The two friends’ greeting scarcely hears. While they chew. She shivers as if she were ill. 30. Places set. While her eyes are drowned in tears.29. Overwhelmed. Ready to faint. Revive. at last!’ their hostess cries.
the crystal of my soul. To separate blancmange from roast. Object of my verses chaste: Ever Love’s most alluring vial. began to hate His friend for his own presence there. for a toast. Repay him: and with joyful stare. A Tsimlyansky. Not one to savour it in the least. excessive) and the wine. Like yours my darling. Smoky bottles. Our Yevgeny was not alone In noting Tanya’s distress. tall. On a rich pie (its saltiness. He dropped his gaze. Hysteria. A caricature he next designed Of every guest there. Had long bored Eugene to distraction. You’ve intoxicated me in style! 120 . in his mind. fainting. with narrow waist. tarred with twine.31. He hated girls’ neurotic fears. And swore in deepening irritation. Zizi. Experienced but the one reaction. made to hold. 32. tragic tears. I own. And glasses. He saw the poor girl’s quivering state. Alas. To rouse his friend to indignation. An awkward guest at such a feast. But all eyes were turned.
with noble gaze. good health. As verse inside him burns and glows. Freed now of its dampened cork. Then he bowed to her. page in hand then sings away Always partly out of tune. Tanya now Is forced to curtsey to his bow. her hidden passion. felicity. Wishes. Whether he meant His expression quite sincerely. Yet revealing in his glance. the wine now flows Fizzing. and amidst the talk. he’s first to drink her health.33. A bottle pops. Turns. Her distress. Triquet. in silence. our poet is immune To pride. 121 . applause. Noting the pallor in her face. Present his song-sheet. 34. Eugene stood there uneasily. Stirred a flicker of compassion. wish her wealth. Or played a part unwittingly. His tender look still conveyed A meaning that her heart obeyed. The noise subsides. Tatyana feels half-dead. Half-jesting. or with true intent. Triquet rises. Though great. To cheers. A tenderness. Tanya replied to each with grace. and faces glaze.
36. Popping corks. Our stomachs – prompt horology. claiming the old-fashioned. They crowd into the drawing room Like bees that leave the hive. That the substance of my verse Will often food and drink rehearse. Neighbour wheezes now at neighbour. Eight times our heroes at their whist Have played a rubber. For Boston. But they’re replete from their labour. divine Homer. in full bloom. And I’ll mention here. For all of that monotonous breed That’s sired by boredom out of greed. and idle feasting. The green card-tables are in place. and eight times Changed places: there. The chairs scrape backwards on the floor. But by breakfast. Not by the chimes Of clock or watch I count the hours. That helped you earn. Or whist. dinner. in passing. that’s never out of grace.35. tea. In this countryside of ours. Your three thousand year diploma! 122 . The ladies sit beside the fire. The whispering girls elsewhere conspire. Those keenest to take part are summoned. Then tea arrives. and pour Into the meadows. you have the gist.
sweetly. neighbourhood Adonis. Leaving his tea and rum aground. Buyanov then steps Off. The crowd spills into the hall. Lensky. Free Chapter Five from more digression. of ifs and maybes. then: the girls take up. Maid of riper years. Their steaming cups. When in the doorway. Now. with Pustyakova. Petushkov. of wandering In your traces: now youth’s done. demurely. Diverted by the welcome sound. loudly. Yet as Albani might have done. And as it ends. Now I must take to sounder reasoning. And all is brilliance at the ball. Tanya’s. No more of error and distraction. in haste.37-9 Tea. 123 . entrancing ladies. are gladly heard. bassoon. dear feet. But empty fancy’s vain distraction Reminded me of my attraction To little feet. At the commencement of my story I thought I’d paint (See Chapter One) A Petersburg ball. No more. have barely stirred. in all its glory. Seeks Olga’s lovely hand in his. Kharlikova. accepts Triquet. with this confession. Flute. 40. no more.
and long moustache. Then they’re off again in style. Not now: we like more polished games. Fashion. and talk politely. the dancers fly. Onegin smiles as he extends His hand to Olga. they swiftly twirl. For the waltz. 124 . All still the same as we recall. That plague of every modern Russian. Speak of this and that a while. Now is the moment of revenge. Long ago. Now. Lensky can’t believe his eyes. As some old squire cuts a dash. All are watching in surprise. and stepping lightly. 42.41. Among the guests. Wheeling in its circles. Next they sit. Though a provincial town affords A sight of the true original. Enough to make the ballroom shake. and leaps. leads the girl. the mazurka. Heels pounding on the wood below. No sign of the fevered tyrant. while predictable and mindless As giddy youth. The windows rattle in their frames. Now. At the mazurka. floors would quake. Heels. tireless Couples sweeping wildly by. Glide smoothly over lacquered boards.
while to her ear confiding. Buyanov. Flushed and satisfied. A moment: that was all it took. He waits till the mazurka’s done. He curses woman’s reckless course. calls loudly for his horse. Poor Lensky Stares. grows mad with jealousy. Rides off. Possess that cunning. A pair of pistols though. my lively ‘cousin’ leads Both the sisters. coquette. And then demands the cotillion. He dances. who concedes The dance to Olga. Two bullets – nothing else – await The hour that must decide his fate. share those vices. by the hand. Presses her hand – his whole intent Achieved in her conceited look. 45. 125 . nonchalantly guiding Her. And why? Because she’s given Her word away. Dear God in heaven! What’s this he’s hearing? Can it be…? Can this girl who’s scarcely yet Left the cradle. play flirt. she’s pledged already To Onegin. She can’t. Know all love’s treacherous devices! Poor Lensky’s reeling from the blow.43-44. Some subtle whispered compliment. Exits. To our hero. as he’d planned.
Chapter Six Là sotto giorni nubilosi e brevi Nasce una gente a cui l’morir none dole. Petrarch There. where days are cloudy and brief. Are born a people to whom death brings no pain. 126 .
in the parlour. Sleepless. Then rooms are found for every guest. And with Olga. Drives home. mirroring her cares. vying Snore for snore. 2. sadly Glancing round to seek her Lensky. The girls are stowed with Tatyana. From the ground floor to the upper. fat Pustyakov. This nightmare whirling. lighted by Diana’s gleam. Was bored again beyond all measure. now Vladimir had left. preferring his own bed. Tired of this cotillion. lost in dream. stares At dark fields. All glad at heart to take their rest. toss and turn on chairs. In the dining room downstairs. Alone and sad. By his better half is lying. Triquet’s slumbering on the floor. All’s peaceful. though yet not bereft Entirely of his vengeful pleasure. Buyanov. At last it’s over. Eugene. But. Eugene. now it’s supper. at the window. on and on. By Olga. Petushkov. In shirt and night-cap. In attic too.1. my darling Tanya. instead. Olga too yawns by him. Gvozdin. by the door. 127 . And Flyanov.
His fleeting glance of tenderness. now. Five versts from Krasnogorye. and thrives no less. on with my story! A new face claims our attention. Gambler-in-chief. I confess. instead. All pierced her to the core. He. Lensky’s estate. an intimate And sage of inns. worth a mention. you understand. and then Her failure too to comprehend. her own distress. features: So our age improves us creatures! 128 .’ 4. And jealousy. still unwed. Kind and sober. a philanderer. Zaretsky. as if a black And seething abyss at her feet Had opened… ‘Yet the death is sweet He brings’ – she murmurs – ‘and I lack Strength to complain. His partnering Olga too. In the intellectual wilderness. Even as man of honour. Onegin’s unexpected presence. Father of many. But on. an icy hand Had gripped her heart. as friend in need. you’ll gather.3. once a reprobate. what sense To make of that. There lives. Though he can’t bring me happiness. As if a cold.
As long as. Though he’d occasionally misfire And end. At times be silent. He was the practical joker. 129 . should that arise. By the nose. There was a time when envious faces Praised his sheer daring. Make a blunt or sharp retort. In secret. As any passing simpleton. Yet a modern Regulus. A duel in the morning light. Three bottles a day. Carried away by his brave calling. As much the victim of his fun. in the mire. He made his name by simply falling: When far ahead of his battalion. he could hit An ace of clubs at twenty paces. ever Prone to lead a fool about. He liked debate. for him. deceive the clever. 6. He toppled from his Kalmuck stallion. then in sport Cunningly begin a quarrel. Drunk as an owl. chez Véry. or with raucous shout. the soul Of honour: ready – it was his goal – For capture again. And pierce the very heart of it. they’d guarantee. himself.5. on credit. to point a moral. Incite two friends of his to fight. a Frenchman’s prize.
which he rated. Penned by Lensky. With cruel joke. yet smart. Like Horace. 8. (Like love’s young dream. Yet. was pleasant company. Breeds ducks and geese. For my Zaretsky.7. Beneath his cherries and acacias. after brief greeting. And earn a luncheon with them both. Or force them to be reconciled. Finding him sensible. Found refuge from the storm of life. 130 . without more ado. At the window. appreciated By Yevgeny not for his heart But for his wit. or lying oath! Sed alia tempora! With the rest. peaceful and sagacious. read it through. So morning brought no great surprise When Zaretsky met his eyes. Though privately they’d be reviled. as I said. and free from strife. He was no fool. while at his knee The children learn their ABC. a note he proffered. and as he offered The missive gave a caustic grin: Onegin. to begin The visit. another jest) Such things belong to youth. now dead. Plants cabbages. In the past quite frequently He’d called.
Mocked what true hearts engender. Lensky. And brought the visit to a close. alone. 10. sense. But then at eighteen that’s the rule. Unhappy with the role he’d played.9. 131 . What might result: ‘Ever prepared.’ At this Zaretsky promptly rose. with precision. Turned to the envoy. Not as a man of honour. Yevgeny should have shown control. blown in every direction. Not needing to prolong his stay. mutely waiting. dismayed. Go seeking quarrels. Onegin without hesitating. While. Not. Had merely challenged him to fight. In as brief a cartel as was right. Yet left Eugene. without indecision. Second: the poet might be a fool. Now anxious to be on his way. And played a wholly different role. He condemned himself severely: First: he’d erred in his reaction To a love both shy and tender. Politely. take offence. And spoke as if he scarcely cared. holding him in such affection. And rightly so: For sitting sternly In private judgement on his action. coolly.
Beside the mill. shield his breast From the avenging bullet. colour higher. receptive heart. ‘But now. 132 . too late: the moment’s past… Besides’ – he thought – ‘the die is cast. they will fight. Instead of bristling from the start. Opinion. The poet awaits Eugene’s reply: Here comes Zaretsky. and malicious. Now jealousy shows its delight! He’d feared lest his opponent might By slight of hand. or by some jest. grinning fools…’ And then such things are like a cancer! For it’s our idol. now. honour’s mainspring. and let fly. Since that old duellist is vicious. contempt should rightly answer All spiteful gossip. He might have spoken openly. Endeared himself more readily To Lensky’s young. yet his tools Will slyly whisper. To hit the head. A trouble-maker.11. and sparkling eye. Make an escape. breathing fire. As soon as daybreak will allow. and at first light. Doubt is over. At home. impatient. True. or break a thigh. With solemn look. keeps the whole world turning! 12. Cock their pistols.
tender gaze. blazing with resentment. his watch – and went! Abandoning all true discretion. Light as air. 14. Lensky. his heart filled with emotion. Checked the sun. the fickle. and absolute. Buoyant as hope. 133 . ‘yesterday? Disturbed. Sees he is loved. His happiness rare. trembles. ‘Why did you leave so early. carefree way As she might on any other day. He rode in his lover’s direction. feels the force Of pure regret. she flew to meet him. At once he’s tortured by remorse. Silent. ran to greet him. that soars forever. his only notion To be forgiven. Faced with her open. as ever. In the same lively. Swiftly. he bows his head before her.13. Keen to avoid her.’ Olga Asks him. At the unexpected move he’d made. before the duel. But no! – Down the steps. and anger’s blaze. Faced with her soul’s bright clarity! … He sees. Faced with her sweet simplicity. Resolved to hate the false. Jealousy gone. In confusion. Olga he thought would be dismayed. mute. thoughts perturbed.
Now full of grief he lacks the strength To speak about the night before. Not allow that coarse seducer. With sighs or flattery. 18. but no one knew her mind. to aspire To tempt her with his base desire. keen To dispute the entrance to the grave – Love might have found a way to save Them both. With quicker wits. ‘I must save her’. my friends. Perhaps her nurse. might have guessed. if she’d been blessed. But broods on what he must ignore: ‘Yet’. Would meet in the morning. The bud of life’s fairest hour.’ Which translates as: he intends To see Onegin dead. The vile and venomous worm Shall not attack the lily flower. Onegin was silent. 134 . If he had known what agony Burned in my dear Tanya’s heart! Had Tanya had the power to see The future by some magic art. Shall not fade before its term. Or to examine her at length. in secret. he reflects. in his fashion. pined. Aware that Lensky and Eugene.15-17. And Tanya alone. No one had divined her passion.
again Verse sounds. 20. All evening Lensky was distracted.’ he answers. Now cheerful. As servants of the Muse have acted. Vladimir shuts the book once more. bright In all her beauty. a book’s selected. his heart crushed. Turning his troubled gaze on Olga ‘I’m happy. He undresses. to scan by candlelight. so. now full of gloom. 135 . She gazes earnestly: ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘Nothing. and is gone. his pistols are inspected Then replaced. am I not?’ he’d whisper. At home. and time for him to take His leave.19. once more. their case shut tight. Like that by Delvig’s muse created. He turns to go. Since time began. Then poetry flows from his pen. By a single thought oppressed: He seems to see his Olga. It seems to him that it must break. Full of love’s foolishness. It’s late. Then play a note or two before. when intoxicated. as he strides the floor. and at the door. in the night. Schiller. he’d resume His seat at the clavichord. At dinner. His sad heart prevents all rest.
. Then the shining day will dawn. his in truth: ‘Where. They’re here before me. Blessed the tomb’s darkness there.21. ‘The morning star will tremble bright. Will know the secrets of death’s bourn. Sleep and waking have their hour. All is well: our moments fly. and dear. Lethe will drown all memory Of the poet. far from the light. By me alone his soul was moved!”…? Friend of my heart.. what will it bring? My eyes in vain seek out the thing That’s veiled in deepest mystery. oh where have you vanished. All the sad morning of his life. Golden springtime of my youth? This day to come. Will you not stop to shed a tear Over my urn. unfinished. By chance. Blessed the day of toil and care. or death wings by. And I – perhaps. eternal friend. and think: “He loved. to the end!. the beautiful. Come to me. And in the fierce storm and strife. I have the lines.’ 136 . Whether I fall struck by the power Of its arrow.’ 22. No matter: a just fate awaits me. come: yours. this world forget me. But you.
on the word ideal. And high time to be on his way. it’s certain. and no procrastinating: Past six. But he’s in error. Onegin slumbers on regardless. He slept at last. The winged god hovers overhead.23. The night’s shadows thinning swiftly. Onegin will be waiting. One with a fashionable feel. but fitfully. Though I fail to see what’s romantic In it: no matter. Looks out.’ 24. At last he stirs. his weary head Nodding. At last near dawn. or so they say. when he heard his name. His vein then was dark and languid. our Yevgeny Is sleeping soundly: in the yard. Called by his neighbour. The cock-crow hails the morning star. Eugene continues to lie In blissful sleep. noting it is day. A brief snow-flurry spirals by. Yet sleep had barely laid its claim On him. he laid it down instead On the page. The sun now dispels the darkness. forcefully. (The Romantic style. sits up in bed And pulls aside the curtain. ‘Up now. 137 . that’s by the way).
at the door. Resolute. dressing-gown: this instant.25. as before. Zaretsky. ‘But where on earth. 138 . and flying to the mill. Hastily he rings. Orders Guillot. To ready himself. and he was loath To deviate from established ways (A predilection we should praise). ‘is your second?’ In matters of duelling reckoned A classicist. and pedant both. quite the engineer. Guillot. (Lepage’s make. since time presses. the servant. He’s in. waited. Fresh linen: take time by the ears. He’d not allow a man to die Just anyhow and let him lie. his French valet. And not forget the pistol-case.’ with surprise. of course) and tie The horses to the oak nearby. The sledge is waiting. Slippers. Surveyed it. Zaretsky asked. Arrived. impatient. asks Guillot if he will Carry the weapons. While. But by rule. Then Onegin swiftly dresses. Leaning on the dam-wall. have all in place. Lensky. 26. and pontificated. appears. Eugene came to apologise.
with downcast eyes. But the world’s scornful expectation Breeds fear of reconciliation. while there. In silence. apart. Could they not speak and smile again. my friend. Each had acted like a brother. Though he is unknown to you. Zaretsky establishes what’s what With the man of honour. He is a man of honour too. Monsieur Guillot. Part in kindness.27. 139 . Not long before. That can’t be a problem. plan each other’s slaughter. Now hostility had brought On nightmare.. While Onegin turns to Lensky: ‘Shall we begin?’ ‘Begin. and thought. crossly. giving quarter? . tender-hearted.. and sighs. Before blood left its scarlet stain. Opponents! They’d not long been parted By this cruel thirst to kill each other.’ Zaretsky bites his lip. They start Behind the mill. like those ancient feuds Where in cold blood opposing broods. 28. meals. ‘My second?’ – echoes Yevgeny: He’s here. Sharing pleasures. The opponents wait. why not? Vladimir replies. surely Not? Besides I’d have you know.
140 . Lensky. Squints. Here’s an end to all their jokes – Thirty two paces. The jagged flints once firmly seated. Into the pans they sift the powder. approach!’ Calm and steady. Opposite his friend must stand. weapons cocked. precisely. They’ve taken four steps already. While Zaretsky measures nicely.29. hammers are knocked On ramrods. Each with a pistol in his hand. ‘Now. Onegin fires…the clock on high Strikes for the poet. Five more paces now they take. – The duellists remove their cloaks. Behind the stump of a nearby tree Poor Guillot stands. half-closes his left eye. Pistols gleam. glances. His weapon spirals to the ground. Takes aim now – when. silently advances. Are raised again. Yevgeny. at the sound. Bullets are loaded. the work’s completed. uneasily. suddenly. and they grate together. Raises his pistol slowly. Not yet attempting to aim. keen to avoid mistake. Four fatal steps. to kill or maim. A few steps from eternity. 30.
Blood from his wound is streaming. The bullet shattering his chest. Then gather momentum in its slide. the blood’s living heat. A block of snow will slowly glide.31. A pulse. shuttered. he falls. imagination Had fired this heart. Strange his languor. The lady of the manse has fled. A moment since. All is silent. Onegin Runs to his friend. that fill With shadows all its gloomy space. in the sun’s rays. but death. pure inspiration. 32. The flower has faded from the bough. So. Now like some deserted place. Hope and love and enmity. and cruelly. The altar-fire’s extinguished now. still. Calls out his name…uselessly: He’s lost: the votary of rhyme. Lightly. On a steep slope. Struck by an icy chill. gazes at him. Pressing his hand to his heart. at rest. 141 . Windows pale within. Has met his fate before his time. Motionless. there. like one dreaming. Where to? God knows. His gaze betrays Not pain. The storm is done. The trail is dead. at the start.
as they pass. despairing cry? 142 .33. And anticipate his funeral. stubbornly. Whose rash look or sneer conflicts With your self-image? He may offend With some nonsense while your drinking. What if your pistol-shot inflicts A fatal wound on some young friend. As he lowers horns. Pleasant to see it hit the mark. Deaf. To your heartfelt. Issue an angry challenge. In his face the pains of death. as his friends stand round. My friends. It’s pleasant with a sharp remark To infuriate your enemy. in bending: ‘It is I!’ But the pleasantest thing of all Is to aim at his pallid face Across a gentlemanly space. More pleasant still. never to reply. voiceless. Stiffening. To see. beware. His own features in the glass. thinking He ought to do so – will your soul Summon sufficient self-control To watch him lying on the ground. Yet. if he should cry. should you succeed. 34. unwillingly. There’s very little pleasure there. Hearing his last failing breath.
As they fly like arrows towards home. and of shame. for the poet now you sorrow. phantoms born of reverie. Those high aims ambition fashions. Eugene stares down at Lensky. Then carry the dread thing away. The fear of error. Steel bits and traces flecked with foam. the bright celestial dreams. They lift the cold body to its bier. ‘Killed!’…And with that stark reply. tender? Where is the storm of love’s extremes. You.35. That pure emotion youth may render. Still clutching his pistol. noble. The horses scent the dead. Onegin shudders. gives a cry Summons the servant for assistance. with force. You. toil’s midnight flame. gleams of sacred poetry? 143 . Killed before his promise bloomed. doomed! Where now are the burning passions. Gripped by feelings of remorse. Then. tightly. Friends. Thoughts and feelings. That thirst for truth. at Zaretsky’s insistence. Placing it carefully in the sleigh. Prematurely blighted. turns. ‘Well?’ says Zaretsky. 36. and rear. And you. Forced to forgo that sweet tomorrow.
or. Eat. and weeping women. Then prove his own mortality. Perhaps for glory he was created. beyond the grave. Youth slipped by. to married life converted. 38-39. The Muse he might well have deserted. Midst swarms of children. and a dressing-gown. and stout. One that. or people’s praise. Deep in the country. to silence fated. Echoing down the years.37. dead! 144 . Or to ease the world’s condition. Worn horns. Doctors. years to forget. never A hymn can reach. martyred shade. lost forever. Or gratitude from age to age. Into the dark may have conveyed The holy secret. lie in bed. ill. far from town. Or alternatively the poet Might have met the usual fate. Settled. And learned life’s bland reality: At forty suffer from the gout. yawn. The power of some life-giving voice To make the soul of man rejoice. drink. Perhaps that lyre. The soul’s fire cooling of late. Might have achieved its high mission. The poet Might have climbed Parnassus yet Found his place.
Fell at a friend’s hand! You’ll discover. that tender lover. Whatever the future might have brought. above shadowy waters blent. alas. Where. Where the ploughman likes to take His rest. Young poet of meditative thought. As you leave the village. a space Where the roots are intertwined Of two tall pines. where waters wind Towards the valley down below. a place That inspired soul knew. 145 . clink pitchers in the flow. girl reapers. There stands a simple monument. Reader.40. keen to slake Their thirst.
weaving his bast shoes. and from her hair Lifting the gauzy veil may glance Lightly at the lines.41. Grip the reins. On reading their sad tale – surprise A haze of tears to cloud her eyes. 146 . by chance. Racing the meadowlands alone Will halt her horse beside the stone. feel pity there. trust me. ‘And then what became of Olga? Did she pine for him?’ She’ll wonder. Nearby (when the furrows ooze With the springtime showers again) The shepherd. The smart coquettes’ smart enemy. she’ll ride. Who to his grave the poet hurled? All in good time. down For the summer. And the young city lady. The gloomy eccentric. I’ll try To supply the details. Then. bored with town. Of its inscription. across the fields. by and by. where is she? And that fugitive from the world. With Lensky’s fate pre-occupied. Sings of the Volga fishermen. 42. where is he. Brooding silently. slowly. ‘Or did her sorrow vanish swiftly? And what of her sister. Lost in the depths of reverie.
On my troubled mind intrude. profounder pain. as before. and one more chill. and not a mere Conceit of elegiac verse. And I –with a sigh. The dream! Where’s sweet elusive truth? And you (its rhyme forever) youth? Can it be true. Age drives away the urchin. I’ll return to him: no more! Age demands prose for a time. that crown at last Is now quite withered by the blast? Can it be true. Another care. I confess – I now enjoy composing less. (That I’d once happily rehearse) My springtime’s over. In the world’s noise. I’ve learnt the sadness of tomorrow. Another dream. or solitude. in the sere? Can it be true there’s no return? And thirty years the prize I earn? 147 . Now. I no longer rush to stain Scattered reams with flying quill. And promise you. rhyme.43. I’ve learnt to know another longing. most sincerely. 44. And I lament my former sorrow. Although I dearly Love my hero. But not quite yet. In yesterday there is no trusting.
Rouse the dull mind from sleep. Farewell the glade. I glance. Visit my humble corner. even the least. Oh my frivolous lost youth! My thanks for every sweet refrain. The noise. Pale afternoon is here. Then so be it: in friendship part. The muddy pool. Or in solitude. and more… Lived you to the full. Imagination. my heart. my youthful inspiration. Freed from the burdens of the past. Where days flowed by so lazily. at last. the tempests. that we Immerse in. my friends. Find fresh powers. My thanks. I took my joy. pensive shade. Let it not wither. For all your gifts. 46. the pain. The torments of the soul. I travel another road. freeze and petrify. my soul is pure. Enough! Again. in riot. and quiet. Confess it now. keep The poet’s soul from every ill. In society’s toils that kill. Filled with sweet passion. Or worse still. and the feast. Long hours of idle reverie! And you. Backward. harsh and dry. behold: the truth. so relentlessly! 148 .45.
Chapter Seven Moscow. Where shall we find your like? Dimitriev How can we not love our Moscow? Baratynsky Scorn Moscow? Is the world so marvellous? Where could be better? – Where there are none of us! Griboyedov 149 . Russia’s darling daughter.
And all this world dark below? 150 . The cattle low. In some peaceful rural place! Are all such things quite alien To me – joyous things that shine. then. And still transparent to the eye The naked woods show downy green. To a soul that perished long ago. the snow Driven by the springtime sun. Greets the new season. never mine – Bringing boredom. and my blood! How heavy the emotion weighing On my heart.1. to feel the straying Breath of spring caress my face. lives. In night’s deep silence. anguish. Spring. And yet how sad you seem to me. All that is glad. Nature wakes from dream. tells its tale. the bee Goes to raid nature’s treasury. ah Spring! The time of love! With what strange languid agony. a nightingale. lightly. The valleys show a dappled sheen. Out of its waxen cell. 2. From the neighbouring hills. You fill my soul. A brilliant azure lights the sky. brightly. Flows in turbid streams that run Down to the flooded fields below.
Long walks.3. Whom Epicurean maxims rule. my friends! Run. And. enchanted moon… 4. Or un-consoled by the return Of leaves that vanished in the fall. You rustic Priams. It’s time. you inveterate idlers. You acolytes of Levshin’s school. Our past forever dead. or your own. set free Dreams of a country. forsaken. Perhaps the troubled soul remembers Years long gone. run! In coaches. And to those seductive nights. and fresh inspiration. lost too soon. 151 . Do we recall those doomed to burn. Hearing fresh whispers sigh and call? Or finding Nature re-awaken. Warmth. burdensome or light. in the aching heart. Drawn by post-horses. O magic night. growth and outdoor toil. older spring. And all you ladies sentimental – Spring calls you to the fertile soil. Forgo the city’s ceaseless drone. elemental. To the fields. now faded embers? Or some poetic reverie A memory to the mind may bring Of another. You fortunate philosophers.
Where he’s no longer to be found. gloomy. We’ll take the trail towards the stream. Near young Tatyana. Flee the metropolis.’ 152 . down a lime-tree alley. And where he spent those icy days. young Vladimir Lensky lies. Where the nightingale. its bother. Sings all night. To where the silent shallows gleam. and age. my dear indulgent reader. Beside that nameless river shore. poet. with his own eyes ‘Here. whom we Know lives in a dreamy haze. Though sad echoes still resound. In foreign gig that you employ. Who met with an untimely end. That all last winter gave you joy. Deep in the hill-encircled valley. spring’s lover. Rest. The passer-by can read the legend On the stone. At such and such a date. wild roses cover Bank and brake. And listen to the forest news. 6. from your pilgrimage. sweet waters flow – Where two shadowy pine trees grow.5. Through meadows. idle. Join me and my capricious Muse. And you. That our Yevgeny found a bore. As a recluse.
Another star had its ascension. 153 . Today…no wreath hangs on the bough. Lowered eyes their gleams eclipse. blushing with emotion. Poor Lenksy! Not for long did Olga Pine for you. On a pine-branch bending there Over the simple urn below. Their arms entwined about each other. and shed a tear. 8-10. The woodland path is overgrown. Two girls. Only the shepherd. At the altar.7. and mourn your fate! Alas! Young girls are faithless ever. and plaits a lime-bark shoe. And sings. The dove will soon forget its mate. who was loved again. Sits there as he’s accustomed to. A wreath once swayed to and fro. A Lancer. When morning breezes filled the air. A Lancer. aged now. While a soft smile adorns her lips. She stands. And dark beneath the branches’ cover. when the moon shone clear. with undying devotion… Soon. Flattery soon soothed her pain. beneath the bridal crown. head bowed down. The tale forgotten and the stone. Another captured her attention. Would haunt the grave.
in oblivion. broken-hearted. her choice Must go. Only heir. Poor Lensky! In the grave’s far bourn. perverse. foe and friend. at the end. Falls silent. and fussed about. she was there. a slave to army law. insatiate. When on the porch they said goodbye. Voice of lover.11. Quarrelling over our estate. The old mother.. as they parted It seemed she could barely breathe. Wept for her daughter. Are heard.. does he Sleep soundly. The world to him both sealed and dumb? . So be it! Neutral nothingness Awaits us all. 12. like one about to die. Did the singer sadly mourn His knowledge of her frailty? Or by Lethe blissfully In deep forgetfulness. And soon our Olga’s chiming voice Was heard at the Larin’s no more: Back to his regiment. and crowded Round the carriage. 154 . heiress. Yet Tanya scarcely seemed to grieve. Beyond the voiceless boundary. Only a strange sad pallor clouded Her face. To say her farewells to the pair. Kissed.
Forever now. No solace in the silent glade: By melancholy tears oppressed. for him…And yet.13. ever That she should hate him now forever. as they sped away… Alone. Her silent passion’s more intense. 14. She wanders. His darling to another wed. this too. in this desolation. The murderer of their dear friend. Her aching heart can find no rest. why grieve? 155 . The ally she was born to love. The poet is no more…the end Of all. Onegin. her own sweet dove. invades her every sense. oblivion. Seeing nothing there to gladden. All memory of him swiftly fled Like smoke dispersing in the blue. two that grieve Perhaps. Her confidante. Is carried far from her by fate. a shade. Now. alone it seemed for good! Alas! Her friend of many a day. She knows she must not see him. Gazes at the empty garden. Two hearts there are. in her cruel isolation. And for a long while Tanya stood Eyes misted. they separate. Far off. purposeless.
While faster. or garden? So scarcely breathing. is filled with doubt: ‘Should I turn back now. From the yard the serf-boys fly. The river Quietly flows. She hesitates. and fighting.. The rural dancers now retire From the field. dreams. she descends The hill slope and where it ends Looks about her…fate has brought Her to the wide deserted court: The dogs run towards her. I’m not known. The beetle drones. at her nervous cry. But swiftly. A glittering stream beside a garden! She gazes – feels a throbbing start.. Walks on forever: on and on. the smoky flare. to ensure That Tanya can reach the door. A fisherman’s fire: Tanya there. or go on? . Dusk falls. where the meadow gleams In the silvery moonlight. larking. Drive the dogs off. Alone. 156 . with hushed tones. barking. stronger pounds her heart. 16. On the far bank. A noisy crowd. Then from the heights she sees A village. a house among the trees. he’s not about… Why not view the house. The sky is dark.15.
Ushers Tanya through the hall.17. he’d dine. and play whist with me. The housekeeper nods her through: ‘By the fireplace. Don his spectacles to see The cards. my old master’s nook. Lensky. Echoing in its emptiness: Our hero’s previous address. The master often brooded there. follow me: Here’s his study. and rest. ‘Could I. She gazes: a discarded cue Lies on the billiard table’s top. In winter-time. perhaps. ‘And here with our neighbour. He’d sit here of a Sunday. he’d recline On that very couch. Please. On the divan. there’s his chair. or at his request The steward came. he’d read a book… See here too. By that window: now I pray His soul’s at peace. Before the young man’s death. his bones at rest: That they by Mother Earth are blessed! 157 .’ 18. just see inside?’ Tatyana asks: And instantly The lads run to find a guide: ‘Where’s Anisya with the key?’ The old crone comes at their call. a riding-crop. Sip coffee.
Tatyana with deep emotion. Our Tanya. then the bed With a Persian fabric spread. The pile of books. not without a sigh. around The darkened river. Feigning calmness. and muse. and on the wall Lord Byron’s portrait. if permitted. by a small Cast-iron statue which they pass. A priceless treasure. Gazes. to her notion. In this fashionable monk’s cell. Napoleon. around her. painfully. Tatyana lingers: she’s spell-bound.19. the wind as well Blows chill. vapours fill. use That room to sit in. And. Though the house is empty. Departs the room. with that Wide gloomy brow and bicorn hat. read. by and by. the sleeping groves. 158 . And as for our young votaress. 20. The moon is hidden by a hill. arms crossed. yet asks Anisya If she might return to see her. Each object is. The clouded moon. here to stir The soul with torment and delight. But it grows late. The desk with its shaded light. It’s time to leave. The twilit view beyond the glass.
The books surround her. She parts then. Onegin’s love for books. Lost in her own deep reverie. And lost in endless reverie. His spirit egotistical. And at long last claim attention. Yet at dawn the restless sleeper Wakes. A creature heartless and amoral. Though. we know. An embittered mind that seethes With vain ideas the brain conceives. from the housekeeper. and yet Among the many doomed to go There were some favourites he kept. in her indifference. A profile of contemporary man Penned with unerring accuracy. Enters the study silently. At the gate. one Or two. Oblivious of the world around her. She weeps.21. 22. and as if called To an unknown world’s enthralled. Had vanished long ago. She samples them. Poet of the Giaour and Don Juan. Then. intrigued by the collection. says her goodbyes. the age drawn with élan. Byron was there – and novels. and to the house she flies. At first they make but little sense. 159 .
what found absurd. comprehend the man. 24. his soul Was revealed. recorded whole. with what word He’d agreed. pursued the trail. And so my Tanya began – Thank God – bit by bit. apparent there: Now an underline. A lexicon. or yet an angel. now a question-mark. A poor second-hand illustration. To see what fresh enlightenment. Unconsciously. now a dark Comment. Was he from Heaven or from Hell. On many pages could be seen The imprint of his fingernail. By fate’s implacable decree. or a joke. A devil in pride. Which was he? Mere imitation. with care. keen To follow him. to learn His nature. A Muscovite in Childe Harold’s cloak. An empty phantom.23. In the margins where. Trembling too. Eugene had found. with her intent. And Tanya all attention. He’d made pencil marks. That sad and dangerous mystery. a parody? 160 . For whom her heart was made to burn. A fashionable glossary.
my dear. Tanya should be married too. not like here!’ – ‘You could afford a winter season. Pykhtin. or roam the woods alone. He was quite infatuated. within reason. And Petushkov – spurned him too. ‘She’s not in love then?’ ‘Tell me who! Buyanov’s asked her: she refused.25. That Hussar. ingratiated Himself! I thought: “He’s the one. Had she found the word at last? The clock runs swiftly on and on. But what on earth is one to do? She turns them all down. the expense. he’s gone. smiled. she confused. instead It’s: “I won’t. At home they’re already waiting.” Then on her own She’ll brood. yet she’s wed.’ 161 .’ – ‘But oh.” But no! Not a bit of it.’ 26. borrow from me. The guests have come. Had she solved the conundrum. Moscow’s a better market-place! The setting for a pretty face. Come.’ – ‘You must widen the net. Flattered her. the hour is past. She’s the subject they’re debating: ‘What’s to be done? She’s not a child.’ Her mother’s scarcely reconciled: ‘Olga’s younger.
Of simple speech and rural ways And let the proud and mocking gaze Of beaus and Circes speak her fate! . Her mother always valued greatly Advice both sensible and sound. And you. familiar woods I love. The accounts were done. Farewell nature. Present the clearest evidence Of shy provincial innocence. you valleys. And to deep emotion yields: ‘Farewell. horror! Better safely hidden Deep in the woods. You too. 28. Her sad eyes tearful and bright. than do as bidden.. peaceful. Farwell beauty of skies above. dear. I leave such quiet haunts as these For a noisy world of vanities… Farwell to you. Rising with the morning light. To face society’s derision. my freedom.. my joy.27. and swiftly Funds for a Moscow winter found. I fear. Of fashions always out of date. She rushes to the open fields. familiar hills. Tanya had news of the decision. Oh. adieu. too! And why? What am I striving for? What future does fate hold in store?’ 162 .
she flies. Yet all too soon the summer ends. All her daily walks grow longer. Blows and howls – and presently. The meadows and the slopes of hills. with fresh snow. deathly pale. Whitening the oak boughs. The Enchantress. and fills With her carpet. Washing. The frost glitters. face. 163 . removed From the roof. That with sheer beauty charms Tatyana Arresting her against her will. Then nature trembles. and here a hill. as to old friends. breast. By winter her mute heart’s oppressed. Levels the borders of the stream. We give thanks. Covered with sheets of downy gleam. There is a stream. billowing where it lies. A victim. Welcome with joy the winter’s pranks. shoulders. But Tanya’s spirit is unmoved.29. Winter: here is she! 30. And speaks to them. Breathing the frosted air of nights. And here is autumn golden-browed. Seeking their charms she goes to meet The groves and meadows at her feet. decked out for the gale… And now the north wind drives the cloud. Indifferent to wintry delights. Scattering herself abroad.
Pots and basins. stored away. The sledded coaches. chests. Jars of jam. They’re harnessed to the master’s sleighs. by tradition. Featherbeds. and watering-cans. The load on each kibitka sways. The long-delayed departure day Is here at last. jugs. Their loads are placed in position. To call a last farewell: it’s late. there they stand. lonely sanctuaries. with many a tear. Farewell. 32. The ladies seated. The servants gather by the gate. sadly cries Tatyana. sleigh by sleigh. then away: ‘Farewell now. the journey planned. Wenches and coachmen swearing. the kind Of things none dare leave behind. you haunts of peace. ‘Is this forever’. Re-upholstered. And eighteen nags now appear. The bearded outrider’s astride His nag: it’s ill. Then the servant’s noise presages Loud farewells. 164 . While the breakfast is preparing. with tear-stained eyes.’ In procession. Chairs. it nearly died. cockerels in cages. Three large kibitkas.31. and frying-pans.
33. Unifying every by-way. We’ll move the mountains. all along the route. Force you to lie awake. And stride in arches every way. In some hut. he’ll aspire To mend Europe’s dainty coils. But as it is. a menu’s put Before you. by his slumbering fire. Meanwhile the village Cyclops toils. Cast-iron spans will leap the river. And godly folk will institute. A mere five hundred years) our roads Will be improved to take such loads: Russia will be one great highway. simply to excite. and mumble. Fine inns too. your growing appetite. there are none. 165 . in fact. our roads are bad. The fleas at halts drive you mad. and pay To drive bold tunnels underwater. 34. In vain. Inns. Freezing cold. Our neglected bridges crumble. Blessing Russia’s ruts and ditches Made by sorcerers and witches. Slowly. When progress and enlightenment Have had sufficient time to act (And philosophic sentiment Now estimates we need. With Russian hammer.
it made sense To use their nags. Like modern verse. 166 . The roads are smooth.35. So lively are our charioteers. with delays. Yet in frozen winter time Travel’s easy. The journey took them seven days. To avoid the usual expense Of post-horses. Like fence-posts swiftly flashing by. Our troikas fit to run for years. our empty rhyme. and so prolong The tedious halts that. the burden light. a delight. But then Larina crawled along. The mile-markers soothe the eye.
lifted higher. Ah. friends! How often joyous. I suddenly beheld that view.what depths of fascination Live in that name. too. How often. dumb with separation. stone and blazing fire Where cupolas raise to glowing skies Their golden crosses.36. spire and dome. With all its mysteries of home. Moscow. And sound in every Russian heart! 167 . I dreamed of you again! Moscow…. what echoes start. Before them lies White Moscow. Yet now they’re near. Of park and palace. In my nomadic exile. then.
Farewell! No lingering here. in its glorious memories. The city gates gleam white. Napoleon.37. Only a mighty conflagration. Stalls flash by. and peasants. towers. Lions on gates. Waited on Moscow’s submission. Kitchen-gardens. Proud. To offer up the Kremlin keys. Surrounded by its ancient trees There the Petrovsky palace rises. My Moscow chose not to bow. Fashionable shops. No gift. But there was no capitulation. plunged in thought. to resume our story. Pharmacies. mansions. Crawling to him on her knees. and urchins jump. Sleighs and shacks and boulevards. monasteries. he saw The threatening flames skyward soar. and yards. no feast she gave him now. From here. Then down Tverskaya Street they bump. For here. elated by the prizes Fate had granted. Cossacks. balconies. 168 . they’re near. Lamp-posts. Proud witness of that fallen glory. Bokharans. 38. with frozen roars. merchants. Drive on! And. And church-crosses black with daws.
39-40. This whole exhausting journey takes Two hours at least, but then, once past, St Chariton’s, the carriage brakes; A gateway in a lane: at last! They’ve come to an old aunt who’s ailing Consumptive, four years past, and failing. A Kalmuck, in a ragged smock, Flings wide the door, he holds a sock He darns, old spectacles adorn His face, the princess, in the parlour, Calls her welcome from the sofa; Her plight indeed is most forlorn; The two old women weep, embrace, Then rattle on at lightening pace. 41. ‘Princess, mon ange’ – ‘Pachette!’ – ‘Alina!’ ‘Who’d have though it?’ – ‘What an age! Darling, how long can you stay here?’ – ‘Dear Cousin!’ – ‘Sit: it’s like a page From a novel, yet here you are…!’ – ‘And this is my own Tatyana.’ – ‘Ah, Tanya, dear! Come, let me see – Cousin, it’s like a dream to me… Do you recall your Grandison?’ ‘My Grandison? …Oh, Grandison! Yes! Where is he, now?’ ‘You’ll never guess, In Moscow, he’s near St Simeon, He visited at Christmas…Oh! His son was wed not long ago,’
42. ‘And he…but we’ve time tomorrow For all of that now, have we not? We’ll show off Tanya, a pity though I can’t go out: my legs they’re what Betray me, while you poor thing Must be worn out with travelling; Oh, I’ve no strength…it’s my chest… We both should take a little rest… It’s all too much such happiness, And as for trouble…well, I’m done for, No use it seems, any more: Old age is pain and wretchedness…’ With that her weary voice gave out; She wept, endured a coughing bout. 43. The invalid’s kind words must fill Tanya with gratitude, and yet She finds all unfamiliar, still, Her former room she can’t forget. Behind the strange bed’s silken drapes, She lies for hours, while sleep escapes Her eyes: the bell towers chime, And wake her many and many a time, Calling Moscow to its labours; Seated by the window pane As the shadows slowly wane, No fields prove to be her neighbours, But only a yard, strange, immense, Stables, kitchens, and a fence.
44. They dine out at the relatives Every day, both near and far; Despite the pallor languor gives, Grandmamma and grandpapa Welcome her with open arms, With exclamations at her charms, Greet her enthusiastically, With copious hospitality. ‘How Tanya’s grown! Your christening Last year was it? I dandled you! And boxed you ears, a time or two! And fed you cake!’ Tanya’s barely listening To the old dears’ perennial cry: ‘Goodness how the years speed by!’ 45. But none of them have changed a bit, They keep to their habitual ways: There’s Princess Helena’s tulle bonnet, The one she wore in former days; Powder-white Lukerya Lvovna; A liar yet, Lubov Petrovna; Ivan Petrovich, none the wiser; Semyon Petrovitch, still the miser; With Aunt Pelageya Nikolevna Her same friend Monsieur Finemouche, The same husband, the same pooch, Her spouse the club’s most loyal member, As meek, as deaf, who, nothing new, Still eats and drinks enough for two.
46. Their daughters offer their embraces, Then gaze at Tanya, silently, They, dear Moscow’s living graces, Survey provincial mystery; They find her strange, somewhat affected, Unfashionable, but that’s expected, A little pale and thin, but all In all, not unacceptable, And soon reveal their better nature, Invite her home, too, in the end, Squeeze her hand, kiss their friend, Fluff her hair to suit, dear creature, And in a sing-song voice confide, Some girlish secret that they hide. 47. Tell of their conquests, others’ too, Their hopes, their pranks, their reveries; The guileless stories, not a few Embellished by their jealousies. And then demand an expression Of her own heartfelt confession, In exchange, her hopes and fears; But Tatyana, scarcely hears Dreaming, understanding nothing, Guarding with unconscious art The deepest secret of her heart, The joy and pain she’s cherishing, Hoarding her treasure silently, Concealing its reality.
and fitfully Rhymes her. 49. Not even plain idiocy redeems. Not even a joke half-innocent. She feels are things she should share. like circling sharks. straightened his wig. the bored Prince Vyazemsky sat beside her. One melancholy jester leaning In the doorway. Comparing notes. And an old man whom she’d ignored Asked her name. dry and dull. And pass sarcastic judgement on her. All is so pale and colourless. Their empty world. Not even just by accident. in an elegy. of that they’re full. Was for a while her entertainer. But never a fresh thought all day. Lights the mind with its bright ray. The chatter. But drawing-room pre-occupation With vulgar tales is coarse and bare. Quite rarefied. or so it seems. Once calling on an aunt. news. And gave his neighbour’s ribs a dig. Stale gossip.48. Finds her Ideal. Even their slanders meaningless. Fashionable Record Office clerks. and the conversation. review my Tanya. 173 . Their questions pointless. idly preening.
and retreat. still single. From loge or parterre. and the fumes Of candlelight. 51. somewhat tawdry. Wailing aloud her tragic part. Shine. or form a set. no discerning eye. Muddling the wits of all those present. While Hussars. on leave. Where only fair Terpsichore. in a crescent. and jingle. Proud beauties’ in their flimsy dresses. Marriageable girls there.50. No connoisseur with opera glass. And dangle the careless lorgnette. now past and done) No lorgnettes were trained upon Our Tanya. The blare of music. the stir there. and the heat. She graces the Assembly Rooms: The crush. Heedless of their friendly clapping. Here acknowledged dandies strut Display their vests. whose throng oppresses. the dancers fleet. Grants an indifferent crowd her art. (As was the case in times gone by. where bold Melpomene. 174 . Awakes a young man’s loyalty. And there. The balcony. Waves her mantle. saw her pass. Our days of youth. Where Thalia is quietly napping. twirl. conquer. have but To show themselves.
The Moscow belles are many too. It stifles her…her spirit yearns For rural life. my sweet! What languor’s in her magic glances!… But enough. laughter. curtsey. By a pillar. advances. Like the majestic moon serene Among the wives and daughters seen. Or the lime-tree alley’s shade. Her garden. gallop. in that celestial blue. 175 . bow. Where he his visitation made. between two aunts. Tanya seated now. her romantic novels. enough: you’ve paid The tribute that to folly’s made. Mazurka. Yet the one whom I set higher. waltz…they dance. The lonely grove where a stream And its attendant rivulets gleam. Noise. Beyond my importunate lyre. 53. Gazes unseeing at the swirl.52. What languor fills her breast. With what heavenly grace. despite its hovels. and memory turns To her village. Detesting all the social whirl. Yet brighter shines the moon by far Than they. The glittering night holds many a star. Unnoticed. Touching the earth with her light feet.
And now I must congratulate Tanya on her luck. noble. there’s a thing. but swiftly Turn to my hero. to my mind. opportunely. are left behind. He’s walking off…he’s sideways on…’ ‘What that fat general?’ – ‘He’s gone!’ 55. now. unsure what to think.’ – ‘To the left? Where? What’s to see?’ – ‘Never you mind that. The aunts. So far away her visions wander. The world. he hardly took His eyes from you…there now. in uniform. if you please. Nudge each other. May this. whispering: ‘Look to the left. receive your blessing now. Lest from the chosen path I stray. Enough. O Muse. My shoulder’s from the plough! I’ve bowed to classicism: you. quickly. I sing. Then poke Tatyana. Though late. my epic. And of his every caprice. have the exordium too! 176 . lest his fate Should be forgot…so. A General’s. the ball. just look… Two. With your staff point out the way. I’ll set a few words echoing: It is of my young friend. Yet one keen gaze has settled on her.54. slyly wink.
Still forever. fare thee well. Byron 177 .Chapter Eight Fare thee well! and if for ever.
In those old Lyceum days. In the first bright flower of youth. The noble ode’s great master still. There the Muse first came near. Who mingled with some pure lament. lingering here a while Blessed our first poor offerings. where he strayed. Apuleius won my praise. Where the swan in beauty sails. and childhood dear. On the far heights.1. Yet built an eternal monument. 2. And all the dreams the heart holds fast. at the time. Derzhavin. 178 . Felitsa’s virtues set to rhyme – Though we decried them. Over waters still and clear. Thoughts of fleas and lemonade. The world received her with a smile. in hidden vales. Derzhavin he who tuned his art To speak the language of the heart. Then my student cell was bright The Muse set my world alight. Derzhavin. While Cicero I loathed. in truth. Sang youthful joy. Sang Russia’s glorious ages past. And in spring. at the grave’s dark sill. Those first successes gave us wings.
3. The only law that I employed. She’d lead me in the dead of night. For the Father of the Universe. danced along Wooed by all that ardent throng. On my long and silent journey. never ceased To sing for the guests above the wine. join me. Tasting the crowd’s idle pleasure. Far off…the Muse followed after. To hear the Nereids’ whispers bright. with some secret story She’d divert me. or her laughter. My lively Muse and I enjoyed The noisy brawl. in moonlit ride. The Muse was ever at my side. And to the revels and the feast. 179 . Taunting the watch at midnight’s door. Like pale Lenore. She brought her glories. For wilful passion was my measure. Like a Bacchante. The thundering breakers’ mighty roar. The praise the endless tides rehearse. Galloping onwards at my side! How often to the Tauric shore. In that sweet golden youth of mine: My flighty mistress and my pride. How often. And in Caucasian gorges. the banquet’s roar. 4. And when I fled that company.
and again. I reward My Muse with a grand soirée. Then proud ladies. Its feasts forgotten and its speeches. Clasps in her hand a book.5. Strange broken music of the steppes… Then all was altered. And jealously the world afford Sight of her sweet rural display. she steps. for the first time. The ladies framed by gentlemen. seated quietly by my side. And there grew wild as they: all sense. her songs Abandoned for barbaric tongues. All. diplomats. see her glide. Of Moldavia’s gloomy reaches. 6. The gleam of wit and silken dress. The language of the gods. And far away from our great city. Admire the dense and noisy hum. Sad-eyed there. The presentation of the guests To the young hostess. Past the ranked aristocrats. Nomadic tribes in humble tents. sits on a bench. She’d visit every spot with me. 180 . in French. Through my garden. Military dandies. once urbane Now a provincial girl. surrounding them. Now. sombrely. And. one by one.
And seems an utter alien here. In his face? Why is he present? Who is the man? Is this Eugene? Truly? . quiescent. Some new work of the mask-maker. ‘Is he the same. But who. or Quaker. Or less: what role? Perhaps Melmoth. yes and no. or has he mellowed? Is he as strange now as before? Is it the same plan he once followed. who lingers silently. indeed. or something more. He’s fooled us far too long. bigot. in this select assembly. Or a decent fellow – you or me. Pride’s cold politeness. Is he. Society.7. in short? What I’d advise Is: change your ways. Childe Harold. if you’re wise. and so…’ – ‘You know him then?’ – ‘Well. Cosmopolitan. patriot. our hero! – ‘It’s long since he was here though!’ 8. dark.. the procession Of rank and age with which the hour’s full. To whom the passing forms appear As tedious phantoms? Is that spleen. He pursues. She likes the orderly progression. Or tortured vanity.Yes. The conversation of the powerful..’ 181 .
on the whole. clearly. Or that a fiery headstrong soul Is found disturbing. Discarding friends to win the same. Of whom the age is bound to say: X was a fine man. Or intellect prompts mockery. – ‘But why berate him so severely. Or that the stupid are malicious. 182 . At fifty tolerably debt-free. By self-satisfied nonentity. Rewarding the merely meretricious. Achieving peace at last. That only mediocrity Suits the likes of you and me?’ 10. Never scorned the world’s advances. Who only ripened in good time. Who. In his twenties. and rank. Or we mistake the things that matter. and fame. who in youth was young. Obtaining wealth. Who never harboured foolish fancies. His thirties. and plenty.9. as the years went by unsung. To judging other ways of living. Learnt to endure their colder clime. profitably wed. Why are you so unforgiving? Is it because we’re given. a dandy bred. Blessed is he. Or we confuse deeds with chatter. anyway.
that fall and stray. Driven by its laws and fashions. Unbearable to see before us The formal dinners stretch ahead. Bored with leisure in the end. Hourly we betrayed its truth. 183 . Hourly it cheated us.11. Without an aim on which to fix. Follow the bland crowd that bores us. or wife. and the best. Or else that Demon of my verse. Onegin (once more I rehearse His story) having killed his friend. those dearer than the rest. again: Our brightest hopes. career. A satanic monstrosity. Nothing to occupy his life. Indifferent to its thoughts and passions. without rank. Once scorned by the malicious. A melancholy oddity. Blown by the wind. Found. As affected. dull and dead. in swift decay. Alas it’s sad to think that youth Was granted to us all in vain. Reaching the age of twenty-six. strange and vicious. Find life a ritual. Our dreams. 12. To be condemned impartially. Like autumn leaves. It’s wretched (I trust you’ll agree).
the guests Stir. No affected coquetry…. unending. No pretension in her advance.) He left his village and his land. She seems the image. Where now. Sped back towards the ball. 14. From Griboedov took Chatzky’s cue. Stirred by a solitary emotion. He was pursued by a vexatious Restlessness. the woods. Became a bore. Calm. No pride. The fields. an urge for change (A feeling tortuous and tenacious: Though some of us are born to range. Only serene simplicity. to excess. Where the mute and blood-stained shade Of Lensky haunted every glade. exchanging looks. Till travel. With a large general in tow. for lo. Began an aimless wandering.13. anew. Not cold at all. that silent stand. A lady approaches the hostess. it seemed. as the murmuring swells. No breath at all of haughtiness. her gestures unobtrusive. Of comme il faut… (Shiskov. and no chilly glance. forgive: I can’t translate that. yet not effusive. with its tedious motion. as I live!) 184 .
Of what the fashionable view. followed behind.15. The honour paid it is not great. Yet you’ll agree I hope. that diva. Each one tried to catch her eye. Beside fair Nina Voronskaya. hurrying. She was no beauty. Despite her beauty bright as fire. Nonchalantly. Chest puffed out. In London sets especially. it’s so expressive. Dowagers smiled as she passed by. I love the word. fell quiet. But back now to our theme: Madame. 185 . Its use to date is not excessive. content in mind. flattered by the diet Of pure respect. The general. Yet she’d not a single trace In all her person. As dazzling as a flashing sabre. Though it’s perfect for an epigram…). (Pardon me… 16. Considers vulgar. Young girls. At the table takes her place. Cannot quite eclipse her neighbour. The women all gathered to her. that is true. The Cleopatra of the Neva. full of grace. And yet it’s one I can’t translate. The men all bowed deeply to her. form or face.
where? I’ll introduce you. Upon my life!’ – ‘Yes. However much it takes its toll. Prince. my friend…’ The Prince presents him.’ ‘Come. in the end: A past acquaintance. turns his head.’ – ‘And she’s?’ – ‘A Larin.17. Onegin. To gaze at will. ‘Surely it’s not’ – Yevgeny muses – Not she? It is though…no…and yet… How? From that wilderness…’ He uses. there. And whatever stirs her soul. At one of whom his recollection Is merely vague. now. ‘Where have you been. in her direction. The Spanish ambassador. In agitation. ‘Do tell me.’ The Prince. she’s wearing red. and lost in gloom. I was their neighbour.’ – 18. Is speaking? See. Not a tremor can be seen: Her manner is as self-contained. The Princess gazes at Eugene. amused. his lorgnette. Her nod as quiet and restrained. 186 . ‘You’re married then! I’d no idea! How long?’ – ‘Oh.’ ‘Tanya!’ – ‘You know her?’ – ‘Long ago. two years or so. and a dear. to whom. and relation. but who is she? – ‘That’s my wife. With no apparent consternation.
Truly! She didn’t even shiver. was gone… While Eugene. That young girl…is it a dream... it would seem He’d scorned. of the former Tanya. perhaps: and then Conveyed a hint. The very girl. lingered on. and when. earlier. In that face Eugene was keen To gaze on. Of boredom to her spouse.? That young girl. In this same romance. it is true. once wrote Out all the content of her heart. From his estate. Her eyelids showed not a quiver Nor did her troubled lips compress. Was she the one who but now Revealed that calm. ardently. There was no trace to be seen. moral too.19. for her lack of art. 20. He’d make conversation with her. She asked a question: Where had he come from. a mere suggestion. indifferent brow? 187 . He’d addressed a multitude Of noble phrases. To whom in rural solitude. Can this really be Tatyana. Turn pale. Who freely. frozen. But – could not. he’d kept her note. or blush with distress. Though over-zealous.
in truth. polite reply. Can it be love. with care. He pens a swift. and pensively Drives home again. ‘She’ll be there…! I’ll go.21. sweetly. What ails him? Is it some strange coal Alight in his cold. I’ll go’ – At once. the care of youth? 188 . where that night His dreams disturb him sadly. hidden from the eye? Vexation? Vanity? Or. He leaves the ball. The Prince has sent an invitation For that evening. torpid soul? What stirs there. Restless till the morning light. He wakes to a solicitation.
but charm. As conversation slowly dies. Can scarcely wait for night to fall. barely replies. his stare Meets her calm untroubled air. and an abrupt Change of tone. no one with her. A sprinkling of commonsense. And finds Tatyana. While he is lost in reflection: Haunted by one thought. starts to relate Tales from their past. There they sit. to interrupt This unrewarding tête à tête. In his dejection. 189 . And awkwardness. froth. through the hall. with a shiver. Talk seasoned with the salt of malice. schoolboy jests. The guests Arrive to laughter. To the hostess they raise the chalice Of wit. And with a smile. 23.22. The clock strikes ten. Onegin’s tongue-tied to the last. the minutes pass. Enters the salon. Enter the Prince. once more. Onegin counts the hours. He’s at the door. With too much life or wit. Neither pedantic nor intense. He hardly speaks. But merely pleasant conversation. Flies to the house. free of affectation. And guaranteed not to alarm.
At tea too sweet. and. At the campaign. roses. The dullards we deem necessary. Tend his roses. the snow. In bonnets. Uncomfortable. in a word. Here. The wit of former days displaying. All that we now find absurd. all the rage. At lies with which the press was rife. to write undying verse. At ill-bred men he deprecated.24. Though silent on the bad he hid. out of office. his wife. St Petersburg’s high society. Here an ambassador conveying The gist of some great state affair. and rehearse. And a host of younger girls. 190 . one who’d aim an epigram At every single thing he hated. 25. unsmiling pearls. There an old head of scented hair. The faces seen in every room. Retired. Here was fashion’s finest bloom. At those sisters’ royal decoration. Women of a certain age. Recalling all the good he did. acute. His memoirs to an empty coppice. banal Madame. There a minister. At some vile novel’s reputation. Subtle.
By the serpent who’ll deceive. and what sours. Forbidden fruit before our eyes. Else paradise is no paradise. Sen-Pri! A ballroom tyrant by the door An illustrator’s dream. Here too was Prolasov. 191 . not. because so tightly-laced. motionless. Caricaturing him. O Human Race! Why such a fever For what we see. red-faced. Who’s affectation caused occasion For a swift interchange of looks. aloof Princess. not what is ours? Seduced like our ancestor Eve. sweet girl whose adoration Had betrayed itself in youth. And question-marks in several books. in truth. A cherub.26. Of our proud imperial Neva. Yet my Eugene’s preoccupation Was with Tatyana. Over-starched and rather brazen. so worthless he That your pencils were all blunted. But the cold. Drawn to the tree. The shy. And there a seasoned traveller. so stunted In his soul. and more. Quite dumb. 27. The unapproachable goddess.
But in the late and barren season. despite its pain. achieves its goal! Who in this calm. Longing to journey. its light. To love the ages must submit. She’d dream of him at dead of night. Turning meadowland to marsh. How changed now our Tatyana is! How perfectly she plays her role! How well she carries out the duties Rank demands. The power to rule. At the turning of the years. Gazing on the moon. Passion’s death-march brings tears: Autumn’s gales reveal time’s treason. Its violent storms. with him. 29.28. As the fields by springtime rain: Passion’s tempests will renew. Yet virgin hearts. on life’s way. in every feature. day by day. fierce and harsh. Virginal hope within her breast. Bring fresh beauty to the view – A vital force flows from the root. are blessed by it. Humbly. and ripening fruit. majestic creature. Stripping forests. till Morpheus brought her rest. 192 . Would recognise the tender girl? Yet he’d once set her heart awhirl! Then. Bringing flowers.
may speak a word or two. 31. Betrays no trace of coquetry. make distant mention. So frowned on in society. with heart laid bare. Make way. they cry: the best by far. They say in turn’s the nearest spa. His pleasure merely to assist: On her shoulders. Days and nights an anguished joy. Or with a burning hand touch hers. as if they’d ceased to exist. He’s pining.30. Or bow to him. to bring relief. nothing more. Each day he stands beside her coach. Follows her from door to door. She disregards him utterly. like a lovesick boy. A faithful shadow. Or. adjust the furs. His mind ignores all self-reproach. Onegin begins to languish. retrieve a handkerchief. Appears consumptive in his anguish. Part liveried ranks. Doctors. Whatever he may say or do. With guests. Subject now to passion’s laws. Eugene adores Tanya. At home receives him equably. She seems to neither see nor care. Without doubt. 193 . Or simply pay him no attention.
A missive that declares his passion. it appears To make an end.32. inclined to treat them lightly. word for word. To ease the pain his love incurred. Here is his letter. Yet he stays. in no uncertain fashion. He pens. 194 . though she seems uncaring. Yet. readier. His illness makes him more daring. But he is stubborn and persists. Though she’s unmoved by it. Was driven. He valued such things little. Hopes she’ll warm. than take the waters. rightly. all Eve’s daughters). if he insists. no tears (Such is the sex.
to be with you constantly.ONEGIN’S LETTER TO TATYANA I foresee all: how I’ll annoy You deeply. though tedious. Refused to give rein to affection. and to know Your perfection in all this. and then die….what bliss! 195 . too. long ago. completely From the heart’s true paradise. To listen to you. and bound to none. My liberty. To suffer at your feet and so Grow paler. An exile. I dared not trust the circumstance. your smiling lips. and thereafter Open myself to endless blame. by my sad confession: What bitter scorn in your expression. Faithfully follow in your footsteps. Prompting your malicious laughter? When we met. Though seeing the tenderness in you. And then. Demanded my full attention. and am undone! No. God! How I erred. And gazing in adoration see Your slightest glance. How proud the glance you’ll employ! What can I hope for? With what aim Reveal my soul. by chance. to part us utterly… Lensky’s luckless sacrifice… I tore my heart away. I thought that freedom and rest Were substitutes for happiness.
and to teach The eye to hides its joyfulness…! Yet so be it: here I wait: The fight is done. To long to fall there. yet it’s true. Pour out complaints. pleas. If I were certain at first light. Though precious time goes swiftly. By afternoon. in vain tedium. of seeing you. Make conversation.That. May be construed by your mind As some deceit the eye lays bare. I could endure until the night. simply For you. In whatever way words can entreat – And yet with a pretended coldness To don a mask. All is over: to your will I surrender. 196 . To burn – while reason forcefully Curbs the flames with which I’m cursed. My days are numbered. I fear lest this humble prayer. But if you knew this agony: To suffer passion’s parching thirst. clasp your knees. in form and speech. And. I play out These hours that fate has plotted. In pain and sorrow. and my fate. the sword is still. I’m denied. With all their weary weight allotted. at your feet. And your reproach repay in kind. still drag myself about. confessions. and.
no compassion? No mark of tears? …No trace. Still no reply. her spouse. At some soirée where…not a word. Lest the world. pursued by spleen Through the fashionable scene. And in his silent room recalls. Once more rejects society. no sign! Only what anger may define. That. And no confusion. should guess All that Onegin knew about her… That folly. to immerse More deeply in his lunacy. It had trapped him. 197 . and perhaps a hidden fear. While he devours her with his gaze.33. those eyes ablaze. For Eugene. All hope is lost! He leaves: a curse On his own madness. then he finds her. A time when. falls from her lips. He writes another. He sends a second and a third. like a mourner In the graveyard’s darkest corner. Flares in her face. that past tenderness. 34. There’s no response. Truly his star is in eclipse! Alas! Her look seems to hold The echo of midwinter’s cold! And indignation’s icy passion.
Inconsequential dreams. De Staël.35. He was eclectic. the arc Of rumours. He read. old. utterly: In mysterious legends that told Of deep passions. Browsed through Gibbon and Rousseau. he wandered there. His thoughts were lingering elsewhere. by an inner light. gentlemen. pure. Though once they sang my gifted pen: E sempre bene. Read. most profound. and journals. as before. Herder. as well. Those with other meaning. threats: prophetic. 198 . sundry Russians still. the arch-sceptic. dream. regret for what was gone. Where I’m told I’m nothing new. thus. His mind a whirl. Manzoni. dark. too. He read. ancient. Bichat. Read Bayle. Read Fontenelle. What then? Though his eyes moved on. at random. Some long fairytale’s wild nonsense Or a young girl’s letter. All was as grist to his mill. and Tissot. Between the lines that met his sight. Wish. Ready to praise us or to hound. 36. and Chamfort. Of criticism. He Immersed his soul there. Almanacs. intense.
And now. till his review Or slipper fuelled the flames anew. recalls past enemies. Magnetism or hypnosis. Asleep it seems on melting snow. Gazing at the glowing pyre. A swarm of beauties. My foolish pupil now knew The way to turn a verse or two. by the fire. He almost lost his mind. indeed.. And looked a poet.! 38. In a corner. Malicious cowards. behind the glass. Old companions’ cruelties. Softly humming: Benedetta Or Idol mio.. While reading. the years roll back. and then his heart is chilled. Slumber steals. He sees a youth there. slanderous players.37. Plunged endlessly in reverie. Hears. far below. Now imagination’s dealing Its brightly-coloured faro pack. Words echoing there: Well and Killed. She – always she. Almost embraced pure poetry – Not exactly what we need! But through some process of osmosis. on both mind and feeling. cool betrayers. And a house – where shadows pass. 199 . to the letter.
My incorrigible. Grey trampled slush. 200 . The next room too. Into the lobby’s empty space. And know the answer to my query: To his Tatyana. The days flashed by – and with the sun The winter snows soon disappeared. The spring revived him. Nor went mad. you’ve guessed. before his eyes? The princess. what’s his whim? Where are the horses taking him? 40. And halts: what’s this. Her tears falling constantly. Makes his way. Another door. yet. Along the Neva in his sleigh. he wasn’t one. Pale. she cries. as I suspected. The double windows. Snug as a marmot might desire. Reader. never weary. A poet? No. alone. Along the streets where snow-melt lies. in a simple dress. and in distress. Where on blue ice-floes light-beams play. cosy fire. silently. or died. He hastened To leave his place of hibernation.39. though rejected. off he flies. Reading a letter. as feared. And one bright morning. unoccupied. Her cheek rests on her hand. he flings it wide. with corpselike face.
What passes now through her mind? The lengthy silence ends. Tanya plain: Poor Tanya. do you see in memory That moment – how should we forget? – There in the garden. Who could have seen her silent pain. Her quiet gaze does not falter. and other days Return. remove her Motionless and nerveless hand. an open book She sees him clear. now. Eugene. held in the hands of destiny. her dream. His dumb remorse. That instant. yet her eyes Show neither anger nor surprise. But gaze at him. silent. that innocent. and not recognise. as she surveys… His frail appearance. 42. She shudders. refined And quiet her voice: ‘Have done. Alive again on memory’s stream. Rise.’ 201 .41. In the princess. She does not try to raise the man. where we met. Or from greedy lips. Where. it is my turn to speak. wasted look. this merits explanation. in her new disguise? In wild repentance at her feet Eugene lies. his fall complete. You preached: the strong to the weak? Today.
Is it not so? That girl’s affection. I offered little interest…ah. Was no surprise: so simple. so fiercely…yet. Issued from your heart’s redoubt? What reply? A harsh rejection. Would give you notoriety. And prettier then. noble. Why must you pursue me now? Why now pay me these attentions? Because. his valour. I thank you now. You acted rightly.43. ‘Eugene. That heartless icy look of yours. Lecturing me. no doubt. And I loved you. rich. And played an honourable role. in my cause. Make him a favourite at Court? And therefore my fall from grace Would condemn me in that place. I can’t forget. in that rural wasteland. ‘Then. In the eyes of our society?’ 202 . true? I freeze – my God! – to think of you. with all my soul…’ 44. far From the whispering tongues. And the shame dishonour brought. My husband’s wound. too. what answer. You bear no blame. ah. the conventions Of our world grant me honour. allow. I was so much younger.
Be so enslaved. For the simple churchyard there. Why now? What brings you to my feet? What foolishness. I first saw your face. The homage rank may engender.if you still recall Your poor Tanya. my whole fate. even now. Our old modest dwelling. Your passion.45.’ 203 . letters and your tears. Than the insults of this hour. What are they? I could dispense. For my dreams. In an instant. This house. ‘To me Onegin all this splendour This tinsel of a life I hate. and what complete Ignorance of the pain I feel! Can you. The noise. a garden glade. So far away in time and space. ‘I’m weeping…. where. Eugene. Then know: I’d rather suffer all. so cruel. with this pretence. the glare. that cold brow. That bitter anger. For a few books. Were it within my power. beneath the woodland shade. so blind?’ 46. the masquerade. The place where my poor nurse was laid To rest. my tender years You showed respect then…now you kneel. with such a heart and mind. the soirées.
I leave my hero. these feelings shown. So near! . But…my mother’s tears. in that sorry state.But now my destiny Is carved in stone. As if a lightning bolt had struck. for me. I am another’s now. She left. to his fate: I must abandon him for now. Through this wide world.. her honour with your own. And now. Reader. go: and you’ll defend I know.47. His heart the tempest now stripped bare. Hurray! About time too! (I hear you say?) 204 . And with what storms his body shook! But now a clink of spurs. Have wandered far enough. For we. and here Tatyana’s husband looms near. We bow. her prayer That I should wed…all paths from there Seemed as one to poor Tatyana… I married. I beg you. immutable. yet still Eugene stood there. For long? …Forever. Perhaps I turned away too swiftly. ‘Then happiness seemed possible. Congratulate ourselves. Your pride.. you must leave her. And will be faithful to my vow.’ 48. So. I love you (why should I pretend?) And yet.
49. her Eugene – All their romance seen dimly Glowing. Farwell to my strange hero. provoke a tear. In this casual set of verses: Some wild past your heart rehearses. Something of what these stanzas tell. Its free flow still dark. Prompt a dream. A glimpse of life. I’ve found all that a poet desires. A quiet retreat from the storm. Farewell. And you my constant care. or article. How many days since her form. And farewell you. too. My Tanya’s. Let us part now amicably. appeared to me. 205 . Veiled in mist. yes you My little book. again farewell! 50. Sweet conversation that inspires. whoever you may be. Whatever it was you sought. unclear. in a crystal sphere. or a jest. Reader. Or some mistake grammatical. In you. Friend or foe. And beside her. To raise a smile. Or perhaps a pleasant rest. God grant you found a trifle here. my true ideal. as in a dream. it matters naught. I feel. And so we part.
I do you. To whom the first few lines were read… Alas. Some are no more. whose lines I sketched For my Tatyana. good friends. as Saadi said. Before he’s drained life to the lees. insistent. long forsaken… Ah. now some are distant. before it’s ceased. And slips away. as chance may please. And yet my Onegin’s etched. And she. 206 . And hides it suddenly from view. Closes the tale. who leaves the feast.51. my Onegin. As. But of those. what treasures Fate has taken! Blessed is he.