Fare thee well! and if for ever,
Still forever, fare thee well.
~ 1 ~
In those old Lyceum days,
In the first bright flower of youth,
Apuleius won my praise,
While Cicero I loathed, in truth;
And in spring, in hidden vales,
Where the swan in beauty sails,
Over waters still and clear,
There the Muse first came near.
Then my student cell was bright
The Muse set my world alight,
Sang youthful joy, and childhood dear,
Sang Russia’s glorious ages past,
And all the dreams the heart holds fast.
~ 2 ~
The world received her with a smile,
Those first successes gave us wings;
Derzhavin, lingering here a while
Blessed our first poor offerings;
Derzhavin, at the grave’s dark sill,
The noble ode’s great master still;
Derzhavin he who tuned his art
To speak the language of the heart;
Who mingled with some pure lament,
On the far heights, where he strayed,
Thoughts of fleas and lemonade;
Yet built an eternal monument,
Felitsa’s virtues set to rhyme –
Though we decried them, at the time.
~ 3 ~
For wilful passion was my measure,
The only law that I employed;
Tasting the crowd’s idle pleasure,
My lively Muse and I enjoyed
The noisy brawl, the banquet’s roar,
Taunting the watch at midnight’s door;
And to the revels and the feast,
She brought her glories, never ceased
To sing for the guests above the wine;
Like a Bacchante, danced along
Wooed by all that ardent throng,
In that sweet golden youth of mine:
My flighty mistress and my pride,
The Muse was ever at my side.
~ 4 ~
And when I fled that company,
Far off…the Muse followed after.
How often, with some secret story
She’d divert me, or her laughter,
On my long and silent journey;
And in Caucasian gorges, join me,
Like pale Lenore, in moonlit ride,
Galloping onwards at my side!
How often to the Tauric shore,
She’d lead me in the dead of night,
To hear the Nereids’ whispers bright,
The thundering breakers’ mighty roar,
The praise the endless tides rehearse,
For the Father of the Universe.
~ 5 ~
And far away from our great city,
Its feasts forgotten and its speeches,
She’d visit every spot with me,
Of Moldavia’s gloomy reaches;
Nomadic tribes in humble tents;
And there grew wild as they: all sense,
The language of the gods, her songs
Abandoned for barbaric tongues,
Strange broken music of the steppes…
Then all was altered, and again,
Through my garden, once urbane
Now a provincial girl, she steps;
Sad-eyed there, sits on a bench,
Clasps in her hand a book, in French.
~ 6 ~
Now, for the first time, I reward
My Muse with a grand soirée;
And jealously the world afford
Sight of her sweet rural display.
Past the ranked aristocrats,
Military dandies, diplomats,
Then proud ladies, see her glide,
And, seated quietly by my side,
Admire the dense and noisy hum,
The gleam of wit and silken dress,
The presentation of the guests
To the young hostess, one by one;
The ladies framed by gentlemen,
All, sombrely, surrounding them.
~ 7 ~
She likes the orderly progression,
The conversation of the powerful,
Pride’s cold politeness, the procession
Of rank and age with which the hour’s full.
But who, in this select assembly,
Is he, who lingers silently,
And seems an utter alien here,
To whom the passing forms appear
As tedious phantoms? Is that spleen,
Or tortured vanity, dark, quiescent,
In his face? Why is he present?
Who is the man? Is this Eugene?
Truly? ...Yes, indeed, our hero!
– ‘It’s long since he was here though!’
~ 8 ~
‘Is he the same, or has he mellowed?
Is he as strange now as before?
Is it the same plan he once followed,
He pursues, or something more,
Or less: what role? Perhaps Melmoth,
Childe Harold, bigot, or Quaker,
Some new work of the mask-maker,
Or a decent fellow – you or me,
Society, in short? What I’d advise
Is: change your ways, if you’re wise.
He’s fooled us far too long, and so…’
– ‘You know him then?’ – ‘Well, yes and no.’
~ 9 ~
– ‘But why berate him so severely,
Why are you so unforgiving?
Is it because we’re given, clearly,
To judging other ways of living;
Or that a fiery headstrong soul
Is found disturbing, on the whole,
By self-satisfied nonentity;
Or intellect prompts mockery;
Or we confuse deeds with chatter,
Rewarding the merely meretricious;
Or that the stupid are malicious;
Or we mistake the things that matter;
That only mediocrity
Suits the likes of you and me?’
~ 10 ~
Blessed is he, who in youth was young,
Who only ripened in good time;
Who, as the years went by unsung,
Learnt to endure their colder clime;
Who never harboured foolish fancies,
Never scorned the world’s advances,
In his twenties, a dandy bred,
His thirties, profitably wed,
At fifty tolerably debt-free,
Obtaining wealth, and rank, and fame,
Discarding friends to win the same;
Achieving peace at last, and plenty;
Of whom the age is bound to say:
X was a fine man, anyway.
~ 11 ~
Alas it’s sad to think that youth
Was granted to us all in vain,
Hourly we betrayed its truth,
Hourly it cheated us, again:
Our brightest hopes, and the best,
Our dreams, those dearer than the rest,
Like autumn leaves, that fall and stray,
Blown by the wind, in swift decay.
Unbearable to see before us
The formal dinners stretch ahead,
Find life a ritual, dull and dead,
Follow the bland crowd that bores us,
Driven by its laws and fashions,
Indifferent to its thoughts and passions.
~ 12 ~
It’s wretched (I trust you’ll agree),
Once scorned by the malicious,
To be condemned impartially,
As affected, strange and vicious,
A melancholy oddity,
A satanic monstrosity,
Or else that Demon of my verse.
Onegin (once more I rehearse
His story) having killed his friend,
Without an aim on which to fix,
Reaching the age of twenty-six,
Bored with leisure in the end,
Found, without rank, career, or wife,
Nothing to occupy his life.
~ 13 ~
He was pursued by a vexatious
Restlessness, an urge for change
(A feeling tortuous and tenacious:
Though some of us are born to range.)
He left his village and his land,
The fields, the woods, that silent stand,
Where the mute and blood-stained shade
Of Lensky haunted every glade;
Began an aimless wandering,
Stirred by a solitary emotion;
Till travel, with its tedious motion,
Became a bore, it seemed, unending.
From Griboedov took Chatzky’s cue,
Sped back towards the ball, anew.
~ 14 ~
Where now, exchanging looks, the guests
Stir, as the murmuring swells; for lo,
A lady approaches the hostess,
With a large general in tow.
Calm, her gestures unobtrusive,
Not cold at all, yet not effusive,
No pride, and no chilly glance,
No pretension in her advance,
No breath at all of haughtiness,
No affected coquetry….
Only serene simplicity.
She seems the image, to excess,
Of comme il faut… (Shiskov, forgive:
I can’t translate that, as I live!)
~ 15 ~
The women all gathered to her;
Dowagers smiled as she passed by;
The men all bowed deeply to her,
Each one tried to catch her eye;
Young girls, hurrying, fell quiet;
The general, flattered by the diet
Of pure respect, followed behind,
Chest puffed out, content in mind.
She was no beauty, that is true,
Yet she’d not a single trace
In all her person, form or face,
Of what the fashionable view,
In London sets especially,
Considers vulgar. (Pardon me…
~ 16 ~
I love the word, it’s so expressive,
And yet it’s one I can’t translate;
Its use to date is not excessive,
The honour paid it is not great;
Though it’s perfect for an epigram…).
But back now to our theme: Madame,
Nonchalantly, full of grace,
At the table takes her place,
Beside fair Nina Voronskaya,
The Cleopatra of the Neva,
Yet you’ll agree I hope, that diva,
Despite her beauty bright as fire,
As dazzling as a flashing sabre,
Cannot quite eclipse her neighbour.
~ 17 ~
‘Surely it’s not’ – Yevgeny muses –
Not she? It is though…no…and yet…
How? From that wilderness…’ He uses,
In agitation, his lorgnette,
To gaze at will, in her direction,
At one of whom his recollection
Is merely vague, and lost in gloom.
‘Do tell me, Prince, now, to whom,
The Spanish ambassador, there,
Is speaking? See, she’s wearing red.’
The Prince, amused, turns his head,
‘Where have you been, Onegin, where?
I’ll introduce you. Upon my life!’ –
‘Yes, but who is she? – ‘That’s my wife.’ –
~ 18 ~
‘You’re married then! I’d no idea!
How long?’ – ‘Oh, two years or so.’ –
‘And she’s?’ – ‘A Larin, and a dear.’
‘Tanya!’ – ‘You know her?’ – ‘Long ago,
I was their neighbour.’ ‘Come, my friend…’
The Prince presents him, in the end:
A past acquaintance, and relation.
With no apparent consternation,
The Princess gazes at Eugene,
And whatever stirs her soul,
However much it takes its toll,
Not a tremor can be seen:
Her manner is as self-contained,
Her nod as quiet and restrained.
~ 19 ~
Truly! She didn’t even shiver,
Turn pale, or blush with distress,
Her eyelids showed not a quiver
Nor did her troubled lips compress.
There was no trace to be seen,
In that face Eugene was keen
To gaze on, of the former Tanya;
He’d make conversation with her,
But – could not. She asked a question:
Where had he come from, and when,
From his estate, perhaps: and then
Conveyed a hint, a mere suggestion,
Of boredom to her spouse, was gone…
While Eugene, frozen, lingered on.
~ 20 ~
Can this really be Tatyana,
To whom in rural solitude,
In this same romance, earlier,
He’d addressed a multitude
Of noble phrases, moral too,
Though over-zealous, it is true;
The very girl, he’d kept her note,
Who freely, ardently, once wrote
Out all the content of her heart;
That young girl…is it a dream...?
That young girl, it would seem
He’d scorned, for her lack of art,
Was she the one who but now
Revealed that calm, indifferent brow?
~ 21 ~
He leaves the ball, and pensively
Drives home again, where that night
His dreams disturb him sadly, sweetly,
Restless till the morning light.
He wakes to a solicitation,
The Prince has sent an invitation
For that evening. ‘She’ll be there…!
I’ll go, I’ll go’ – At once, with care,
He pens a swift, polite reply.
What ails him? Is it some strange coal
Alight in his cold, torpid soul?
What stirs there, hidden from the eye?
Vexation? Vanity? Or, in truth,
Can it be love, the care of youth?
~ 22 ~
Onegin counts the hours, once more;
Can scarcely wait for night to fall.
The clock strikes ten. He’s at the door;
Flies to the house, through the hall,
Enters the salon, with a shiver,
And finds Tatyana, no one with her;
There they sit, the minutes pass,
Onegin’s tongue-tied to the last,
He hardly speaks. In his dejection,
And awkwardness, barely replies,
As conversation slowly dies,
While he is lost in reflection:
Haunted by one thought, his stare
Meets her calm untroubled air.
~ 23 ~
Enter the Prince, to interrupt
This unrewarding tête à tête,
And with a smile, and an abrupt
Change of tone, starts to relate
Tales from their past. The guests
Arrive to laughter, schoolboy jests,
Talk seasoned with the salt of malice;
To the hostess they raise the chalice
Of wit, froth, free of affectation,
A sprinkling of commonsense,
Neither pedantic nor intense,
But merely pleasant conversation,
And guaranteed not to alarm,
With too much life or wit, but charm.
~ 24 ~
Here was fashion’s finest bloom,
St. Petersburg’s high society,
The faces seen in every room,
The dullards we deem necessary;
Women of a certain age,
In bonnets, roses, all the rage,
And a host of younger girls,
Uncomfortable, unsmiling pearls;
Here an ambassador conveying
The gist of some great state affair,
There an old head of scented hair,
The wit of former days displaying,
Subtle, acute, and, in a word,
All that we now find absurd.
~ 25 ~
Here, one who’d aim an epigram
At every single thing he hated,
At tea too sweet, banal Madame,
At ill-bred men he deprecated,
At some vile novel’s reputation,
At those sisters’ royal decoration,
At lies with which the press was rife,
At the campaign, the snow, his wife.
There a minister, out of office,
Retired, to write undying verse,
Tend his roses, and rehearse,
His memoirs to an empty coppice,
Recalling all the good he did,
Though silent on the bad he hid.
~ 26 ~
Here too was Prolasov, so stunted
In his soul, so worthless he
That your pencils were all blunted,
Caricaturing him, Sen-Pri!
A ballroom tyrant by the door
An illustrator’s dream, and more,
A cherub, motionless, red-faced,
Quite dumb, because so tightly-laced;
And there a seasoned traveller,
Over-starched and rather brazen,
Who’s affectation caused occasion
For a swift interchange of looks,
And question-marks in several books.
~ 27 ~
Yet my Eugene’s preoccupation
Was with Tatyana, not, in truth,
The shy, sweet girl whose adoration
Had betrayed itself in youth,
But the cold, aloof Princess,
The unapproachable goddess,
Of our proud imperial Neva.
O Human Race! Why such a fever
For what we see, not what is ours?
Seduced like our ancestor Eve,
By the serpent who’ll deceive,
Drawn to the tree, and what sours,
Forbidden fruit before our eyes,
Else paradise is no paradise.
~ 28 ~
How changed now our Tatyana is!
How perfectly she plays her role!
How well she carries out the duties
Rank demands, achieves its goal!
Who in this calm, majestic creature,
The power to rule, in every feature,
Would recognise the tender girl?
Yet he’d once set her heart awhirl!
Then, till Morpheus brought her rest,
She’d dream of him at dead of night,
Gazing on the moon, its light,
Virginal hope within her breast,
Longing to journey, day by day,
Humbly, with him, on life’s way.
~ 29 ~
To love the ages must submit;
Yet virgin hearts, despite its pain,
Its violent storms, are blessed by it,
As the fields by springtime rain:
Passion’s tempests will renew,
Bring fresh beauty to the view –
A vital force flows from the root,
Bringing flowers, and ripening fruit.
But in the late and barren season,
At the turning of the years,
Passion’s death-march brings tears:
Autumn’s gales reveal time’s treason,
Turning meadowland to marsh,
Stripping forests, fierce and harsh.
Without doubt, Eugene adores
Tanya, like a lovesick boy;
Subject now to passion’s laws;
Days and nights an anguished joy.
His mind ignores all self-reproach,
Each day he stands beside her coach,
Follows her from door to door,
A faithful shadow, nothing more;
His pleasure merely to assist:
On her shoulders, adjust the furs,
Or with a burning hand touch hers,
Or, as if they’d ceased to exist,
Part liveried ranks, to bring relief,
Make way, retrieve a handkerchief.
~ 31 ~
She disregards him utterly,
Whatever he may say or do,
At home receives him equably,
With guests, may speak a word or two,
Or bow to him, make distant mention,
Or simply pay him no attention;
Betrays no trace of coquetry,
So frowned on in society.
Onegin begins to languish,
She seems to neither see nor care,
He’s pining, with heart laid bare,
Appears consumptive in his anguish.
Doctors, they cry: the best by far,
They say in turn’s the nearest spa.
~ 32 ~
Yet he stays; readier, it appears
To make an end, than take the waters;
Though she’s unmoved by it, no tears
(Such is the sex, all Eve’s daughters);
But he is stubborn and persists,
Hopes she’ll warm, if he insists,
His illness makes him more daring,
He pens, though she seems uncaring,
A missive that declares his passion.
He valued such things little, rightly;
Yet, inclined to treat them lightly,
Was driven, in no uncertain fashion,
To ease the pain his love incurred.
Here is his letter, word for word.
~ ONEGIN’S LETTER TO TATYANA ~
I foresee all: how I’ll annoy
You deeply, by my sad confession:
What bitter scorn in your expression,
How proud the glance you’ll employ!
What can I hope for? With what aim
Reveal my soul, and thereafter
Open myself to endless blame,
Prompting your malicious laughter?
When we met, long ago, by chance,
I dared not trust the circumstance,
Refused to give rein to affection;
Though seeing the tenderness in you,
My liberty, though tedious, too,
Demanded my full attention.
And then, to part us utterly…
Lensky’s luckless sacrifice…
I tore my heart away, completely
From the heart’s true paradise;
An exile, and bound to none,
I thought that freedom and rest
Were substitutes for happiness.
God! How I erred, and am undone!
No, to be with you constantly;
Faithfully follow in your footsteps;
And gazing in adoration see
Your slightest glance; your smiling lips;
To listen to you, and to know
Your perfection in all this;
To suffer at your feet and so
Grow paler, and then die….what bliss!
That, I’m denied; and, simply
For you, still drag myself about,
Though precious time goes swiftly,
And, in vain tedium, I play out
These hours that fate has plotted,
With all their weary weight allotted.
My days are numbered, yet it’s true,
If I were certain at first light,
By afternoon, of seeing you,
I could endure until the night.
I fear lest this humble prayer,
May be construed by your mind
As some deceit the eye lays bare,
And your reproach repay in kind.
But if you knew this agony:
To suffer passion’s parching thirst,
To burn – while reason forcefully
Curbs the flames with which I’m cursed.
To long to fall there, clasp your knees,
In pain and sorrow, at your feet,
Pour out complaints, confessions, pleas,
In whatever way words can entreat –
And yet with a pretended coldness
To don a mask, in form and speech,
Make conversation, and to teach
The eye to hides its joyfulness…!
Yet so be it: here I wait:
The fight is done, the sword is still,
All is over: to your will
I surrender, and my fate.
~ 33 ~
There’s no response. He writes another;
He sends a second and a third,
Still no reply, then he finds her,
At some soirée where…not a word,
For Eugene, falls from her lips,
Truly his star is in eclipse!
Alas! Her look seems to hold
The echo of midwinter’s cold!
And indignation’s icy passion,
Flares in her face, those eyes ablaze,
While he devours her with his gaze.
And no confusion, no compassion?
No mark of tears? …No trace, no sign!
Only what anger may define.
~ 34 ~
That; and perhaps a hidden fear,
Lest the world, her spouse, should guess
All that Onegin knew about her…
That folly, that past tenderness.
All hope is lost! He leaves: a curse
On his own madness, to immerse
More deeply in his lunacy,
Once more rejects society,
And in his silent room recalls,
A time when, pursued by spleen
Through the fashionable scene,
It had trapped him, like a mourner
In the graveyard’s darkest corner.
~ 35 ~
He read, at random, as before;
Browsed through Gibbon and Rousseau,
Manzoni, Herder, and Chamfort,
De Staël, Bichat, and Tissot;
Read Bayle, as well, the arch-sceptic;
Read Fontenelle. He was eclectic,
Read, thus, sundry Russians still,
All was as grist to his mill;
Almanacs; and journals, too,
Of criticism, most profound,
Ready to praise us or to hound,
Where I’m told I’m nothing new,
Though once they sang my gifted pen:
E sempre bene, gentlemen.
~ 36 ~
What then? Though his eyes moved on,
His thoughts were lingering elsewhere,
Wish, dream, regret for what was gone,
His mind a whirl, he wandered there.
Between the lines that met his sight,
He read, by an inner light,
Those with other meaning. He
Immersed his soul there, utterly:
In mysterious legends that told
Of deep passions, ancient, dark;
Inconsequential dreams; the arc
Of rumours, threats: prophetic, old;
Some long fairytale’s wild nonsense
Or a young girl’s letter, pure, intense.
~ 37 ~
While reading, on both mind and feeling,
Slumber steals, the years roll back;
Now imagination’s dealing
Its brightly-coloured faro pack.
He sees a youth there, far below,
Asleep it seems on melting snow,
Hears, and then his heart is chilled,
Words echoing there: Well and Killed.
And now, recalls past enemies,
Malicious cowards, slanderous players,
A swarm of beauties, cool betrayers;
Old companions’ cruelties;
And a house – where shadows pass,
She – always she, behind the glass...!
~ 38 ~
Plunged endlessly in reverie,
He almost lost his mind, indeed,
Almost embraced pure poetry –
Not exactly what we need!
But through some process of osmosis,
Magnetism or hypnosis,
My foolish pupil now knew
The way to turn a verse or two;
And looked a poet, to the letter,
In a corner, by the fire,
Gazing at the glowing pyre,
Softly humming: Benedetta
Or Idol mio, till his review
Or slipper fuelled the flames anew.
~ 39 ~
The days flashed by – and with the sun
The winter snows soon disappeared.
A poet? No, he wasn’t one,
Nor went mad, or died, as feared.
The spring revived him. He hastened
To leave his place of hibernation,
The double windows, cosy fire,
Snug as a marmot might desire;
And one bright morning, off he flies,
Along the Neva in his sleigh,
Where on blue ice-floes light-beams play,
Along the streets where snow-melt lies,
Grey trampled slush; yet, what’s his whim?
Where are the horses taking him?
~ 40 ~
Reader, you’ve guessed, as I suspected,
And know the answer to my query:
To his Tatyana, though rejected,
My incorrigible, never weary,
Makes his way, with corpselike face,
Into the lobby’s empty space,
The next room too; unoccupied,
Another door, he flings it wide,
And halts: what’s this, before his eyes?
The princess, in a simple dress,
Pale, alone, and in distress;
Her cheek rests on her hand, she cries,
Reading a letter, silently,
Her tears falling constantly.
~ 41 ~
Who could have seen her silent pain,
That instant, and not recognise,
In the princess, Tanya plain:
Poor Tanya, in her new disguise?
In wild repentance at her feet
Eugene lies, his fall complete;
She shudders, silent, yet her eyes
Show neither anger nor surprise,
But gaze at him, as she surveys…
His frail appearance, wasted look,
His dumb remorse; an open book
She sees him clear; and other days
Return; that innocent, her dream,
Alive again on memory’s stream.
~ 42 ~
She does not try to raise the man,
Or from greedy lips, remove her
Motionless and nerveless hand,
Her quiet gaze does not falter.
What passes now through her mind?
The lengthy silence ends, refined
And quiet her voice: ‘Have done,
Rise, now, this merits explanation.
Eugene, do you see in memory
That moment – how should we forget? –
There in the garden, where we met,
Where, held in the hands of destiny,
You preached: the strong to the weak?
Today, it is my turn to speak.’
~ 43 ~
‘Eugene, I was so much younger,
And prettier then, too, no doubt,
And I loved you; ah, what answer,
Issued from your heart’s redoubt?
What reply? A harsh rejection.
Is it not so? That girl’s affection,
Was no surprise: so simple, true?
I freeze – my God! – to think of you,
That heartless icy look of yours,
Lecturing me, so fiercely…yet,
You bear no blame. I can’t forget,
You acted rightly, in my cause,
And played an honourable role,
I thank you now, with all my soul…’
~ 44 ~
‘Then, in that rural wasteland, far
From the whispering tongues, allow,
I offered little interest…ah,
Why must you pursue me now?
Why now pay me these attentions?
Because, rich, noble, the conventions
Of our world grant me honour;
My husband’s wound, his valour,
Make him a favourite at Court?
And therefore my fall from grace
Would condemn me in that place,
And the shame dishonour brought,
Would give you notoriety,
In the eyes of our society?’
~ 45 ~
‘I’m weeping….if you still recall
Your poor Tanya, even now,
Then know: I’d rather suffer all;
That bitter anger, that cold brow;
Were it within my power,
Than the insults of this hour,
Your passion, letters and your tears.
For my dreams, my tender years
You showed respect then…now you kneel.
Why now? What brings you to my feet?
What foolishness, and what complete
Ignorance of the pain I feel!
Can you, with such a heart and mind,
Be so enslaved, so cruel, so blind?’
~ 46 ~
‘To me Onegin all this splendour
This tinsel of a life I hate,
The homage rank may engender,
This house, the soirées, my whole fate,
What are they? I could dispense,
In an instant, with this pretence,
The noise, the glare, the masquerade,
For a few books, a garden glade,
Our old modest dwelling, where,
So far away in time and space,
Eugene, I first saw your face;
For the simple churchyard there,
The place where my poor nurse was laid
To rest, beneath the woodland shade.’
~ 47 ~
‘Then happiness seemed possible,
So near! ...But now my destiny
Is carved in stone, immutable.
Perhaps I turned away too swiftly,
But…my mother’s tears, her prayer
That I should wed…all paths from there
Seemed as one to poor Tatyana…
I married. And now, you must leave her,
I beg you, go: and you’ll defend
I know, her honour with your own;
Your pride; these feelings shown.
I love you (why should I pretend?)
And yet, I am another’s now,
And will be faithful to my vow.’
~ 48 ~
She left, yet still Eugene stood there,
As if a lightning bolt had struck.
His heart the tempest now stripped bare,
And with what storms his body shook!
But now a clink of spurs, and here
Tatyana’s husband looms near,
So, Reader, in that sorry state,
I leave my hero, to his fate:
I must abandon him for now.
For long? …Forever. For we,
Have wandered far enough, for me,
Through this wide world. We bow,
Congratulate ourselves. Hurray!
About time too! (I hear you say?)
~ 49 ~
Reader, whoever you may be,
Friend or foe, it matters naught,
Let us part now amicably,
Farewell. Whatever it was you sought,
In this casual set of verses:
Some wild past your heart rehearses,
Or perhaps a pleasant rest,
A glimpse of life, or a jest,
Or some mistake grammatical,
God grant you found a trifle here,
To raise a smile, provoke a tear,
Prompt a dream, or article;
Something of what these stanzas tell.
And so we part, again farewell!
~ 50 ~
Farewell to my strange hero, too,
And farewell you, my true ideal,
And you my constant care, yes you
My little book. In you, I feel,
I’ve found all that a poet desires,
Sweet conversation that inspires,
A quiet retreat from the storm.
How many days since her form,
My Tanya’s, appeared to me,
Veiled in mist, as in a dream,
And beside her, her Eugene –
All their romance seen dimly
Glowing, in a crystal sphere,
Its free flow still dark, unclear.
~ 51 ~
But of those, good friends, insistent,
To whom the first few lines were read…
Alas, now some are distant,
Some are no more, as Saadi said.
And yet my Onegin’s etched.
And she, whose lines I sketched
For my Tatyana, long forsaken…
Ah, what treasures Fate has taken!
Blessed is he, who leaves the feast,
And slips away, as chance may please,
Before he’s drained life to the lees,
Closes the tale, before it’s ceased,
And hides it suddenly from view,
As, my Onegin, I do you.