Gratitude

For all, for all! I thank you, o my dear:
For passions' deeply hidden pledge,
For poison of a kiss, and stinging of a tear,
Abuse by friends, and enemies' revenge;
For soul's light, extinguished in a prison,
For things by which I was deceived before.
But do not give me any real reason
To give you thanks from now any more.
Mikhail Lermontov
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From Goethe

Tops of dreaming highlands
Darken in a night;
Valleys lull, in silence,
A fresh dim inside;

Dust sleeps on a road,
Leafage does not shake.
Wait a little more,
You'll too have a break.
Mikhail Lermontov
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Goodbye, the unwashed Russia

Goodbye, the unwashed Russia!
The land of slaves the land of lords:
And you, the blue-uniformed ushers,
And people who worship them as gods.

I hope, from your tyrannic hounds
To save me with Caucasian wall:
From their eye, that sees through ground,
From their ears, that hear all
Mikhail Lermontov
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The First Of January

When I often stay a motley crowd in,
When before my eyes, as in an awful dream,
To humming orchestras and dances,
And foolish whispering of speeches learnt by eart,
Flit figures of the people lost of heart,
And masques with a false politeness;
When my hands are touched, by any chance,
With heedless boldness of the city's lass,
By hands without virgin fear, --
Externally involved in their gleam and whim,
I cherish in my heart an old and dear dream,
The sacred sounds of the bygone years.
And if in some way I can lose, at last,
The dark reality, then to the resent past
I fly in mind - as birds fly to the South;
I see myself a child, I see once more them all:
The gentry's manor, so old and tall,
The garden with the broken hothouse.
Here sleeps a quiet pool under a net of grass,
Behind the pool, a village smokes, and they rise -
The mists - above the lawns so endless.
I enter a dark lane; the evening beams
Peer through the bushes; and the yellow leaves
Rustle at my footsteps sadness.
And sadness, very strange, lies my poor breast above:
I think about her, I weep and I do love,
I love my sacred dreams' creation
With eyes that full of ever-azure light,
With a rosy smile, as if, a grove behind,
The light of the young day's invasion.
Thus, proud liege of the bewitching land,
For the long hours, immovable, I sat -
And their memory exists till now
Beneath the mighty storm of passions and mistrusts,
Like some fresh island, safe midst ocean's floods,
In water desert has been flowered.
When, coming to my senses, I notice the fraud,
When the crowd's noise has completely destroyed
My dream - the wrong guest at their banquet -
Oh, how, then, I want to shock their foolish mirth
And boldly cast in their eyes my iron verse,
Steeped in bitterness and hatred!
Mikhail Lermontov
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The Cross On the Rock

I’m to believe, but with some fear,
For I haven’t tried it all before,
That every monk could be sincere
And live as he by altar swore;
That smiles and kisses of all people
Could be perfidious only once;
That, sometimes, they forgive the little
Mistakes, the others make by chance;
That time heals sufferers around,
The world is one of joy and gleam;
That virtue is not just a sound,
And life is more than a dream.

But rough and hardened life’s experience,
Repulse my warm faith every time,
My mind, sunk, as before, in grievance,
Has not achieved its goal, prime,
And heart, full of the sharp frustrations,
Holds in its deep the clear trace
Of dead – but blest imaginations,
And vanished senses’ easy shades;
There will be none for it to fear,
And what’s a poison for all them,
Makes it alive and feeds it here
With its ironic, mocking flame.
Mikhail Lermontov
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The Novice (Mtsyri)

Where merge Aragva and her twin,
Kura, and fast rush onward, in
Times past, a lonely cloister stood;
By fields, a dense and o'ergrown wood
Encircled 'twas.... A wayfarer,
Toiling uphill, will see what were
A gate and gateposts once and, too,
A church.... To-day, no incense to
Its round dome coils, nor do a prayer
The humble monks chant, hoarse-voiced, there.
Alone, forgot by death and men,
A bent old greybeard, denizen
Of these remote and desolate hills,
Over the ruins watches still
And daily wipes the dust that clings
To tombs, of which the letterings
Of glories past speak and of things
Of like note. Of a tsar one such
Tells who by his gold crown was much
Weighed down, and did of Russia gain
The patronage o'er his domain.
Twas then God's love descended on
The land, and Georgia bloomed, and gone
Her old fears were and old suspense:
Of friendly bayonets a fence
Did, bristling, rise in her defence.

...
Mikhail Lermontov
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Song about Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich

Hail to thee, all hail, Tsar Ivan Vassilyevich!
Tis of thee our lay we did make, O Tsar!
Aye, of thee, and thy well-liked oprichnik,
And the stouthearted merchant Kalashnikov.
In the ancient manner we made the lay,
To the strains of the psaltery sing it we did,
We intoned it loud and we chanted it,
And all good Christian folk took delight in it.
As for boyar Matvei Romodanovsky,
He to each gave a goblet of foaming mead,
And his lady fair did to us present,
On a silver tray laid out prettily,
A right handsome towel sewn with silken thread.
For three days and three nights in the feast we joined
Sing we did 'thout end, but they clamoured for more

...
Mikhail Lermontov
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When comes a gentle breeze

When comes a gentle breeze and sways the yellowing
meadow,
And, startled by its sigh, the green woods stir and hum;
When, in a garden nook, a young leaf's dulcet shadow
From summer's greedy ray conceals a blushing plum;

When, sprayed by perfumed dewdrops, of a chilly,
Rose-tinted, dreamy night or after dawn, at me
From 'neath an emerald bush the tender lily
Its tiny, silver head nods cheerily;

When plays an icy spring and o'er the gully dances,
And I can feel my thought to hazy dreams succumb
Born of its soft-voiced babbling, when romances
It spins of peaceful lands whence it has come -

Then does my lined brow clear; the lingering sadness
That fills my troubled heart leaves it at long last free;
Above me, in the skies, God do I see;
On earth, know rich, rewarding gladness.
Mikhail Lermontov
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Three palms

Three palms proudly grew in Arabia fair....
Beneath them, on soil that was arid and bare,
A spring bubbled up and went gurgling and playing,
No fear of the winds or the sandstorms betraying.
The leaves of the palms gave it coolness and shade,
And safe from the blaze in their shelter it stayed.

Years passed, but no wanderer, roaming these lands,
Discovered the spring in the midst of the sands,
None knelt here, none refuge and sustenance sought
here,
None thirstily drank of the life-giving water....
Years passed, and, exposed to the merciless sky,
The lush bower of leaves started slowly to dry.

"How harsh is our fate!" said the palms with a sigh.
"Alas! To be born but to wilt here and die.
In vain did we flower - for what good did it bring us?
In vain did we let sun and wind burn and sting us.
Our life has been futile, no man have we served....
Unjust is thy wrath, Lord, and little deserved!"


They spoke, and at once, in the distance-behold! -
There rose clouds of dust of the colour of gold.
A jangling of bells rent the air, and a ringing,
And rug-covered packs, bright and many-hued bringing,
Like so many ships, with the seas safely spanned,
Of camels a train toward them ploughed through the
sand.

And fast to the humps of the animals strung,
The sun-faded tents of the nomad folk hung,
A flashing dark eye peeping out through the flowing
And billowing folds, or a slender hand showing.
And, bent o'er the pommel, the desert's own son,
A slim-waisted Arab, his horse goaded on.

The horse neighed and reared, and then, neighing anew,
Pranced round, like an ounce by an arrow pierced
through,
The horseman's white robes as he sat on the leaping
And whinnying steed, o'er its sable flanks sweeping,
And flying behind him, when, spinning about,
He flung up his lance with a whistle and a shout.

The nomads drew near; 'neath the palms camp was
made,
And laughter and talk rent the calm. In the shade,
Jugs, parched by the sunshine, with water stood
filling
That welled out the spring, gently humming and
trilling.
The palms bowed and nodded and waved to their
guests,
And gravely they offered them welcome and rest.

But dusk brought of axes the sharp, cruel sound,
And down came the lords of the sands to the ground.
Ripped off were their cloaks, torn to pieces and
scattered,
Chopped up were their mighty old bodies and shattered,
And later, when night, cool and shadowy came,
Fed slowly to avid and hungering flame.

At dawn, as the mist westward sped and away,
The caravan, rising, set off on its way,
And there, on the ground, left abandoned behind it,
Of ash lay a heap.... For the sun rays to find it
Took minutes: they burnt it, and burnt it again,
And wind strewed the thin, greyish dust o'er the plain.

Today, all is wild here and empty and bleak....
Leaves, once never still, to the spring no more speak,
And vainly to God in its helplessness turning,
For shade does it beg - o'er it, white-hot and burning,
Whip sands, while nearby, in the bright glare of day
A brown tufted kite silent claws at its prey.
Mikhail Lermontov
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The sea princess

Bathing his horse was a prince one fine day....
Round them the sea plashed. "Prince, look at me,
pray!"

Whispered a voice, and the horse, in a fright,
Plunged, kicked and snorted, and tried to take flight.

"Come, prince," the voice said, "a king's child am I.
Come, my beloved, in my arms you shall lie!"

Out of the sea shows a hand white as milk,
Clutches it does at the bridle of silk.

Then does a maid's head emerge; in the hair
Seaweed is twined; drops of water like rare

Pearls on the neck gleam; the eyes, deep and blue,
Flame with a feverish passion and true.

"Wait!" the prince mutters. "Thou fair damsel, wait!"
Boldly his deft fingers grasp at her plait.

Holds he the maid, while despairingly she
Struggles and weeps and attempts to break free.

Deaf to her pleas and still gripping her tight,
Quickly for shore with the maid makes the knight.

"Ho, friends, come nigh!" to his comrades calls he.
"Look at the prize I have torn from the sea!

"Why do you stand there so still on the shore?
Have you not gazed on such beauty before?"

Back for a glance turns the prince - from his eye
Triumph fast fades and a horrified cry

Bursts from his lips - at his feet lies no pale
Maid but a monster whose green, scaly tail

Coils like a serpent's, and, coming unwound,
Trembles and shivers and twists on the ground.

Sea foam streams down o'er the white, anguished face;
Death's ashen pall shrouds the blue of the gaze;

Limp fingers clutch at the sand, and the weak
Lips muffled words of reproach softly speak....

Off rides the knight, dark of soul, dark of brown
He would forget her, but does not know how.
Mikhail Lermontov
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