Mikhail Lermontov poems in English

  1. A cossack lullaby
  2. Because
  3. Clouds
  4. Death Of the Poet
  5. Forever you, the unwashed Russia
  6. From Goethe
  7. Gifts of the Terek
  8. Goodbye, the unwashed Russia
  9. Gratitude
  10. He has been born for hopes and for joys
  11. I come out to the path, alone
  12. I want to live
  13. I\'am lonely and sad
  14. Jewish Melody
  15. Loneliness
  16. My Home
  17. My native land
  18. No, I\'m not Byron; I am, yet
  19. No, not on you my passion\'s bent
  20. Not with the proud kind of beauty
  21. Prophet
  22. Song about Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich
  23. The Angel
  24. The Beggar
  25. The Captive Knight
  26. The Cliff
  27. The Confession
  28. The Cross On the Rock
  29. The Dagger
  30. The Demon
  31. The Dream
  32. The First Of January
  33. The Grave Of Ossian
  34. The Mermaid
  35. The Neighbor
  36. The Novice (Mtsyri)
  37. The people of Israel, cry, cry!
  38. The Prayer
  39. The Prophecy
  40. The reed
  41. The Sail
  42. The sea princess
  43. Three palms
  44. To A. O. Smirnoff
  45. To Naryshkin
  46. To the Countess Rostopchin
  47. To the Picture Of Rembrandt
  48. To the Portrait
  49. To Trubetskoy
  50. Waves and People
  51. When comes a gentle breeze
  52. Why

Why

I am so sad because I worship you,
I know: that your flourishing youth
Will not be spared by the gossip's persecution.
For every sunny day or bit of sweet illusion
You'll pay the fate with tears and your pine.
I'm sad... 'cause you're so gay and fine.
Mikhail Lermontov
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Waves and People

Waves roll in columns on their usual route –
Splashing and humming, they run;
People, too, stride in a lousy crowd –
Every one trails everyone.
Waves favor cold of their slavery more
Than heat of midday sunny rays,
People take care of their souls… But lo! –
Their souls are colder than waves!
Mikhail Lermontov
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To A. O. Smirnoff

If you are here, I want to hear,
You’re absent – I’ve a lot to say;
But, mute, you look at me severe,
And I am silent on my way.

What can I do? I haven’t a blessing
To please you with my simple tongue…
All this could sometimes be great fun,
If were not so much distressing…
Mikhail Lermontov
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To the Countess Rostopchin

Under the same star, I am sure,
We both crossed the worldly rims;
We stepped along same road poor,
And were deceived by same false dreams.
Well, from my noble goal early
Deprived by passions, wild and strong,
I had forgot, while fighting vainly,
My youthful years’ sacred songs.
And seeing early separation,
I dread to let my heart be free,
And to the sound of deception,
To give the dream that’s vain for me…

Thus two gay waves together pounce,
That met by chance’ became a pair,
In desert of an ocean, fair;
They’re pushed by wild winds of the South:
But a reef’s hard and merciless breast,
Will separate them in one place…
And, full of cold, that’s used to both,
They’ll bear to the different coasts,
Without love and rues for past
Their sweet and pining hums and moans,
Their loud noise and brightness, loaned
And their ever gentle romance.
Mikhail Lermontov
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To the Picture Of Rembrandt

You understood, oh glum perfection,
Those sadly and unconscious dreams,
The rush of zeal and inspirations –
All that Lord Byron conquered with.
I see the image, that’s half-shown,
But strongly and abruptly marked.
Is that a runaway, well known,
In holy cassock of a monk?
Maybe, his mind, so high and sound,
Was murdered by a hidden crime;
All’s dark behind: with pine and doubt
His gaze burns – chilly and sublime.
Maybe, you’ve copied the nature,
And he is no ideal, yet!
Or in the years of pine and rapture,
You made your own fast portrait?
But looks, the cold ones and pretending,
Could never pierce this secret, great,
And your creation outstanding
Will ever force them to regret.
Mikhail Lermontov
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To Trubetskoy

The world has gone to whole null;
Takes no kind of intimation;
Tell him not straight, “You are a fool.” –
He’ll take it as an acclamation!
They used to hate, in a whole span,
All with a seal of sense, forever!
So, if I want to hurt a man,
I would him call one that is clever!
Mikhail Lermontov
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To the Portrait

Like a boy, she is curly and frisky,
Like a butterfly – wrapped in the brightness;
And words that are empty or misty,
In her lips, are full of a kindness.
She can’t like a person for long:
Hates habits as chains on her body,
A snake, she will slip away, strong,
And fly far away – a free birdie.
And lies on her brow, so bright,
A wish to be free – as commotion.
Her eyes are a heavenly light,
Her soul – a dark of the ocean!
Once, all in her is just a farce,
Once, all is so truthful and clever!
One cannot understand her, alas!
But can’t help but love her forever.
Mikhail Lermontov
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To Naryshkin

All pity you: you’re so tired!
You didn’t want at all to dance –
And spent all night in dancing mire!
Wasn’t it so good to stop at last?
But if men rightly could distinguish
Your mind and goodness of your words, --
I swear by timelessness of gods –
Mazurkas will be quite extinguished.
Mikhail Lermontov
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Prophet

Since that time when the highest court
Had given me the prophet's vision,
In eyes of men I always caught
The images of sin and treason.

Then I began to promulgate
The clear love's and truth's commandment:
At me all humans threw for that
Hard sticks and stones, like the madmen.

I put sackcloth and ashes on,
And ran -- a beggar -- from the town,
And there I live in desert lone,
Like birds, on food that God sends down;

Here earthly creatures serve me right,
The laws of the Lord obeying;
And stars here hear me in night,
With their rays, like babies, playing.

And when to towns' walls, by chance,
I hurry through the noisy places,
The old men say to younger ones,
With selfish smiles on their faces,

"Look, there is an example for us!
He was expelled from life, like ours:
The fool was forcing us to trust
That God is speaking through his mouth!

So, see, my children: how grim,
Thin, pale he is -- with shaggy hair!
Look, how poor he is and bare,
How despise all people him!"
Mikhail Lermontov
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The Prophecy

A year will come, the year of Russia, last,
When the monarchs' crown will be cast;
Mob will forget its former love and faith,
And food of many will be blood and death;
When the cast off law will not guard
A guiltless woman and a feeble child;
When the plague on bodies, sick or dead,
Among the gloomy villages will spread,
To call from huts with pieces of a rag,
And dearth will maim this poor earth as plague;
And on the lakes will fateful glow lay:
A mighty man will come in this black day.
You'll recognize this man and understand,
Why he will have the shining knife in hand:
And woe for you! -- Your moans and appeals
He will consider just as funny things;
And all his image will be awful now,
As his black mantle and his lofty brow.
Mikhail Lermontov
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