Thursday, February 27, 2014

Russian poetry: To A Poet by Alexander Pushkin

(from Russian Poets, reviewed earlier)

by Alexander Pushkin (trans. A. Myers)

No poet should set store by public acclamation.
Ecstatic praise will pass, an instant in the ear;
The empty crowd will laugh, the fool will have his oration,
But you must stay quite calm, unbending, and austere.

A king, then, live alone. You choose your destination,
Go where you questioning mind shall now elect to steer
To bring perfection to the thoughts you hold most dear,
Requiring no rewards, achieving consummation -

They lie within yourself. As judge you are the best;
In valuing your works, severer than the rest,
Do they bring you delight, O artist most exacting?

They please you? Well. then, let the crowd protest
And spit upon the shrine where burns your fire
And rock your tripod in their childish, rough play-

Diana Senechal has provided a nice literal translation to the poem here.
For more information on Alexander Pushkin:

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