Arion: Pushkin Songs, disc 1
Nikolay Dorozhkin, Sergey Chechyotko
Alexander Feht © 2008
1. TO CHAADAEV
Of love, of hope, of quiet glory
Not long I nursed the self-deceit,
Vanished are adolescent diversions –
Like a dream, like the morning mist;
But still desire burns within us;
Under the burden of fateful power
With impatient soul
We hark the fatherland's summons,
We bide with yearning expectation
The moment of sacred liberty,
As the young lover bides
The moment of the promised tryst.
The while with liberty we burn,
The while our hearts are quick for honor,
My friend, let's dedicate to fatherland
Our most excellent impulsions!
Believe, my comrade: it will arise,
The star of captivating bliss,
Russia will rouse herself from sleep,
And on the ruins of autocracy
Our names shall be inscribed!
2. FOR THE SHORES OF A DISTANT FOREIGN LAND…
For the shores of a distant foreign land
You left your native realm;
That unforgotten hour, that mournful hour,
I long wept before you.
My numbing hands
Sought to detain you;
The terrible yearning of parting
My groan implored you not to terminate.
But from our bitter kiss
You tore free your lips:
From the gloomy land of exile
You called me to another clime.
You kept on saying: "On the day of tryst
Beneath a sky forever blue,
In olive shade, we shall embrace each other
Again, my friend, my love!"
But there, alas, where vaults of heaven
Shine forth in cerulean splendor,
Where shade of olives rests upon the waters,
You fell asleep to never wake again.
Your beauty, your sufferings
Vanished in a sepulchral urn –
And with them stole away the kiss of our tryst.
Though I still wait for it – you owe it to me…
When for the mortals the noisy day falls silent,
And on the mute squares of the city
Sinks down the half-transparent shade of night,
And sleep, reward of daily toils, –
At that time for me in the silence drag
Hours of tormenting wakefulness:
In that nocturnal idleness more painful burn in me
The pangs of serpent in my heart;
Waking dreams rage; in my aggrieved mind
Crowds an excess of leaden thoughts:
Remembrance wordlessly before me
Unrolls its lingering scroll;
And, reading with revulsion there my life,
I shiver, and I curse,
And bitterly complain, and sob my heart out,
But cannot wipe away those grievous lines.
And there is no escape – and quietly before me
Two youthful specters rise, two angels
Given to me by fate in bygone days…
And both are winged, both with fiery swords,
They guard, they watch, they take revenge upon me,
They talk to me in parlance of the dead
Of mysteries – of bliss beyond the pale…
4. THE FADED JOY OF MY WILD YEARS
The faded joy of my wild years
Oppresses me as a blurry hangover
And, like wine, the sorrow of past days
Grows stronger as it ages.
My way now is dull,
It promises labor and woe
Amidst the waving future sea -
But I don't want, my friends, to die -
I want to live, for I can think and suffer,
And I feel sure there will be joys for me
Among the sorrows, vanities and cares.
Again some time I will be drunk with harmony
And spill my tears over a fiction,
And probably the smile of farewell love
Will spark my final somber days.
5. THREE SPRINGS
In a mundane wasteland of the world, dismal and boundless,
Mysteriously have broken forth three springs:
The spring of youth, spring rapid and tumultuous,
Bubbles, runs on, aglitter and agurgle.
Castalia, the spring of inspiration,
In our worldly wasteland quenches the exiles' thirst.
The final spring – that cool spring of oblivion,
The sweetest of them all, it slakes the soul on fire.
6. IT IS ALL OVER
It is all over, there is no link between us,
For the last time, embracing your knees,
I bitterly complained:
"It is all over" – such is your reply.
I won't deceive myself again,
Or bother you with my petty longings:
Perhaps, I will be able to forget the past –
Love hasn't been created for the my ilk.
Well, you are young, and you are very kind:
I bet you shall have many lovers yet.
7. WHETHER I WANDER…
Whether I wander along tumultuous streets
Or step into a crowded temple,
Or sit among nonsensical youths,
I abandon myself in habitual dreams.
I say: the years shall breeze by,
And all of us, as many as we are now,
Shall sink beneath eternal crypts –
And someone's hour is already near.
As I gaze upon the hermitical oak,
I muse: this patriarch of woods
Shall outlive our forgotten age
As it outlived the age of our fathers,
Each day, each year
I've come to usher out in my mind,
Intent to perceive among them
The approaching date of my death.
Where shall fate put an end to my days?
In battle? In my travels? In the sea?
Or will the neighboring vale
Receive the cold ash of my body?
And though to the unfeeling corpse
It is all one where it decays,
Yet I would still like to lie at rest
In some familiar, nearby place.
And at the entrance of the grave
The youthful life shall play its games,
And nature, always indifferent,
Shall shine with everlasting beauty.
8. KAZBEK MONASTERY
High above the family of peaks,
Kazbek, your royal tent shines with eternal rays -
And your monastery floats beyond the clouds
Like an ark hovering in the sky, glimpsed above the crests.
Oh distant, long-desired haven! There, saying farewell to the gorge,
I would raise myself to free heights!
There, in a celestial cell,
I would hide myself near God.
9. WHICH ONE OF GODS…
Which one of gods returned to me
Him, whose first campaigns
And battle horrors I shared
When desperate Brutus led us
After a phantom of freedom?
Him, with whom I used to forget
The worries of war under a tent,
With a chalice in my hand,
While they anointed with Syrian myrrh
Our ivy-encircled curls?
Don't you remember that dreadful hour of battle,
When I, a trembling Quirite,
Ran away, disgracefully discarding shield,
Making weak vows and praying?
Oh, how I feared, how I ran!
But Hermes, like a sudden cloud,
Concealed me, carried me afar,
And saved me from impending death.
And you, my foremost favorite,
You found yourself in battles again,
And now you returned to Rome,
To my obscure, unpretentious home.
Sit down, be shaded from the sun by household gods.
Bring on our cups! Don't spare
Neither my wines nor fragrances!
Wreathes are ready. Pour, boy!
This time is not for moderation:
I want to drink like savage Scythians,
I celebrate a meeting with my friend,
Glad, glad to drown my consciousness…
Gib meine Jugend mir zurück!
You, Darkness, inscrutable to intuition,
A refuge for sightless desperation,
Nothingness! Vacant apparition,
I do not seek your comfort!
Fallen out of love with mundane delusions,
Having seen no happy days since my birth,
I still don't trust in you,
You are alien to the human thought,
A proud mind is terrified by your perspective!
Thus a wanderer, taking in from heights
The eternal roar of alpine streams,
Plunging his sight into the abyss,
Is tormented by an unconscious fear,
Trembling, hesitating: before his eyes
All objects stir and darken,
He is chilled, his faculties are numbing,
He is feeling for support around him,
Everything rushes, fades, and disappears…
And chilling swoon of a fainting fit
Makes him drop on the edge of precipice…
Of course, my spirit is immortal –
But, having flown into the other universe,
Can it be true that there, beyond that funereal pale,
I'll lose all earthly feelings,
I shall become an alien to this world?
Can it be true that there, where all things coruscate
In imperishable glory and beauty,
Where the pure fire devours
The very imperfection of existence,
Fleeting impressions of this life
Would not survive somehow in my soul,
That I won't feel the slightest of regrets,
That I'll forget the yearning of my love?
Love! What else, beyond the grave,
Could possibly outlive me?
The memory of my beloved, it is immortal,
What is my soul without her?
Why not believe you, poets?
Oh yes, a secretive swarm of shadows
From the shores of the sorrowful Lethe
Flies far and gathers on this earthly shore.
They ruefully revisit places
Where life was dear to them,
And, appearing in dreams,
Console their abandoned friends…
They, imparadised in immortality,
Wait for their brothers in Elysium,
As a family waits, on the day of celebration,
For their late-coming guests…
Thus, if it is permitted to leave
From where shines eternal light,
Where happiness is constant and immutable,
My spirit, fly thereupon to Gourzouf,
To that felicitous land of sparkling waves
Caressing the resplendent shore,
Where that translucent luxury of nature
Irradiates hills and meadows,
Where cliffs are frowning from above…
You are with me again, delight!
Monotonous anxiety of gloomy thoughts
Calmed down within my soul.
My faculties restored, my mind is clear.
Some nameless, strange affection! It imbues me,
With overflowing melancholy:
You, animated fields,
Hills of Taurida, the enchanting realm,
I visit you again,
I drink again your sweet, voluptuous air,
It is as if I hear a near, familiar song
Of a bliss long-lost…