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Whispers and the timid breathing,
Nightingale's long trill,
Silver moonlight and the rocking
Of the dreaming rill;
Nightly light and nightly shadow,
Shadow's endless lace -
Neath the moon's enchanted changes
The Beloved's face.
Blinking stars as flash of amber,
Snowy clouds on-rush,
Tears and happiness and kisses -
And the dawn's red blush!


_Fête Chenchine, so-called, has no rival in impressionistic effects. The
above without a verb is a good instance of his peculiar caprice_.


The stars of beauty, the stars of purity,
Have whispered their wonderful tales to the flowers!
The satiny petals have smiled as they heard,
And trembled the emerald leaves 'mid their bowers.
But infatuate flowers deep drunken of dew
Repeated these tales to the light swaying breeze -
Rebellious winds listening swift caught them up
And sang them o'er earth, o'er the mountains and seas!
Now, as the earth under Springtime's caresses:
With her verdant tissue is covered once more,
All my madly passionate soul overflows
With dreams of the stars and their radiant lore!
And throughout these days of my sorrow and toil,
Through these nights of my loneliness, darkness and rain -
Stars wondrous and radiant, I give back to you,
Your ethereal fancies again!



One dearest pair of eyes I love!
Entranced my heart beneath their spell -
Clearer than clearest ray they are,
But where they are - I will not tell!

Through silk of wondrous lashes soft,
Their burning beams are flashing bright,
Upon my knees, a slave I kneel -
Before those miracles of light.

The storm is growing in my soul,
Tempest of pain and happiness -
I love one dearest pair of eyes,
But whose they are - I'll not confess!



Pile of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly -
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll say good-by!

At the parting, shawl of crimson
Cross my shoulders thou shalt lace,
At an end the days swift passing,
Met within this shaded place.

In the morning, with first splendour,
All my life compelled to rove -
I shall leave with other gipsies
Seeking happiness and love.

How does fate foretell my future?
Who, to-morrow by my side,
O'er my heart will loose with kisses
Knots by thy dear hand fast tied?

Flash of embers in the darkness,
Sparks expire as they fly -
Night conceals us from the passing,
On the bridge we'll kiss good-by!



No word, - not e'en a sigh, my darling!
Together now the silence keeping;
In truth as o'er some grave stone leaning
The silent willows low are weeping,
And drooping o'er it so are reading -
I read in thy tired heart at last,
That days of happiness existed,
And that this happiness is past.



So sultry is the hour I throw the casement wide,
Fall on my knees beside it in the gloom,
And cowering before me lies the balmy night,
Wafted aloft the breath of lilac bloom.
The nightingale her plaint from a near thicket sobs,
I listen to the singer, share the woe -
With a longing for my home within me waking,
The home I looked on last so long ago!
And the nightingales of home with their familiar song!
And lilacs in my childhood gardens fair!
How the languors of the night possess my being,
Restoring my lost youth on perfumed air!



With the greatness of God all my heart is on fire!
Such a beauty to earth does He lend -
He created eternity for our desire,
To our torment has given an end.



Ne'er have I sung in idle hours of dreaming,
With verse harmonious and sweet-voiced rhyme,
I have sung only when in tempest raging
My soul was shaken by a power sublime!
For each thought I have suffered and been troubled,
No dream creation painless from me torn,
The blessed lot of Poet not seldom seeming
A cross intolerable to be borne!
Oft have I sworn to evermore keep silence,
To mingle and be lost among the crowd,
But when the winds once more their strings are sweeping -
Aeolian harps must ever cry aloud;
And in the Spring the flooding streams on-rushing
Must downward plunge into the vale below,
When from the rocky peaks' high towering summits
The sun's warm rays have melted off the snow.



Take from thy brow the laurel - cast it forth!
May it in dust lie 'neath thy feet;
The blood-flecked thorn crown hurl away -
As witness of thy pain alone 'tis meet!



Hark! The storm petrel shrieks!
Reef the sail canvas fast!
See, the Spirit of Storm with wildest commotion
Has to heaven's arched vaulting his coronal pressed,
While his heels dam the flood gates of ocean!
Furious storm-cloud his undulent drapery,
Girded round with the lightning wide flashing;
O'er the sea's leaden billows from his threatening hand
The thunderbolts are sent crashing!



To you, - you beggars in the forests proud, -
To pastures free, my hasting foot returns!
The May is come! It smiles and laughs aloud -
For Love's desire, freedom's bliss, it yearns.
Erased the marks of city slavery,
Here where the sun gleams gold through azure hours -
Here wrests the spirit from all bondage free,
The fields grown green and the syringa flowers!

Storms only, brought my youthful morning red,
And night of soul and wilderness of pains -
All in my breast is hushed and numb and dead,
The pulsing fever stopped within my veins;
Yet here, where Nature winds a wreath for me,
The arms stretch forth, - the weary glance devours -
And the arrested soul exults and sings,
The fields grow green and the syringa flowers!



Slumber soft, - oh thou my heart's beloved!
Death alone can bring eternal rest,
And in death alone 'neath tearless lashes
Shall thine eyes forever close be pressed;
In thy grave, no more with fevered doubting
Shall thy golden head tormented be,
In thy grave alone, thou'lt never long for
All that life so cruel robbed from thee.

Through the grass, white yet thy coffin shining -
O'er thy grave the cross is looming white,
As in silent prayer unto the heavens
Mournful gleaming through the cold blue night.
Now with tears my eyes are overflowing,
Hotter tears I ne'er before have wept -
All the bitter sorrows I have suffered
In one sobbing cry together swept.

Spring across the fields will be returning
With her silver nightingales, ere long -
Through the dusky nights of silence piercing
E'en thy grave with her inspiring song,
And the lindens whispering, will murmur -
Breathless die away, and sighing cease,
But thou - slumber soft my heart's beloved,
Death alone can bring eternal peace!



Forsaken am I now anew,
Night's sombre wings o'er me descending,
As tearless, meditating, dumb -
Above thy grave's low mound I'm bending.
Naught offers recompense for thee,
No hopes console or fears betray -
For whom now live I in this world?
For whom on earth now shall I pray?



In my dreams I saw heavens bespangled,
With silvery stars all adorned,
And pale green sorrowing willows
Drooping low o'er the pale blue pond.
I saw in syringa embowered
A cottage, and thou my heart's Dove -
And bowed was thy little curly head,
My beautiful sad pale Love!

Thou wert weeping, the teardrops shining
Were flowing from thy yearning gaze,
For love the roses wept also,
For joy sobbed the nightingale.
And every tear found consoling -
A greeting from near and from far,
The garden was lit by a glow worm,
Enraptured the heavens a star!



Thou hospitable old grey house, - A greeting unto thee!
With thy red ochre roofs, - vine trellised o'er;
The gardens fair laid forth in blooming luxury,
The fields in glinting beads of dew stretched endlessly,
Beneath the sun's fresh kiss a gilded floor!

A silvery ribbon through the flowering green -
The icy billows of the river foam,
Above her clay-white strand are verdant arbours seen,
Spun o'er with leafage, through the waking land between,
And where the azure river's currents roam.

Prattling, the river lisps of love and of repose -
And in the distance shimmers, faintly dies;
A flower, secret listening as its message flows,
A roguish kiss of gratitude in fragrance blows,
While beckoning stars smile from the silent skies.

I greet thee, home and mother! Joys now charm anew
That I believed but once to me were given;
Thee I forsook, - and now my last expiring view
Turns back from fruitless conflict to thy vision true,
Love, no more mine, nor hope nor peace of heaven!

Mother and home, I greet thee! O caress thy child
Whom weariness, regret, despair assail -
With sighing of thy groves in the soft wind beguiled,
With sunbeams of thy Springtime smiling fair and mild,
And with the liquid song of nightingales!

Let me once only weep in the assurance blest
That I am not girt round with human scorn,
Let me but sleep once more upon thy gentle breast,
Forgetting in my childish, deeply-dreaming rest
The loss and failure of my life forlorn!



Call him not dead, - he lives!
Ah you forget
Though the pyre lies in ruin the fires upward sweep,
The string of the harp is broken but her chords still weep,
The rose is cut but it is blooming yet!



ALEXANDER SERGJEWITSCH PUSHKIN was born at Moscow, May 26, 1799. His
first poetical influence came from his nurse who taught him Russian
tales, legends and proverbs, and to whom, with loving recognition, he
was grateful to the end of his life. His grandmother and this nurse
taught him to read and write. In his seventh year he began the study of
foreign languages; German, French, - which was as his mother tongue to
him, - and mathematics, which he hated. At nine the passion of reading
possessed him and he devoured his father's library, which included the
French erotics, Voltaire, Rousseau, and the Encyclopedists. His own
first poetical work was indeed written in French. In 1811 he was sent to
the school then just opened, at Tzarskoe Selo near Petersburg. Here,
however, he learned little, the students being more interested in
drinking bouts and platonic relations with barmaids and actresses; in
spite of which the art of poetry was worshiped and Pushkin with others
among his friends published a journal in manuscript that circulated
their own contributions. He was later graduated from the Alexandrovsky
Lyceum, the highest and most splendid civil school of that time, and
entered the department of Foreign Affairs. Although he retained his
entire sympathy with the poetic brotherhood, he now frequented the
salons of the titled aristocracy and gave himself up to the vortex of
luxurious society. Because of his political satires and too free
opposition to the government, he was sent away from Petersburg in 1820,
and attached to the Governor of the South Russian Colonies. Here he fell
ill and went to the Caucas for recovery. It was in the Crimea that he
learned to know and wonder over Byron. He remained three years in
Kischinew, - in the service chiefly of wine, women and cards. In 1823 he
went to Odessa as attaché of the General Governor Count Woronzow, whom
he pursued with biting epigram, - until in 1824 the poet of "Russlan and
Ludimilla" was removed from the service and banished to his mother's
estates by order of the Tsar Alexander I.

These two years of unwilling retirement worked mightily upon the soul of
Pushkin so filled with storm and stress. He struck off the chains of
Byron and steeped himself in Shakespeare; writing at this period his
drama of Boris Godunow. Nicholas First amnestied the poet and recalled
him to Moscow, instituting himself censor of all future work; likewise
placing Pushkin under the all-powerful Chief of Police Count
Benkendorff, from whom Lermontoff later had also so much to suffer. In
1829 Pushkin went to the Caucas and with the Russian army to Erzum. In
1830 he inherited from his father the management of But Boldino, where
he finished "Onegin," and three other dramas. In 1831 he was married at
Moscow to Natalie Nikolajewa Gontsharowa, whose beauty had for three
years held him in her toils. In the same year he was appointed to the
foreign office again. In 1833 the poem was published that won him his
fatal commission. Pushkin fell, as did Lermontoff later, a victim of the
envy and hatred of high society. At this time many responsible positions
were held in Russia by Frenchmen who had fled the terrors of the
revolution. Such a French émigré was D'Anthes, who pursued the wife of
Pushkin with his compromising attentions, until at a ball the poet was
almost forced to challenge him. The pistol duel, that Count Benkendorff
with cunning foresight did nothing to prevent, took place June 27, 1837.
In two days the poet was free from his tormentors forever. He was buried
in the Swatjatorgorische cloister and statues have been erected to his
honor at Petersburg, Moscow and many other cities throughout Russia. His
service to Russian literature can only be compared with that of Dante
for Italy, - since there was practically no Russian poetry before Pushkin
and he may be said to have created the Russian language as it is spoken

MICHAIL JURJEWITSCH LERMONTOFF was born October 14, 1814, at Moscow.
From his father he inherited the love of brilliant society, from his
mother the love of music and an unusually sensitive temperament. When he
was but two and a half years old his mother died and he became the idol
of his grandmother, by whom he was spoiled, until the wilfulness of
youth became the arrogance and domineering quality so distinguishing his
maturity. Being a delicate child, his grandmother took him at the age of
ten to the Caucas, - which he deeply loved ever after. In 1827 he was
placed in the Adelige Pension at Moscow, having been previously much
influenced by a German nurse who inspired him with a love of German
legend and poetry, and also by his tutor, an officer in the Napoleonic
guard, who had taught him French. Up to 1831 he was under the German
unfluence [Transcriber's note: sic] in literature, but then he came
under the influence of Byron, and from this time he was never free of
the impression of the poet so congenial to his own spirit and nature. In
1830 he was matriculated by the Moscow University as a student of moral
and political science. In 1832 he went to what is now the Nicolai
Military school in Petersburg, where he wrote his censurable and erotic
poems that were passed about by thousands and won an immense popularity
with the jeunesse doré of the time, but which were regarded as
discreditable by the more serious and thoughtful society. In November,
1832, he was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Life Guard Hussar
regiment, and the young poet now plunged into the vortex of society life
as Pushkin had before him. In 1836 appeared his "Song of the Tsar Ivan
Wassiljewitsch," - a truly classical achievement in the record of
literature. In 1837 came the poem on the death of Pushkin, that stirred
the aristocratic world and caused his banishment to the Caucas by the
Emperor Nicholas I. In April of the year 1840 he was again banished to
the Caucas for his duel with the son of the historian de Barante, where
he distinguished himself by his valor in conflict with the Tscherkes. In
February of 1841 we find the poet again at Petersburg, where the second
edition of his masterpiece, "A Hero of Our Own Time," was just
appearing. Yet toward the end of April again he was obliged to leave, -
this time through the influence and hatred of the Countess Benkendorff.
For the third time he went to the Caucas in exile. Here in Petigorsk he
was forced into close relation with one Major Nikolai Solomonowitsch
Martynow, - whom he did not spare from his well deserved scorn. Aroused
by the local society that pursued the poet with hatred and envy,
Martynow challenged him at a ball. The seconds, as also the entire city,
expected a harmless outcome only, especially as Lermontoff, as was known
to his adversary, had declared he should shoot in the air. He held his
hand high with the pistol stretched aloft; Martynow approached, aimed,
fired, and silently the poet fell dead. Thus his own lament for Pushkin
came to be worthily written for himself -

"The murderer contemptuous gazing
Did steadfastly his weapon aim - " etc., etc.

At the foot of the Machook mountains, July 27, 1841, in the
twenty-seventh year of his age, the poet died. After a year the body was
claimed by his grandmother, who lived at this time in the Pensa
district, and his remains were removed to be fitly honored in the family
village of Tarchany. In connection with the tragedy, it is pitiful to
remember that his grandmother wept herself blind over the death of the

COUNT ALEXIS CONSTANTINOWITSCH TOLSTOY was born at Petersburg on the 6th
of September, 1817. At the age of six weeks he was taken away from the
city to Little-Russia, by his mother and maternal uncle, who was
distinguished in Russian literature under the pseudonym of Anton
Perowskij. By this uncle he was brought up, enjoying a singularly happy
and unclouded childhood. Being an only child he played much alone,
living in his dreams and imagination and early developing a love for
poetry. At the age of eight or nine years he was taken by his parents to
Petersburg where he was presented to the heir to the throne, and allowed
to play with his children. The good will shown him at that time he never
lost throughout his entire life. The year following he was taken to
Germany, and while in Weimar was permitted to visit Goethe, which made a
lasting impression upon him. Up to the age of seventeen when he took his
examinations for the University at Moscow, he lived both in Russia and
abroad. After the death of his uncle, who made him his heir, he became
attached, by the wish of his mother, to the Russian Mission at
Frankfort. Later he returned to enter the Second Division of the
Chancellery of His Majesty. At the time of the coronation of Alexander
Second at Moscow, he was appointed to become His Majesty's aide de camp;
an honor he declined, not caring for a military career. He was afterward
made Chief Master of the Royal Hunt, a position he held until the day of
his death. From the age of sixteen he had always written poetry, but not
until 1855 did he begin to publish his lyrics and epics in the journals.
His passion for poetry was extended toward all other forms of art. At
thirteen years of age he made his first journey through Italy, - to
Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples, and his soul grew large with
enthusiasm for every manifestation of beauty, so that upon his return to
Russia he was really homesick for Italy. He said himself that it was
solely due to his passion for hunting that his poems were written in the
major key, - while those of so many of his countrymen were written in the
minor. Count Tolstoy died on the 28th of September, 1875, at his estates
in the government of Tshernigow, where he lies buried.

His most important works were a romance, a dramatic poem, Don Juan, - and
the dramatic trilogy, The Death of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar Fedor
Ivanowitsch and Tsar Boris.

APOLLON NIKOLAJEWITSCH MAIKOW was born June 4, 1821, at Moscow. His
father was a painter; his brothers had rendered important service to
Russian literature in history and criticism. As a boy he was instructed
in the literature of Russia by the afterward famous Gontscharow. At the
age of fifteen he began to write verse. His original intention was to
become a painter, but the weakness of his eyes and his increased
devotion to poetry decided him otherwise.

He studied jurisprudence at the University of St. Petersburg for several
years, and his final collection of poems was published in 1842, which
was greeted with enthusiasm by the famous critic Belinsky. In the same
year, using the gold he received from the Emperor Nicholas I, he went
abroad. He spent nearly a year in Italy, heard lectures at the College
de France and the Sorbonne during his stay in Paris, and spent some time
in Prague. For a time he served in the Ministry of Finance and from 1852
in the Foreign Censorship office at Petersburg; being President of that
office at the time of his death which occurred in March, 1897.

NIKOLAI ALEXAJEWITSCH NEKRASSOW was born in November, 1821, in a village
of a Polish province. His father married the daughter of a Polish
magnate against the opposition of her parents. The marriage turned out
unhappily. There were fourteen children and the poet always thought of
his mother as a saint and his father as a tyrant, - which appears in
several of his lyric poems. His childhood was spent in Greschenewo
where the family had inherited an estate. He was sent to the government
school or gymnasium, only until the fifth class. At sixteen he went to
Petersburg to pursue a military career by the will of his father. His
desire for knowledge drove him toward the University, but his father
refused his every request, and during his student years he went hungry
very often. He wrote vaudevilles for the Alexander theatre under an
assumed name, and not until 1840 published his first volume of verse. In
his fortieth year he brought out an anthology of Russian poets that was
sufficiently successful to give him a living. In his fiftieth year his
health seemed failing, and he went abroad to Italy, where the disaster
seemed happily averted. The journal with which he had been connected
being now suppressed, he became connected with another for two years. In
December, 1877, he died, widely mourned and called "the singer of
Russian folk song."

IVAN SSAWITSCH NIKITIN was born October 3, 1824, at Woronesh. Though his
life was poor in external circumstances, it was all the richer within.
His best biography is his own work, "From the Diary of a Seminarist."
His life opened under rather auspicious influences, for his father owned
a candle factory and was so prosperous that his business amounted yearly
to a hundred thousand roubles. A shoemaker taught the precocious boy to
read, and he was put to school at first in the local school, but this
was exchanged in 1841 for the Seminary. Both here and at home he was,
however, more cudgelled than educated, and his soul was threatened with
suffocation in scholastic confusion. Only one consolation was always
his; literature and poetry. While here the first great misfortune
befell. His father's business failed, the house was turned into an inn
and Ivan, instead of attending the University, as he had expected, was
obliged to sell candles, not only in his father's shop, but as that was
soon taken from him, even in the market place. After a few months his
mother died and his father sacrificed his last remaining possessions for
drink. He insulted and even attacked his son, bidding him leave his
house, and the poor boy was compelled to render the most menial service
to all. For ten long years this condition lasted, yet Ivan remained a

In 1853 at the opening of the Crimean war, his patriotic hymn, "To
Russia," appeared in the Woronisher _Times_. This was received with
applause and a circle of intelligent men gathered about him who were
friendly and helpful in their disposition toward him. In 1856 Count
Alexis Tolstoy, the great poet, prepared a volume of his poems for
publication and the imperial family sent him costly gifts. His condition
became improved and by 1859 he had amassed a capital of two thousand
roubles, with which he opened a book-shop, hoping to enlighten the
darkness of his country. To this ideal he gave all his strength and his
money. In 1860 Nikitin went to Petersburg and Moscow to establish
connections with the leading publishing houses; from which no small
literary acquaintance arose. In the Spring of 1861 he suffered from a
throat trouble which developed into bronchial tuberculosis of which he
died on October 16, 1861. His trials with his father and those caused by
his father's extreme intemperance were considered to have greatly
hastened his lamented death.

CONSTANTINE MICHAILOWITSCH FOFANOW was born at Petersburg, May 30, 1862.
He is not a highly educated man, and is now living, after a series of
misfortunes, happily surmounted, at Gatschina.

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