To Gnedich(1) (Pushkin, 1832) With Homer you conversed alone for days and nights, Our waiting hours were passing slowly, And shining you came down from the mysterious heights And brought to us your tablets holy. And so? in wilderness, beneath a tent, you found Us feasting mad in empty gaiety, All singing savage songs and galloping around A newly hand-created deity. We grew confused, aloof from your good rays hid we. Then seized by wrath and desolation, Did you o prophet curse your mindless family And smash your tablets in frustration? No you have cursed us not. You like to disappear From heights in shades of little valleys, You like the heavens' crash, but also want to hear Bees humming over red azaleas. Such is the truthful bard. He heartily laments At splendid games of Melpomena,(2) And smiles upon a crowd's plebeian merriments And liberties of coarse arena. Now Rome is calling him, now elevated Troy, Now elder Ossian's craggy gravels,(3) And in the meantime he will hark with childish joy To Czar Saltan's heroic travels.(4) translated by Genia Gurarie, 4/27/96 _______________________________ 1)Gnedich: Russia's first great translator of "Iliad"; 2)Melpomene: Muse of tragedy in Greek mythology; 3)Pushkin is listing in these two lines various subjects of Gnedich's literary engagement; 4)The Tale of Czar Saltan: Pushkin's fairytale admired by Gnedich though unfavored by most contemporary critics for its folkloric spirit.
Autor: Genia Gurarie