My Monument

by Alexander Pushkin

A monument not hand-made I have for me erected;
The path to it well-trodden will not overgrow;
Risen higher has it with unbending head
Than the monument of Alexander.

No! not all of me shall die! my soul in hallowed lyre
Shall my dust survive, and escape destruction --
And famous be I shall, as long as on earth sublunar
One bard at least living shall remain.

My name will travel over the whole of Russia great,
And there pronounce my name shall every living tongue:
The Slav's proud scion, and the Finn, and the savage yet
Tungus, and the Calmuck, lover of the steppe.

And long to the nation I shall be dear:
For rousing with my lyre its noble feelings,
For extolling freedom in a cruel age,
For calling mercy upon the fallen.

The bidding of God, O Muse, obey.
Fear not insult, ask not crown:
Praise and blame take with indifference
And dispute not with the fool!

August, 1836.

Translators Notes:
In its present form, this poem did not appear till 1881. After Pushkin's death it appeared only when altered by Zhukofsky in several places. The Alexander Column being the tallest monument in Russia, Pushkin, writing for Russians, used that as an illustration; but the government could not let the sacrilege pass, -- of a poefs monument ever being taller, even figuratively, than a Russian emperor's. In 1837, therefore, the poet was made to say, " Napoleon's column." The line in the fourth stanza, which speaks of Freedom, was altered to " That I was useful by the living charm of verse," and in this mutilated form this stanza is engraved on the poet's monument in Moscow, unveiled in 1880.

Source:

Poems
Copyright 1888
Translator: Translated from the Russian, By Ivan Panin
Cupples And Hurd, 94 Boylston Street, Boston
 
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