My Muse

by Alexander Pushkin

In the days of my youth she was fond of me,
And the seven-stemmed flute she handed me.
To me with smile she listened; and already gently
Along the openings echoing of the woods
Was playing I with fingers tender:
Both hymns solemn, god-inspired
And peaceful song of Phrygian shepherd.
From morn till night in oak's dumb shadow
To the strange maid's teaching intent I listened;
And with sparing reward me gladdening
Tossing back her curls from her forehead dear,
From my hands the flute herself she took.
Now filled the wood was with breath divine
And the heart with holy enchantment filled.


Translators Notes:
I originally passed over this poem as unworthy of translation, because I thought it not universal enough; because it seemed to me to express not the human heart, but the individual heart, -- Pushkin's heart. But the great Byelinsky taught me better. He quotes these lines as a marvel of classic, of Greek art. " See," he exclaims, " the Hellenic, the artistic manner (and this is saying the same thing) in which Pushkin has told us of his call, heard by him even in the days of his youth. Yes, maugre the happy attempts of Batushkof in this direction before Pushkin's day, such verses had not been seen till Pushkin in the Russian land! " And Byelinsky is right. He saw. The great critic is thus an eye-opener, because he sees his author, and because seeing him he cannot help loving him. For if men truly knew one another (assuming them to be unselfish), they would love one another. . . . A hater is blind though he sees; a lover sees though he be blind.


Copyright 1888
Translator: Translated from the Russian, By Ivan Panin
Cupples And Hurd, 94 Boylston Street, Boston
Link To This Page