Alexander Pushkin


To the Poet

by Alexander Pushkin


Poet, not popular applause shalt thou prize!
Of raptured praise shall pass the momentary noise;
The fool's judgment hear thou shalt, and the cold mob's laughter --
Calm stand, and firm be, and -- sober!

Thou art king: live alone. On the free road
Walk, whither draws thee thy spirit free:
Ever the fruits of beloved thoughts ripening,
Never reward for noble deeds demanding.

In thyself reward seek. Thine own highest court thou art;
Severest judge, thine own works canst measure.
Art thou content, O fastidious craftsman?
Content? Then let the mob scold,
And spit upon the altar, where blazes thy fire.
Thy tripod in childlike playfulness let it shake.


Translators Notes:
This is the only poem Turgenef quotes in his speech at the unveiling of the Pushkin monument in 1880. " Of course," he said, " you all know it, but I cannot withstand the temptation to adorn my slim, meagre prosy speech with this poetic gold."


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