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