pointed out that
“old/cold” was a rare, sad rhyming pair that also rhymed in German: “alt/kalt.”
Wonder if VN had this added nuance of “alt-itude” brooding in some recess of his
"Delvig* disliked mystical poetry. He used to
say: the nearer to heaven, the colder [it/one is getting]" (Pushkin,
"Table-talk," 1835). If I'm not mistaken, Khodasevich speaks of the "Delvig law"
in his book on Derzhavin.
You may know that, in Russian, kholodnyi
(cold) rhymes with golodnyi (hungry). See Nekrasov and Nabokov's
Despair (Ardalion's words).
*Baron Anton Delvig (1798-1831), a Russian
poet, Pushkin's best friend at the lyceum and later.