NABOKV-L post 0026306, Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:22:24 +0300

Suire & abyss in Lik
VN’s story Lik (1939) begins as follows:

Есть пьеса "Бездна" (L'Abîme) известного французского писателя Suire.

There is a play of the 1920s, called L'Abîme (The Abyss), by the well-known French author Suire.

The playwright’s name seems to hint at the French phrase à suivre (to be continued). It was used by V. Solovyov at the end of his poem “To M. M. Stasyulevich” (1896) written in the day of Archangel Michael’s miracle at Chonae:

Михаилу Матвеевичу <Стасюлевичу>

В день чуда Арх<ангела> Михаила в Xoнex

Недаром в Хонех натворил
Чудес Ваш омоним небесный:
Хоть не архангел Михаил —
Вы также Михаил чудесный.

Низвергнул он уже давно
Дракона гордого и злого,—
И Вам, я верю, суждено
Низвергнуть Ратькова-Рожнова.

À suivre

“Stasyulevich i Markevich…” (“Stasyulevich and Markevich…” 1869) is a humorous poem by A. K. Tolstoy. Boleslav Markevich is the author of Bezdna (“The Abyss,” 1880), a novel that remained unfinished.

Suivre (to follow) rhymes with cuivre (Fr., copper). Russian for “copper” is med’. In Mednyi vsadnik (“The Bronze Horseman,” 1833) Pushkin famously mentions bezdna:

О мощный властелин судьбы!
Не так ли ты над самой бездной
На высоте, уздой железной
Россию поднял на дыбы?

Oh, mighty sovereign of destiny!

Haven’t you similarly reared Russia

With an iron bridle on the eminence

Before the abyss ? (Part Two)

In the lines that immediately follow the above excerpt lik (the face) of the half-planet’s ruler is mentioned:

Кругом подножия кумира
Безумец бедный обошёл
И взоры дикие навёл
На лик державца полумира.

The poor madman walked around

The idol’s pedestal

And looked wildly at the face

Of the half-planet’s ruler.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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