NABOKV-L post 0022079, Wed, 12 Oct 2011 20:51:09 +0300

Мечты, мечты! где ваша сладость?
Где, вечная к ней рифма, младость?

Dreams, dreams! Where is your dulcitude?
Where is (its stock rhyme) juventude? (EO, Six: XLIV: 5-6)

Strange enough, in his EO Commentary VN doesn't cite the opening lines of Pushkin's poem "Пробуждение"* ("Awakening," 1816). Сладость (sweetness, dulcitude) rhymes in it with радость (gladness, joy):

Мечты, мечты,
Где ваша сладость?
Где ты, где ты,
Ночная радость?
Исчезнул он,
Весёлый сон,
И одинокий
Во тьме глубокой
Я пробуждён.
Кругом постели
Немая ночь.
Вмиг охладели,
Вмиг улетели
Толпою прочь
Любви мечтанья.
Еще полна
Душа желанья
И ловит сна
Любовь, любовь,
Внемли моленья:
Пошли мне вновь
Свои виденья,
И поутру,
Вновь упоённый,
Пускай умру

Dreams, dreams!
Where is your dulcitude?
Where are you,
The joys of night?
The joyous dream
Is vanished,
And in a deep darkness
I woke up
The deathly-still night
Surrounds my bed.
The dreams of love
Grew cold in a moment,
And flew away
in a throng.
But my soul
Is still full of desires,
And catches
The memories of a dream.
Love, love!
Listen to my prayers,
Send me again
Your sweet visions,
And in the morning
Let me die
In ecstasy
With no awakening. (slightly edited translation by D. Smirnov)

Любви мечтанья (the dreams of love) are mentioned, and Любовь (love) is apostrophized in young Pushkin's poem. On the other hand, любовь, надежда (hope) and слава (glory, fame) occur in the opening line of Pushkin's famous poem "К Чаадаеву" ("To Chaadayev, 1818):

"Любви, надежды, тихой славы..."
("Of love, of hope, of quiet glory...")


Comrade, believe: it will arise,
The star of captivating bliss,
Russia will rouse herself from sleep,
And on the ruins of despotism
Our names will be inscribed! (transl. Nick & Dimitri Derkatch)

Pushkin's "Стансы" ("Stanzas," 1826, in praise of Nicolas I) begin:

"В надежде славы и добра..." (In hope of glory and of good...)

In VN's play "Событие" ("The Event," 1938), Любовь (Lyubov') is the name of the painter Troshcheykin's unfaithful wife. Lyubov' has a younger sister Vera (Faith), but there is no Nadezhda (Hope) in their "hopeless" (according to Antonina Pavlovna, Lyubov's and Vera's mother) family. Btw., Pushkin's mother was nee Nadezhda Gannibal.

*VN has a Russian poem entitled Пробуждение ("Awakening," 1931, "Спросонья вслушиваюсь в звон..."). On the other hand, VN's poem "Сновидение" ("The Dream," 1927, "Будильнику** на утро задаю...") ends as follows:

Как этим сном, событием ночным,
душа смятенная гордится!

(How prowd the confused soul
is of this dream, of this nocturnal event!)

**Young Antosha Chekhonte contributed his stories to many newspapers and magazines, including "Будильник" ("The Alarmclock," I mentioned its owner and editor Levinsky in my previous post on Amfiteatrov). In a letter of September 21, 1886, to M. V. Kisilyova, Chekhov mentions Levinsky's illustrated magazine and laments: "не велика сладость быть великим писателем" (there is a small sweetness in being a great writer).

Alexey Sklyarenko

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