EDNOTE. Alex Sklyarenko, who has done (an unpublished) translation of ADA, provides the fullest explication of Van's translation of  Konstantin Romanov's quartrain (ADA, I-38).
Van's macaronic version. "Lights in the room were going out. / Breathed fragantly the rozy. / We sat together in the shade / Of a wide-branched beryozy."
----- Original Message -----
From: alex
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 6:07 AM
Subject: Re: Query: rozy / beryozy

There is no mistake here. Beryozy is not plural here, but genitive singular. If I understand it right, it leaves the English translator in the lurch, because no feminine rhyme is possible (but I'm no expert in the English prosody).
The rhyming series in Russian can be continued: beryozy (birches, of birch) - rozy (roses, of rose) - gryozy (dreams, of dream) - slyozy (tears) - prozy (of prose) (see for example K. R.'s poem Rozy from the same poetical cycle Mechty i Dumy (Dreams and Meditations).
The Russian text of the poem Van quotes goes as follows:
                    Uzh gasli v komnatakh ogni...
                     Blagoukhali rozy...
                     My seli na skam'yu v teni
                     Razvesistoy beryozy.
It is the first quatrain of the poem consisting of five quatrains, which has no special title and was composed in 1883 (like it is the case with most poems by K. R., the exact date and place of composition are indicated: Pavlovsk, July 30). The poem is included in the cycle "Dreams and Meditations". It became a famous "romance" (if I'm not mistaken, it was put to music by Chaykovski in 1887). The note to that poem in my edition of K. R.'s works says:
"Rhythmically and partly with its theme, this poem echoes A. K. Tolstoy's poem To bylo ranneyu vesnoy... (1871)." This latter piece is known to the readers of Ada as "The time was early in the spring, the grass was barely sprouting." (2.8)
Note that Van's translation is slightly incorrect:
My seli should be "we sat down".
One last note: K. R. (Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov, 1858-1915, the nephew of the tsar Alexandr II, the first cousin of Alexandr III) has been elected a Honorary Member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in 1887 and has been appointed its President only in 1889, after about two years of formal membership. Later, he was the initiator of establishing of the belles-letters section (razryad izyashchnoy slovesnosti) in the Academy. Besides him, eight other men that have been elected the first Honorary Members in 1900 are: L. N. Tolstoy, A. A. Potekhin, A. F. Koni, A. M. Zhemchuzhnikov, A. A. Golenishchev-Kutuzov, V. S. Solovyov, A. P. Chekhov and V. G. Korolenko.   
Alexey Sklyarenko,
----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 7:13 AM
Subject: Query: rozy / beryozy

At the end of ADA, Part I, chapter 38 Van offers his translation of a quatrain"
    Lights in the rooms were going out.
        Breathed fragrantly the rozy.
    We sat together in the shade 
        Of a wide-branched beryozy
Ada remarks that "birch" (beryorzy) is what leaves the translator in "the lurch" -- referring to Van's inability to find a good English translation for beryozy (birches) that rhymes with "roses."  Something is funny since 'the" would have worked as well as "a." (Rozy / beryozy  is a hack rhyme in Russian.)
What puzzles me is the indefinite article "a" in the last line. Beryozy is plural, not singlular.
Any ideas what's going on here? A lapse in proof reading?
Also, does any one know whether Konstantin Romanov  wrote the quatrain in question?