According to Isabella (in VNs play The Waltz Invention, 1938, one of the five whores procured by Son), she is seventeen and her sister Olga (whose father was a Russian Prince) is a year older:


ѧݧ ( էߧ ڧ էӧ, ާݧا). ѧ ӧѧ ڧާ?

. ٧ѧҧ֧ݧݧ. ܧݧڧ֧ߧ ާ֧ߧ ٧ӧ ֧ݧܧ.

ѧݧ. ا ާ... ( ӧ.) ӧѧ?

ѧ. ݧԧ. ֧ ҧ ܧڧ ܧߧ٧. ѧۧ ѧڧܧ.

ѧݧ. ߧ ܧ. ܧݧܧ ӧѧ ݧ֧?

٧ѧҧ֧ݧݧ. ߧ ֧ާߧѧէѧ, ֧ ߧ ԧ ѧ. (Act Three)


17 + 1 = 18. In Pushkins Eugene Onegin Lenski (who is in love with Olga, the younger of the Larin sisters) is eighteen, when he challenges Onegin to a duel:


է֧ݧ: ѧ٧ҧ ԧ,
ѧۧߧ ֧ҧ ڧ٧ӧѧ,
ҧӧڧߧ ֧ҧ ӧ ާߧԧ:
-֧ӧ, ҧ ߧ֧ѧ,
ߧѧ ݧҧӧ ҧܧ, ߧ֧اߧ
ѧ էڧ ӧ֧ ߧ֧ҧ֧اߧ.
ӧ-ӧ: ܧѧ
ѧڧ; ާߧѧէѧ ݧ֧
ߧ ڧ֧ݧߧ. ӧԧ֧ߧڧ,
֧ ֧է֧ ߧ ݧҧ,
էݧا֧ ܧѧ٧ѧ ֧ҧ
ާڧܧ ֧էѧاէ֧ߧڧ,
ݧܧڧ ާѧݧڧܧ, ҧۧ,
ާا֧ ֧ ާ.


And serve him right: on strict examination,

he, having called his own self to a secret court,

accused himself of much:

First, it had been already wrong of him

to make fun of a timid, tender love

so casually yesternight;

and secondly: why, let a poet

indulge in nonsense! At eighteen

'tis pardonable. Eugene,

loving the youth with all his heart,

ought to have shown himself to be

no bandyball of prejudices,

no fiery boy, no scrapper, but a man

of honor and of sense. (Six: X)


Displeased with himself, Onegin compares himself to myachik predrassuzhdeniy (a bandyball of prejudices) and to pylkiy malchik (a fiery boy). At the end of his poem Prochti i katay v Parizh i v Kitay (Read and Go to Paris and to China, 1927) Mayakovski explains to the children that the Earth is krugla (round) and compares it to myachik v ruke u malchika (a little ball in a boys hand):




٧֧ާݧ ܧԧݧ,

ߧ֧ ߧ ߧ֧ ԧݧ

ӧէ ާڧܧ

ܧ ާѧݧڧܧ.


The adjective kruglyi (round) comes from the noun krug (circle). In the above quoted stanza of EO Pushkin uses the words vo-pervykh (in the first place) and vo-vtorykh (in the second place). In VNs story Krug (The Circle, 1936) the first word is vo-vtorykh and the last sentence begins with the word vo-pervykh:


-ӧ: ާ ߧק ѧ٧ԧѧݧѧ ҧ֧֧ߧѧ ܧ ڧ.

In the second place, because he was possessed by a sudden mad hankering after Russia.


-֧ӧ, ާ ѧߧ ܧѧ٧ѧݧѧ ѧܧ ا ڧӧݧ֧ܧѧ֧ݧߧ, ѧܧ ا ߧ֧٧ӧڧާ, ܧѧ ߧ֧ܧԧէ.

In the first place, because Tanya had remained as enchanting and as invulnerable as she had been in the past.


A namesake of Tatiana Larin (in Pushkins EO Olgas elder sister who marries Prince N.), Tanya Godunov-Cherdyntsev (the first love of Innokentiy, the protagonist in The Circle) is the sister of Fyodor Konstantinovich Godunov-Cherdyntsev, the main character and narrator in VNs novel Dar (The Gift, 1937). Fyodors first collection of poetry begins with the poem Propavshiy myach (The Lost Ball):


٧ѧܧѧڧݧ ާ ߧߧڧ
ܧާ, ߧ ݧ ӧ֧
֧ߧ ٧ ܧߧ ҧ֧֧ ߧ֧
է, է, -- ߧ ߧ֧ ާ.
ѧ ܧ֧ԧ ܧڧӧѧ
ԧݧ֧ ԧ֧ ٧ --
ԧӧڧ ӧҧڧӧѧ֧,
ԧէ ݧѧ.
ӧ ӧܧѧܧڧӧѧ֧ ѧ
֧֧ ֧ާߧ, --
֧֧ ӧ ܧާߧѧ, ާ
ߧ֧ڧߧ ѧ.


My ball has rolled under Nurse's commode.

On the floor a candle

Tugs at the end of the shadow
This way and that, but the ball is gone.

Then comes the crooked poker.

It potters and clutters in vain,

Knocks out a button

And then half a zwieback. 
Suddenly out darts the ball

Into the quivering darkness,

Crosses the whole room and promptly goes under

The impregnable sofa.


and ends with the poem O myache naydennom (About the Found Ball):


էߧ ܧѧڧߧ է ܧڧ
ԧ ѧݧڧ ߧ ާ֧ѧ,
ܧԧէ ާ ӧݧ, -
ݧڧݧ էާ: ӧ
ӧ ܧާߧѧ ާ֧اէ ҧ
ާ֧ߧݧڧ ާ֧ҧ֧ݧ ӧ֧
ܧѧѧާ, ڧާѧާ, ݧ
ߧ֧ӧݧڧӧ ӧ֧֧.
ӧ ԧէ-, ѧ,
ߧ ҧߧѧاڧӧ֧ާ ݧ,
اڧӧ, ߧ֧ӧ֧ߧ-ާڧݧ,
ҧߧѧاڧݧ ԧݧ.


Only pictures and ikons remained

In their places that year

When childhood was ended, and something

Happened to the old house: in a hurry

All the rooms with each other

Were exchanging their furniture,

Cupboards and screens, and a host

Of unwieldy big things:

And it was then that from a sofa,

On the suddenly unmasked parquet

Alive, and incredibly dear,

It was revealed in a corner. (Chapter One)


In VNs play Sobytie (The Event, 1938) the portrait-painter Troshcheykin works on a painting Malchik s pyatyu myachami (The Boy with Five Balls). At Antonina Pavlovnas birthday party, while Lyubovs and Veras mother is reading to the guests her fairy tale Voskresayushchiy lebed (The Resurrecting Swan), Troshcheykin tells his wife that they are absolutely alone and Lyubov replies that these are dva odinochestva (two solitudes) and both are sovsem krugly (perfectly round):


֧ۧܧڧ. ѧ ߧاߧ ҧ֧اѧ...

ҧӧ. , է, է!

֧ۧܧڧ. ...ҧ֧اѧ, -- ާ ֧ާ- ާ֧էݧڧ ѧݧާѧާ ߧߧ ѧާܧ. ӧӧ, ߧѧէӧڧԧѧ֧...

ҧӧ. ѧߧ? ܧѧܧѧ? , ֧ݧ ާ ߧ!

֧ۧܧڧ. ѧߧ, ݧ ا ֧ѧݧߧѧ, ܧѧ ߧѧ ܧ, ݧ֧, קܧ. ҧ, ާ ӧ֧֧ߧߧ էߧ.

ҧӧ. , էߧ. էӧ էڧߧ֧ӧ, ҧ ӧ֧ ܧԧݧ. ۧާ ާ֧ߧ!

֧ۧܧڧ. էߧ ߧ ٧ܧ ӧ֧קߧߧ ֧ߧ. ٧ѧէ -- ֧ѧѧݧߧѧ ӧ֧ ӧ֧ ߧѧ֧ اڧ٧ߧ, ٧ѧާק٧ڧ ާѧܧ ӧ֧֧ߧߧ ܧާ֧էڧ, ֧֧է -- קާߧѧ ԧݧҧڧߧ ԧݧѧ٧, ԧݧѧ٧, ԧݧѧ٧, ԧݧէڧ ߧ ߧѧ, اէڧ ߧѧ֧ ԧڧҧ֧ݧ. (Act Two)


Troshcheykin mentions glaza (the eyes) looking at him and at Lyubov and expecting their death and repeats this word three times.


At the end of his poem Neskolko slov obo mne samom (A Few Words about Myself, 1913) Mayakovski says that he is as odinok (lonely), as posledniy glaz (the last eye) of a man who goes towards blind people:


էڧߧ, ܧѧ ݧ֧էߧڧ ԧݧѧ

ڧէ֧ԧ ݧ֧ ֧ݧӧ֧ܧ!


Mayakovskis poem begins as follows:


ݧҧݧ ާ֧, ܧѧ ާڧѧ է֧.

I like to see how children die.


At the beginning of The Event Lyubov mentions detskie myachi (childrens balls) that tear her to pieces because she cannot forget her little son who died three years ago, at the age of two (and who would have been five on the day after tomorrow):


ҧӧ. ӧ֧, ܧ ާ֧ߧ ֧٧ѧ.

֧ۧܧڧ. ѧܧڧ ӧ֧?

ҧӧ. ҧ է֧ܧڧ ާ. ߧ ާԧ. ֧ԧէߧ ާѧާڧߧ اէ֧ߧڧ, ٧ߧѧڧ, ݧ֧٧ѧӧ ֧ާ ҧݧ ҧ ݧ֧. ݧ֧. էާѧ. (Act One)


In Act Two, as she speaks to her husband, and in Act Three, in a dialogue with her mother, Lyubov quotes Princess N.s words in Chapter Eight of Pushkins EO: Onegin, I was younger then, I [was, I daresay,] better-looking (XLIII: 1-2). It seems to me that on her dead sons fifth birthday Lyubov stabs herself and, in the sleep of death, dreams of Salvator Waltz (the main character in The Waltz Invention whose real name we never learn). The reporter who runs errands for Waltz, Son (in the English version, Trance) brings to mind chudnyi son (a wondrous dream) that Tatiana dreams in Chapter Five of Pushkins EO. In Tatianas prophetic dream Onegin stabs Lenski.


Lyubov is twenty-five when she commits suicide. The action in The Event takes place in August of 1938. Lyubov was born in 1913 (the year in which Mayakovski wrote his poem A Few Words about Myself). Mayakovskis autobiography is entitled Ya sam (Myself, 1928). VNs late namesake shot himself dead on April 14, 1930, exactly five years after the day on which VN married Vera Slonim.


In The Waltz Invention the action takes place in spring (the Colonel mentions spring and the flowers of pseudo-acacia being sold in the streets). At the beginning of his poem Lyubov (Love, 1926) Mayakovski mentions tsvety (flowers), vesenniy vid (the vernal appearance) of the world and starenkiy-starenkiy bytik (a very old daily routine):


        ӧ֧ѧާ ҧ,
      ӧ֧֧ߧߧڧ ӧڧ.
             ߧ֧֧֧ߧߧ ӧ -
ݧҧڧ ѧѧ,
              ߧѧէߧ ֧ߧ.
ӧڧ ܧѧڧӧ,
               ӧէ ߧ ާڧڧߧ.
                 ܧ ݧ֧֧ߧ,
ѧ֧ߧܧڧ-ѧ֧ߧܧڧ ҧڧ.


In his essay on Mayakovski, Dekol'tirovannaya loshad' ("The Horse in a Dcolett Dress," 1927), Khodasevich quotes Mayakovskis poem Lyubov and says that Mayakovski's themes have become petty:


" ݧҧӧߧ ߧ", ҧӧѧݧ, ѧܧӧܧڧ ӧӧ֧ էߧ ֧֧ӧѧڧӧѧ "ҧاѧ٧ߧ ާѧݧ". ֧֧ -- "ߧѧէ ԧݧ էާѧ ٧ ڧݧߧ ߧ֧ߧڧ ߧѧڧ ݧҧӧߧ է֧". -- ԧݧ ҧݧѧԧѧ٧ާڧ, ާ֧֧ߧߧ ѧܧܧѧߧ. ѧ ڧ٧ާ֧ݧѧݧ ֧ԧ ֧ާ!...

֧ݧܧާ֧ѧߧܧѧ اڧ٧ߧ էߧ ٧ էԧ էӧӧѧ֧ ѧܧӧܧާ ӧ ާ֧ݧܧѧӧѧ ֧ާܧ, ڧާ ߧ ݧܧ ߧ ҧ֧٧ԧ֧ -- ӧ ߧڧ. ֧ܧԧէ ֧ӧ֧ ѧާ ֧֧ԧ, ѧ ֧ӧ ѧާ ҧݧѧԧݧߧԧ: ֧ӧ ֧ԧ ѧէ֧ ֧ѧݧ֧, ѧߧڧ֧ݧ֧ ֧ԧ ҧݧѧ ֧ݧڧ֧ݧ֧ ߧ֧էԧ.


In his last poem/suicide note Mayakovski says that his lyubovnaya lodka (love boat) razbilas o byt (smashed upon the dreary routine). There is byt (everyday life) in sobytie (event). At Antonina Pavlovnas birthday party Ryovshin (Lyubovs lover) gives her the chrysanthemums and says that khrizantemy (chrysanthemums) always have temy (themes):


קӧڧ. ֧ާ? קߧ ܧ? ѧ ا ڧߧѧ: ֧ާ֧ۧߧ ا֧ӧ, ڧէ֧ڧݧ֧ڧ էԧ ڧѧ֧ݧߧڧ. , ܧѧا֧, ݧҧڧ ڧ٧ѧߧ֧ާ, ߧߧڧߧ ѧӧݧӧߧ... ӧ֧ ѧާ ڧѧ֧ݧܧڧ.
ߧߧڧߧ ѧӧݧӧߧ. ֧ݧ֧! ѧڧҧ, ԧݧҧڧ. ҧܧ, ӧ ѧ ӧѧ٧.
קӧڧ. ٧ߧѧ֧, ֧ާ ӧ֧ ڧѧ֧ݧܧڧ?  ާ ڧ٧ѧߧ֧ާ ӧ֧ԧէ ֧ ֧ާ.
ҧӧ. ҧ֧ӧ... (Act Two)


Lyubov' calls Ryovshin dusha obshchestva (the life and soul of the society). Dusha obshchestva (1929) is a poem by Mayakovski.


Btw., Grib, Grab, Grob and Grub (four of the eleven generals in The Waltz Invention) bring to mind the beginning of Mayakovskis poem Khoroshee otnoshenie k loshadyam (Good Treatment of Horses, 1918):


ڧݧ ܧ,
֧ݧ ҧէ:
- ڧ.


The hooves clattered,
As if singing:


Grab is the imperative mood of grabit (to rob). In his essay "The Horse in a Dcolett Dress" Khodasevich describes Mayakovskis evolution from grab nagrablennoe drugimi (steal what was stolen by others) to beregi nagrablennoe toboy (save what was stolen by you):


ҧݧѧԧէߧ֧, ߧ ާߧ֧, ߧ ߧ ѧܧӧܧڧ ߧ ѧ. -- ߧ ֧ԧ . ٧ѧҧѧӧߧ ڧ֧ݧߧ ߧѧҧݧէѧ, ܧѧ ԧާڧ ҧ֧٧٧ѧڧߧ ֧ӧѧѧ֧ ٧ѧڧߧڧܧ ڧݧߧ; "֧ӧݧڧߧ֧" -- ҧݧѧԧߧѧާ֧֧ߧߧԧ ѧߧڧ֧ݧ ߧӧܧڧ ֧; ߧ֧էѧӧߧڧ էڧߧѧާڧڧ -- ا ݧѧҧѧ٧. , ӧ֧, ӧݧߧ ֧֧ӧ֧ߧߧ էݧ ѧܧԧ "֧ӧݧڧߧ֧", ܧѧܧ ѧܧӧܧڧ: "ԧѧҧ ߧѧԧѧҧݧ֧ߧߧ էԧڧާ" -- "ҧ֧֧ԧ ߧѧԧѧҧݧ֧ߧߧ ҧ".


Grob is Russian for coffin. In The Event Troshcheykin does not want v grobu tryastis po bulyzhnikam (to be jolted in a coffin on his way to cemetery):


֧. ӧ, ݧ. ֧ҧ, ٧ߧѧڧ, ߧѧӧ ާ ֧ѧܧ? ڧާѧڧߧ, ѧӧէ? , ݧק, ܧۧ... ٧ާ ֧ҧ ܧ... ڧܧ ӧ֧ ܧӧ ߧ اѧاէ֧...

֧ۧܧڧ. ѧӧڧէ, ԧݧҧܧ, ӧ֧ާ ܧۧӧڧ! ӧ ܧԧէ ӧ ֧ ݧѧ ߧѧӧѧ, ԧէ ӧ ӧާߧڧ -- ԧѧ֧. , ӧ ӧܧ ݧѧ, ٧ѧӧ  ֧٧اѧ. ֧ݧ է֧ߧ֧ ߧ էѧߧ, ҧէ ٧ߧѧ, ާ֧ ԧڧҧ֧ݧ. , ֧ݧ   ҧ ҧ ӧڧ, ҧѧܧѧݧ֧ۧڧ, ܧѧ ҧ ާ֧ߧ ҧ֧֧ԧݧ! ڧ֧ԧ, ߧڧ֧ԧ! ԧէ-ߧڧҧէ  ާ  ܧѧڧߧ  ٧ѧѧӧ ݧէ֧ ֧ѧ ٧ѧݧܧ, ݧܧ ԧ ߧ ӧڧا. ѧܧѧ էݧ! ҧڧۧ  ߧѧ ҧէڧ ܧߧѧާ, اڧߧ ѧէӧܧѧ ӧ֧֧ էѧ ڧ. ҧէ֧ ڧӧѧ, ҧӧ֧ߧߧ ԧӧ? ާߧ- ԧҧ ڧ ҧݧاߧڧܧѧ? ֧-, ڧ٧ӧڧߧڧ! ֧ ٧ ֧ҧ! (Act One)


Grub means rude. Troshcheykin tells Lyubovs that she is gruba, kak torgovka kostyom (rude as a poissarde):


ҧӧ. ֧, ֧ҧ ܧѧا, ާߧ ڧէڧ ڧߧԧէ ԧݧӧ: ֧ݧ ֧ߧާ֧ߧѧݧߧ ݧ?

֧ۧܧڧ. ԧҧ, ܧѧ ԧӧܧ ܧק. (ibid.)


Alexey Sklyarenko

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