On the death of the poet

Anthropolog

Chisinau, Moldova (Republic of)

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just a quick doodle in charcoal and sanguine, A3 draft paper.

On the death of the poet by Michael Lermontov

The poet is no more! He’s fallen
A slave to honour -
Lead in his chest, for vengeance calling,
The proud head bowed at last – he died!…
He would not brook the rankling shame
The petty calumnies, the stain
They sought to put upon his name….
Alone he stood, and now is slain!
Is slain… What use in lamentation,
Or empty choruses of praise,
Belated words of exculpation?
Say rather – Fate cut short his days!
Yet – are you blameless, you who banned
His free, brave talent out of spite,
And smouldering flames to white heat fanned
That should have been extinguished quite?
Come, be content, then – such refinement
Of pain was more than he could bear.
The lamp of genius is no longer shining,
The laurel wreath is fading now and sear.

Yet the assassin knew no hesitation
In cooly taking aim… not one
Beat missed that heart; no saving revelation
Made tremble that fell hand which held the gun….
Hard is it though indeed to credit
How came it that this common emigre,
This fortune hunter, this upstart careerist,
This poor blind tool of destiny,
Should, in his insolence, so spurn our land,
Its language and its customs fair
And spare no thought its chiefest pride to spare
Nor pause to wonder what it was – he dare,
To think ’gainst what he raised his hand!…

So he is slain – our singer – dead and gone
Like that less-known but well-beloved one
Of whom he told in wondrous poetry,
Who, like him by a ruthless hand undone,
A victim fell to senseless jealousy.

Why did he leave his peaceable pursuits and friendships
For this false world of harsh constraint and envy
To free and ardent heart so straight a pen?
Why did he give his hand to futile tattlers?
Why did he credence lend to liars, flatterers,
Who from his youth had been a judge of men?…

They’ve robbed him of his crown and set a crown of thorns
All wound about with laurel on him now
The hidden spikes have deeply torn
The poet’s glorious brow;
And even his last moments were envenomed
By gossips ill-disposed and vulgar whispering
And so he died – filled with vain thirst for vengeance
And plagued by broken hopes fast festering….
The splendid songs will sound no more,
To silence must the great voice yield
In that small room without a door….
And – ah! – those lips are sealed.


But as for you, you arrogant descendants
Of fathers famed for their base infamies
Who, with a slavish heel, have spurned the remnants
Of nobler but less favoured families!
Who throng the throne, alert for gain – and gory
As executioners who cloak their vile intent
In robes of justice – so to slaughter Glory,
Freedom and Genius, seeming innocent!
But there’s God’s judgement, which fears not to wait;
A dreadful Judgement that’s not bought nor sold.
It knows your inmost thoughts, ye panders reprobate,
It does not even hear the clink of gold.
Before this seat your slanders will not sway
That Judge both just and good…
Nor all your black blood serve to wash away
The poet’s righteous blood.

Artwork Comments

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