Aleksandr Pushkin

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Aleksandr Pushkin, Russian poet and author

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin; Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин (6 June (26 May, O.S.), 1799 - 10 February (29 January, O.S.), 1837) Russian poet and author.


  • The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths.
  • Upon the brink of the wild stream
    He stood, and dreamt a mighty dream.
  • And thus He mused: "From here, indeed
    Shall we strike terror in the Swede?
    And here a city by our labor
    Founded, shall gall our haughty neighbor;
    "Here cut" - so Nature gives command -
    Your window through on Europe; stand
    Firm-footed by the sea, unchanging!
    • The Bronze Horseman (1833)
  • ‘Tis time, my friend, ‘tis time!
    For rest the heart is aching;
    Days follow days in flight, and every day is taking
    Fragments of being, while together you and I
    Make plans to live. Look, all is dust, and we shall die.
    • 'Tis Time, My Friend, l. 1-5 (1834)
  • When the loud day for men who sow and reap
    Grows still, and on the silence of the town
    The insubstantial veils of night and sleep,
    The meed of the day's labour, settle down,
    Then for me in the stillness of the night
    The wasting, watchful hours drag on their course,
    And in the idle darkness comes the bite
    Of all the burning serpents of remorse;
    Dreams seethe; and fretful infelicities
    Are swarming in my over-burdened soul,
    And Memory before my wakeful eyes
    With noiseless hand unwinds her lengthy scroll.
    Then, as with loathing I peruse the years,
    I tremble, and I curse my natal day,
    Wail bitterly, and bitterly shed tears,
    But cannot wash the woeful script away.
    • Remembrance

Eugene Onegin (1823)

  • But, as it is, this pied collection
    begs your indulgence — it's been spun
    from threads both sad and humoristic,
    themes popular or idealistic,
    products of carefree hours, of fun,
    of sleeplessness, faint inspirations,
    of powers unripe, or on the wane,
    of reason's icy intimations,
    and records of a heart in pain.
    • Dedication
  • There yet remains but one concluding tale,
    And then this chronicle of mine is ended—
    Fulfilled, the duty God ordained to me,
    A sinner. Not without purpose did the Lord
    Put me to witness much for many years
    And educate me in the love of books.
    One day some indefatigable monk
    Will find my conscientious, unsigned work;
    Like me, he will light up his ikon-lamp
    And, shaking from the scroll the age-old dust,
    He will transcribe these tales in all their truth.
    • Prologue, sec. 5, l. 18-28
  • Unforced, as conversation passed,
    he had the talent of saluting
    felicitously every theme,
    of listening like a judge-supreme
    while serious topics were disputing,
    or, with an epigram-surprise,
    of kindling smiles in ladies' eyes.
    • Ch. 1, st. 5
  • Always contented with his life,
    and with his dinner, and his wife.
    • Ch. 1, st. 12
  • A man who's active and incisive
    can yet keep nail-care much in mind:
    why fight what's known to be decisive?
    custom is despot of mankind.
    • Ch. 1, st. 25
  • The illness with which he'd been smitten
    should have been analysed when caught,
    something like spleen, that scourge of Britain,
    or Russia's chondria, for short.
    • Ch. 1, st. 38
  • Love passed, the Muse appeared, the weather
    of mind got clarity new-found;
    now free, I once more weave together
    emotion, thought, and magic sound.
    • Ch. 1, st. 59
  • Habit is Heaven's own redress:
    it takes the place of happiness.
    • Ch. 2, st. 31
  • The less we show our love to a woman,
    Or please her less, and neglect our duty,
    The more we trap and ruin her surely
    In the flattering toils of philandery.
    • Ch. 4, st. 1
  • The clock of doom had struck as fated;
    the poet, without a sound,
    let fall his pistol on the ground.
    • Ch. 6, st. 30
  • Moscow... how many strains are fusing
    in that one sound, for Russian hearts!
    what store of riches it imparts!
    • Ch. 7, st. 36
  • Sad that our finest aspiration
    Our freshest dreams and meditations,
    In swift succession should decay,
    Like Autumn leaves that rot away.
    • Ch. 8, st. 10

Boris Godunov (1825)

  • Pimen [writing in front of a sacred lamp]:
    One more, the final record, and my annals
    Are ended, and fulfilled the duty laid
    By God on me a sinner. Not in vain
    Hath God appointed me for many years
    A witness, teaching me the art of letters;
    A day will come when some laborious monk
    Will bring to light my zealous, nameless toil,
    Kindle, as I, his lamp, and from the parchment
    Shaking the dust of ages will transcribe
    My true narrations.
  • Like some magistrate grown gray in office,
    Calmly he contemplates alike the just
    And unjust, with indifference he notes
    Evil and good, and knows not wrath nor pity.
  • Ah! heavy art thou, crown of Monomakh!
  • Mosalsky: Good folk! Maria Godunov and her son Feodor have poisoned themselves. We have seen their dead bodies. [The People are silent with horror.] Why are ye silent? Cry, Long live the Tsar Dimitry Ivanovich! [The People are speechless.]

The Queen of Spades (1890)

  • "The bread of the stranger is bitter," says Dante, "and his staircase hard to climb." But who can know what the bitterness of dependence is so well as the poor companion of an old lady of quality?
    • II
  • "I have come to you against my wish," she said in a firm voice: "but I have been ordered to grant your request. Three, seven, ace, will win for you if played in succession, but only on these conditions: that you do not play more than one card in twenty-four hours, and that you never play again during the rest of your life. I forgive you my death, on condition that you marry my companion, Lizaveta Ivanovna."
    • V
  • Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.
    • VI
  • "Ace has won!" cried Hermann, showing his card.
    "Your queen has lost," said Chekalinsky, politely.
    Hermann started; instead of an ace, there lay before him the queen of spades! He could not believe his eyes, nor could he understand how he had made such a mistake.
    At that moment it seemed to him that the queen of spades smiled ironically and winked her eye at him. He was struck by her remarkable resemblance...
    "The old Countess!" he exclaimed, seized with terror.
    • VI
  • Hermann went out of his mind, and is now confined in room Number 17 of the Obukhov Hospital. He never answers any questions, but he constantly mutters with unusual rapidity: "Three, seven, ace!" "Three, seven, queen!"
    • VI


  • Ecstasy is a glassful of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth.

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