Poetry Monster

Tatiana’s Letter poem – Alexander Pushkin

A poem by Alexander Pushkin – Pouchkine, Pooshkin (1799-1837), in English translation


I write to you . . . when that is said

What more is left for me to say ?

Now you are free (I know too well)

To heap contempt upon my head.

Yet if some sparks of pity dwell

Within your breast you’ll surely not

Abandon me to my hard lot.

When first I saw you I desired

To hold my peace : my shame (’tis true)

Would ne’er have been revealed to you

Had life’s conditions but inspired

One gleam of hope that you would come

To see us in our country home

From time to time, so that I might

Hear but one word, catch but one tone,

And live by dreaming on alone

Till our next meeting, day and night.

But then it seemed there was no hope;

Our rustic quiet bored you so,

Folk said you were a misanthrope;

And we-we do not make a show-

You found us narrow in our scope.

Why did you come to visit us

I n this forgotten quiet place ?

I need not have been tortured thus

If I had never seen your face.

My inexperienced heart maybe

Had grown resigned to this dull life,

And future years had brought to me

Some other love-my destiny

An honoured mother and true wife.

Another’s! Nay, to none on earth

Could I have given this heart of mine.

By the decree of the Most High,

And by Heaven’s willing, I am thine.

Allotted unto you was I

E’en from the moment of my birth

And loyal to my future fate;

And God, I know, sent you to be

My champion and my advocate

Till the grave closes over me. . . .

Oft in my dreams you did appear;

I loved you then before the days

When palpably I saw you here ;

I languished in your wondrous gaze

And in my heart your voice rang clear

Long since. … It was no dream to me!

You came-at once I understood

This swift confusion in my blood,

While my thoughts whispered : ” Lo, ’tis he.”

Was it not true ? Am I not sure

You spoke with me in hours of peace

When I went visiting my poor,

Or when I strove by prayer to ease

The pain in which my spirit toss’d ?

Was not your image wont to rise

A vision sweet-too quickly lost-

To light my gloom ? Did not mine eyes

See you bend gently o’er my bed ?

Were not some words low whispered

Of love and hope ? Now in what guise

Come you ? As guardian angel good,

Or tempter in some wily mood ?

0 speak, and set my doubts at rest!

What if all this should prove at best

The empty dream, more light than froth,

Of a heart simple and untried ?

Well, be it so! But from henceforth

I must to you my fate confide.

Must weep my tears about your feet

And for your sheltering love entreat.

Picture me now. … I sit alone

With none to heed or guess what ails . . .

And now my very reason fails!

I wait for you. One glance of yours

Fresh hope unto my heart restores;

Or else the cruel dream comes back

Of merited contempt. . . . Alack!

[She seals the letter.]

‘Tis done! I scarce dare read it through,

But overcome with shame and fright

I trust my honour now to you,

And dare to think I trust aright.


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