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The Coming Of Winter poem – Alexander Pushkin

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


_Stanzas from “Onegin”_

Our Northern Winter’s fickle Summer,

Than Southern Winter scarce more bland–

Is undeniably withdrawing

On fleeting footsteps from the land.

Soon will the Autumn dim the heavens,

The light of sunbeams rarer grown–

Already every day is shorter,

While with a smitten hollow tone

The forest drops its shadow leafage;

Upon the fields the mists lie white,

In lusty caravans the wild geese

Now to the milder South take flight;

Seasons of tedium draw near,

Before the door November drear!

From shivering mist ascends the morning,

The bustle, of the fields declines,

The wolf walks now upon the highway,

In wolfish hunger howls and whines;

The traveller’s pony scents him, snorting–

The heedful wanderer breathless takes

His way in haste beyond the mountains!

And though no longer when day breaks

Forth from their stalls the herd begins

To drive the kine,–his noon-day horn recalls.

The peasant maiden sings and spins,

Before her crackling, flaming bright

The pine chips,–friend of Winter night.

And see! The hoar frost colder sparkles

And spreads its silver o’er the fields,

Alas! the golden days are vanished!

Reluctant Nature mournful yields.

The stream with ice all frozen over

Gleams as some fashionable parquet,

And thronging hordes of boyish skaters

Sweep forward on its crystal way.

On her red claws despondent swimming,

The plump goose parts the water cold,

Then on the ice with caution stalking

She slips and tumbles,–ah behold!

Now the first snowflake idling down

Stars the depressing landscape brown.

At such a season in the country,

What can a man’s amusements be?

Walk? And but more of empty highway

And of deserted village see?

Or let him through the far Steppes gallop,

His horse can scarcely stand at all–

His stamping hoofs in vain seek foothold,

The rider dreading lest he fall!

So then remain within thy paling,

Read thou in Pradt or Walter Scott,

Compare thy varying editions,

Drink, and thy scoffing mood spare not!

As the long evenings drag away

So doth the Winter too delay.

FROM “ONEGIN”

Sometimes he read aloud with Olga

A latter day romance discreet,

Whose author truly painted nature,

With cunning plot, insight complete;

Oft he passed over a few pages,

Too bald or tasteless in their art–

And coloring, began on further,

Not to disturb the maiden heart.

Again, they sat for hours together,

With but a chess board to divide;

She with her arms propped on the table,

Deep pondering, puzzled to decide–

Till Lenski from his inward storm

Captured her castle with his pawn!

FROM “ONEGIN”

Love condescends to every altar,

Ah when in hearts of youth it springs,

Its coming brings such glad refreshment

As May rain o’er the pasture flings!

Lifted from passion’s melancholy

The life breaks forth in fairer flower,

The soul receives a new enrichment–

Fruition sweet and full of power.

But when on later altars arid

It downward sweeps, about us flows–

Love leaves behind such deathly traces

As Autumn tempests where it blows

To strip the woods with ruthless hand,

And turn to soggy waste the land!

FROM “ONEGIN”

How sad to me is thine appearing,

O Springtime, hour of love’s unrest!

Within the soul what nameless languors!

What passions hid within the breast!

With what a heavy, heavy spirit

From the earth’s rustic lap I feel

Again the joy of Springtide odors–

That once could make my spirit reel!

No more for me such pleasures thrilling,

All that rejoices, that has life,

All that exults,–brings but despondence

To one past passion as past strife,

All is but prose to such as he,

Wearied unto satiety.

Perchance we fain would pass unnoticed

That which in Autumn drooped and pined,

Now radiant in verdure springing,

Since it must of our loss remind;

As with a tortured soul we realize

In Nature’s glad awakening,

That we shall never find renewal,

Who evermore are withering.

Perchance there haunts us in remembrance,

Our own most dear and lyric dream,

Another long forgotten Springtime–

And trembling neath this pang supreme,

The heart faints for a distant country

And for a night beside the sea!

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