To Chaadaev

Not long indulged by sweet illusions
Of love and hopes for better days,
We saw our juvenile diversions
Pass like a dream or morning haze;
And yet our hearts remain afire
Under the yoke of tyranny,
Our souls consumed by the desire
To serve our country’s destiny.
We still await in anguished languor
Our festival of sacred freedom
Much in the way that a young lover
Awaits a tryst that’s been agreed on.
While, thus ablaze with liberty,
Our hearts remain alive to honor,
Let’s to our mother-country offer
Our spirit’s full nobility!
Comrade, believe: it will emerge –
The star of dazzling ecstasy;
Russia will wake from her mirage;
On ruins of autocracy
We yet shall see our names writ large.
[1818]
Translated from the Russian by Philip Nikolayev

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Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1937) was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

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