Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Mikhail Lermontov


For everything, for everything, O Lord,
I thank Thee -
for the secret pangs of passion,
the poisoned fangs of kisses,
the bitter taste
of tears;
for the revenge of foes
and for the calumny of friends,
and for the waste
of a soul's fervor burning in a desert,
and for all things that have deceived me here.
But please, O Lord,
henceforth let matters be arranged
in such a way
that I need not keep thanking Thee
much longer.

Mikhail Lermontov, 1840, tr. Vladimir Nabokov in Verses and Versions, p. 289

I don't think that's exactly the right spirit of the holiday. I'll try something more traditional tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, AR, for posting this -- what a wonderful poem! I looked up the original and found that Nabokov rearranged the lines a bit (it's only eight in Russian) while keeping meaning very close.

    I also give thanks for your posts about Balzac... I've had Père Goriot on my shelf for years but never read it so am glad for the suggestion of beginning with short stories.

    Happy Thanksgiving!