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творчества Ф. И. Тютчева


The Complete Poems of Tyutchev In An English Translation by F.Jude

The Complete Poems of Tyutchev In An English Translation by F.Jude. – [б.м.]. – 2000.


I dedicate this book to Dr. R. Lane of the University of Durham for sharing with me his great expertise and for his encouragement, to my wife, Viv, and stepsons, Richard and Matthew, for being so patient, to a warm and good person, Julian Marko, who died on February 28th. 1994, for his genuine friendship, and to my father, Hugh, for many reasons.

Imperturbable form is the outward sign
of nature's utter consonance.
Only our spectral liberty
imparts a sense of dissonance.

Whence this disharmony? How did it arise?
In the general chorus, why this solo refrain?
Why do our souls not sing like the sea
and why must the thinking reed complain?

(The sea is harmony. F. Tyutchev)

... the great figures in imaginative literature are perpetually contemporary... they never become History. Ancient or modern, they live in the perpetual present of mankind, crowding it with an accumulation of life and a living variety of human experience.
(Essays in Literature and Society. E. Muir)

The Auther

A freelance teacher in the north east of England, having taught myself Russian I graduated from the University of Durham in 1972 with first class honours, following this with doctoral research in the work of Tyutchev, supervised by R. Lane. The research was never completed and I returned to it some four years ago, one result being this book.

Early editions of selections of the poems appeared under the surname "Murtagh", the name I was born with and which I have discarded for personal reasons.

The Illustrator

Shaheen Razvi is a freelance artist living in Scotland. She has done portraits, illustrated an Urdu text book and a multi-cultural collection of nursery rhymes. She has also contributed a series of oil paintings on an anti-racist theme to a major exhibition.

Foreword By R. Lane To The 1983 Edition

The poet Fyodor Tyutchev is known and appreciated by too few people outside of Russia, and yet his position as second to Pushkin (arguably only with the exception of Lermontov) has been acknowledged by generations of Russian/Soviet writers and critics. The reading public had always cherished his lyrics, although they did not always have sufficient access to them. Tyutchev can teach much of value about both how to savour the beauty of fleeting moments and how to face life's adversities with spirit.

It is precisely these qualities which have, I believe, been caught admirably in Frank Murtagh's translations. They transmit faithfully the feelings and the tone of the originals, sometimes with remarkable success. I believe that he has tackled sensibly the dilemma of the equation facing all translators of poetry - to what extent to reproduce the originals. It seems inevitable that some of the rhymes and the other formal features must be sacrificed to the need to reproduce the "feel" of Tyutchev's often amazing lyrics. Frank Murtagh has trod this tightrope with great sureness and Tyutchev's distinctive style remains largely unsacrificed. Because he has known and loved the Master for so long, his translations have become consonant with the original poems. In this way they fill a real lacuna. For this collection is the first accurate translation in bulk by a British author. Its only forerunner was Charles Tomlinson's slim volume of 1960. This contained poems of great distinction by an eminent poet, but there was more of Tomlinson in them than Tyutchev. What is more, Frank Murtagh has translated more poems than any other author, several for the first time into English, including some of the much neglected political pieces.

This book has been interestingly illustrated by Shaheen Razvi. Certain of the illustrations do not present the poems in the way in which some people might have visualised them, but they are nevertheless a bold break with the pretty-pretty presentation of anthological pieces hitherto dominant.

All in all, I believe that Frank Murtagh's book is essential reading for students and other readers of Russian poetry and is to be warmly recommended.

R. Lane
University of Durham, England
February, 1983

Foreword To This Edition

Since R. Lane wrote his Foreword in 1983, only one edition of "quality" translations of Tyutchev has appeared till now, Anatoly Liberman's versions of 181 of the poems published in 1991. In calling them "quality" translations, I make a deliberate value judgement, for his is not the only edition of selected poems to have appeared.

There are too many gaps in published Tyutchev scholarship for any one researcher to deal with. The present book is intended to be the first of several of various lengths and formats which I wish to produce as time allows and whose overall aim is to fill some of these gaps. I shall also continue to work at the translations of the poems. I am all too aware of the defects of several of my versions, although I hope they are at least accurately rendered, even if they do little justice to Tyutchev. Very little has been published in English about his personal letters. There has been no serious attempt to translate them in bulk, possibly because the task would be monumental. A satisfactory Russian version of all the poems has yet to appear. Russian editors still tend to favour splitting up the poems according to relative quality, a very subjective business, to say the least. A study of Tyutchev in the letters and memoirs of others would prove illuminating. His family, in particular two of his daughters, Anna and Ekaterina, deserve attention in their own right.

Studies carried out by Russian scholars during the late nineteenth century and the Soviet period, culminating in Pigaryov's Lirika edition and his book on the poet's life and work, Gregg's study of the life and poetry, and Lane's extensive research, represented by numerous articles, some of his contributions published in Literaturnoe nasledstvo (1988-89), now, it seems to me, need drawing together with the many other smaller contributions of the past twenty or thirty years into a single, new book in English on the writer, a thorough, critical re-appraisal of his work. Such a task will be for a new Tyutchev scholar of energy.

Frank Jude
Durham, England
January, 2000

Cronological List Of Tyutchev’s Poems

The title/first line of a known translation and the author's name are given after the English title/first line. Some titles are in French or Latin. Where the first line is given in French, the poem was written in French. Italics are used for the first line of each untitled poem. Where the title is a proper name identical in the languages in question, it is given once only (e.g. Sakontala).

Title/first line

  1. Lyubeznomu papen'ke
    Dear Dad!
  2. Na novyi 1816 god
    New Year 1816
  3. Dvum druz'yam
    To Two Friends
  4. Puskai ot zavisti serdtsa zoilov noyut
    Let envy gnaw Zoilus's heart
  5. Poslanie Goratsiya k Metsenatu, v kotorom priglashaet ego k sel'skomu obedu
    A Letter from Horace to Mecenatus Inviting him to Dinner in the Country
    Tyrrhena progenies, tibi (Horace)
  6. Vsesilen ya i vmeste rab
    Omnipotent am I while weak
  7. Uraniya
  8. Nevernye preodolev puchiny
    Inconstant, watery gulfs finally behind him
  9. K ode Pushkina na Vol'nost'
    On Pushkin's Ode to Freedom
  10. Kharon i Kachenovsky
    Charon and Kachenovsky
  11. Odinochestvo
    L'Isolement (Lamartine)
  12. Vesna (Posvyashchaetsya druz'yam)
    Spring (Dedicated to my Friends)
  13. A.N.M.
  14. Gektor i Andromakha
    Hector and Andromache
    Hektor und Andromacha (Schiller)
  15. Na kamen' zhizni rokovoi
    Along the fateful shore of life
  16. «Ne dai nam dukhu prazdnoslov'ya!»
    «Do not endow us with the spirit of idle gossip!»
  17. Protivnikam vina (Yako i vino veselit serdtse cheloveka)
    To Wine's Detractors (For wine, indeed, brings joy to man's heart)
  18. Poslanie k A.V. Sheremetevu
    An Epistle to A.V. Sheremetev
  19. Pesn' Radosti
    Song of Joy
    An die Freude (Schiller)
  20. Slyozy
  21. S chuzhoi storony
    From a Foreign Land
    Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam
  22. Drug, otkroisya predo mnoyu
    Be open with me, my love
    Libeste, sollst mir heute sagen
  23. Druz'yam pri posylke Pesni Radosti
    iz Shillera
    To My Friends (On Sending them Schiller's "Song of Joy")
  24. K N.
    To N.
  25. K Nisa
    To Nisa.
  26. Pesn' skandinavskikh voinov
    The Song of the Norse Warriors
    Morgengesang im Kriege (Herder)
  27. Problesk
    The Gleam
  28. V al'bom druz'yam
    In an Album for my Friends
    Lines written in an Album at Malta (Byron)
  29. Sakontala (Kalidasa/Goethe)
  30. 14-oe dekabrya 1825
    December 14th. 1825
  31. Zakralas' v serdtse grust', i smutno
    Sadness stole into my heart and I vaguely
    Das Herz ist mir bedruckt, und sehnlich
  32. Voprosy
  33. Korablekrushenie
    The Shipwrecked Man
    Der Schiffbruchige (Heine)
  34. Kak poroyu svetlyi mesyats
    As the bright moon sometimes
    Wie der Mond sich leuchtend dranget
  35. Privetstvie dukha
    The Spirit's Greeting
    Geistesgruss (Goethe)
  36. I. Kto s khlebom slyoz svoikh ne el
    He who has not eaten tears with his bread
    Wer nie sein Brot mit Tranen a?

    II. Kto khochet miru chuzhdym byt'
    He who would be a stranger in the world
    Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergiebt

  37. Zapad, Nord i Yug v krushen'e
    Hegire (Goethe)
  38. Vesennyaya groza
    A Spring Storm
  39. Mogila Napoleona
    Napoleon's Tomb
  40. Cache-Cache
    Hide and Seek
  41. Letnii vecher
    A Summer Evening
  42. Olegov shchit
    Oleg's Shield
  43. Videnie
    A Vision
  44. Bairon
    Totenkranze (Zedlitz)
  45. Sredstvo i tsel'
    The Means and the End
  46. Imperatoru Nikolayu I
    To the Emperor Nicholas I
    Nicolaus das ist der Volksbesieger (Ludwig I of Bavaria)
  47. Bessonnitsa
  48. Utro v gorakh
    Morning in the Mountains
  49. Snezhnye gory
    Snowy Mountains
  50. Poslednii kataklizm
    The Final Cataclysm
  51. K N.N.
    To N.N.
  52. Eshchyo shumel vesyolyi den'
    The happy day was loud
  53. Vecher
  54. Polden'
  55. Lebed'
    The Swan
  56. «Prekrasnyi budet den», – skazal tovarischch
    «It's going to be a nice day», my friend said
    Reisebilder (Heine)
  57. Ty zrel ego v krugu bol'shogo sveta
    You saw him in polite company
  58. V tolpe lyudei, v neskromnom shume dnya
    Among society's gossips
  59. I. Zvuchit, kak drevle, pred toboyu
    As in days gone by, before you is heard
    Die Sonne tont nach alter Weise

    II. Kto zval menya? – O strashnyi vid!
    – «Who called me? – «Oh, horrible sight!»
    Wer ruft mir? – Schreckliches Gesicht!

    III. Chego vy ot menya khotite?
    What do you want of me
    Was sucht ihr, machtig und gelind

    IV. Zachem gubit' v unynii pustom
    Why destroy in empty depression
    Doch la? uns dieser Stunde schones Gut

    V. Zavetnyi kubok
    The Cherished Cup
    Es war ein Konig in Thule

    VI. Derzhavnyi dukh! Ty dal mne, dal mne vsyo
    Almighty spirit, you have given me everything, everything
    Erhabner Geist, du gabst mir, gabst mir alles

  60. Vysokogo predchuvstviya
    Lofty presentiment's

    Il cinque maggio (Manzoni)
  61. Edva my vyshli iz tresenskikh vrat
    We had just left the gates of Trezene
    A peine nous sortions des portes de Trezene
  62. Nochnye mysli
    Night Thoughts
    Nachtgedanken (Goethe)
  63. I. lyubovniki, bezumtsy i poety
    Lovers, madmen and poets

    II. Zarevel golodnyi lev
    The hungry lion has begun to roar

  64. Kak okean ob''emlet shar zemnoi
    Just as the ocean curls around earth's shores
  65. Velikii Karl, prosti!
    Velikii, nezabvennyi!
    Forgive me, Great Charles! Great, unforgotten!

    Hernani (Hugo)
  66. Kon' morskoi
    The Sea Horse
  67. Pevets
    The Singer
    Der Sanger (Goethe)
  68. Zdes', gde tak vyalo svod nebesnyi
    Here the sky stares inert
  69. Uspokoenie (Groza proshla – eshchyo kuryas', lezhal)
    Peace (The storm has passed)
  70. Dvum syostram
    To Two Sisters
  71. Sei den', ya pomnyu
    I recall that day
  72. Tsitseron
  73. Osennii vecher
    An Autumn Evening
  74. List'ya
  75. Cherez livonskie ya proezzhal polya
    Crossing Livonian fields
  76. Pesok sypuchii po koleni
    Sand gives softly. Hooves sink.
  77. Strannik
    The Wanderer
  78. Bezumie
  79. Al'py
    The Alps
  80. Mal'aria
    Infected Air
  81. Za nashim vekom my idyom
    We walk behind our age
  82. Vesennie vody
    Vernal Waters
  83. Silentium! - Stay Silent!
  84. Kak nad goryacheyu zoloi
    As a piece of paper
  85. K*** (Usta s ulybkoyu privetnoi)
    To... (Lips with a smile of greeting)
  86. Kak doch' rodnuyu na zaklan'e
    Just as Agamenon brought his daughter
  87. Vsyo beshenei burya, vsyo zlee i zlei
    The storm howls more evilly, screaming its spite
  88. Vesennee uspokoenie
    Peace in Springtime
    Fruhlingsruhe (Uhland)
  89. Na dreve chelovechestva vysokom
    You were the best leaf
  90. Dva demona emu sluzhili
    Two demons served him
  91. Probleme
    A Problem
  92. Son na more
    A Dream at Sea
  93. Prishlosya konchit' zhizn' v ovrage
    I'm ending my days in a ditch
  94. Arfa skal'da
    The Skald's Harp
  95. Ya lyuteran lyublyu bogosluzhen'e
    I like the service of the Lutherans
  96. V kotoruyu iz dvukh lyubit'sya
    With which of the two has fate decreed
    In welche soll ich mich verlieben
  97. Iz kraya v krai, iz grada v grad
    From land to land, from town to town
    Es treibt dich fort von Ort zu Ort
  98. Ya pomnyu vremya zolotoe
    I remember a golden time
  99. Dusha moya – elisium tenei
    My soul, you're an Elysium of shades
  100. Kak sladko dremlet sad temnozelyonyi
    How sweetly sleep lies on the green garden
  101. Net, moego k tebe pristrast'ya
    No, Mother-Earth, my tenderness for you
  102. V dushnom vozdukha molchan'e
    Silent air enwrapping
  103. Chto ty klonish' nad vodami
    Willow, why do you lower
  104. Vecher mglistyi i nenastnyi
    Foul night, misty night
  105. I grob opushchen uzh v mogilu
    Into the grave the coffin's lowered
  106. Vostok belel. Lad'ya katilas'
    The east whitened.
  107. Teni sizye smesilis'
    Blue-grey mingling
  108. S polyany korshun podnyalsya
    The kite lifts from the field
  109. Kakoe dikoe ushchel'e
    What a wild ravine!
  110. Kak ptichka, ranneyu zaryoi
    The whole world starts as sunlight streams
  111. Tam, gde gory, ubegaya
    Far into the shining distance
  112. Nad vinogradnymi kholmami
    Across vine-covered hillsides
  113. O chyom ty voesh', vetr nochnoi?
    Why do you howl, night wind?
  114. Potok sgustilsya i tuskneet
    The stream has frozen and dulled
  115. Sizhu zadumchiv i odin
    I sit deep in thought and alone
  116. Eshchyo zemli pechalen vid
    Earth's face is still a melancholy thing
  117. Zima nedarom zlitsya
    Winter's spite is vain
  118. Yarkii sneg siyal v doline
    Brilliant snow shone in the valley
  119. Fontan
    The Fountain
  120. Dusha khotela b byt' zvezdoi
    My soul would like to be a star
  121. Ne to, chto mnite vy priroda
    Nature is not what you think it is
  122. I chuvstva net v tvoikh ochakh
    There's not a spark of feeling in your eyes
  123. Lyublyu glaza tvoi, moi drug
    I love your eyes, dear
  124. Vchera, v mechtakh obvorozhyonnykh
    Last night in enchanted dreams
  125. 29-oe yanvarya 1837
    January 29th. 1837
  126. 1-oe dekabrya 1837
    December 1st. 1837
  127. Ital'yanskaya villa
    The Italian Villa
  128. Davno l', davno l', o Yug blazhennyi
    Is it so long, blessed, blissful South
  129. S kakoyu negoyu, s kakoi toskoi vlyublyonnoi
    What gentle, tender joy, what enamoured pangs
  130. Nous avons pu, tous deux, fatigues du voyage
    Tired by travel, we made
  131. Smotri, kak zapad razgorelsya
    Watch the West flaming up
  132. Vesna (Kak ni gnetyot ruka sud'biny)
    Spring (No matter how oppressive the hand of fate)
  133. Den' i noch'
    Day and Night
  134. Ne ver', ne ver' poetu, deva
    Don't believe the poet, girl!
  135. Zhivym sochuvstviem priveta
    With a lively, sympathetic greeting
  136. K Ganke
    To Hanka
  137. Znamya i Slovo
    The Banner and the Word
  138. Ot russkogo, po prochtenii otryvkov lektsii g-na Mitskevicha
    From a Russian, Having Read Extracts from Mr. Mickiewicz's Lectures
  139. Que l'homme est peu reel, qu'aisement il s'efface!
    Unreal man's so simple to efface
  140. Glyadel ya, stoya nad Nevoi
    I stood by the Neva, my gaze
  141. Kolumb
  142. Un Reve
    A Reverie
  143. More i Utyos
    The Sea and the Cliff
  144. Un ciel lourd que la nuit bien avant l'heure assiege
    A heavy sky which night has prematurely assailed
  145. Eshchyo tomlyus' toskoi zhelanii
    Longing, desires still ravage
  146. Ne znaesh', chto lestnei dlya mudrosti lyudskoi
    By which can human wisdom more surely be enhanced
  147. Kak dymnyi stolp svetleet v vyshine
    A cloud bank, bright and high
  148. Russkoi zhenshchine
    To Russian Woman
  149. Russkaya Geografiya
    A Russian Geography
  150. Svyataya noch' na nebosklon vzoshla
    Holy night has climbed across the sky
  151. Neokhotno i nesmelo
    Timidly, unwillingly
  152. Itak, opyat' uvidelsya ya s vami
    So once again we meet
  153. Tikhoi noch'yu, pozdnim letom
    Quiet evening, late in summer
  154. Kogda v krugu ubiistvennykh zabot
    When clinging, murderous cares
  155. Slyozy lyudskie, o slyozy lyudskie
    Tears of people, tears of people
  156. Pochtenneishemu imeninniku Filippu Filippovichu Vigelyu
    To the Most Honourable Filipp Filippovich Vigel
  157. Po ravnine vod lazurnoi
    Across an azure plain of water
  158. Rassvet
  159. Vnov' tvoi ya vizhu ochi
    Once again I see your eyes
  160. Kak on lyubil rodnye eli
    How he loved the native firs
  161. Lamartine (La lyre d'Apollon, cet oracle des dieux)
    Lamartine (Apollo's lyre, oracle of the gods)
  162. Napoleon
  163. Comme en aimant le coeur devient pusillanime
    The heart in love cowers
  164. Poeziya
  165. Rim noch'yu
    Rome at night
  166. Venetsiya
  167. Konchen pir, umolkli khory
    Feating finished, choirs quiet
  168. Prorochestvo
    A Prophecy
  169. Uzh tretii god besnuyutsya yazyki
    For the third year now, the tribes have run amok
  170. Net, karlik moi! trus besprimernyi
    Your cowardice can't be measured, you dwarf!
  171. Poshli, Gospod', svoyu otradu
    Lord, send your comfort
  172. Na Neve
    On the Neva
  173. Kak ni dyshit polden' znoinyi
    Midday breathes its hottest
  174. Ne rassuzhdai, ne khlopochi!
    Forget all cares, don't reason deep
  175. Pod dykhan'em nepogody
    Swelling, darkening waters
  176. Vous dont on voit briller, dans les nuits azurees
    Unsullied gods of light
  177. Obveyan veshcheyu dremotoi
    Prophetic sleep enfolds
  178. Grafine E.P. Rostopchinoi (V otvet na eyo pis'mo)
    To Countess E.P. Rostopchina (In Reply to her Letter)
  179. Dva golosa
    Two Voices
  180. Togda lish' v polnom torzhestve
    The desired structure
  181. Pominki
    The Wake
  182. Smotri, kak na rechnom prostore
    Across the river's broad expanse you see
  183. O, kak ubiistvenno my lyubim!
    How we murder while we love!
  184. Des premiers ans de votre vie
    How I love to find again the source
  185. Ne znayu ya, kosnyotsya l' blagodat'
    I don't know whether grace will touch
  186. Pervyi list
    The First Leaf
  187. Ne raz ty slyshala priznan'e
    You've often heard the admission
  188. Nash vek
    Our Age
  189. Volna i duma
    The Wave and the Thought
  190. Ne ostyvshaya ot znoyu
    Heat has not congealed
  191. V razluke est' vysokoe znachen'e
    Separation has this lofty meaning
  192. Ty znaesh' krai, gde mirt i lavr rastyot
    Do you know the land where the myrtle and laurel bloom
    Kennst du das land, wo die Zitronen bluhn
  193. Den' vechereet, noch' blizka
    Day turns to evening. Night approaches
  194. Kak vesel grokhot letnikh bur'
    Summer thunder's a happy ogre
  195. S ozera veet prokhlada i nega
    Coolness and comfort waft up from the lake
    Es lachelt der See, er ladet zum Bade
  196. Nedarom miloserdym Bogom
    Not in vain has the gracious God
  197. Predopredelenie
  198. Ne govori: menya on, kak i prezhde, lyubit
    Don't say he loves me as he used to
  199. O, ne trevozh' menya ukoroi spravedlivoi
  200. Chemu molilas' ty s lyubov'yu
    What you guarded in your heart
  201. Ya ochi znal
    o eti ochi!
    I knew a pair of eyes. Oh, what a sight!
  202. Bliznetsy
    The Twins
  203. Ty, volna moya morskaya
  204. Pamyati V.A. Zhukovskogo
    To the Memory of V.A. Zhukovsky
  205. Siyaet solntse, vody bleshchut
    The sun is shining, waters glisten
  206. Charodeikoyu zimoyu
    The forest is entranced
  207. Poslednyaya lyubov'
    Last Love
  208. Neman
    The Nieman
  209. Spiriticheskoe predskazanie
    A Spiritualistic Prediction
  210. A.S. Dolgorukoi
    To A.S. Dolgorukaya
  211. Leto 1854
    Summer 1854
  212. Uvy, chto nashego neznan'ya
    What is more impotent and sad
  213. Teper' tebe ne do stikhov
    You're not in the mood for verses
  214. De son crayon inimitable
    To merit one word, one comma, one full stop
  215. Po sluchayu priezda avstriiskogo ertsgertsoga na Pokhorony imperatora Nikolaya
    On the Occasion of the Arrival of the Austrian Archduke at the Funeral of the Emperor Nicholas.
  216. Plamya rdeet, plamya pyshet
    Redness. Flaring.
  217. Tak, v zhizni est' mgnoven'ya
    In life there are moments you cannot convey
  218. Eti bednye selen'ya
    These poor villages, this sorry nature!
  219. Vot ot morya i do morya
    From sea to sea the wire goes
  220. Grafine Rostopchinoi (O, v eti dni – dni rokovye)
    To Countess Rostopchina (Oh, in these days, these fateful days
  221. 1856 (Stoim my slepo pred sud'boyu)
    1856 (Blindly we face fate)
  222. O veshchaya dusha moya!
    Oh, my prophetic soul!
  223. Molchi, proshu, ne smei menya budit'
    Be quiet, please! Don't dare wake me!
  224. Oui, le sommeil m'est doux! plus doux de n'etre pas!
    Yes, sleep is sweet, but it's sweeter not to have been!
  225. Ne Bogu ty sluzhil i ne Rossii
    To serve God and Russia was never your intention
  226. Tomu, kto s veroi i lyubov'yu
    For him who served his native land
  227. Vsyo, chto sberech' mne udalos'
    What I've managed to keep alive
  228. Il faut qu'une porte
    A door should be open or closed
  229. N.F. Shcherbine
    To N.F. Shcherbina
  230. S vremenshchikom Fortuna v spore
    Fortune had an argument with a favourite
    Das Gluck und die Weisheit
  231. Prekrasnyi den' ego na Zapade ischez
    His fine day has disappeared in the West
  232. Nad etoi tyomnoyu tolpoi
    Above this ignorant crowd
  233. Est' v oseni pervonachal'noi
    There is a fleeting, wondrous moment
  234. Smotri, kak roshcha zeleneet
    Look at the coppice!
  235. Kogda os'mnadtsat' let tvoi
    When your eighteen years
  236. E.N. Annenkovoi (D'une fille du nord, chetive et languissante)
    To E.N. Annenkova (Are you trying to borrow the features)
  237. V chasy, kogda byvaet
    At times when there is
  238. Ona sidela na polu
    She was sitting on the floor
  239. Uspoloenie (Kogda, chto zvali my svoim)
    Peace (When what we called our own)
  240. Osennei pozdneyu poroyu
    Late in autumn
  241. Na vozvratnom puti
    On the Journey Home
  242. Est mnogo melkikh, bezymyannykh
    There are many tiny, unnamed
  243. Pour sa Majeste l'Imperatrice
    For her Imperial Majesty
  244. Pour Madame la Grande Duchesse Helene
    For Grand Duchess Helen
  245. Dekabr'skoe utro
    A December Morning
  246. E.N. Annenkovoi (I v nashei zhizni povsdnevnoi)
    To E.N. Annenkova (Into daily life)
  247. Iz Yakoba Byome
    From Jacob Bohme
  248. Kuda somnitelen mne tvoi
    «Sceptical» sums up the way I feel
  249. Prokhodya svoi put' po svodu
    Tracing its path across the sky
  250. De ces frimas, de ces deserts
    From these empty lands, from this wintry weather
  251. Memento!
  252. Khot' ya i svil gnezdo v doline
    I have built my nest in a valley
  253. La vieille Hecube, helas, trop longtemps eprouvee
    Old Hecuba, alas, so long so sorely tried
  254. Na yubilei knyazya Petra Andreevicha Vyazemskogo
    On the Occasion of Prince Pyotr Andreevich Vyazemsky's Jubilee
  255. Kogda-to ya byla maiorom
    Once I was a major, many years ago
  256. Aleksandru II
    To Alexander II
  257. Ya znal eyo eshchyo togda
    I knew her even then
  258. Nedarom russkie ty s detstva pomnil zvuki
    Not for nothing have your remembered the sounds
  259. Knyazyu P.A. Vyazemskomu (Teper' ne to, chto za polgoda)
    To Prince P.A. Vyazemsky (It's not the same now as it was six months back)
  260. Igrai, pokuda nad toboi
    Play while above you
  261. Pri posylke Novogo Zaveta
    On Sending the New Testament
  262. Oboim Nikolayam
    To Both Nicholases
  263. On prezhde mirnyi byl kazak
    He used to be a gentle cossack
  264. A.A. Fetu
    To A.A. Fet
  265. Inym dostalsya ot prirody
    Nature has endowed some with a sense
  266. Svyatye gory
    The Sacred Mountains
  267. Zateyu etogo rasskaza
    For itself this story speaks
  268. Uzhasnyi son otyagotel nad nami
    We've been burdened by a horrible dream
  269. Ego svetlosti A.A. Suvorovu
    To his Grace Prince A.A. Suvorov
  270. Kak letnei inogda poroyu
    Just as now and then during summer
  271. N.I. Krolyu
    To N.I. Krol'
  272. 19-oe fevralya 1864 (i tikhimi poslednimi shagami)
    February 19th. 1864 (With his last quiet steps)
  273. Ne vsyo dushe boleznennoe snitsya
    Not always does the soul have sickly dreams
  274. Utikhla biza.... Legche dyshi
    The breeze has dropped and lighter is the breath
  275. Ves' den' ona lezhala v zabyt'i
    All day she lay oblivious
  276. Kak nerazgadannaya taina
    Like an unresolved mystery
  277. O, etot Yug, o, eta Nitstsa!
    Oh, this south, oh, this Nice!
  278. Kto b ni byl ty, no vstretyas' s nei
    No matter who you are, just meeting her
  279. Encyclica
    An Encyclical
  280. Knyazyu Gorchakovu (vam vypalo prizvan'e rokovoe)
    To Prince Gorchakov (Yours has been a fateful calling)
  281. Kak khorosho ty, o more nochnoe
    Ocean-billows, night-surging
  282. Kogda na to net Bozh'ego soglas'ya
    When god has deferred assent
  283. Otvet na adres
    In Reply to an Address
  284. Est' i v moyom stradal'cheskom zastoe
    In the martyrdom of my stagnation
  285. On, umiraya, somnevalsya
    Dying, he doubted
  286. Syn tsarskii umiraet v Nitstse
    In Nice the tsar's son is dying
  287. 12-oe aprelya 1865
    April 12th. 1865
  288. Kak verno zdravyi smysl naroda
    How truly has the common sense of folk
  289. Pevuchest' est' v morskikh volnakh
    The sea is harmony
  290. Drugu moemu Ya. P. Polonskomu
    To my Friend, Ya. P. Polonsky
  291. Veleli vy – khot', mozhet byt', i v shutku
    You commanded, though, perhaps, in jest
  292. Knyazyu Vyazemskomu (Est' telegraf za neimen'em nog)
    To Prince Vyazemsky (There's the telegraph if you've go no legs)
  293. Bednyi Lazar', Ir ubogoi
    Poor Lazarus, wretched Iros
  294. Segodnya, drug, pyatnadtsat' let minulo
    It's fifteen years today, my friend
  295. Molchit somnitel'no Vostok
    The East is doubtful, silent
  296. Nakanune godovshchiny 4-ogo avgusta 1864 g.
    On the Eve of the Anniversary of August 4th. 1864
  297. Kak neozhidanno i yarko
    Unexpectedly and brightly
  298. Nochnoe nebo tak ugryumo
    Sad night creeps
  299. Net dnya, chtoby dusha ne nyla
    Not a day relievs the soul of pain
  300. Kak ni besilosya zlorech'e
    Let foul slander rage
  301. Grafine A.D. Bludovoi
    To Countess A.D. Bludova
  302. Tak! On spasyon! Inache byt' ne mozhet
    So he's saved! Could it turn out otherwise?
  303. Kogda sochuvstvenno na nashe slovo
    When what we have said is echoed far and wide
  304. Knyazyu Suvorovu (Dva raznorodnye stremlen'ya)
    To Prince Suvorov (Two disparate tendencies)
  305. I v Bozh'em mire to zh byvaet
    In God's world it can happen
  306. Kogda rasstroennyi kredit
    When our disordered exchequer
  307. Tikho v ozere struitsya
    Lake's still currents
  308. Na grobovoi ego pokrov
    On his funeral pall
  309. Kogda dryakhleyushchie sily
    When our decrepit energies turn traitor
  310. Nebo blednogoluboe
    The pale-blue sky
  311. Umom Rossiyu ne ponyat'
    Russia is a thing of which
  312. Na yubilei N.M. Karamzin
    On the Jubilee of N.M. Karamzin
  313. Ty l'dolgo budesh' za tumanom
    Russian star, will you always seek
  314. V Rime
    In Rome
  315. Khotya b ona soshla s litsa zemnogo
    Although it has slipped from the face of the earth
  316. Ne v pervyi raz volnuetsya Vostok
    It's not the first time the East has been in turmoil.
  317. Nad Rossiei rasprostyortoi
  318. Kak etogo posmertnogo al'boma
    How I love the cherished pages
  319. I dym otechestva i sladok i priyaten
    The smoke of the fatherland is sweet to smell!
  320. Dym
  321. Slavyanam (Privet vam zadushevnyi, brat'ya)
    To the Slavs (A heartfelt greeting to you, brethren)
  322. Slavyanam (Oni krichat, oni grozyatsya)
    To the Slavs (They shout, they threaten)
  323. Pripiska
    Postscript to the Poem Entitled To Hanka
  324. Naprasnyi trud – net, ikh ne vrazumish'
    It's a waste of time. You'll not make them see sense
  325. Na yubilei knyazya A.N. Gorchakova
    On the Jubilee of Prince A.N. Gorchakov
  326. Lorsqu'un noble prince en ces jours de demence
    In these days of madness, if a noble prince sinks
  327. Kak ni tyazhyol poslednii chas
    However burdensome the end
  328. Svershaetsya zasluzhennaya kara
    A righteous punishment is being meted out
  329. Po prochtenii depesh imperatorskogo kabineta napechatannykh v "Journal de St. Petersbourg"
    On Reading the Imperial Despatches, Printed in the Journal de St. Petersbourg
  330. Opyat, stoyu ya nad Nevoi
    Once more by the Neva I stand
  331. Pozhary
  332. V nebe tayut oblaka
    Clouds melt in the sky
  333. Mikhailu Petrovichu Pogodinu
    To Mikhail Petrovich Pogodin
  334. Pamyati E.P. Kovalevskogo
    In Memory of E.P. Kovalevsky
  335. Pechati russkoi dobrokhoty
    The well-wishers of the Russian Press
  336. Motiv Geine
    A Heine Motif
    Der Tod, das ist die kuhle Nacht (Heine)
  337. Vy ne rodilus' polyakom
    You weren't born a Pole
  338. «Net, ne mogu ya videt vas....»
  339. Velikii den' Kirillovoi konchiny
    With which heartfelt, simple greeting
  340. Nam ne dano predugadat'
    It's not given us to foretell
  341. Dve sily est' – dve rokovye sily
    There are two powers, two fateful powers
  342. 11-oe maya 1869 (Nas vsekh, sobravshikhsya na obshchii prazdnik snova)
    May 11th. 1869 (The word of the Gospel has now taugh us all)
  343. Kak nasazhdeniya Petrova
    Just as the trees
  344. O.I. Orlovoi-Davydovoi
    To O.I. Orlova-Davydova
  345. Andreyu Nikolaevichu Murav'yovu (Tam, gde na vysote obryva)
    To Andrei Nikolaevich Murav'yov (There, on the summit of an overhang)
  346. V derevne
    In the Country
  347. Priroda – sfinks. I tem ona vernei
    Nature is a sphinx.
  348. Chekham ot moskovskikh slavyan
    To the Czechs from the Moscow Slavs
  349. Kak nas ni ugnetai razluka
    No matter how we're crushed by separation
  350. Sovremennoe
    Today's News
  351. A.F. Gil'ferdingu
    To A.F. Hilferding
  352. Yu. F. Abaze
    To Yu F. Abaza
  353. Krasnorechivuyu, zhivuyu
    I read my rebuke
  354. Tak providenie sudilo
    Thus has providence judged
  355. Radost' i gore v zhivom upoen'e
    Joy and grief in living ecstasy
  356. Gus na kostre
    Hus at the Stake
  357. Nad russkoi Vil'noi starodavnoi
    Over ancient, Russian Vilnius
  358. K.B.
  359. Doekhal ispravno, ustalyi i tselyi
    Tired and in one piece, I got here on time
  360. Dva edinstva
    Two Unities
  361. Velen'yu vyshemy pokorny
    Submissive to a high command
  362. Chemu by zhizn' nas ni uchila
    Whatever life might have taught us
  363. Da, vy derzhali vashe slovo
    Yes, you have kept your word
  364. Ah, quelle meprise
    I'm bewildered and let me say
  365. Brat, stol'ko let soputsvovavshii mne
    Brother, you have been with me so long
  366. S novym godom, s novym schast'em
    Happy New Year, all the best
  367. Davno izvestnaya vsem dura
    A fool we've known for ages
  368. Vprosonkakh slyshu ya – i ne mogu
    I'm half asleep and I can't
  369. Chyornoe more
    The Black Sea
  370. Vatikanskaya godovshchina
    The Vatican's Anniversary
  371. Ot zhizni toi, chto bushevala zdes'
    Of the life that raged here
  372. Vrag otritsatel'nosti uzkoi
    Enemy of narrow negativity
  373. Pamyati M.K. Politkovskoi
    To the Memory of M.K. Politkovskii
  374. Den' pravoslavnogo Vostoka
    On this day of the Orthodox East
  375. Mir i soglas'e mezhdu nas
    There's peace and harmony between us
  376. Kak bestolkovy chisla eti
    These dates are so illogical!
  377. Tut tselyi mir, zhivoi, raznoobraznyi
    Here's a whole world, living, varied
  378. Chertog tvoi, spasitel', ya vizhu ukrashen
    Saviour, I see your mansion decked out
  379. Khotel by ya, chtoby v svoei mogile
    In my grave I'd love to lie
  380. Napoleon III
  381. Tebe, bolyashchaya v dalyokoi storone
    To you, ill in a distant land
  382. Britanskii leopard
    The British Leopard
  383. Konechno, vredno pol'zam gosudarstva
    Of course, it is harmful to the wellbeing of the state
  384. Vo dni napastei i bedy
    In days of misfortune and trouble
  385. Vsyo otnyal ot menya kaznyashchii Bog
    In punishment, God's taken everything away
  386. Ital'yanskaya vesna
    Spring in Italy
  387. My solntsu yuga ustupaem vas
    We surrender you to the sun of the south.
  388. Vot svezhie tebe tsvety
    Here are some fresh blooms for you
  389. April 17th. 1818
  390. Imperatoru Aleksandru II
    To his Imperial Majesty Alexander II
  391. Bessonnitsa (nochnoi moment)
    Insomnia (A Moment at Night)
  392. Khot' rodom on byl ne Slavyanin
    Although he wasn't born a Slav
  393. Byvaet rokovye dni
    Fate Sends Days


This book has two principal objectives: (a) to provide, for the first time in English, an annotated version of all of Tyutchev's surviving poems, including his translations of other writers, which will be of use to the student of Russian, the Tyutchev researcher and anyone involved in the field of literary translation; (b) to serve as the first ever attempt to introduce Tyutchev the poet in full to the reader of literature who knows no Russian.

Most of the annotations deal with history, literary and political. I have incorporated almost all the notes from Pigaryov's edition, (A:33ii) (1) which are a summary of many people's findings, references to Aksakov's biography and extracts from Tyutchev's letters, as well as including comments by many researchers and myself.

The full version and my translation of every identifiable surviving foreign work Tyutchev translated permits readers to consider why he may have chosen particular material for translation in the first place and why he retained its sense or altered it as he did. My versions and, indeed, any translations necessarily afford only an approximate idea of this. The way he dealt with the work of others is in itself a fascinating feature of any research into the poet, for Tyutchev was not always a faithful translator. While certain of these works are very good renditions indeed, others do not pretend to adhere to the sense of the source poem. It is difficult to regard Pesn' skandinavskikh voinov/The Song of the Norse Warriors as a translation of Herder's Morgengesang im Kriege/Morning Song in War Time, written in a folk or pseudo-folk vein, for it doubles the German piece in length and introduces material utterly foreign to the spirit and movement of Herder's work, though the new material does owe a little to Russian folklore. On the other hand, parts of Tyutchev's work are a direct translation or close copy of the German. Tyutchev sticks closely to the original when he chooses to, as in his translation of two short pieces from Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream, which he probably translated from a good German version, and Hippolytus's death scene from Racine's Phedre. These are skilful renditions, as are a number of shorter works from Heine and Goethe and sections of the latter's Faust (Part 1). But where do we stand with the extract from Hugo's Hernani? It is significantly and deliberately altered in some ways yet retains very large sections of the original. Do we consider the lyric entitled Sakontala to be a translation? It resembles only superficially the originating scene from Kalidasa'splay and is not much like the Goethe version often said to be its inspiration. Classical Sanskrit literature being so popular in the nineteenth century through the work of such as A. Schlegel (1767-1845), Tyutchev's Sakontala should probably be seen as one more of many poems written on one of its themes. The question of what motivated him to alter other works in the subtle ways he did remains, and is beyond the scope of this book.

Because it can be so difficult to know exactly where to draw the line between Tyutchev's original lyrics and his translations/adaptations/paraphrases, I have considered each of his works as part of the one evolving body of poetry without attempting to classify into "lyric", "political" and "occasional", fully aware that I go against standard practice in adopting this approach, although Liberman has recently adopted the chronological manner of grouping the lyrics. (A:19) It has been too common in the past to present the reader with the bulk of what all would agree is his best lyric poetry, leaving other types of verse, for example the political pieces, in what has sometimes amounted to an appendix.

A number of Tyutchev's "lyric" poems, if we follow Pigaryov's categories, are mediocre and some of his political and, indeed, a handful of the so-called "occasional" verses, including a few written in French, are far from inferior. Five of his French poems are good and two are among this reader's personal favourites. To present an undiluted diet of lyric poetry written over roughly fifty years is to give an erroneous impression of Tyutchev. It would be equally misleading to produce a book of solely political verse. It is likely that Tyutchev wrote in these categories more or less simultaneously and we are probably on safe ground in asserting that there is no period of his creative life when he was not producing nature lyrics, political verse, love poetry, superficial occasional lines, philosophical statements and taking limerick-like swipes at people he did not like. Whatever spurred him to write a remarkable description of sunset (Letnii vecher/A Summer Evening [41]), occurred at the same time as the Russo-Turkish war (see Olegov shchit/Oleg's Shield [42]) and coincided with an alluring young female turning his head to anything but poetry, as in the erotic, possibly adulterous K N.N./To N. N. [51]. Since poems of all categories were certainly fermenting at any one time, it seems logical to deduce that they all represent in some way the poet as he was at that time. The chronological approach does need to be reinforced. To this end I present Tyutchev's work as I do.

While the exact chronology of the poems before 1847 will probably never be established, I have adhered to the best chronological sequence I can come up with at present. Works clearly showing someone else's influence appear beside those considered truly original. Of course, while a large number of his early nature poems could be said to trace their genesis to German romanticism, a point made early this century by Tynyanov, and Tyutchev being very much a poet who saw the world through literary eyes, the best of them, while sharing imagery and themes with German lyrics, are uniquely characteristic of Tyutchev and often considerably more innovative than many of the works which may have inspired them.

It has often been said that there are cycles in Tyutchev. Poems written to his mistress, Elena Deniseva, are said to make up the so-called Deniseva Cycle. These were produced over several years and in no way constitute a cycle, let alone a "novel in verse". (See A:20, vol.1/58) His relationship with Elena did not cramp his style when it came to writing to and about other women, including his first and second wives and Amalia Krudner, whose name and presence crop up at various stages of his life in letters and poems. Whether poems to women are in question, nature descriptions or lyrics with all the imagery of chaos so beloved of Tyutchev, he simply was not the poet to produce a cycle on any theme, being so unforgivably careless when it came to looking after his work once the interest of immediate inspiration had evaporated. Nodal themes and commonly recurring groups of images, such as the so-called "Holy Night", do not suggest cycles any more than the lyrics addressed to his mistress. Heine's Nordsee/North Sea, parts of which Tyutchev translated, is a cycle. The lyrics take a theme and present it from different angles and with different nuances, but however much each poem might differ from another, they are deliberately, artistically linked by the sea/abandonment theme, or whatever one might wish to call it.

It is not even useful to consider that he wrote lyrics loosely connected, as did Lamartine in his group of Meditations Poetiques/Poetic Meditations, number 1 of which Tyutchev translated, for all too often in Tyutchev spontaneity is of the first importance in the writing of his best works and spontaneity and cycles tend not to go hand in hand. The same applies, from a literary-historical point of view, to periods. Continuity is, as Liberman notes, a most important feature of Tyutchev's style, so much so that "it is hardly possible to detect 'periods' in his creative life", differences, when they do emerge, being "unrelated to the juxtaposition of romanticism and realism". (A:19) Ultimately Tyutchev is unique in being a brilliant and great poet who, it could be argued, had absolutely no desire to be any kind of poet at all.

"It is possible that nothing leads us closer to contemplation of the essence of literature than working at the translation of poetry, or at least thoughtfully appraising such work." (D:11/147) Translation can enjoy certain advantages over exegesis. Translators become acquainted with "their" authors in a way not always permitted by the kind of interpretation which requires neutral objectivity, ever respectfully acknowledging the work of others, be that good, bad or indifferent. There are countless trenchant statements by countless clever translators concerning the problems inherent in the process of literary translation. Does the translator bring the author to the reader, the "domesticating method", as one writer puts it, "an ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to target-language cultural values, bringing the author back home, or does he adopt the "foreignizing method .... an ethnodeviant pressure on those values to register the linguistic and cultural differences of the foreign text, sending the reader abroad". (D:25/20) Perhaps neither of these methods is applicable to Tyutchev, who, it could be said, was Russian by nationality only and possessed to no significant degree Russian cultural values. To translate one so cosmopolitan, even rootless, perhaps the domesticating and foreignizing methods are irrelevant.

Imitation, for all the following caveat, may be the best means of dealing with the source languages, the imitator having "not the slightest intention of bringing the two together - the writer of the original and the reader of the imitation - because he does not believe that an immediate relationship between them is possible; he only wants to give the latter an impression similar to that which the contemporaries of the original received from it". (D:19/41) In my own translations I often strive to give such an impression, so perhaps I join Schleiermacher's ranks of imitators, though while I accept that it is "foolish to argue for the exact reconstruction of a poem in another language when the building blocks at one's disposal bear no resemblance to those of the original", (D:27/107) I do feel that a more than adequate reconstruction is not beyond the grasp of the capable translator.

Concerning the reproduction of those formal aspects of a poem which set it apart from any other piece of writing, Jacquin allows the translator pretty well free play: "If rhymed verse becomes blank or free verse in translation (something which is sometimes prose in disguise ...) the poet is betrayed and the reader led astray; for the translation deflects from their functions forms inscribed in tradition. But to preserve rhymes is to restrict one's choice of terms, hindered moreover by lexical and grammatical restraints, to risk sacrificing the other values of the piece to the ornament of sound and thus to destroy its cohesive power". (D:6/52-53)

I do not attempt to produce a lyric which reminds an English reader of what he likes in English poetry. Nor is my aim to achieve a general romantic or nineteenth-century "feel", whatever that may be. I do not consider an adherence to formal characteristics to be of the first importance any more than I ignore them, for if they are present in a poem they are important, and if the translator chooses to sacrifice them, something else must take their place in order that the result be poetry and not prose. What is necessary, and it is the only thing that will work, is a juggling act, an ability to read between the lines, keeping one eye on the foreignness of the source and another on what is probably a desire on the reader's part to be presented with something with which he feels comfortable. This idea of "comfortableness" might be considered subjective, even vague, but it is important and can generally be achieved provided the translator can say, with a degree of confidence, "I am acquainted with the person who is that writer".

It is certainly likely that in translating lyric poetry, "the translator will have chosen the poem himself, and even more likely that the task will be undertaken with empathy and a degree of personal commitment". (D:20/631) This personal choice, this commitment on the translator's part is of the first importance. The task might be likened to explaining to an outsider what a close relative or friend who has lost his voice is trying to say. Most emphatically, I am not a poet of any description. My target is simply to introduce the reader directly to Tyutchev.

Aware of the many well-researched conclusions reached by theorists in the field of translation studies, I believe three things are essential in the attainment of this target. The first and most obvious is a good knowledge of the target and source languages; the second, occasionally more controversial, is a degree of expertise in the manipulation of language, a most important willingness and ability to take risks at the expense of structural fidelity, even at the apparent expense of faithfulness to major images and poetic formulae; the third, not readily appreciated by all translators, is an acceptance of the importance of the writer's life, not only his creative life, for on its own this is a thing in a vacuum, but his personal motivations, his social milieux and his political/historical environment. A close acquaintance with the writer can allow us to clear, at least in part, the hurdles posed by the untranslated words. While words cannot always be translated perfectly (2), once the various possible meanings and their nuances, taking into account the age in which they were written, have been listed, the emotions and thoughts which produced them can be coped with to some extent for, whether we be English or Russian, what makes us feel, think, believe the way we do is universal and, therefore, capable of being translated. The reproduction of the word is not, it follows, my ultimate aim, for the words lead us into the thing the writer is expressing. From the melting pot of my priorities emerges, it is hoped, a new creation which is an accurate statement about Tyutchev in a given lyric at a given time.

My translation methods correspond broadly with two of Nabokov's three modes of translation, the "paraphrastic" and the "literal" (D:2, vol. 1/viii). From his early, relatively free translations, Nabokov became more and more dogmatic, even obsessive, scathingly attacking anything other than the purely literal (and by implication his own early, excellent renditions of Tyutchev), once claiming that his ideal translation would be a book of annotations with the corresponding line of verse every few pages: "I want translations in copious footnotes, footnotes reaching up like skyscrapers to the top of this or that page, so as to leave only the gleam of one textual line between commentary and eternity." (D:12/512) However tongue-in-cheek this comment may be, Nabokov began to work according to it, but such a method of translation is (surely) an extreme business unless translation is to be a purely scholarly exercise enjoyed by the few. Such is not the role of art. Concerning the art of translation, Nabokov wrote, "the person who desires to turn a literary masterpiece into another language, has only one duty to perform, and this is to produce with absolute exactitude the whole text, and nothing but the text. The term "literal" translation is tautological since anything but that is not truly translation but an imitation, an adaptation or a parody" (D:13/496-512) (3). Such an approach automatically distances the vast majority of readers from precisely what makes great literature enjoyable. Literalists all too often miss the point. I join those translators who are ready, where appropriate to sacrifice rhyme and assonance "to the silent counterpoint of poetic meaning". (D:22/v)

While annotated literalness creates a gap between reader and writer, its structural cousin, the search for a different kind of literalness through the minefield of any attempt to adhere to formal characteristics such as rhyme, is an equally dangerous business and retention of a poem's formal aspects should be considered only provided the sense and "feel" of the poem remain intact. In producing a work accurate from the point of view of rhyme and metre, the translator will inevitably be stretching the target language, all too often in a contrived fashion, producing an unnatural effect not present in the source work. While the result might be clever, often very good, it cannot be denied that frequently too much will have been lost. Aiming at contextual literalness produces a "story line" bereft of the music. By making formal fidelity one's aim, one can easily lose sight of meaning in the search for shape. Sensitive, informed paraphrastic translation, it seems to me, is the only way forward.

My renderings are literally faithful where appropriate. This is the case with Tyutchev's versions of other poets and with many of the political pieces. There is no point in treating 11-oe maya 1869/May 11th. 1869 [342] in any other than a rigidly literal manner. They are sometimes loosely "poetic", as in Sovremennoe/Today's Event [350], a political item ending in a more "poetic" structure which Tyutchev uses more than once in his best work. I favour a form of rhythmic prose in poems such as [128], where there is a certain narrative feel. A number of poems are as they are because I am happy with them, others, I have to admit, leave me far from satisfied. In the translation of poetry, there is never a final word. There remain those versions which, were Nabokov still with us, would be savaged ruthlessly, works which, from the standpoint of imagery and/or structure I have offered in a deliberate, considered mistranslation, though if there results "a slightly wrong meaning", there remains hopefully "a completely right feeling". (D:24/12) Such a work is [200], my original imagery giving the best effect of which I was capable at the time, the priority being to reproduce the sense of seething, impotent anger and genuine sadness which motivated the poet to write it.

The celebrated Formalist, V. Shklovsky, rightly rejects "authomatisation", for it "eats things, clothing, furniture, your wife and fear of war". (D:12/11-12) Shklovsky believed that the artist is called upon to counteract routine by dealing with objects out of their habitual context, by getting rid of verbal cliches and their stock responses. I am in full agreement with Shklovsky on this matter. I would not at this stage undertake a serious translation of poems by Blok, Baudelaire or Holderlin, even enjoying these writers in their own languages, and certainly being able to translate the words and sentences which make up the elements of their works, for I could not approach them with the confidence with which I know a Tyutchev lyric. Given the often scanty information at hand and the abyss of time between us, I feel I have come to know him to some extent, his milieux, his family, the way he felt and thought and passed the time, whether observing his dog chasing ducks or wishing, on a boat trip, his friend was there with a gun for the shooting of fowl, moaning to all and sundry about his gout and rheumatism, complaining to the heavens that he is bored and lonely, irrespective of the heartache to which he subjects those close to him, pulling Schelling to pieces, cursing the British, the French, the Turks and the Vatican, irritating Pogodin with his intellectual arrogance, vilifying the tsar and his ministers for their crass ineptitude, or angry at his daughter for marrying a sailor who - sin of sins - spoke Russian in preference to French. Such proximity is essential in the production of a good translation, for it allows the translator to pull apart convention and rewrite the poet with confidence.

Shklovsky's "making strange", making form difficult, "seeing" (videnie) as opposed to "recognising" (uznavanie) (ibid.) should be born in mind as the reader approaches many of my translations. The much-anthologised good poem can lose one of its greatest qualities, that of newness, by being anthologised, whether in a book or in a particular, accepted format in the hands of translators, by being there, by looking more or less the same all the time. I believe that the translator must make the reader sit up and pay attention. He must not be the critic who, in Steiner's words, "when he looks back ... sees a eunuch's shadow" (D:7/21). The translator of any literature worth translating must attempt to be, in subtly different yet similar ways, as creative as the writer he is grappling with. From what I have said above, perhaps it follows that great literature needs retranslating every so often in order to make sense to different generations.

While the possessiveness of the committed translator who has "chosen" his poet can allow an illuminating insight into the workings of the writer's mind, it can, of course, work the other way and the good translator needs to ensure that he is producing the writer and not himself playing at being a poet. It is also very easy to become blase about one's knowledge of a foreign language, for unless one is genuinely bilingual, as, indeed, Nabokov was, the brain, albeit translating quickly, nonetheless pauses to translate, and this pause indicates an inability, at times not very significant, to translate instinctively. This pause can also be a useful thing. I have often found, on rendering a poem into English, that an image in the Russian has struck forcefully home for the first time, despite having read the work in question many times. Students of foreign literature could do worse than attempt occasional translation if for no other reason than to satisfy themselves that they have indeed understood what the poet's words actually mean, let alone what might be implied. They should certainly never be put off. If a translator can be so bold as to render Khlebnikov's entertaining Zaklyatie smekhom/Incantation by Laughter into Scots, there is most assuredly hope for the youngest novice (D:4/89).

Where I have taken considerable liberties, there will, it goes without saying, be those who point out that I have altered the structure of the poem and, therefore, its meaning. Whatever the case may be, my target has remained throughout the accurate communication of what I believe Tyutchev was feeling, thinking then saying. I hope that more than a handful of educated Russian speakers now feel that they can enjoy the complete poems of this major writer as a result of my approach, despite it being "as wise to cast a violet into a crucible that you might discover the formal principle of its colour and odour, as seek to transfuse from one language into another the creations of a poet". (D:1/).

The reader unfamiliar with this author will find a story and a life unfolding from the earliest extant poem written on his father's birthday, through truly wondrous nature lyrics, sharp, often hurtful love poems, occasional verse, chauvinistic political pronouncements on Pan-Slavism, philosophical and religious lines, to tormented protests in which an embittered, frightened poet of alienation faces inner turmoil, illness and encroaching death. In the Romantic age of Pushkin and Lermontov we find a seriously "modern" poet; in the realistic age of Dostoevskian and Tolstoyan prose, a poet who would not be disowned by later existentialist writers will be discovered at a time when the reading public is less enthralled by poetry than by Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov.

My former supervisor, Dr. R.C. Lane, is a leading authority in the field of Tyutchev studies. Discussions with him have always proved invaluable. He has read the first section of my manuscript and the endnotes and I am grateful to him for his suggestions, encouragement and general assistance, as well as for kindly writing a foreword to the 1983 edition. I have chosen to retain this, for it says what I wish to have said about my approach and, I feel, could not be improved. His doctoral thesis and many subsequent publications represent, in my view, the fullest, most comprehensive study of the poet in English. He has produced articles and reports on various aspects of Tyutchev's life, poetry and diplomatic work and on some of the philosophical influences in the lyrics in addition to a complete catalogue of works by and about the poet up to 1985. Since he first looked at the manuscript, I have amended certain sections. Any defects in the later or, indeed, earlier material are my responsibility alone.

R. Gregg's book is a solid introduction offering interesting studies of the poems if often somewhat biased towards psychoanalysis. K. Pigaryov's study and I. Aksakov's biography are essential preliminary reading for the specialist, as are many Soviet contributions. The latter contain essential background information. Some deal intuitively with the inspiration behind the greatest poems and cleverly with their structure, notably Tynyanov's famous article on the short lyric as a "fragment" of the neo-classical ode. The point Tynyanov makes is that Tyutchev, wanting to retain the "monumental forms" of the "dogmatic poem" and of the "philosophical epistle", realising that these had more or less disappeared since Derzhavin's time, found his outlet in the artistic form of the "fragment", the latter, he goes on to claim, realised in the west by the Romantics and canonised by Heine. Inevitably Soviet scholarship has suffered from a requirement to give prominence to approved themes. The so-called Tyutchev-Pushkin question is a case in point. On various somewhat spurious bases (e.g. Pushkin once ridiculed Raich, Tyutchev's friend and tutor), an enmity between the two poets was created. Apart from the fact that such a matter is remarkably irrelevant, it is highly unlikely that there is a great deal of truth in it, if any. More important is the fact that since Tyutchev was never part of the mainstream literary scene in his country and famously made no effort to have his best work read by the public before 1836 (he may have deliberately destroyed some of it), such "professional" hostility would probably never have existed. I have avoided any further reference to this matter or to any concerning a comparison of his talents with those of other writers.

Tyutchev has had several translators. Each one worthy of mention has tackled only a very small number of the better known lyrics, with the notable exception of Anatoly Liberman who has taken on the bulk of Tyutchev's best work, sticking rigorously to the formal features, including rhymes. He is the first to have published such a large number of worthy translations of Tyutchev's lyrics, preceded by an excellent introduction. He and I have different attitudes towards poetic translation. He informed me in one of many communications that when I decide not to reproduce Tyutchev's rhyme schemes, the "general aura that okutyvaet" ("enwraps") my renderings tends to make up for this. I am more than happy with this judgement.

Work in Europe and the USA, a relatively slow trickle of research, has laid the as yet extremely narrow foundations of the West's understanding of Tyutchev. Considering the importance of his position in Russian literature, it is astonishing just how many students of western European literature have never even heard of this amazing writer. A lot of building remains. I hope this book will fill one of the gaps in the edifice.


1. References to the Bibliography go as follows:
«A» is a main section, the following number is the item in the section, a Roman numeral is used where an author has more than one contribution, and page numbers come after solidus.

2. Certain commonly occurring words in Tyutchev make this point:
(1) dusha (= "soul", "spirit", "darling", "person", "serf");
(2) blago (= "blessing", "boon", "the good");
(3) nega ("sweetness", "bliss", "comfort", "languor");
(4) blagodat' (= "paradise1", "grace", "abundance3").

3. It is worth quoting in full the relevant section of Nabokov's famous (and infamous) translator's preface to his version of Pushkin's Evgenii Onegin. Nabokov writes, "Attempts to render a poem in another language fall into three categories:
(i) Paraphrastic: offering a free version of the original with omissions and additions prompted by the exigencies of form, the conventions attributed to the consumer, and the translator's ignorance. Some paraphrases may possess the charm of stylish diction and idiomatic conciseness but no scholar should succumb to stylishness and no reader be fooled by it.
(ii) Lexical (or constructional): rendering the basic meaning of words (and their order). This a machine can do under the direction of an intelligent bilinguist.
(iii) Literal: rendering as closely as possible as the associative and syntactical capacities of the language allow, the exact contextual meaning of the original. Only this is true translation". (D:2, vol. 1/vii-viii)

A Note On Transliteration

In Russian the commonest «e» sound is more or less the «ye» of «yet». However, due to the role played by stressed and unstressed syllables, the full «ye» is not always heard. I transliterate both this and the second Russian «e» simply as «e». Foreign names beginning with «H» tend to start with «G» in Russian. I retain the «H». I stick to general convention in the cases of certain names (e.g. Tolstoy, Alexander, Ernestine). I reproduce the soft and hard signs by ' and '' respectively and represent the letter i kratkoe by «i». I also tend to omit patronymic names. Where appropriate, the acute accent indicates the stressed syllable. This produces the occasional unfamiliar sound, such as «Sevastopol», and not the «Sevastopol» English speakers are used to.


I am indebted to the following for their assistance:

  1. Dr. P. J. Fitzpatrick (Department of Philosophy, University of Durham) for his translations of two of Horace's Carmina and part of a poem by Ausonius.
  2. Professor A. Liberman (University of Minneapolis) for his encouragement through several e-mails and for reading and commenting on a small selection of my work.
  3. Mr. J. Norton (Director of the Centre for Turkish Studies, University of Durham) for assisting me with information on Mehmed Fuad Pasha.
  4. Thanks are due to my former teachers at Durham. Professor W. Harrison showed me that History is important, as well as interesting and entertaining, and he, Mr. L.S.K. le Fleming and Mrs. S. le Fleming, together with Dr. R. Lane, helped a self-taught student with a somewhat chaotic mind to channel his energies and occasionally write something which made sense.
  5. Should the anonymous translator of Manzoni's Il cinque maggio ever recognise his/her work, I shall gladly acknowledge this in any future edition.
  6. Mr. A. Stansfield (ITS Consultant, University of Durham) explained to me the essentials of web page design. Thanks to him I now have a web site on which parts of this book appear.
  7. The manuscript, untidy and very faded in parts, was ably typed up by Miss Julie Bell of the Physics Department.

My book is very much a product of happy years as a student at St. Cuthbert's Society in the University of Durham, a centre of learning with which I have never cut the ties and, hopefully, never shall.



The Tyutchev family tradition, in line with general practice among Russian noble families which liked to link their genealogy with foreign immigrants, had it that a Venetian trader called Dudgi accompanied Marco Polo on his travels to China and, on the way home, settled in Russia. It would be surprising if Tyutchev had not at some time made a flippant quip at the Italian's expense. When d'Anthes was exiled from Russia in perpetuity for slaying Pushkin in a duel, Tyutchev, who never liked living in Russia, remarked, "Well, I'm off to kill Zhukovsky", the latter being the veteran poet and highly esteemed translator (1783-1852) (A:5). From the Niconian chronicle comes the equally attractive tale, impossible to link directly with Tyutchev's family, of the shrewd Zakhary Tyutchev sent by Dmitrii Donskoi as ambassador to the Golden Horde on the eve of the crucial fourteenth-century Battle of Kulikovo. It is said that on receiving a demand for increased tribute to the Horde, the diplomat, on the way home, tore up the Mongol missive and sent the pieces back to the khan. After a great Russian victory, news reached the right quarters and Zakhary became the hero of the tale, Pro Mamaya bezbozhnogo/Concerning Mamai the Godless.

The second son of land-owning parents, (1) Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev was born on November 23rd. 1803 (2) in the village of Ovstug, about thirty kilometres north of Bryansk in what was then the Orlov province (C:15). The village of Ovstug was partly in the possession of the Tyutchevs and lies on the river Desna in a densely wooded part of south west Russia. The family would spend winters in Moscow. In August 1812 they moved temporarily to Yaroslavl on the eve of Napoleon's taking of the capital. The boy was raised in a household where French was spoken almost exclusively, although serfs, servants, nannies and the local clergy used Russian. This made him effectively bilingual. Throughout his life he spoke French. His letters are overwhelmingly in French, as are his articles and a handful of verses.

In 1812 his education was entrusted to Semyon Raich, a conscientious and gifted student of Classical and Italian literature, enthusiastic poet and translator. Tyutchev went up to Moscow University in 1819, graduated and in 1822 entered government service in the Office of Foreign Affairs in St. Petersburg. In the stimulating atmosphere of the capital many would-be-poets made small contributions to Russian letters and played their part in the rapidly developing cultural life of the city. German writers and philosophers were being popularised, particularly Schelling, who referred to Tyutchev as "an excellent and most cultivated man with whom it is always a pleasure to converse" (A:5, vol. 3/492). Tyutchev had a less flattering opinion of the German, as a famous conversation between the two men indicates A:1/319).

In attempting to reconcile Christian mystery with empirical investigation, Schelling fell foul of Tyutchev's sharp mind, probably more than once. Karl Pfeffel (the brother of Tyutchev's second wife) reports the two having several conversations "in the field of metaphysical speculation" (ibid.). Tyutchev felt an instinctive impatience for any scientific system (a distrust which never altered throughout his life) and for anyone who attempted to explain man's presence in the universe as no more than a gradual process of self-cognition. In Tyutchev's view, what Nature allowed to happen simply happened, in her extreme indifference to man. The argument highlights Tyutchev's insistence on blind faith in the scheme of things, despite being a less than devout person himself, but, of course, intellectual conviction can go hand in hand with daily practice which appears to contradict it. After all, Kant the philosopher was the sharpest critic of the Protestantism to which, in practice, he adhered passionately.

Tyutchev's celebrated objection went along the following lines: "You're attempting an impossible task ... A philosophy which rejects the supernatural and wants to prove everything by reason must inevitably be diverted towards materialism in order to drown in atheism. The only philosophy compatible with Christianity is contained in its entirety in the catechism. You must believe what St. Paul believed, kneel before the Madness of the Cross or deny everything. The supernatural is fundamental to that which is most natural to man. It has roots in human consciousness which are far superior to what we call reason, this poor reason which allows only what it understands, in other words nothing". (ibid.)

The section ending at "the Madness of the Cross" (La Folie de la Croix) is as much as most commentators choose to quote. The lines following it, however, might be seen to indicate a nod in the direction of a more general sense of man being but a mote in God's eye. The word "nothing" returns us, perhaps, to the formlessness Schelling was striving from but which Christianity as well needed to escape by producing its own system. That Tyutchev actually adhered to his belief, at least publicly, is born out throughout his life in poetry, conversation and letters. Some of what he thought appears to have been passed on to his clever, influential daughter Ekaterina ("Kitty"). Writing to the great statesman and proponent of conservative nationalism, K. Pobedonostsev (1827-1907), who considered Tyutchev's daughter to be his closest friend, Ekaterina, around whom a significant literary circle often met in her aunt Darya's house, complained of The Brothers Karamazov that Dostoevsky had ignored the fact that "there are deep streams which cannot, should not be touched by the word of man" (B:11iii, vol. 15/495). This comment concerned worries expressed in her circle that Ivan Karamazov's rebellion would be taken more seriously by more people than Zosima's teaching. The comment certainly smacks of the public Tyutchev.

While Tyutchev studied at Moscow, a number of his friends enthusiastically experimented with the relatively untried medium of literary Russian, some as members of Merzlyakov's "little academy". During much of the eighteenth century Russian had tended to be an unwieldy tool for a generally tedious and imitative literature. At the turn of the century such writers as Derzhavin (1743-1816), Karamzin (1766-1826) and Lermontov (1814-41) and Batyushkov (1787-1855) were laying the groundwork of the new literature. Their efforts were crowned by the prolific genius of Pushkin (1799-1826), whose compositions secured Russian literature its rightful place in Europe.

In the year he obtained his first appointment, Tyutchev was offered a post in the Russian legation in Munich, thanks to the efforts of an uncle. Shortly after his return on leave to Russia in 1825, the Decembrists staged their revolt. After it the police arrested scores of young revolutionaries and idealists who had been no more than spiritual sympathisers with the instigators of the uprising. The ringleaders' original sentence, quartering, was commuted to hanging (Russia had not seen the death penalty used for fifty years) and many others wasted their lives in the army in skirmishes with southern tribes or in exile in Siberia. The generally unrebellious Tyutchev produced an interesting work entitled 14-oe dekabrya 1825/December 14th. 1825 [30], in which the comparison between autocracy and a glacier is tempting for those seeking a revolutionary beneath a conservative veneer. He refers to the insurgents as misguided people. His sadness at their fate is real. The most accurate gauge of Tyutchev's feelings about the Decembrists, if not of his intellectual conclusions, is the poem itself. As a polemical piece directed against would-be revolutionaries it is weak. As an early example of his better poetic imagery it is fairly effective; the glacier image hardly flatters the regime of Nicholas I. The poem is an indication of a growing, very public conservatism and nationalism which lasted all his life, as well as of his day-to-day view of Russia as a cold, undesirable place, both literally and figuratively. Tyutchev's concern about the dangers of revolution, especially close to Russia's borders, became a passion lasting until his death. He would interpret various western European policies as a series of efforts to deny Russia her geographical heritage to the advantage of the Turks. Tyutchev was obsessed by the Eastern Question.

Returning to Munich in 1826, he married Eleonore Peterson (nee von Bothmer), a twenty-six year old widow with three children. She had three more by him (3). Both were impractical people and experienced financial hardship. Little is documented about Darya, but Anna and Ekaterina are revealed in the memories of various people as intelligent, energetic and creative women in different ways. Indeed, Tolstoy himself showed more than a passing affection for Ekaterina. A selection of his comments from 1857 to 1858 gives some idea of the degree of interest he had in her:

"Tyutcheva is nice".

"I'm beginning to like Tyutcheva in a quiet way".

"Tyutcheva. She occupies me persistently. It's even a nuisance, especially since it's not love; it doesn't have love's charm".

"Went to Tyutchev's prepared to love her. She's cold, petty, aristocratic".

"Alas, I was cold towards Tyutcheva".

"I'd almost be prepared to marry her impassively, without love, but she received me with studied coldness". (B:39)

There are girlish hints in the sisters' letters to each other about the possibility of marriage between the daughter of a celebrated poet and one of Russia's greatest novelists, but Kitty once said she was so discriminating that the opposite sex would just have to put up with her never marrying. She never did. She did buy the Varvarino estate in 1873 and began the building of a clinic and a school, also writing children's books and doing a children's version of the Bible. Anna was Tyutchev's favourite and wrote a fascinating diary of her life as lady-in-waiting to the empress (C:19). She married Ivan Aksakov, a major publicist, public figure in the field of Slavophilism, and the poet's first biographer.

Tyutchev travelled through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, visited Paris and, his duties being far from onerous, enjoyed a full social life, returning for a short while to Russia in 1830. A number of poems written during these early years in Europe show the increasing importance of the beauties of west European nature in his life, while there is a tendency to employ images of bleakness when depicting the east European countryside. Coming back from a diplomatic mission to Greece in 1833, he decided to tidy up his desk. In 1836 he wrote to his friend, Gagarin: "What I have sent you is but the tiniest handful of the pile that time has amassed but which fate or some act of incomprehensible providence has dealt with. Having set about sorting my papers in the twilight, I consigned to the abyss the major part of my nocturnal, poetic imaginings, and did not notice this till much later. At first I was somewhat vexed, but soon consoled myself with the thought that the library at Alexandria had also burned. Incidentally, the translation of the entire first act of Part 2 of Faust was there. It's possible that was better than all the rest".

Only one hundred and fifty two lines of his translations of Goethe remain while one hundred and fifteen from Part 2 were lost. For whatever reason Tyutchev did throw out his work, we are facing a significant literary loss, though it seems to have bothered him little, for there will have been poems of the quality of the best ones still in our possession among the pile of papers he destroyed, and Act 1 of the second part of Faust contains the kind of description Tyutchev would have done superbly. While he was capable of getting rid of his work on purpose, we simply have no proof. What we do know is that his poetic eye was very much fixed on the universe around him and not on the scraps of paper for which he had the scantest respect. It is possible that, as Barabtarlo has pointed out [A:2/425], Tyutchev was in the habit of destroying rough drafts and, since his fair copies tend to look like his rough drafts, a genuine mistake must be considered. The flippant tone of this section of the letter is characteristic of his dismissive attitude towards his best work. He describes the lyrics in question as mere elucubrations poetiques/poetic imaginings (almost "ravings"). Such an attitude resulted in his being known as a poet of worth among only a handful of close friends and partly explains why he played no direct part in the Golden Age of Russian poetry.

The situation changed slightly in 1836 when, after constant cajoling, Gagarin finally persuaded his friend to send him some lyrics. Gagarin showed them to Zhukovsky, then to Pushkin, and in the same year sixteen Poems Sent from Germany appeared in Pushkin's journal Sovremennik/The Contemporary, over the initials "F.T.". More appeared later, but for a variety of reasons sparked off little interest in Russia. Tyutchev was not at this time a conspicuous member of the literary scene in his homeland; he was careless when it came to preserving his own lyrics and indifferent to their publication; and the age of realistic prose was on the way in. Tyutchev was "discovered" in the 1890's by such poets as Bryusov, at a time when the idea of pure art, or Art for Art's Sake, was becoming popular. The late thirties and middle years of the century were the age of Belinsky and Dobrolyubov, for whom art had to be socially relevant. Belinsky was also the leading light in the westernising movement which was fundamentally opposed to Slavophilism, the latter to become of increasing importance to Tyutchev as he grew older and settled in Russia. Considering Belinsky's great influence and the rise of the Russian novel, it is hardly surprising that Tyutchev's poetry initially raised little interest.

In May 1838 fire swept the steamer Nicholas I on which Tyutchev's wife and family were travelling to Germany. On board was the young novelist Ivan Turgenev (1818-83). He has given a frank account of the incident in Un Incendie en Mer/A Fire at Sea, describing the panic which swept the vessel and his own terror (B:40ii, vol. 14/186). It seems that Eleonore ("Nelly") Tyutcheva, encumbered by three small children and a nanny, showed great courage and was one of the last to leave the ship. The highly-strung woman who had attempted suicide (probably more of the call-for-help kind) in 1836, did not survive the ordeal and died in August of that year, household tensions having exacerbated her condition. Extreme grief did not prevent Tyutchev from flinging himself into the fast social whirl of Lake Como, at the time being visited by members of the Russian imperial family, and where he met and became friends with Zhukovsky.

In 1839 he married Ernestine von Dornberg. They had been lovers for six years and she was already having his child. Having been allowed to marry but refused leave of absence, he locked up the legation and left, losing secret documents in the process (A:18v). The couple settled in Munich. Tyutchev's decision to take leave of his post despite his superior's refusal of permission had left him jobless. Ernestine possessed a rather calmer personality, not to mention more personal capital, than Eleonore. In his memoirs, Meshchersky, editor of the Grazhdanin/The Citizen, wrote the following of the couple as he observed them in later years in the family seat of Ovstug: "The soul and heart of this family was Ernestine Fyodorovna ... a poetic and sublime woman in whom the intelligence, the heart and the charm of a woman fused into one harmonious and graceful whole ... Fyodor Ivanovich himself was some kind of visitor in spirit to this household ... Life's prose did not exist for him. He divided his life between poetic and political impressions." (C:15/65)

In the early 1840s the poet wrote a number of nationalistic poems and published his first political letter, the Lettre a M. le Docteur Gustave Kolb/Letter to Doctor Gustav Kolb (A:33i), attacking the German press which saw Russia as a threat to German unification. In it he also attempted to explain Russia's role in relation to what he saw as the revolutionary West. This idea was to evolve into the later theme of the legitimacy of humble, peasant, Orthodox Russia opposed to the fundamentally illegitimate, anti-Christian Europe and recurred in two further articles written during the years 1848-50 (ibid.) and some political poems, the latter produced from 1844 to 1873, nearly half his surviving output in terms of lines written. At their worst they are tendentious, biased and turgid though, despite what some commentators have always thought, rarely anything less than sharply thought out and often cleverly expressed. At their best they possess a highly eloquent quality of indignation and frustration. The political verse was the only part of his poetical output he made any effort to publish. He was known to have taken such work along to an editor personally while he could scribble lyrics of worth on scraps of paper for others to find, dictate them, send them in letters, and generally not appear to care whether they ever saw the light of day. Gagarin's insistence that he be allowed to get his friend's poems published might well have been the kind of trigger annoying Tyutchev enough to make him throw them out in a fit of pique.

As a writer destined for a place in the history books, the odds were stacked against Tyutchev. Obviously when impelled as a poet to write, his interest lasted as long as his inspiration and afterwards he felt no need to take any trouble over the physical manifestations as the emotions in which they took their source had been replaced by others. His political writings answered a different need and were calculatedly produced to make influential people see things from his point of view, not to mention ultimately persuade his former employers to look favourably on him once more and, after his marriage, give him a job. This worked, and after Tyutchev settled in Russia in 1844, it was as an increasingly respected government official.

Although he and his family visited the West several times over the following years, Russia had become his permanent home. Several poems written from this point express longing for the blue skies, warmth and light of Western Europe, and on many occasions he refers to Russia in such unflattering terms it is difficult at first to understand his constantly passionate defence of that country. And, despite adoring nature, he spent most of his time in towns. Indeed, "this champion of Russia and its peculiarly eastern way of life was seldom happier than when he was leaving for the West; while Russia's greatest nature poet was throughout his Russian years at least, a confirmed city-dweller". (A:14/17)

In 1846 he met Elena Deniseva, over twenty years his junior. The ensuing love affair scandalised polite society and caused the partners intense emotional suffering and bitterness. Elena's mother was Principal of the Smolny Institute, a girls' school where Darya and Ekaterina were pupils. Elena more than cared passionately for him. She was neurotically convinced that she and she alone was the real Mrs. Tyutcheva and that only external circumstances prevented their marrying. She was known for irrational behaviour and tantrums, at least once throwing an object at her lover. He could not endure life without her. She bore them three children. Fully aware of all this, Ernestine remained stoically faithful, although once did suggest they separate for a while. As the affair became a major talking point, society shunned Elena, though Tyutchev remained in as much demand as ever in the salons of the capital. It caused displeasure at court level and resulted, peripherally, in old Mrs. Deniseva being forced to leave her post.

The love affair produced a small body of lyrics rightly considered to be among the finest love poems in Russian. Short, sometimes employing a dialogue technique in which the lyric-hero appears to be conversing with his lover, sometimes taking the form of monologues, and frequently characterised by a cogent, highly lyrical and profound sense of his own inadequacy and selfishness, the Deniseva poems bare the love affair like an open wound. In these and other works about love and his relationships with people close to him, there is often a quality of anger and open contempt for the opinions of a narrow-minded public ever ready to cast the first stone. Tyutchev's deserved reputation as a great nature poet should never be allowed to eclipse his standing as portrayer of the love-hate relationship which accompanies an illicit love affair. He is a ruthless analyst of the anguish tormenting an individual in his blackest moments.

While he never ceased writing entirely, there is a hiatus from 1838 to 1847. In 1847 he began composing once more in quantity. He was reinstated in government service in 1845 and in 1848 became Senior Censor in the Russian Foreign Office and ultimately a fairly liberal Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Censorship. During 1848 he wrote La Russie et la Revolution/Russia and Revolution (A:33/i), an article dealing with the role of Orthodox Christians as saviours of their brother Slavs in the west. A third article, La Papaute et la Question Romaine/The Papacy and the Roman Question (ibid.), attacked the Catholic Church for the secularism which had, in Tyutchev's mind, inevitably infected it since its break with Orthodoxy. From this point, these themes are frequently reinforced in the poetry.

Tyutchev remained till his death obsessively anxious about Russia's historical destiny, characteristically never pulling his punches, certainly in his letters and often by hint and image in the lyrics, when it came to expressing disapproval of official Russian policy. He experienced genuine anger and grief at the Crimean debacle and never lost his capacity for berating the West, the Vatican and the waning Turkish empire. He maintained a steady, often impassioned interest in foreign affairs generally. His statements about politics, oral or written, are clever, frequently sarcastic, and constantly nationalistic, although, despite not trusting it politically, his love of the west never deserted him. His shock at the Russian defeat in the Crimea was repeated, if not so publicly, at France's rout in the Franco-Prussian War.

His personal happiness was marred by several blows. Elena's death of tuberculosis in 1864 shattered him. Family bereavement followed. Two of Elena's children by him died, as well as his eldest son Dmitrii, his daughter Maria, and his brother. With that dark humour which never left him, Tyutchev compared his existence, rapidly emptying of those close to him, to the game of patience in which one by one cards vanish from the pack. All the same, till the end he was unable to resist the charms of a young, pretty woman, as a jocular album contribution tells us in 1872 [376]. It expresses doubt at what his senses tell him, in other words that a fine day (the woman) has arrived in November (his old age).

Increasing ill health and anguished thoughts of his own death tormented him during the final years, although a certain amount of probably harmless womanising was still possible. The widow Elena Bogdanova was his last fling and, while nothing is thought to have come of it, it showed the aged Tyutchev still capable of that selfishness which could all too easily be interpreted as lack of concern for his own family. Such difficulties and grief accompanied at this late stage a growing reputation as a poet. While the poetic output of the last half dozen years of his life is often considered mediocre, he composed several masterpieces during this period. They cover the common themes of personal suffering and ageing [284, 309], man's relationship as an individual to Nature [289], nature description, sometimes with a clever political subtext [295, 297, 298], superbly indignant attacks on narrow-minded people [300] and the Vatican [370], epigrammatic profundities [311, 347, 385], and an astonishing, elegiac description of the gardens of Tsarskoe Selo [307]. Despite composing lyrics of genius, Tyutchev remained totally uninterested in his work.

In January 1873 the first of several strokes partly paralysed him and on July 15th. he died.


Pantheism is a synthetic view of the universe, an outlook bringing together all facets of creation, making of all things one and not permitting any categorisation of existence into "nature", "man", "God" or "gods". Tyutchev certainly appears to be a pantheist. Whether there is ultimately a consensus of opinion about the question of his poetic attitude to nature, suffice it to say that many of his lyrics are so replete with sensation in the face of its beauties that "pantheistic" is one of several labels which will endure over the years.

In short, often aphoristic lyrics written in simple, lucid Russian - despite a number of archaisms, which remain quite easy to cope with - he depicts nature as an ordered, palpable entity with which man is often at one. Equally there are lyrics expressing his sense of being cut off from nature, in which he is aware of currents of disorder. Tyutchev's poetry - and Tyutchev the man, in many ways - are bipolar. Tyutchev's poetic images for this order and disorder are "cosmos" and "chaos", and he employs a wide range of vocabulary to describe them. Chaos is frequently seen to be a result of man's drawing back from the whole in order to observe existence, split it into separate phenomena and compartmentalise these. When Tyutchev writes of that aspect of existence we commonly refer to as "nature", he indulges in no trite pathetic fallacies; his apostrophes to nature are deeply experienced statements of wonder and empathy. There is no vapid philosophising, drawing of predictable moral conclusions nor attempt to construct scientific or philosophical structures to explain things; his scenes represent his sense of man's physical and mental oneness with the universe, the universe not only of space, but of time. "In Tyutchev's poetry, the temporal epochs of human life, its past and its present fluctuate and vacillate in equal measure. The unstoppable current of time erodes the outline of the present." (A:20/487)

In sensing man's position in the universe, Tyutchev produces in his best lyrics a feeling of genuine awe. The reader feels the movements of the air and the sea, the heat of the sun on peaks, warm rain from a spring sky, and such nature phenomena are there for their own sakes. When he describes mountain summits as bozhestva rodnye/gods who are our cousins [49], he does more than simply transplant classical deities into a given landscape after the fashion of the eighteenth century mimicking its Roman mentors. He is, indeed, behaving more like many classical authors themselves, for whom nature was literally peopled by gods.

Dealing with a world Tyutchev felt was teeming with its own kind of life leaves the reader with the impression that man, while observing nature, is himself one of its creations. In the best poems, the immediately accessible visual-audial-tactile level, the "feel" of the poem, is more than merely a set of references to Hebe, Zeus, Pan or Atlas, "titanising" nature, as Gregg puts it (A:14/78). In Tyutchev, mythologisation is a powerful poetic technique and involves an ability to animate a scene in such a way as to recall to us a common, ancient sense of belonging and oneness. To claim that simple "titanising" is taking place is to demean this writer, whose poetic statements bear some resemblance to Vico's. The latter's "new science" castigated "our civilised natures" because by them "we ... cannot at all imagine and can understand only by great toil the poetic nature of these first men" (B:43/22). Tyutchev resurrects an ancestry scientific man had apparently forgotten. Natural objects and phenomena in his nature poems are portrayed in a manner strikingly innovative for the age, precisely because of this skilfully manipulated awareness that man is literally part of nature and not apart from it. "Myth" in Tyutchev is neither toy nor pretty poetic game. Myth is a kind of truth every bit as valid as the scientific "truth" he attacked in the early poem addressed to A. Muravyov, A.N.M. [13]. Myth is seen as ancient man's way of explaining the universe and, years after Newton and Descartes, it remained as valid as ever to Tyutchev, despite, or perhaps because of being "unscientific". In this sense Tyutchev fits into the broad Romantic mould of Lamartine and Hugo, who represented a revolt against the rationalism of the pre-Revolutionary years in France.

As for the difference in feel between the earlier "European" nature poetry and the later "Russian" lyrics, while his attitudes and emotions were subject to different ageing and environmental influences, I feel it is glib to consider that "the image of nature, which had been largely mythocentric in the early Munich years and anthropocentric in the following decade, is now very largely its own excuse for being." (A:14/193) Tyutchev's attitude towards nature never changed. He was a floating particle in it, unable to comprehend it, unlike Pascal who believed he could understand it through reason, and whether we have in mind the lush, warm, bustling quality of the Munich years (Kozhinov rightly mentions the mnogolyud'e/populousness of the early years (A:17/352-353)), or the desertedness of the Russian works, the same awareness of being subservient to nature is evident. The changes affecting Tyutchev the man, the poet, the diplomat, the errant husband did not alter the sense of awe with which he dealt with the natural world around him.

Tyutchev produces some amazing results. Sometimes it is as if a mystery is about to unfold over the earth, as when nocturnal lightning-flashes tease the clouds, Kak demony glukhonemye/Vedut besedu mezh soboi/like deaf-mute ghouls/debating heatedly [298]. In Son na more/A Dream at Sea [92], and Kak okean ob''emlet shar zemnoi/Just as the ocean curls around Earth's shores [64], the boundary between two kinds of reality, that of dream/hallucination and diurnal, observable existence is hazy. Man is often described as being abandoned and frighteningly alone in an incomprehensible, boundless universe, and when this is not stated it is implied. Behind the cosmos, the chaotic elements of the thing that is Tyutchev-in-nature are ever-present, part of an essential, inescapable reality, a Pascalian duality evident from the earliest poems, in his letters and refusing to leave him in peace even in his final years.

At first glance the western-nature lyrics are his most attractive works. They are certainly the most numerous and, even permanently settled back in Russia, he often wrote poems of reminiscence in which some of the magic of the European days raises its head. They are descriptions of sun-soaked lands, vernal and aestival days, warm nights by the Mediterranean beneath clear, star-filled skies. They are also, as a rule, skilfully anthropomorphic. When it comes to concreteness, incredible accuracy of detail and photographic precision in placing objects in a landscape, those poems describing Russia's countryside are far superior and earn Tyutchev a special place in Russian letters as a poet who, despite his dislike of his native land, has produced among the finest verses possible about the bleaker aspects of that country, so much so that one questions the traditional approach whereby he is seen as a poet of the West who also wrote about Russia. The sharp-limned landscapes of the "Russian" poems are almost entirely lacking in the "European" ones, whose unbelievable landscapes are deceptive, for they are frequently vague. In them the reader feels heat but does not always see a great deal to suggest it to the eye. In the greatest Russian poems, things are generally "seen".

In Russia it is not often the case that laughing, benign nature distracts him, makes him feel contented. He observes the harsh reality of his surroundings for what it is and depicts it with unerring sureness of touch. His Russian nature poems are not indicators of any sense of well-being. Many of them are "cold" and it is in them that we discover some of the most wondrous visual effects of his entire oeuvre. In Na vozvratnom puti/On the Journey Home [241], ponderous clouds and stagnant pools make a feeble hearkening back to western blueness (11.14-16, pt.2) mediocre by comparison. The perfectly placed strand of spider-web across a furrow in Est' v oseni pervonachal'noi/There is a fleeting, wondrous moment [233], is evidence of the poet's huge talent in describing scenes, here implying, as Tolstoy noted, restfulness after hard work by the peasants in the fields by the careful positioning of a single, aptly chosen object. In these and others, heady mythologisations are supplanted by sad, bleak external reality. But the resulting poetry is astonishing.

This is not to say that there are no "warm" poems describing the Russian countryside. The movement of Tikhoi noch'yu, pozdnim letom/Quiet evening late in summer [153], eight lines produced as if in a single exhalation, not even constituting a sentence, is not exceptional. In Neokhotno i nesmelo/Timidly, unwillingly [151], simple images culminate in a charming image of the sun shyly peaking down at a land "crumpled" (smyatennaya) by a warm shower. There are others. While as descriptions they are better, there is, nonetheless, something missing, and it is something in the poet himself: quite simply, while geographically at home, in spirit he is not. This ability to create superb poetry about locations he does not enjoy living in is further evidence, if it were needed, of his gift.

When Tyutchev is at his best in those early years (1822-44) when he lived and worked in Western Europe, he is truly great. In one of his masterpieces, Letnii vecher/A Summer Evening [41], the almost magical sense of peace is achieved by transforming the earth into a giantess from whose head the setting sun rolls heavily, while stars become creatures physically hoisting up the sky and a nature-goddess sensually splashes her feet with cold water after a day of oppressive heat. There is in such works a sense of excitement and sensual delight, occasionally a hint of apprehension, in the presence of natural beauty which cumulatively produces skilful landscapes, remaining at once superb natural descriptions and indicators of the poet's state of mind. The picture is wonderful, unparalleled in that era, and it is doubtful if any purely concrete treatment could improve upon it. In Snezhnye gory/Snowy Mountains [49], the earth is an enormous female expiring in the sun while youthful mountain peaks play games with the sky. By stark contrast one of the very few early Russian nature poems, Zdes', gde tak vyalo svod nebesnyi/Here the sky stares inert [68], contains sparsely sprouting bushes and lichens, ugly creatures of nightmare, inmates of some fevered dream even before Tyutchev uses that smile (Kak likhoradochnye gryozy/like fevered dreams).

Tyutchev will always be best known for his nature poetry which has, perhaps, been anthologised at the expense of other kinds. His nature lyrics are extremely simple to read, relying on short, uncomplicated verses and generic language (in Tyutchev there are few birches, oaks or elms; there are many "trees"). As in the lyrics of Pasternak, it is often as if we are surveying a scene for the first time, objects and their surrounding phenomena appearing as they were "on the first day of creation". (See [100].) Such poems as those described are, in addition, much more than a series of nature descriptions of genius.

His poems contain images so nodal that they become the lynchpins of whole poetic scenarios. Son translates both "sleep" and "dream". Tyutchev is a master at playing with this word. Dreams become part of diurnal life, linking man with his inner life. Nature sleeps and dreams change into young deities playing around woods and mountains. Sleep can be the erotic state of half-slumber or the nightmarish version of hell blazing from the night sky. In the form of half-sleep, or dozing, it forms part of daily life and we all readily daydream (his words for this kind of dreaming being gryozy and mechty). Dream, attained through sleep, may be a harking back to ancient memory, individual or collective. Son zheleznyi/iron sleep represents the atrophied intellects and hearts of the Russia of Nicholas I. Sleep can be the romantic escape route from daily reality into fantasy. From the very beginning, in such an early work as an adaption of Heine's Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam/A spruce tree stands alone [21], he is mesmerised by the quality of dream, for "it... (Heine's poem - FJ) is a dream-poem. Its melody soothes asleep the Argus-eye of common sense ... And again, it is a poem about a dream; about the bitter sweetness of all passionate yearning for things so remote that only in dream can they be ours". (C:23) Sleep/dream is tantalisingly multi-purpose. What is more, it does not develop through a series of stages as a poetic image. Rather, as part and parcel of life at any one moment, it is present from the start.

"Night", "Time", "Space" - these and others are concepts of the first importance to Tyutchev. His expression of what lies behind the facade of the universe and those dark elements within man's inner being owes more than a little to Pascal, one of whose Pensees goes, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me" (B:31/233). Tyutchev once remarked in a letter to Ernestine (1858), "I don't think anyone can ever have felt themselves as empty as I do faced by these two oppressors and tyrants of humanity: time and space". Night in Tyutchev is the poetic image often covering economically and simply the vast notions of time and space as they affect man in his struggle through life. A given scene in Tyutchev has little to do with any Schellingian idea of some primordial blackness out of which we gradually move. Such an "evolution" does not exist in Tyutchev. He is preoccupied with eternal night forever threatening man while ever aware of fullness, of man being part of a living nature, a result of its creative impulse. However he expresses his feelings about his universe of cosmos and chaos, whether Tyutchev/man is central or peripheral, Nature does not change.

There are too many strands to Tyutchev's talent as a poet of nature to deal with in such a short introduction. There is lyrical position, the up-down movement of so many of his pieces, be it someone looking down at a river along which a steamer chugs [111], or as if flying and gazing down into a valley [48], staring up into the sky at star-deities looking down at him [167,176], or experiencing the sickly, hallucinogenic sensation of floating above a nightmare storm [92]. The use of a sudden flash from or into a different time, sometimes almost a different universe, is common, its earliest manifestation being Problesk/The Gleam [27]. Weaving natural phenomena into the very body of a woman, as in the raindrops image of [102,106] and the sky-woman picture of [257], is one of his most effective techniques, and the sense of some sound being almost out of earshot [100], are but a few of the different and powerful techniques Tyutchev brought to Russian poetry.

Tyutchev was renowned for the attentions he paid to women; not to an ideal, to some poetic notion of femininity, but to flesh-and-blood women. "Tyutchev knew the woman (zhenshchinu - FJ) (for depth of passion, no-one has yet matched him), but Femininity (Zhenstvennoe - FJ) was the field of Lermontov, Fet, Vladimir Solovyov, Blok" (C:20, vol.1/217). There are many poems to many women and matching up verse and female can be an amusing guessing game. His lines vary from K Nise/To Nisa [25], apparently written in a fit of pique - he clearly did not always get his own way, sexual or otherwise - to K N. N./To N. N., a poetic masterpiece of lust [51], through the playfully lightweight Cache-cache/Hide and Seek [40], the mysterious, languorous Ital'yanskaya villa/An Italian Villa [127], dealing with his affair with Ernestine, the poems to Elena which show lovers' arguments and recriminations, to his final old man's reminiscences about past glories. Tyutchev the love poet does not allow of anything other than a woman's full commitment to him, shows his irritation at Elena's demands to be the one woman in his life, and treats of his awareness of his lifelong selfishness. There is a dramatic quality to some of these poems, even those with no other protagonist (for Tyutchev's lyrics can be monologues, the audience before him and another character just off stage, listening). Equally, the love poems give space to the genuine and soft aspect of the emotion and to Ernestine's strength.

Love in the lyrics is a mixture of deep, genuine, tender feeling and lust, fired, especially in the Deniseva years, by a sense of conflict. His love affair with Elena produced gems of poetic anger, as in Chemu molilas' ty s lyubov'yu/What you guarded in your heart [200]:

Akh, esli by zhivye kryl'ya
Dushi, paryashchei nad tolpoi,
Eyo spasali ot nasil'ya
Bessmertnoi poshlosti lyudskoi.
God, if your soul had wings to leave your body,
to lift you by the nape
from the crudeness of the crowd,
to keep you safe
from man's eternal rape!

Equally he can address himself with unconcealed cruelty, almost contempt:

I, zhalkii charodei, pered volshebnym mirom,
Mnoi sozdannym samim, bez very ya stoyu -
I samogo sebya, krasneya, soznayu
Zhivoi dushi tvoei bezzhiznennym kumirom
a weak magician in a little magic role
created by myself, and faithlessly I face it,
blushingly aware of my part,
the lifeless idol of your living soul [199].

In Ital'yanskaya villa/An Italian Villa [127], having taken the reader through a soothing description of the villa, its cypresses and babbling fountain, Tyutchev, there with his mistress, Baroness von Dornberg, while his family was in St. Petersburg, makes those very natural items voice the lustful sensations undoubtedly running through the lovers:

Vdrug vsyo smutilos': sudorozhnyi trepet
Po vetvyam kiparisnym probezhal, -
Fontan zamolk - i nekii chudnyi lepet,
Kak by skvoz' son, nevnyatno prosheptal
Suddenly - turmoil:
A spasm quivered through the branches.
The fountain fell silent,
yet from it some wondrous sound,
muffled, as if in sleep, shivered.

Admittedly the poem concludes as the poet openly wonders whether he and his mistress have crossed a "forbidden threshold", suggesting that the life they are living right then is "wicked", that their love is "turbulently hot", but until that final stanza, love is in the hands of the nature surrounding them.

Spurred on by the possible marriage of Gorchakov to his niece and by the attendant gossip, Tyutchev attacked the scandal-mongers in an indignant work in which Nadezhda Akinfeva's soul is "cloudless", its "azure" untroubled by wagging tongues. He concludes with a typical piece of cleverness:

K nei i pylinka ne pristala
Ot glupykh spletnei, zlykh rechei;
I dazhe kleveta ne smyala
Vozdushnyi shyolk eyo kudrei.
Not a speck of dusk adheres
when those nauseating churls
sow their stupid calumny
which cannot even crumple
the airy silk of her curls [300].

The physical attributes of the woman, dealt with in terms of the sky and the air around her (the speck of dust floating in it), become as important in this poem as the direct effect exerted on her by what society had to say about the affair. The superb music of Vostok belel. Lad'ya katilas'/The east whitened [106], with its liquid repetitions running through each stanza, bears a long with it a concrete, possibly sexual situation which is inseparable from the verbal expression of the coming of dawn.

There is a great deal of self-centredness in Tyutchev's depiction of love. In a remarkable work on Elena's final days [275], he produces one of his most characteristic types of poem, one in which nature and woman are somehow interlinked, nature remaining, as always, indifferent to human suffering:

Ves' den' ona lezhala v zabyt'i,
I vsyu eyo uzh teni pokryvali.
Lil tyoplyi letnii dozhd' - ego strui
Po list'yam veselo zvuchali
All day she lay oblivious.
To lie across her body shadows came.
Outside the tepid rain of summer streamed,
splashing through the trees in happy games

As warm, summer rain falls through branches, gaily and loudly splashing, the dying woman comes to and mutters how much she had loved it all. Shadows, literally and figuratively, gather over her, yet Tyutchev saves his burst of anguish for the realisation that he will have to "survive" her death. This is not the only example of a lyric in which he complains that he must survive someone else's agony.

The image of love as the one thing Tyutchev could forever hold on to, despite the vicissitudes of a fate he so often reviled, stayed with him till his death. The very last word he wrote was "love":

Voskresnet zhizn', krov' zastruitsya vnov,
I verit serdtse v pravdu i lyubov'
Life lives again, again blood flows
and my heart believes in truth and love. [393]

It remains to look at the political poems. They have never been seriously studied as poetry. Not all are tasteless. Some are even good. A few, perhaps, may be better than a small number of his non-political lyrics. In the quality of their indignation and the unswervingly accurate, clever sniping backed up by witty rhymes and memorable metres, they will have caused more than one pompous figure to wriggle uncomfortably. Some, of course, are dreadful, but Tyutchev was fully aware of this. Conscious all the time of his every line being the subject of scrutiny of the censors of whom he was, in later life, an influential member, he knew precisely what to say, to whom, when and how, although he did occasionally get it wrong and found his own works the target of the editing pencil. (See [39, 132, 370].)

Gregg (A:14/146) appears to see a flaw in Tyutchev's personality which produces such apparent ravings as those lines from Russkaya Geografiya/A Russian Geography [149], in which the poet describes the Nile and the Ganges as elements of the Russian empire. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tyutchev was an exceptionally intelligent and cunning writer and chose his themes and times carefully. It should not be forgotten that from the time he began writing till the year he died, Russia was embroiled in one ajor foreign-policy adventure or war after another, among them the Napoleonic invasion of 1812, the Russo-Turkish war (1828-9), three Polish uprisings (1830, 1846, 1863), the Crimean catastrophe (1853-6) and the Khivan campaign of 1873. Nationalism is a heady force, especially at times of war and depression, and, bearing in mind Russia's eternal paranoia about invasion, borders and ice-free ports, Tyutchev's nationalistic outpourings can easily be understood. It is inaccurate and misleading in the extreme to attribute these political works to some psychological aberration. To claim that the ideology of the political verse is "expounded with the repetitive rigidity of a child's catechism, their realia .. the kings, swords, flags and altars of a boy's adventure book ... enunciating with obsessive regularity the themes of betrayal of Russia, punishment and the necessary submission to authority" (A:14/146) is to misunderstand verse which, while taking the message seriously, in his heart of hearts Tyutchev must have cringed at. To continue by saying that if "ultra-nationalism is taken to represent an adult's refusal to accept maturity, then it becomes (as in Tiutchev's case) an infantile disorder" (ibid.) is to make of relatively straightforward matters something complex and employ a totally inappropriate vocabulary to make the point. When it came to politics, Tyutchev always knew precisely what he was saying.

Frequently a mediocre political pronouncement starts or finishes powerfully, the poetic mediocrities reserved for the central "message" part of the work. In [268] he begins thus:

Uzhasnyi son otyagotel nad nami,
Uzhasnyi, bezobraznyi son:
V krovi do pyat, my b'yomsya s mertvetsami,
Voskresshimi dlya novykh pokhoron.
We've been burdened by a horrible dream,
a horrible, ugly dream:
up to our ankles in blood, we're fighting corpses
resurrected for fresh funerals.

The poem then develops quickly along overtly nationalistic, largely non-lyrical lines, culminating in a call to Russia to stand firm when faced with foreign hostility. There is a warm start and a gently eerie finish to [357]:

Nad russkoi Vil'noi starodavnoi
Rodnye teplyatsya kresty -
I zvonom medi pravoslavnoi
Vse oglasilis' vysoty.

V tot chas, kak s neba mesyats skhodit,
V kholodnei, rannei polumgle,
Eshchyo kakoi-to prizrak brodit
Po ozhivayushchei zemle.

Over ancient, Russian Vilnius
kindred crosses glimmer.
Orthodoxy's pealing bronze
makes all the heavens shudder.

and as the moon's about to leave the sky,
in that early morning chill,
across the land just waking up
a spectral visitor wanders still

The opening of Gus na kostre/Hus at the Stake [356] parallels the lyric poem Pozhary/Fires [331]. The political piece begins:

Kostyor sooruzhyon, i rokovoe
Gotovo vspykhnut' plamya; vsyo molchit -
Lish' slyshen lyogkii tresk, i v nizhnem sloe
Kostra ogon' predatel'ski skvozit.
The pyre has been built. The fateful
flame's about to flare and all is silent,
save for gentle crackles as deep within the pyre
the treacherous fire filters.

The more lyrical of the two works is a treatment of the cunning, treacherous beast which is the fire:

Na pozharishche pechal'nom
Net ni iskry, dym odin, -
Gde zh ogon, zloi istrebitel',
Polnomochnyi vlastelin?
On this sad, scorched site
no sparks, only smoke.
Where's the fire, malicious destroyer,
omnipotent master? Many of Tyutchev's political poems are more complex than has often been thought. They have their genesis in the lyrical mind of the poet and, irrespective of their content, what is at times only a residual degree of lyricism often imbues them with a poetic quality which successfully reinforces their political message.

The three thematic groups, nature, love and politics, all too briefly dealt with above, sum up Tyutchev's poetic preoccupations. This is not to say that he did not have other themes. There are justly famous religious and philosophical poems, but a number of the religious works are inextricably linked with politics and many of his philosophical lines are scattered through works which more properly belong in one of the other categories. One reaches a point in Tyutchev where it becomes impossible to classify accurately, for themes and imagery spill across borders. And just as his political works are not all bad, so many of his religious lyrics, far from being "flaccid little exercises in other people's piety" (A:14/137-9), are "inspired and noble", possessing a "depth and sincerity" which "cannot be doubted" (A:18vii/328). His philosophical works are equally genuine. Tyutchev did not present a system of ideas in his lyrics, rather expressing "moods and problems which the leading thinkers were only beginning to tackle and of which others were not yet even aware". (ibid./330-1) These moods and problems of which Lane speaks are dealt with, often subtly, certainly not always overtly, in poems of many kinds.

No matter how a reader reacts to Tyutchev's oeuvre as a whole or to one or the other of his broad categories, the poet must ultimately be judged on his greatest lyrics. In the thirties, no Russian poet produced such a work as Letnii vecher/A Summer Evening [41]. Lines containing the echoing depression of Bessonnitsa/Insomnia [47] flowed from the pen of neither Pushkin nor Lermontov. There are many other examples of the uniqueness of this poet: the egocentric, strange detachment of a mind floating above a world which might be real or unreal, as in Eshchyo shumel vesyolyi den'/The happy day was loud [52], the almost sexually explicit final stanza of K N. N./ To N. N. [51], the slow, languorous movement and ominous imagery of fading and death of Osennii vecher/ An Autumn Evening [73], the Pascalian picture of man hanging lost in an abyss of Kak okean ob''emlet shar zemnoi/Just as the ocean curls around earth's shore [64], and the pithy, philosophical comment made with impressive economy, as in Silentium!/Stay Silent! [83], containing his most famous line, Mysl' izrechennaya est' lozh'/A thought you've spoken is untrue.

Tyutchev's existing poetic works consist of just under four hundred pieces. Approximately half of these are translations, occasional poems and the political verse. Of the remaining fifty per cent not all poems are of equal merit and his best works are very short. It is remarkable that on the basis of such an insignificant output in terms of lines written, over such a long period, Tyutchev should be considered at least the equal of Lermontov and by no means far behind Pushkin in the pantheon of Russian poets, although such a situation is not unique. After all, Kafka wrote little fiction. Tyutchev's importance is attributable not only to the very high quality of poems written in a relatively new literary age, that which began in Russia at the end of the eighteenth century and developed apace throughout the "golden" nineteenth, when Russia boasted scores of clever, talented poets whose work was by no means inferior to that of their Western counterparts. Ultimately, perhaps, we judge him on that originality, that sense of being different which is a characteristic of the voice out of place in its time, for Tyutchev's most celebrated lyrics are brilliant, often troubling works which do not properly represent the first third of the nineteenth century. So many observations inspiring his lyrics triggered conflict in his mind. His scenes, even at their most idyllic, are parts of a larger picture of anxiety. Turmoil and brooding questioning are central to Tyutchev's view of the universe and he expresses them with a very modern, uncompromising sharpness which appeals to our own age rather more, perhaps, than the florid, immense variety of Pushkin and Lermontov.


1. Tyutchev's parents were Ivan (1776-1846) and Ekaterina (nee Tolstaya, 1776-1866). He had a brother, Nikolay (1801-70) and a sister, Darya, (1806-79), married name Sushkova). Apart from these, Sergei, Dmitrii and Vasilii died in childbirth.

2. Prior to the decree of February 14th. 1918, Russia used the Julian calendar which was twelve days behind the Gregorian in use in the West. The two dating systems are referred to as Old and New Style and all dates in this book are Old Style.

3. His first wife was the widowed Eleonore Peterson (nee Countess von Bothmer, 1799-1838), four years older than he and with three children of her own. She had three daughters by Tyutchev, Anna (1829-89), Darya (1834-1903) and Ekaterina (1835-82). His children by his second wife, Baroness Ernestine von Dornberg (nee Pfeffel, 1810-94), also a widow, were Maria (1840-72), Dmitrii (1841-70) and Ivan (1846-1909). His mistress, Elena Deniseva (1826-64) bore him Elena (1851-65), Fyodor (1860-1916) and Nikolai (1851-65).

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  © Разработчики: Андрей Белов, Борис Орехов, 2006.
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