... Again I visit.
Alexander Pushkin ... Again I visit That corner of the earth where once I passed Two unmarked years in solitary exile. Already since that time ten years have fled-- And much in life has changed for me, and I, Myself obedient to the common rule, Have also changed--yet here the past again Embraces me in all its vivid hue, And so it seems just yesterday I wandered Amidst these groves. Behold the wretched homestead Where erstwhile I and my poor nanny dwelt. The dear old lady's gone--the next room over No longer do I hear her heavy steps, Nor does her prudent oversight still reign. Behold the wooded hill where many a day Quite motionless I sat and fixed my gaze Upon the lake, while sadly reminiscing On other distant shores, and other waves ... Among the golden grain-fields and green pastures Its blue profusion shimmers far and wide; Across the broad, unfathomable waters There sails a fisherman who drags behind him A ragged seine. About the sloping banks Are scattered villages--and just beyond A crooked windmill stands, with effort turning Its sails against the wind ... Upon the margin That bounds my grandfather's estate, just where The road, deep-pitted by spring rains, begins Its slow uphill meander, three old pines Stand--one aside, aloof; two others closely Entangled--here, when of a moonlit night My horse would amble past, their soughing summits Would greet me with fond murmur. Now along That selfsame road I travel, and before me Again I see those pines. They're still the same, My ear is still accustomed to their murmur-- But near their ancient mass of branching roots (Where once the ground was always bare and barren) A youthful grove now vigorously burgeons, A family of green; the shrubs crowd in Beneath their canopy like children. Yet Their sombre comrade stands apart, a lone Decrepit bachelor, whilst all around him Is barren as before. All hail, new tribe, Youthful and undiscovered! I'll not live To witness your magnificent full growth, When you will overtop these friends of mine, And in your turn conceal their aged crowns From eyes of passers-by. But may my grandson One day take in your murmured salutations As he returns from some late cordial jaunt; And brimming full of cheerful, pleasant musings, May he pass by you in the midnight darkness And spare a thought for me.
Translated by Alyssa Dinega Gillespie (2)
(1) 1829 is the composition date given for this poem in all Pushkin editions. According to V. D. Rak, however, this date is incorrect, and the poem was in fact composed in 1830. See Michael Wachtel, A Commentary to Pushkin's Lyric Poetry, 1826-1836 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), 161.
(2) An earlier version of this translation was published in New England Review 34, no. 3-4 (2014): 88-89.