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Nikolay Gumilev

Nikolay Gumilev

To a Poet

Let verse of yours be flexible, but strong,
Strong as a poplar under valley's cover,
Strong as the earth under a plough, long,
Strong as a girl, who never knew a lover.

Reliably preserve severity at length,
Your verse need not be fluttering or booming,
Although the Muse has very easy steps,
She's not a dancer, but a goddess, ruling.

Frolicsome din of interrupted rhymes --
Temptation for decline, so free and so easy --
Just leave for use by jokers in a dance
On city streets for people who aren't busy.

And going out on the sacred paths,
Bring to melodiousness your chosen damnation.
You know, she's a mistress of the mass,
She craves embraces, as a dearth -- donations.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, January, 2000
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, August, 2000

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