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Mikhail Lermontov

Mikhail Lermontov

MIKHAIL LERMONTOV: Confession

Confession

1831
I’m to believe, but with some fear,
For I haven’t tried it all before,
That every monk could be sincere
And live as he by altar swore;
That smiles and kisses of all people
Could be perfidious only once;
That, sometimes, they forgive the little
Mistakes, the others make by chance;
That time heals sufferers around, 
The world is one of joy and gleam;
That virtue is not just a sound, 
And life is more than a dream.

But rough and hardened life’s experience,    
Repulse my warm faith every time,
My mind, sunk, as before, in grievance,
Has not achieved its goal, prime,                   
And heart, full of the sharp frustrations,
Holds in its deep the clear trace
Of dead – but blest imaginations,
And vanished senses’ easy shades;
There will be none for it to fear,
And what’s a poison for all them,
Makes it alive and feeds it here             
With its ironic, mocking flame.    


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, November, 2000
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, June, 2001


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