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Mikhail Lermontov

Mikhail Lermontov

MIKHAIL LERMONTOV: Prophet

Prophet

1841
Since that time when the highest court
Had given me the prophet's vision,
In eyes of men I always caught
The images of sin and treason.

Then I began to promulgate
The clear love's and truth's commandment:
At me all humans threw for that
Hard sticks and stones, like the madmen.

I put sackcloth and ashes on,
And ran -- a beggar -- from the town,
And there I live in desert lone,
Like birds, on food that God sends down;

Here earthly creatures serve me right,
The laws of the Lord obeying;
And stars here hear me in night,
With their rays, like babies, playing.

And when to towns' walls, by chance,
I hurry through the noisy places,
The old men say to younger ones,
With selfish smiles on their faces,

"Look, there is an example for us!
He was expelled from life, like ours:
The fool was forcing us to trust
That God is speaking through his mouth!

So, see, my children: how grim,
Thin, pale he is -- with shaggy hair!
Look, how poor he is and bare,
How despise all people him!"


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, June, 1998
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, May, 2001


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