Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

(1814 - 1841 / Russia)

Native Land


I love my native land with such perverse affection!
My better judgement has no standing here.
Not glory, won in bloody action,
nor yet that calm demeanour, trusting and austere,
nor yet age-hallowed rites or handed-down traditions;
not one can stir my soul to gratifying visions.

And yet I love - a mystery to me -
her dreary steppelands wrapped in icy silence,
her boundless, swaying, forest-mantled highlands,
the flood waters in springtime, ample as the sea;
I love to jolt along a narrow country byway
and, slowly peering through the darkness up ahead
while sighing for a lodging, glimpse across the highway
the mournful trembling fires of villages outspread.
I love the smoke of stubble blazing,
heaped wagons on the steppe at night,
a hill mid yellow cornfields raising,
a pair of birch trees silver-bright.
With pleasure few have yet discovered,
a laden granary I see,
a hut with straw thatch neatly covered,
carved window shutters swinging free.
On feast nights with the dew descending,
I'll watch till midnight, never fear
the dance, the stamps and whistles blending
with mumbling rustics full of beer.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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