St.Petersburg

Russian Poetry. Silentium. Fyodor Tyutchev

28 May 2019
Silentium
By Fyodor Tyutchev

Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal
the way you dream, the things you feel.
Deep in your spirit let them rise
akin to stars in crystal skies
that set before the night is blurred:
delight in them and speak no word.
How can a heart expression find?
How should another know your mind?
Will he discern what quickens you?
A thought once uttered is untrue.
Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred:
drink at the source and speak no word.
Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard…
take in their song and speak no word.

ca. 1825 - 29,
translated by Vladimir Nabokov.

After Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev (born in 1803 in Ovstug and died in 1873 in St. Petersburg) is considered the last of Russia’s three greatest romantic poets.
He was a fully committed slavophile and is famous for having written the oftcited lines “Russia is baffling to the mind, Not subject to the common measure, she stands alone – unique, In her one can only believe…”. Tyutchev’s love poems, most of them inspired by his liaison with his daughter’s governess, are among the most passionate and poignant in the Russian language.

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