Saturday, July 21, 2012

Delight in Them and Speak No Word

Silentium!
by Fyodor Tyutchev
tr. by Vladimir Nabokov


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.

Tyutchev was a Russian diplomat in the nineteenth century. He was not appreciated as a poet in his lifetime; while he published a few poems, but they received little recognition (although some critics did recognize his poems as showing that he had some talent as a minor poet), and he himself regarded his poems as 'bagatelles'. But he heavily influenced Russian Symbolism, began to be widely quoted, and is today usually counted as one of the greatest Russian poets of the Romantic movement. The actual name of this poem is "Molchanije".

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