Alex (Florstein) Fedorov [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve hesitated to attempt to translate Pushkin. He is the greatest of Russian poets, and one of humanity’s greatest too. But now I’ve taken the plunge, and I’m risking a major undertaking. Here’s the introduction to The Bronze Horseman. I’m gripped, so the rest will follow over the next few weeks.
Anyone who’s been to St Petersburg can only marvel at its beauty and atmosphere. I hope I may have in some way emulated Pushkin’s unparallelled evocation of it. Metre is unquestionably paramount here – any translation that ignores Pushkin’s rhythm is fatally flawed.
On shore abandoned, kissed by wave,
He stood, of mighty thoughts the slave,
And scanned horizon’s bounds. And amply
The river coursed; and boat of knave
Was quite alone and questing damply.
Along the swampy, mossy shore
Were darkly looming here and there
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