Mikhail Lermontov, Poet, Writer, Artist, Military Officer and Hero
1941 marked the centennial of the death of Mikhail Yurevich Lermontov. He was an officer and military hero, but Lermontov’s greatest contributions to the history of Russia were his poetry and paintings. The writer’s house-museum (see the bottom of this post) was home to the young poet during his years as a student at Moscow University, when he became so absorbed with his writing that he failed to sit his exams. The house contains much of the original furniture, many sketches and watercolors by Lermontov himself, and an extensive library full of works by his favorite authors; from Lomonosov, Krillov and Pushkin to Rousseau, Goethe, Shakespeare and the English Romantic poet Lord Byron.
The Lermontov commemorative poster depicts scenes from the poet’s stories and his life. An example of his poetry is included below.
An angel was crossing the pale vault of night,
and his song was as soft as his flight,
and the moon and the stars and the clouds in a throng
stood enthralled by this holy song.
He sang of the bliss of the innocent shades
in the depths of celestial glades;
he sang of the Sovereign Being, and free
of guile was his eulogy.
He carried a soul in his arms,
a young life to the world of sorrow and strife,
and the young soul retained the throb of that song
-without words, but vivid and strong.
And tied to this planet long did it pine
full of yearnings dimly divine,
and our dull little ditties could never replace
songs belonging to infinite space.
-Translated from the Russian by VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Title: Four Poems by Lermontov
Author(s): Lermontov; Vladimir Nabokov
Source: Russian Review, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Spring, 1946), pp. 50-51
Publisher(s): Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review
A 1941 article, also by Vladamir Nabakov, printed in Russian Review outlines many details of Lermontov’s short life. Please also visit the links on my List of Relevant Sites and learn more about Mikhail Lermontov.
Examples of Lemontov’s paintings. The two scenes pictured are among those depicted in the poster.
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