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Когда, дитя и страсти и сомненья

January 31, 2010
Когда, дитя и страсти и сомненья,
Поэт взглянул глубоко на тебя, —
Решилась ты делить его волненья,

В нем таинство печали полюбя.

Ты, смелая и кроткая, со мною
В мой дикий ад сошла рука с рукою, —

Рай зрела в нем чудесная любовь.

О, сколько раз к тебе, святой и нежной,
Я приникал главой моей мятежной,
С тобой себе и небу веря вновь.

1844

Iambic pentameter, AbAb CCd EEd, as if a sonnet minus one quatrain.  Like the early Baratynskii poem from Friday, this poem is quite transparent in its syntax and word order, unlike some of the poet’s best-known efforts.

This is one of those short poems that is quite dense in its internal structure of semantic oppositions and associations.  Three categories jump out at me: the poet versus the addressee, active versus passive, and religion versus psychology.

On one level it seems that the “bold and meek” addressee passively supports the poet, who is relatively active living his stormy psychological life and writing poems.  But what does each do?  He looks, lays down his head, believes; she decides, loves, goes down (into his hell).

In the second stanza, the religious language (ад, рай, чудесная) seems a straightforward metaphor for the poet’s psychological makeup: мой дикий ад.  His mental world is a hell, and her love manages to see a paradise in it.  In the rest of the poem, the two are hard to separate, as in таинство печали or к тебе, святой и нежной.  The very last line juxtaposes them most explicitly: себе и небу, with веря balancing the singular сомненья of the first line.  A single doubt in himself and heaven is resolved over and over again through her.

The shift from third to first person in the second stanza makes the poem emotionally forceful.

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