Commentary to the song “On Fatal Dates and Figures”.
This song calls to mind Alexander Pushkin’s poem “To the Poet” (adapted from Rupert Moreton’s translation):
O poet! don’t take care of people’s valuation.
Here also come to mind Gabdulla Tukay’s poems “To the Poet” and “For Memory”.
When all the world would have a matter hid,
Since Truth is seldom friend to any crowd,
Men write in fable, as old Aesop did,
Jesting at that which none will name aloud.
And this they needs must do, or it will fall
When desperate Folly daily laboureth
To work confusion upon all we have,
When diligent Sloth demandeth Freedom’s death,
And banded Fear commandeth Honor’s grave —
Even in that certain hour before the fall,
Needs must all please, yet some not all for need,
Needs must all toil, yet some not all for gain,
But that men taking pleasure may take heed,
Whom present toil shall snatch from later pain.
Thus some have toiled but their reward was small
This was the lock that lay upon our lips,
This was the yoke that we have undergone,
Denying us all pleasant fellowships
As in our time and generation.
Our pleasures unpursued age past recall,
What man hears aught except the groaning guns?
What man heeds aught save what each instant brings?
When each man’s life all imaged life outruns,
What man shall pleasure in imaginings?
So it hath fallen, as it was bound to fall,
“At twenty-six, his end one in a pistol duel faced...” — Mikhail Lermontov was killed in a duel at the age of twenty-six.
“...another — in a noose in that darned hostel” — Sergey Yesenin was found hanged in the Angleterre Hotel in Leningrad when there remained three days before the start of 1926 (there is no doubt that he died a violent death).
A l e x a n d e r P u s h k i n was mortally wounded in a duel at the age of thirty-seven in 1837.
V l a d i m i r M a y a k o v s k y shot himself shortly before reaching thirty-seven years old (his death seems to be the result of a failed suicide stimulation).
G e o r g e B y r o n died at the thirty-seventh year of his life.
A r t h u r R i m b a u d died at the age of thirty-seven.
The presented text is partly adapted from Eugeny Derbarmdiker and Sergey Roy’s translations.