Gavril Romanovich Derzhavin

Here you will find the Long Poem Felitsa of poet Gavril Romanovich Derzhavin


God-like Tsarevna 
Of the Kirgiz-Kaisatskii horde! 
Whose wisdom matchless 
Opened the true path 
To young Prince Khlor 
To go up on that high peak 
Where the rose without thorns grows, 
Where virtue dwells: 
It takes my spirit and mind prisoner, 
Tell me how to find it. 

Tell me, Felitsa: 
How to live opulently yet justly, 
How to subdue the storm of passions 
And be happy in the world. 
Your voice wakes me, 
Your son sends me; 
But to follow them I am too weak. 
Disturbed by everyday trifles, 
Today I control myself, 
But tomorrow am slave to desires. 

Not emulating your courtiers, 
You often go on foot, 
And the most simple food 
Is on your table; 
Inexpensive is your rest, 
You read, you write before the candle 
And to all mortals from your pen 
Bliss flows; 
Just so at cards you do not play, 
Like me, from morning to morning. 

You do not much like masquerades, 
And put not even a foot inside a club; 
Guarding your habits and customs, 
You do not act as a Don Quixote; 
The horse of Parnassus you do not saddle, 
To spirits in séances you do not go, 
You do not go from your throne to the East,-- 
But, walking on the path of meekness, 
With gracious soul 
You spend a stream of useful days. 

But I, having slept until noon, 
Smoke tobacco and drink coffee; 
Changing into holidays weekdays, 
I wander in the chimeras of my thoughts: 
Now booty from Persians I steal, 
Now arrows at Turks I send; 
Now, having dreamt, that I am the sultan, 
The universe I terrorize with a glance; 
Now suddenly, captivated by an outfit, 
I ride to the tailor for a caftan. 

Or I am at a sumptuous feast, 
Where a celebration for me is given, 
Where shines the table with silver and gold, 
Where there are thousands of varied dishes: 
There the famed Westphalian ham, 
There links of Astrakhan fish, 
There pilaf and pies sit; 
With champagne I wash down waffles 
And everything on the earth forget 
Among wines, sweets, and aromas. 

Or, in a beautiful little grove 
In a summerhouse, where a fountain speaks, 
With the sounds of a sweet-voiced harp, 
Where a little wind barely breathes, 
Where everything presents me luxury, 
To pleasures my thoughts entices, 
Soothes and wakens my blood, 
Resting on a velvet divan, 
A young girl?s tender feelings, 
I pour into her heart love. 

Or with a splendid tandem 
In an English carriage, golden, 
With a dog, a fool, or friend 
Or with such a beauty 
I drive under the swings; 
At pubs to drink mead I stop; 
Or , when it somehow bores me, 
Due to my inclination for change, 
With my hat at a jaunty angle 
I fly on a fast steed. 

Or with music and singers, 
With organ and bagpipes, 
Or with fist-fighters 
And the dance I delight my soul; 
Or, all matters of care 
Leaving behind, I go out hunting 
And amuse myself with the howls of dogs; 
Or over Neva banks 
I amuse myself by night with horns 
And the rowing of agile oarsmen. 

Or, sitting at home, I horse around, 
Playing ?Fool? with my wife; 
Now with her I climb to the dove-cote, 
Now at Blind-Man's Bluff we frolic away the time; 
Now we amuse ourselves at svaika 
Now ????? 
Now I love to delve into books, 
My mind and heart I enlighten, 
Polkan and Bova I read; 
Over the Bible, yawning, I sleep. 

In such ways, Felitsa, I am dissolute! 
But all society resembles me. 
However much one is known for wisdom, 
But all men are liars. 
We do not walk on paths of light, 
We run after dreams of depravity. 
Between the Indolent and the Choleric, 
Between vanity and vice 
One finds only by chance 
The path to pure virtue. 

It is found,--but how may we not blunder, 
We, weak mortals, on that path, 
Where reason itself stumbles 
And must go after passions; 
Where learned ignoramuses, 
Like mist does to travellers, darken our minds? 
Everywhere temptations and flattery live; 
All pashas luxury oppresses. 
Where does virtue live? 
Where does the rose without thorns grow? 

To you alone is it proper, 
Tsarevna! to create light out of darkness; 
Dividing Chaos into harmonious spheres, 
With a union of wholeness to strenghten them; 
From discord -- agreement 
And from violent passion happiness 
You may alone create. 
Like a sailor, sailing across the sea, 
Catching under the sail a raging wind, 
Is able to guide his ship. 

Only you do not offend, 
Do not insult anyone, 
Stupidity through your fingers you see, 
But do not allow evil; 
Miscreants you right with leniency, 
You do not stifle people like a wolf does a sheep, 
You know their proper worth. 
They are subject to the will of Tsars,-- 
But to the judgment of