Treasure Island

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

(6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837 / Moscow)

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Friendship


What's friendship? The hangover's faction,
The gratis talk of outrage,
Exchange by vanity, inaction,
Or bitter shame of patronage.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Friendship by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin )

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  • Stephen W (5/22/2014 5:19:00 PM)

    Emma, a seeming Russian, tells us it is a good translation. This puzzles me, because it doesn't make any sense in English at all. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (5/22/2012 8:57:00 PM)

    Sort of saying we can have a good time but, but, lets stay on our side of the street. Have a wine - BUT? ? ? ? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Patrick (5/22/2012 1:47:00 PM)

    The hangover faction, suggest that a friend is like alchohaul, a pretense of joy through chemical delusions which in the end are a futile and somewhat painful enchantment, that would have been wise to take in moderation. In an era were facebook makes friends out of people we have no personal knowledge of other than a cursory and superficial pleasantries, it suggest that connections are doomed if they exists as surface niceness. A true friend is someone who goes beyond the exchange of vanity and inaction and is one who listens and excepts one through the worst times. That is a friend and Pushkin is merrily elucidating the qualities of what a friend is not, but which we generally go by. (Report) Reply

  • Deci Hernandez (5/22/2012 9:56:00 AM)

    Though he got a thumbs down, i agree with kevin shaw. We expect the relationship of friendship to be some sort of strong bond, but it is often a weak bond dressed up temporaily as something strong. patronage. but friendship is indeed a relationship to honor. no matter our friends inperfections, even when they are to the point of disgust. for we all have these points and all are in need of fiends. friendship translates in every language. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (5/22/2010 4:27:00 PM)

    I wonder why Puskin did not have the question ‘What's friendship? ’ as the title of the poem and then simply answer his own question as he has done in the quatrain? This achieves symmetry in all four lines.
    Some of his other poems are far superior. Yet several translations of some of Puskin’s poems again stress how much poetry suffers lost in translation. It is the hardest literary medium to translate due to the multiple meanings of some words in the original language and the wonderful poetic effects linking such words achieves. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (5/22/2010 10:58:00 AM)

    This poem talks about negative kind of friendship. There should not be this kind of friendship in the world. Negative kind of friendship is suitable only for conspirators. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (5/22/2010 5:25:00 AM)

    By saying what friendship is not, Pushkin is implicitly saying what it should be. The spurned lover might cry: 'Love? Don't speak to me of love! ' Yet that is the word he most wishes to heart. Disappointment in friendship does not alter the true nature of it. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (5/22/2009 8:39:00 AM)

    True many good friends, are made over flowing intoxications. The words seem to point to a futility of friendship. Saying it ends in the empty canister and just brings remorse of frustrated futility of even trying. Though comradeship in life is part of life. I guess maybe he was just one of those poet tipsters, that look on gloom. But, poets are poets and make the world spin. [ happy or sad poets ] (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (5/22/2008 11:19:00 AM)

    A straightforward and simple quatrain rhyming ABAB, characteristic of Pushkin's poetic style. He wrote somewhere that 'roughness and simplicity suit the Russian language better than French elegance.' I don't think the poem suggests that the earth is a beautiful place at all. It's more a comment on the manners of the time and the rampant hypocrisy in relationships, as I read it!

    Friendship is a result of a hangover when sufferers share woes and consequences of over-indulging the night before. People talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. Talking about outrage is cheap talk, when no action follows-nothing changes except for the venting of anger.

    People almost always like to be thought well of by others. Such vanity goes along with the fear of being ostracized if one goes against the mores of the time! Better to be a lickspittle, some think, though when they do succumb to someone they consider superior they feel deep shame at their self-betrayal. (Report) Reply

  • Raveendran . (5/22/2007 1:16:00 PM)

    The poet seems to suggest thatt he earth is beautiful place that houses a stupid idiotic world (Report) Reply

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