Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

(1814 - 1841 / Russia)

No, I'M Not Byron; I Am, Yet - Poem by Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov

No, I'm not Byron; I am, yet,
Another choice for the sacred dole,
Like him - a persecuted soul,
But only of the Russian set.
I early start and end the whole,
And will not win the future days;
Like in an ocean, in my soul,
A cargo of lost hopes stays.
Who, oh, my ocean severe,
Could read all secrets in your scroll?
Who'll tell the people my idea?
I will or God or none at all!

Another translation by Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi:


I am not Byron--yet I am
One fore-elected, yet one more
Unknown, world-hunted wanderer,
A Russian in my mood and mind.

Scant from my seed the corn was ripe,
My mouth spoke young, was early hushed;
In depths of my own soul, the wreck
Of hope lies as in deep-sea sunk.

Who shall the counsels of the sea,
Its awe sublime unloose? Who shall
Read clear my spirit and my soul?
Unless it be a Poet--no man!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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