Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov
Biography of Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov
Lermontov was born in Moscow on 15th October 1814 to a retired army captain and his wife. At the age of three Lermotov's mother died and he was sent to live with his grandmother on her estate in Penzenskaya province. Here, the natural and at times exotic beauty of the area formed a lasting impression on him, as did the customs and ceremonies of the time and the stories, legends and folk songs that he heard.
In 1827 he moved with his grandmother to Moscow and attended boarding school. There he began to write poetry and study painting. Lermontov, like many other young writers at the time, was influenced heavily by English poet Lord Byron, as was shown by his first two poems Cherkesy and Kavkazsky Plennik (1928).
His first published verse, Vesna the followed in 1830.
Also in 1830, he entered Moscow Univeristy and studied alongside such democratically minded representatives of nobility as Aleksandr Herzen and Nikolay Platonovich Ogaryov. Students regularly discussed political and philosophical problems and it was in this atmosphere that Lermotov wrote a number of longer, narrative poems and dramas. For example, his drama Stranny Chelovek (A Strange Man)(1831) reflected the attitudes current among members of student societies: hatred of the despotic tsarist regime and of serfdom.
In 1832 he left Moscow univerity and entered cadet school in St. Petersburg.
Upon his graduation in 1834 he was appointed to the Life-Guard Hussar Regiment stationed at Tsarskoye Selo (now Pushkin), close to St. Petersburg. In 1840 he was exiled following a duel with the son of the French ambassador at St. Petersburg. However, in 1841 he was allowed to return in order to spend some time with his grandmother. On his return journey he experienced a burst of creative energy and wrote such poetic pieces as Utes (The Cliff), Spor(Argument), Net, ne tebya tak pylko ya lyublyu (No, It Was Not You I Loved So Fervently) and his last work Prorok ("Prophet").
Lermontov died during a duel with a fellow officer in 1842. He was only twenty six years of age but had still shown himself to be a gifted poet, writer, and playwright who would go on inspire a number of other Russian artists.
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Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov Poems
I Go Out On The Road Alone
Alone I set out on the road; The flinty path is sparkling in the mist; The night is still. The desert harks to God, And star with star converses.
A lonely sail is flashing white Amdist the blue mist of the sea!... What does it seek in foreign lands? What did it leave behind at home?..
Bored And Sad
It's boring and sad, and there's no one around In times of my spirit's travail... Desires!...What use is our vain and eternal desire?.. While years pass on by - all the best years!
At midnight an angel was crossing the sky, And quietly he sang; The moon and the stars and the concourse of clouds Paid heed to his heavenly song.
Where waves of the Terek are waltzing In Dariel's wickedest pass, There rises from bleakest of storm crags An ancient grey towering mass.
On The Death Of Pushkin
He fell, a slave of tinsel-honour, A sacrifice to slander's lust; The haughty Poet's head, the noblest, Bowed on his wounded breast in dust.
On Napoleon's Death
Cold hears thy soul the praise or cursing of posterity. Quit of the human race, thou man of destiny!
Faithful before thee, Mother of God, now kneeling, Image miraculous and merciful--of thee Not for my soul's health nor battles waged, beseeching,
On Departure For The Caucas
Farewell my hateful Russian country! People of lord and serf you are-- Farewell, salute, bent knee and hand-kiss,
Heaven And The Stars
Brilliant heavens of evening, Distant stars clearly shining, Bright as the rapture of childhood, O why dare I send you nevermore greeting--
I love my native land with such perverse affection! My better judgement has no standing here. Not glory, won in bloody action,
Sailless and without a rudder, On the ocean of the air-- Float the choirs of stars harmonious, 'Mid the mists eternal there;
Clouds in the skies above, heavenly wanderers, Long strings of snowy pearls stretched over azure plains!
By gates of an abode, blessed, A man stood, asking for donation, A beggar, cruelly oppressed By hunger, thirst and deprivation.
A lonely sail is flashing white
Amdist the blue mist of the sea!...
What does it seek in foreign lands?
What did it leave behind at home?..
Waves heave, wind whistles,
The mast, it bends and creaks...
Alas, it seeks not happiness
Nor happiness does it escape!