“The East, uncertain, silent falls” (“Молчит сомнительно Восток”), Fyodor Tyutchev

Portrait of Tyutchev by Stepan Alexandrovsky
Portrait of Tyutchev by Stepan Alexandrovsky

Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev (1803-1873) is considered, with Pushkin and Lermontov, one of the three great Russian Romantic poets. His poetry was little known until after his death, but by the end of the nineteenth century the Symbolists – chief among them Alexander Blok – promoted his work.

The East, uncertain, silent falls,
An edgy stillness fills creation…
What is it? Sleep or expectation,
Now near or distant daybreak calls?
The mountain’s crown is turning white,
O’er woods and dales the mist is creeping,
The hamlets doze, the towns are sleeping,
But lift your gaze to heaven’s height…

Behold, above is heaven’s vault:
It seems to blush with secret passion,
More brightly, in more lively fashion
It now succumbs to sun’s assault,
Another minute and through all
The boundless atmosphere’s expanses
You’ll hear great peal as now advances
The bursting sun’s new victory call.


Молчит сомнительно Восток,
Повсюду чуткое молчанье…
Что это? Сон иль ожиданье,
И близок день или далек?
Чуть-чуть белеет темя гор,
Еще в тумане лес и долы,
Спять города и дремлют селы,
Но к небу подымите взор…

Смотрите: полоса видна,
И, словно скрытной страстью рдея,
Она всё ярче, всё живее –
Вся разгорается она –
Еще минута, и во всей
Неизмеримости эфирной
Раздастся благовест всемирный
Победных солнечных лучей…

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