“My soul has always shunned with boldness” (“Не раз в душе познавши смело”), Karolina Pavlova

Portrait of Karolina Pavlova by Vasili Fyodorovich Binemann
Portrait of Karolina Pavlova by Vasili Fyodorovich Binemann

Karolina Karlovna Pavlova (1807-1893) was born in Yaroslavl. The great Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz was her tutor and her first lover. Later she and her husband Nikolai Filippovich Pavlov ran a literary salon in Moscow, but their marriage ended when he left her for her younger cousin, having squandered her inheritance. Thereafter, she lived in Tartu and Dresden.

As a woman, she found it difficult to gain acceptance as a poet, but she acquired posthumous fame when both Bryusov and Bely promoted her cause.

This poem was written in Moscow in 1852, the year before her marriage ended.

My soul has always shunned with boldness
Debauchery’s dark and doleful deeds,
Alone, pure sense withstands the coldness
Of others’ fierce and evil creeds;

Amidst the temple’s sad destruction,
Where battle’s raged, its pillar stands,
Alone, where all is shame’s seduction,
It speaks of faith and prayer’s demands!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Не раз в душе познавши смело
Разврата темные дела,
Святое чувство уцелело
Одно, средь лютости и зла;

Как столб разрушенного храма,
Где пронеслося буйство битв,
Стоит один, глася средь срама
О месте веры и молитв!

Translation by Rupert Moreton

 

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