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onegin, silly man

onegin is on NPR. it is my favorite opera. and it isn't just because i've a weakness for russian (or was that the russian who read it to me one night IN russian?). it is such a tragically sad story. i came in from work just in time for tatiana's name day party.

love in all its tortured forms....

i do think the letter she wrote onegin is beautiful....

I write to you - what else is there?
What else, what more may I attempt?
I know, now it's only fair
To keep my poor heart in contempt.
For the despondent fate of mine,
And saving empathy's warm tot,
You won't forsake me, you will not!
At first, I wanted to be mute;
Trust me that nothing of my shame
Would see the light of public fame,
If you would seldom, once a week,
Stop by the house of a lonely geek;
To only hear a familiar voice,
To say a word to you, rejoice,
Think more and more of still the same,
And hope that you will come again.
But people say that you're a loner,
That our village you can't bear,
And we don't shine, but for a scorner,
We're simply glad when you are there.
Why did you ever visit us?
In a cloister of a forgotten place
I'd never make that foolish fuss,
I'd never learn that bitter taste.
I would arrest in time (who knows?)
Disquiet of my naif soul,
Find a companion to my heart,
And bear well my spousal part,
Be a good mother, all in all.
Another! No, I can award
with love no one in universe!
It was imparted by the lords,
the will of Heaven: I am yours;
My life was nothing but a gage
Of our gathering ahead.
You will destroy my somber cage,
By a deific precept you've been lead..
In dreams I see, you never fade,
Unknown, already my sweetheart:
Your staring glance my soul would lade,
Your wondrous voice would cheer my heart.
All gone... no, that was not a dream!
I knew it when you stepped inside,
I couldn't move, I couldn't hide
My thoughts. My heart would scream: it's him!
Before I've heard you, haven't I?
Your voice did quell me from the still
When soothe the poor I may have tried,
Or in a pray have pacified
The stirred yearning that I feel.
And have you, in a second's split,
My dear ghost, my love's heartbeat,
Not sneaked in limpidness of night,
And angled stilly to my bed?
Then, led by love and by delight,
the words of promise have you said?
Who are you, my divine defender
Or my iniquitous pretender:
Absolve my doubts, all at once,
All that is maybe just in vain,
The vestal soul's enticed pain,
And for us, there's not a chance..
My lot is such! Away, my fears!
My fate is now in your hands,
In front of you I shed my tears:
In plea for your defense I'm bent
You just imagine, I'm alone,
Nobody understands me here,
My mind's unalterably drawn:
I'll calmly die and disappear.
I wait for you: in a single gleam
Revive the hopes of my heart,
Or break the ropes of a heavy dream
With a reproach in my regard!
I finish... fear to re-read...
With shame and dread I will retreat.
Your honor is my only bond, -
To it my fate I boldly fund...

(Translated by Boris Leyvi)

but it is his letter to her, years after he refused her, that moves me to tears every time....

I know it all: my secret ache
will anger you in its confession.
What scorn I see in the expression
that your proud glance is sure to take!
What do I want? what am I after,
stripping my soul before your eyes!
I know to what malicious laughter
my declaration may give rise!

I noticed once, at our chance meeting,
in you a tender pulse was beating,
yet dared not trust what I could see.
I gave no rein to sweet affection:
what held me was my predilection,
my tedious taste for feeling free.
And then, to part us in full measure,
Lensky, that tragic victim, died...
From all sweet things that gave me pleasure,
since then my heart was wrenched aside;
freedom and peace, in substitution
for happiness, I sought, and ranged
unloved, and friendless, and estranged.
What folly! and what retribution!

No, every minute of my days,
to see you, faithfully to follow,
watch for your smile, and catch your gaze
with eyes of love, with greed to swallow
your words, and in my soul to explore
your matchlessness, to seek to capture
its image, then to swoon before
your feet, to pale and waste... what rapture!

But I'm denied this: all for you
I drag my footsteps hither, yonder;
I count each hour the whole day through;
and yet in vain ennui I squander
the days that doom has measured out.
And how they weigh! I know about
my span, that fortune's jurisdiction
has fixed; but for my heart to beat
I must wake up with the conviction
that somehow that some day we'll meet...
(i love this phrase)

I dread your stern regard surmising
in my petition an approach,
a calculation past despising --
I hear the wrath of your reproach.
How fearful, in and out of season
to pine away from passion's thirst,
to burn -- and then by force of reason
to stem the bloodstream's wild outburst;
how fearful, too, is my obsession
to clasp your knees, and at your feet
to sob out prayer, complaint, confession,
and every plea that lips can treat;
meanwhile with a dissembler's duty
to cool my glances and my tongue,
to talk as if with heart unwrung,
and look serenely on your beauty!...

But so it is: I'm in no state
to battle further with my passion;
I'm yours, in a predestined fashion,
and I surrender to my fate.'

and the very end, which tchaikovsky, thankfully, didn't mess with....

Happy the man who leaves the feast
Of life betimes, who does not drain
The brimming cup of wine all dry,
Nor curse the whole of life in vain,
Who stops with gladness in his heart
As I from my Onegin part

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don't fear death
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"gypsy" is pejorative. please don't perpetuate the stereotype. educate yourself on what it really means to be a "gypsy" in this world.

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