To the Poet

Poet, be deaf to popular acclaim;
The tumult of ecstatic praise will die;
The crowd's chill laughter and the dullard's blame
Thou with austere, calm firmness shalt put by.

Thou art a king. Live then alone, on high.
Take the free road thy spirit bids thee tread,
Perfect the fruit devoted thoughts have bred
And all rewards for noble toil deny.

These lie within. Thou art the highest court,
Sternest of judges, if thy work fall short.
Art thou content, exacting artist, say?

Art thou content? Then let the mob that spurns
Spit on the altar where thy fire burns,
And make thy tripod shake in childish play.

Translated by Babette Deutsch

A.S. Pushkin. To the Poet (“Poet, be deaf to popular acclaim...”). Translated by Babette Deutsch // Alexander Pushkin. Collected Works: Parallel Russian Text and English Translation.
© Электронная публикация — РВБ, 2022—2024. Версия 2.1 от 30 ноября 2023 г.