Baratynsky's Poem ‭Dissuasion

Baratynsky's poem, variously called 'Elegy', 'Dissuasion', 'Disbelief' or 'Disillusion' was written for his cousin Varenka Kuchina in 1821 and published in 1825. It's a key poem, not just a pretty little piece made even more popular by being put to music by Mikhail Glinka (1804-57). Though seeming a light trifle, it expresses the eternal longings for love and friendship in someone who has lost belief in an earlier age of reason but cannot yet trust his feelings. {1-4}

translating Baratynsky's Dissuasion, Disillusion

Baratynsky subsequently married, and married happily, but the melancholy questioning never left him. Here his hopes and happiness seem to be leaving like a friend departing by sea. In 1825 he at last received a commission, and the following year left the service and settled in Moscow.

He published several collections thereafter that were warmly received by Pushkin's circle, but much more cooly generally, indeed being ridiculed in some quarters. Baratynsky left Moscow for France in 1843, and died the following year of a sudden illness at Naples.

Russian Text


Не искушай меня без нужды
Возвратом нежности твоей:
Разочарованному чужды
Все обольщенья прежних дней!

Уж я не верю увереньям,
Уж я не верую в любовь,
И не могу предаться вновь
Раз изменившим сновиденьям!

Слепой тоски моей не множь,
Не заводи о прежнем слова,
И, друг заботливый, больнова
В его дремоте не тревожь!

Я сплю, мне сладко усыпленье;
Забудь бывалые мечты:
В душе моей одно волненье,
А не любовь пробудишь ты.


Structure and Sound of the Poem

The poem is written in iambic tetrameters, occasionally irregular, and the stanzas are rhymed AbAb AbbA AbbA AbAb. The prosody of the first two stanzas is:

Не искуша́й меня́ без нужды́     4A
Возвра́том не́жности твое́й:     4b
Разочаро́ванному чу́жды     4A
Все обольще́нья пре́жних дней!    4b

Уж я не ве́рю увере́ньям,     4C
Уж я не ве́рую в любо́вь,     4d
И не могу́ преда́ться вновь     4d
Раз измени́вшим сновиде́ньям!     4C

A TTS Audio Recording:

Other Translations

Ruverses has three renderings. I give the first two stanzas of each.

1. Vyacheslav Chistyakov

Don’t tempt me into expectations
With your recurring tenderness:
I am devoid of predilections
And fancies of my former days;

To me it is beyond endurance
For no more I will fall in love,
I am not able to revive
Pipe-dreams or to accept assurance.

2. Boris Dralyuk

Don’t tempt me with your tender ruses,
with the return of passion’s blaze:
a disenchanted man refuses
inveiglements of former days!

My faith in faithfulness has faded,
my faith in love has passed its prime;
I won’t indugle another time
in dreams degrading and degraded.

3. Cecil Maurice Bowra

Tempt me not now; it is not wanted.
Show me no more your gentle ways.
But know that I am disenchanted
And shun the lure of former days.

I trust no promises from you,
My trust in love itself now falters.
The vision that I cherished alters;
I shall not yield to it anew.

As verse, all are surely acceptable, though the first is only partially rhymed and the last is perhaps too closely modelled on Housman's 'Tell me not here, it needs not saying'. But Baratynsky's poem is not quite as personal as these renderings depict, I suspect, but represents something more elemental and unsatisfied in the man, which Pushkin was also to echo in the ending of 'Eugene Onegin'.

English Translation


Unneeded are those tempting ways,
and all returns to tenderness.
How strange that disappointing gaze,
which fancies of the past profess!

Assurances I don’t believe,
nor think that love can last in men.
I can’t surrender once again,
and broken dreams I'll not retrieve.

That blind devotion once is gone,
and words are pointless, never end.
So if you’d truly act the friend,
you’ll leave him quietly sleeping on.

I sleep, am sweetly lulled to sleep
and dreams, once past, I shall forget.
That tumult in the soul I keep
but love is not awoken yet.

References and Resources

1. Mirsky, D.S., A History of Russian Literature (Knopf 1926 / Vintage Books 1958) 104-7.

2. Bristol, E., A History of Russian Poetry (O.U.P.) 116-18.

3. Glinka's version: audio recording: Разуверение

4. Brief analysis Goldlit (in Russian).

Russian poem translations on this site: listing.