On July 27, 1841 the great Russian Romanticist poet Mikhail Lermontov had been killed at the duel in Pyatigorsk. In his short lifetime, filled with romance, military service, and bitterness, he composed numerous poems, several long poems (Demon, Valerik) and ballads, plays (The Masquerade), short stories, and a novel The Hero Of Our Time that has long been in Russian school curriculum.
The poem “I Come Out To the Path, Alone” was composed in 1841 – the year Lermontov died, and prophetically carries the gloom of predestination. It successfully marries Russian melancholy with the Romanticist fighting spirit. The disillusioned protagonist foresees his death but wishes it would lead to eternal life where he could join and enjoy the Nature.
The poem was put to music and has long been a popular romance. It also featured in The Life of Klim Samgin becoming the epitome of the spiritual searches and disillusionment of all Gorky’s characters, caught up in the ever changing Russian life at the turn of the 19-20th cc.
I come out to the path, alone,
Night and wildness are referred to God,
Through the mist, the road gleams with stone,
Stars are speaking in the shinning lot.
There is grave and wonderful in heaven;
Earth is sleeping in a pale-blue light…
Why is then my heart such pined and heavy?
Is it waiting or regretting plight?
I expect that nothing more goes,
And for past I do not have regret,
I wish only freedom and repose,
I would fall asleep and all forget…
I would like to fall asleep forever,
But without cold sleep of death:
Let my breast be full of dozing fervor
For the life, and heave in gentle breath;
So that enchanting voice would ready
Day and night to sing to me of love,
And the oak, evergreen and shady,
Would decline to me and rustle above.