Russian Poetry VI - Fyodor Tyutchev - Silentium

Silentium (1831)
Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873AD)

Translation one by C. M. Bowra
From A book of Russian Verse

Be no word spoken. Hide away
Thought and feeling day by day.
Let them rise and pour their light
And set like planets in the night,
Unheralded, unpraised, unheard.
Watch them, love them, say no word.

Heart knows not to speak with heart.
Song and speech can ne'er impart
Faith by which we live and die;
A thought once spoken is a lie.
Unbroken, undefiled, unstirred
Thy fountain: drink, and say no word.

Live within thyself, and be
In a world of faerie,
Of magic thoughts that hide away
From the noise and glare of day,
Delicate airs on earth unheard,
Mark them, love them, say no word

Translation two by Vladimir Nabokov

Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal
the way you dream, the things you feel.
Deep in your spirit let them rise
akin to stars in crystal skies
that set before the night is blurred:
delight in them and speak no word.

How can a heart expression find?
How should another know your mind?
Will he discern what quickens you?
A thought, once uttered, is untrue.
Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred:
drink at the source and speak no word.

Live in your inner self alone
within your soul a world has grown,
the magic of veiled thoughts that might
be blinded by the outer light,
drowned in the noise of day, unheard...
take in their song and speak no word.


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