Russian Poetry VII - Alexander Pushkin - Three Springs

Three Springs
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837AD)

O'er the world's plain that stretches vastly, sadly,
Three hidden springs mysteriously flow;
The fount of youth -- a spring that surges madly,
Whose waters murmuring and sparkling go;
Castalia's fount whose wave of inspiration
Sings where the exiles o'er the desert press;
And last the fount that cools all heart's pulsation
With the cool waters of forgetfulness.

“Three Springs” is a poetic maxim about the vanity of human passions and strivings. This bitter summing up casts no doubt on the self-sufficient value of the spontaneous joy of existence and the happiness of artistic creation, but it asserts that such joys can slake the inextinguishable thirst for life only at the price of the oblivion of all desires, the oblivion of life itself. The emotional and ideological pathos of the poem obviously contradicts orthodox ideology. “Three Springs” offers some extra proof that Pushkin’s artistic world cannot be interpreted exclusively within the framework of a religious consciousness, as some have attempted to do.
- Pushkin’s Lyrics by O. S. Murav’eva Page 9.

Castalia was a nymph from Greek mythology, who when being pursued by Apollo, the God of poetry, threw herself into the spring on Mount Parnassus near Delphi. The spring was held sacred to Apollo and the muses. All who wished to consult the Delphic Oracle were required to purify themselves in its waters.

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