Mikhail Lermontov Quotes
“Yes, such has been my lot since childhood. Everyone read signs of non-existent evil traits in my features. But since they were expected to be there, they did make their appearance. Because I was reserved, they said I was sly, so I grew reticent. I was keenly aware of good and evil, but instead of being indulged I was insulted and so I became spiteful. I was sulky while other children were merry and talkative, but though I felt superior to them I was considered inferior. So I grew envious. I was ready to love the whole world, but no one understood me, and I learned to hate. My cheerless youth passed in conflict with myself and society, and fearing ridicule I buried my finest feelings deep in my heart, and there they died. I spoke the truth, but nobody believed me, so I began to practice duplicity. Having come to know society and its mainsprings, I became versed in the art of living and saw how others were happy without that proficiency, enjoying for free the favors I had so painfully striven for. It was then that despair was born in my heart--not the despair that is cured with a pistol, but a cold, impotent desperation, concealed under a polite exterior and a good-natured smile. I became a moral cripple; I had lost one half of my soul, for it had shriveled, dried up and died, and I had cut it off and cast it away, while the other half stirred and lived, adapted to serve every comer. No one noticed this, because no one suspected there had been another half. Now, however, you have awakened memories of it in me, and what I have just done is to read its epitaph to you. Many regard all epitaphs as ridiculous, but I do not, particularly when I remember what rests beneath them.”
“حين أفكر فى احتمال موت قريب , لا أفكر الا فى نفسى وحدها .. مالى والأصدقاء الذين سرعان ما ينسوننى , و مالى و النساء اللواتى حين سيقبلن رجلا اّخر , سيسخرن منى حتى لا يغار صاحبهن من ميت .. و من عواصف الحياة رجعت ببعض الأفكار فقط , و لم أرجع بعاطفة واحدة .. ان فى نفسى رجلين : واحدا يعيش بأوسع معانى هذةالكلمة , و اّخر يفكر ويحكم على الأول..بعد ساعة قد يقول لك أحدهما وداعاّ ...
و الثـانى ... الثانى ؟”
“I was modest--they accused me of being crafty: I became secretive. I felt deeply good and evil--nobody caressed me, everybody offended me: I became rancorous. I was gloomy--other children were merry and talkative. I felt myself superior to them--but was considered inferior: I became envious. I was ready to love the whole world--none understood me: and I learned to hate.”
“Tell me,” she finally whispered, “is it fun for you to torture me? . . . I should really hate you. Ever since we have known each other, you have given me nothing but suffering . . .” Her voice trembled, she leaned toward me, and lowered her head onto my breast.
“Perhaps,” I thought, “this is exactly why you loved me: joys are forgotten, but sadness, never . . .”
“I was lying, but I wanted to rouse him. I have an inborn urge to contradict; my whole life has been a mere chain of sad and futile opposition to the dictates of either heart or reason. The presence of an enthusiast makes me as cold as a midwinter's day, and, I believe, frequent association with a listless phlegmatic would make me an impassioned dreamer.”
“I love enemies, though not in the Christian way. They amuse me, excite my blood. Being always on one’s guard, catching every glance, the significance of every word, guessing at intentions, frustrating their plots, pretending to be tricked, and suddenly, with a shove, upturning the whole enormous and arduously built edifice of their cunning and schemes—that’s what I call life.”
“- هل هيئتي هيئة قاتل؟
- بل أنت شر من ذلك.
ففكرت لحظة ثم قلت لها وقد بدا على وجهي تأثر عميق:
- نعم، ذلك كان حظي منذ نعومة أظفاري! كان جميع الناس يقرأون في وجهي علامات غرائز شريرة أنا منها برئ، وما زالوا يفترضونها فيّ، حتى نبتت وتأصلت. كنت خجولًا، فاتهموني بالمكر، فأصبحت كتومًا. وكنت أحس بالخير والشر إحساسًا عميقًا، ولكن أحدًا لم يعطف عليّ، بل كانوا جميعًا يؤذونني، فأصبحت حقودًا أحب الانتقام. وكنت حزين النفس، وكان الأطفال الآخرين هدّارين، وكنت أشعر أنني فوقهم، فقيل لي أنني دونهم، فأصبحت حسودًا؛ وكنت مهيأ لأن أحب جميع الناس، فلم يفهمني أحد، فتعلمت الكره. لم يكن شبابي الخالي من الفرح إلا صراعًا مع الناس ومع نفسي. خوفًا من الهزء، دفنت أنبل عواطفي في قلبي، فماتت هنالك. وكنت أحب أن أقول الحقيقة، فلم يصدقني أحد، فأخذت أكذب. وقد تعلمت أن أسبر أغوار الناس، وأن أدرك الدوافع التي تحركهم، فأصبحت بارعًا في فن الحياة، ولاحظت أن غيري ممن لا يملكون هذا الفن كانوا سعداء، ينعمون، من غير جهد، بهذه الخيرات التي كنت أجهد للحصول عليها بلا كلال؛ فولد اليأس في قلبي، لا ذلك اليأس الذي تذهب به رصاصة من مسدس، بل هذا اليأس البارد، العاجز، الذي يختفي وراء سلوك لطيف، وابتسامة طيبة. أصبحت روحي مشلولة. ذهب نصف نفسي: جفّ، تبخّر، مات. قطعته ورميته بعيدًا عني. بينما كان النصف الآخر يتحرك ويتمنى أن يخدم جميع الناس.”
“I have an unfortunate character; whether it is my upbringing that made me like that or God who created me so, I do not know. I know only that if I cause unhappiness to others, I myself am no less happy. I realize this is poor consolation for them - but the fact remains that it is so. In my early youth, after leaving the guardianship of my parents, I plunged into all the pleasures money could buy, and naturally these pleasures grew distasteful to me. Then I went into high society, but soon enough grew tired of it; I fell in love with beautiful society women and was loved by them, but their love only aggravated my imagination and vanity while my heart remained desolate... I began to read and to study, but wearied of learning, too; I saw that neither fame nor happiness depended on it in the slightest, for the happiest people were the ignorant, and fame was a matter of luck, to achieve which you only had to be shrewd...”
“So? If I die, then I die! The loss to the world won’t be great. Yes, and I’m fairly bored with myself already. I am like a man who is yawning at a ball, whose reason for not going home to bed is only that his carriage hasn’t arrived yet. But the carriage is ready . . . farewell!
I run through the memory of my past in its entirety and can’t help asking myself: Why have I lived? For what purpose was I born? . . .
There probably was one once, and I probably did have a lofty calling, because I feel a boundless strength in my soul . . .
But I didn’t divine this calling. I was carried away with the baits of passion, empty and unrewarding. I came out of their crucible as hard and cold as iron, but I had lost forever the ardor for noble aspirations, the best flower of life.
Since then, how many times have I played the role of the ax in the hands of fate! Like an instrument of execution, I fell on the head of doomed martyrs, often without malice, always without regret . . .
My love never brought anyone happiness, because I never sacrificed anything for those I loved: I loved for myself, for my personal pleasure.
I was simply satisfying a strange need of the heart, with greediness, swallowing their feelings, their joys, their suffering—and was never sated. Just as a man, tormented by hunger, goes to sleep in exhaustion and dreams of sumptuous dishes and sparkling wine before him. He devours the airy gifts of his imagination with rapture, and he feels easier. But as soon as he wakes: the dream disappears . . . and all that remains is hunger and despair redoubled!
And, maybe, I will die tomorrow! . . . And not one being on this earth will have ever understood me totally. Some thought of me as worse, some as better, than I actually am . . . Some will say “he was a good fellow,” others will say I was a swine. Both one and the other would be wrong.
Given this, does it seem worth the effort to live? And yet, you live, out of curiosity, always wanting something new . . . Amusing and vexing!”
- Date of birth: October 15, 1814
- Died: July 27, 1841
- Born: in Moscow, Russian Empire.
- Description: Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (Михаил Юрьевич Лермонтов), a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", was the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also by his prose.Lermontov died in a duel like his great predecessor poet, Aleksandr Pushkin. Even more so tragically strange (if not to say fatalistic) that both poets described in their major works fatal duel outcomes, in which the main characters (Onegin and Pechorin) were coming out victorious.