To the Poet
Poet, though people praise you, don’t feel proud.
A minute later, people’s praise can disappear.
Hearing the verdict of a fool and laughing crowds,
You must remain unmoved, and calm and clear.
You are a czar: live on your own. Wander about
Wherever boundless musings guide your way,
Refine the fruits of your dear thoughts each day,
Don’t seek rewards or strive to be renowned.
Yourself, you are the most supreme of courts;
You pass the strictest verdicts on your works.
Determined artist, are you satisfied?
If you are pleased, let crowds be profane.
Let them disgrace the altar, spit into the flame,
And shake your tripod with a childish delight.
By Alexander Pushkin
Translation by Andrey Kneller