Alexander Pushkin

The Tenth Commandment

“You shalt not covet …” – your ukase I honor, O, my Lord, severe; But you know all strengths, I have here – Am I to control the sweet sense? I wish not to offend my neighbor, I don’t crave for a village his, Nor ‘tis his bull that I have missed, None raise in me a jealous fervor: Neither his home, nor slave, nor cattle – I don’t intend this bliss to loom in, But in the case that his bondwoman Is charming . . . Oh my God! I’m settled! And if to add that his friend, dear, Like Angel in a flesh is sweet - Oh, just God! pardon my misdeed – I envy Eden of my peer. Who could direct a heart of his? Who is a slave of trying, useless? Who’s able to avoid the lustiest? How can’t one help desiring bliss? I see and pine and sigh in sadness, But keep on honoring my pledge, Fear to free passions from their cage . . . I’m mute... my sufferings are helpless. Translated by Yevgeny Bonver The Tenth Commandment Don’t covet goods of other beings — My Goodness, You’ve commanded so; The limits of my will You know — Am I to manage tender feelings? I wish not to offend my friend. His village I do not desire, And for his steer I don’t aspire, I’m gazing at it all, content: His men, his house and his cattle, — I do not wish them to be mine. Supposing, though, his concubine Is beautiful... I’ve lost the battle! And if by chance his lady’s pretty And gifted with an angel’s skin Then God forgive me for my sin Of being envious and greedy! Who can command a heart like this? Who is a slave to worthless trial? Not love a loved one in denial?! — Who can resist this heaven’s bliss? I sigh from sadness and perceive, But I must honor my conviction, Scared to fulfill my heart’s ambition, I’m silent... and alone I grieve. Translated by Andrey Kneller

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