To a Poet
Let verse of yours be flexible, but strong,
Strong as a poplar under valley’s cover,
Strong as the earth under a plough, long,
Strong as a girl, who never knew a lover.
Reliably preserve severity at length,
Your verse need not be fluttering or booming,
Although the Muse has very easy steps,
She’s not a dancer, but a goddess, ruling.
Frolicsome din of interrupted rhymes —
Temptation for decline, so free and so easy —
Just leave for use by jokers in a dance
On city streets for people who aren’t busy.
And going out on the sacred paths,
Bring to melodiousness your chosen damnation.
You know, she’s a mistress of the mass,
She craves embraces, as a dearth — donations.
Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov
Никола́й Степа́нович Гумилёв