Lermontov. Biographical Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles

Lermontov. Biographical Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles


2014, YEAR OF CULTURE With financial support of THE MINISTRY
OF CULTURE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION CHANNEL ONE RUSSIA STAR MEDIA BABICH-DESIGN THE RUSSIAN MILITARY HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESENT I remember a dream…
I was riding somewhere alone in the storm; and I remember a cloud, a small one
as if being a shred torn off a black cloak, that was rushing past in the sky… This is so vivid to me, as if I see it. LERMONTOV Chapter 1. HE WAS A CHILD The people in the large house of the estate
masters in the village of Tarkhany were awake for a long time on
a rainy October night. Maria Mikhailovna Arsenyeva,
young daughter of the lord of the estate, could not calm her newborn son,
dandling him again and again. The baby was born prematurely. It was weak. Yelizaveta Alekseyevna Arsenyeva,
boy’s grandmother, was a masterful woman. Housewifely lady of the estate,
she would always put things in order; always and everywhere.
This was the case too. The grandmother instantly understood
that her grandson was very weak, so she had to take caring of him
in her hands. She told to the young parents
that she himself would be boy’s godmother. And that she would name him Mikhail.
His father wished to name him Piotr, but, as usually, nobody dared to object
to Yelizaveta Alekseyevna. Yuri Petrovich, little Michel’s father, was
a man of modest means, so she moved to live with his young wife in the Arsenyevs’
estate soon after the wedding. After Michel was born, he started leaving
to visit his parents’ estate frequently — either for going hunting
of for a card game. His young wife, still weak
after the childbirth, felt the severance from her husband keenly. She used to write moving love poems,
missed him and often was jealous of him. They met at a ball
when it was decided that it’s time to find a fiancé for Maria Mikhailovna. Always staying home,
young Maria Mikhailovna has never been out, so she fell in love with well-mannered Yuri
Petrovich, immediately and to distraction. Yuri Petrovich was, generally speaking,
a kind and gentle man, though hot-tempered. He could hardly bear
his young wife’s jealousy. From birth, Maria Mikhailovna was a rather
weak person and the atmosphere at home and frequent absence of her husband
completely exhausted her. One day,
after another Yuri Petrovich’s trip, Maria Mikhailovna, annoyed and anxious,
reproached her husband; he lost control
and lifted up his hand against her. This incident ruined the health of weak
Maria Mikhailovna as she was. Yuri Petrovich regretted greatly,
but he already could change nothing. The people at the estate remembered young
mistress frequently sitting at the bed with little Michel in it for
hours and humming a lullaby for him. And when the little boy
went asleep she, weak, walked along the corridors of masters’
house with her hands behind her back and continued humming her quiet song. Another doctor was brought
to her the day before her death, when it was already impossible
to save the patient. Thus Michel Lermontov became motherless. He was a child when his dearest one
Was put in the coffin with singing. And he remembered
a black priest Reading a large book, incense being burnt And other things… and that his father
Was standing there, silent, with his forehead covered
with a large kerchief, And when they said to him To kiss farewell
his mother, He loudly began to sob and cry… Being a child, Michel could not
fully realize this loss. Several days after his mother’s death
he learned another thing, of which nobody saw any reason to tell him. God only knows what happened
between Michel’s grandmother and father, but Yuri Petrovich stayed in the Tarkhany
for 9 days only after his wife died. Then she left for his estate. I was a young girl
when the daughter of our lady died. Everyone was crying like mad
and our lady was crying more than anybody. Then she asked to let her grandson to live with her
and his father didn’t agree at first, but he was coaxed at last, left his son
and departed for his estate… I wish I could see how he would raise him; he had barely enough money
to live on his own even though he endeavored
to look like an important person… Crushed by her sorrow, Michel’s grandmother ordered to demolish
the large landlords’ house that witnessed the death of her daughter.
She didn’t wish to live in it anymore. A church was built on its site and
Yelizaveta Alekseyevna had a wooden house with an attic built near it in where
she settled with her grandson. Having lost her daughter, she cherished her only
and beloved grandson. All her strength,
all her care she applied to Michel. Yelizaveta Alekseyevna
loved her grandson so much, that she “could not breathe enough of him”,
as they said. The only thing that alarmed her was
boy’s affection for his father. Every time Yuri Petrovich visited them, the boy was taken
to visit neighbor landlords to hide him. Little Michel was always happy
to see his father, even for a short while. He used to immediately jump out
to the threshold every time as he heard the sound of the cart bells… His grandmother saw this;
she wished to find any way to retain her beloved grandson by her side.
The solution came quickly. “After my daughter died,
there has been left her juvenile legal son and my own grandson
Mikhailo Yuryevich Lermontov in whom I cherish parental affection
and unlimited love as of the only subject of
pleasure in the remaining days of my life and complete consolation
of the sorrowful condition of mine. Therefore, I hereby leave and convey by
will and testament all my movable and immovable property to my own grandson Mikhaila Yuriyevich Lermontov
after I die provided, however, that the said grandson
of mine will live with me and in my care as long as I live, with no
impediment on the side of his father whatsoever, until he attains his majority.
Should the father of my grandson demand and obtain my grandson which,
I say without concealing my feelings, will offend me to the greatest extent,
then I, Yelizaveta Arsenyeva, leave and convey all my movable
and immovable property now bequeathed not to my grandson, Mikhailo Yuriyevich,
but to my lineage of the Stolypins. Michel’s grandmother never left him
unattended for even a single minute. He slept in her bedroom and she watched his
every step, fearing of least signs of ailment. Born by a weak mother,
he did not have much strength either. One day he fell ill worse than usual. Arsenyeva got scared so much
that released house-serf girls from work and commanded them to pray God
about young master’s recovery. At all costs he must not be ill!
He wants to see animals? The Tarkhany hunters are immediately ordered
to bring a living deer and a living elk. He wants to be out with peasants? The village peasants immediately gather
and arrange fisticuffs. The entertainment does not help: the doctors
say he needs to stay in bed for a long time, in warmth, under the feather bed.
He can hear peasant girls sing or boys screaming when birched by
their fathers and kissed by their mothers. Deprived of usual children’s entertainments,
he started to look for them inside himself. Imagination became his new toy… As extension of agonizing insomnia,
choking between hot pillows, he was getting accustomed to overcome
the sufferings of his flesh by dreams of his soul… Moscow doctors did know
how to treat the boy because none of them could establish
the causes of his illness. Misha was melting away
before everyone’s eyes. In despair, his grandmother
invited Anselm Levis, a famous French doctor,
to come to Tarkhany. At first Dr. Levis treats Misha
by a newfangled European diet using rye bread and watercress leaves. In addition to his illness,
the boy ceased eating at all and the granny asks the doctor
to find some other remedy. The doctor asked some time for thinking. But soon he arrived
at the estate with good news: he seemed to know the way to save the boy. The Caucasus! The French doctor did not know for sure
how this little-studied spa treatment worked… But it’s the Caucasus! Its winds, mighty mountains, noisy rivers
and endless skies… There’s freedom here! The boy is recovering very quickly. One day Michel notices a girl of nine
from afar during a walk. Will anyone believe me if I say
that I knew love when I was 10 only? My heart became beating fast
and I became week at the knees. I did not have much understanding then;
nevertheless, that was a passion, a strong passion:
that was real love: I have never loved like that since then.
I was scoffed at and teased, for agitation was seen on my face:
I would cry for no cause, wish to see her and when she came,
I was shy to enter the room. I did not want to speak about her and would
run away when I heard her name being afraid that my heartbeat and trembling voice
could unveil to other people the mystery that was obscure even for me. Her blond hair, swift blue eyes, her ease — I have never seen anything of the kind
since then. The Caucasus was sacred to me… No one knew what cured the boy:
either the Caucasus or his childish love. The one thing was obvious:
something had happened to the boy. Chapter 2. AT THE DOOR TO THE HIGH SOCIETY Michel started to write poetry
seriously in Moscow, several years after his journey
to the Caucasus. Michel turned from the boy into a young man and entered the Moscow University’s
Boarding School. His granny moved to Moscow
together with her grandson and leased a house
in Malaya Molchanovka Street. Sviatoslav Rayevsky,
grandson of her friend, often visited it. He is three years older than Lermontov.
He has graduated from the Boarding School already and is now studying at the University
at the Philological Department. Michel has infinite trust in him. Young, smart and freedom-loving Rayevsky so vividly describes
the life of the high society, balls, ladies and gentlemen,
the Decembrist revolt — all those things he could never learn from
the dull noble environment of his granny. But the main thing —
Rayevsky narrates about Pushkin, his idol and the idol
of the entire high society. Rayevsky introduces Lermontov
into the high society. They attend balls each Tuesday. Lermontov
tries to be refined and impressive. He recites poetry,
thus riveting attention of young ladies… May patronage of Fortune
Be over you everywhere you go. To make your mind resistant to wines
And looks of young beauties. Rose cheeks and wines —
they often Shine with false colors. Fake wine and coquettes bring poison
In mind and hearts of men! Yekaterina Sushkova… A society beauty. The attention of all men at all balls
was riveted on her only at that time. She had extraordinarily fine black hair. Once she made
a bet for a joke at a society party that she had
no single false hair on her head. To prove that, Sushkova let her hair
down for everyone to see. Young Lermontov was heard
to say the only thing: “What coquetry!” I used to meet a clumsy
and bearish boy at that time… Everyone called him just Michel and I, just like everyone else,
did not care at all about his family name. I named him my “official-at-large”
and would give him my hat, my umbrella, my gloves for storage,
but he would lose my gloves often, so I promised to suspend him
from the office entrusted to him.” Once Sasha Vereshchagina and I were
sitting together. Suddenly, she said to me: Lermontov is so much in love with you! Lermontov? I don’t know him and,
which is above all, I hear his name for the first time. Just stop you pretending.
You have never heard of Lermontov? And never guessed
that he is in love with you? No, Sashie I have never
heard of him and never seen him. Michel! Michel! Cathérine asserts
she has never seen you fairly! Ah! I know you. And I have known
you long enough to remember you. But it is the firs time that I hear
your family name. This is my only guilt. Stealing gloves of St. Petersburg’s
women of fashion — THAT is real guilt. Michel became angry
with them and run home headlong. Don’t be slow in coming back!
You will receive bonbons! Also we used to make fun of his
not being fastidious towards food. Our mockery would exhaust his patience;
he would argue with us almost to tears. Then we made a bet that we would catch
him in the opposite in practice. That very day we had patties with sawdust
cooked for tea after a long ride. So, what do we have here? Patties? The hors is really crazy.
I have a toast: to love! Try some more, with cabbage. Oh! With pleasure! Michel! Michel! Michel! Michel! It was a joke! Michel! Michel! I’m sad because I love you very much,
And since I know your youth, now in full bloom,
Will be beset by slanders and by rumors. For each bright day,
for every pleasant moment, With longing and with tears
you’ll pay your fate, I’m sad… because you’re in a merry state. Michel bears all mockery
but continues to pursue Sushkova. He is angry and jealous when
he sees her dance with noble gentlemen. He writes one poem after another to her. One can’t help believing such love,
And looks will conceal nothing. You are unable of dissembling,
‘Cause you’re too angel for that… Thus, for your love did I pray
With bitter tears, with yearning And my best feelings in this way
Were sentenced to your spurning. Nothing will bring us close anymore,
Nothing will bring peace to my soul… Though a wonderful
voice whispers in my heart: I cannot love another woman… You yesterday accepted my declaration
And my verse without laugh; Though you didn’t understand my passions,
For your pretended attention… I thank you. I thank you for your dedication.
My congratulations: you compose such nice impromptus
of such insignificant words so quickly. I would just like to give you a piece
of advice; please don’t become angry: you should think over
and shape your poems better and with time those you dedicate your
verse to will even be proud of you. Are you not proud of my verses now? Of course not! You should agree that… you and your poems are
in absolute childhood now. You find a strange pleasure indeed
to remind me so often that I am nothing but a child for you. You should be ashamed,
Michel. It’s true, isn’t it? I am 18 and I have appeared in
the high society for two winters already. And what about you? You are just standing
on the threshold of this society and you will cross it not very soon. You are mocking at me again.
I see it from your tone that my poem is silly and ridiculous
and that it needs to be remade, especially in the last couplet. Meanwhile a new trend
for theme masquerades appeared in Moscow. The high society tries on new and new
costumes and masks from party to party… The whole society gathers
at the balls like these. Lermontov finds
a special rapture in masquerade. One night he appears in the costume of
astrologer, carrying a huge book of fate. The book contained caustic poems
and biting epigrams. It’s not a reason concealed afar
For her being now with a retired hussar… His behavior provokes diverse response. Some people note
his diabolic passion with admiration, while others fear his caustic jibes. In the dwelling of stench and shit
Your prideful names do shine. But I don’t wish to stain my verse
To somehow them define. From time to time Lermontov
drove vulgarity to extremities, not recognizing anything worth of
his attention in the surrounding society. Many people spoke of him
as of demon and dangerous cynic. One night during another party
in society he received a letter. This 28-th day of January, year 1831. This is my parental guidance and,
together with that, my behest to you, my dearest son Mikhail.
Although, you are in your young age now, I see you are gifted
with abilities of mind. Do not neglect them and fear above
all to use them for any harmful purposes: it is a talent for which you will have
to give account before Lord one day…! You have a good heart, so please do not make
it hard because once your heart is hard, you will fall into the vice
so much despised by you. Thank you, my dearest friend,
for your love and tender caring of me. Your father,
Yuri the son of Peter Lermontov. You’ve given birth to me,
but never made me happy; You were persecuted yourself in the world,
You knew only harm from people… And were understood by only one of them.
And when the crying crowd bent over you, That very one was standing
Without a single tear in his eyes, Motionless, cold and mute.
And everyone was insolently blaming him, Without knowing reasons why,
As if the moment of your death Was a cause for him to rejoice.
What use for him of their mourning? Madmen! They could not realize
That it’s much easier to cry than to suffer
Without showing any sign of sufferings. Presumably, Lermontov suffered
the grief of the loss greatly. The death of his father seemed to have
cut the ground from under him. Another loss seemed to stop Michel’s life. That was a song that used to make me cry.
I cannot remember it now. But I am sure that if I heard,
it would affect me as much as before. It was the song my late mother
would sing for me. Unexpectedly to himself,
Lermontov takes notice of her only among the numerous people
in their surrounding. Young, gentle, pure, smart
and as crystal clear as day, Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopuknina was
a passionate, gushing and poetic person. Everyone called her
no other than “Varenka”. Varenka’s temper — gentle and loving,
submissive and open — delighted Lermontov. Comparing himself with her,
he found himself to be ugly, unattractive, round-shouldered humpback. That was how he exaggerated his physical
drawbacks. She was angel and he… A Demon, soul of all the banished,
Wandered under the blue heaven’s vault, And thoughts of happier days now vanished
Before him crowdingly unfurled. Not knowing either good or evil,
He used to needlessly kill people. And was he stranger to desires. And things he touched would burn in fire,
inflamed with his fateful seal!.. And very often the young Demon
Had no delight in deeds of ill. But suddenly he heard a quiet sound
Beautiful like that of a lute And there was a voice.
He strained His eager ears. And his forehead grew cold…
He wished to immediately fly — And could not move his wings.
And then — O miracle! A tear of lead Rolled down
from his dimmed eye. Sullen as darkness of moonless night,
With lowered gaze, Enchanted by her play,
The evil spirit stood, wayward. He must not let love in his heart. One day Lermontov fails to come
to the meting of the university students. Then he stops appearing at society parties. His grandmother receives
no more letters from him in Tarkhany and she asks Rayevsky to help her.
Rayevsky sets out in search of Michel. The letters from Lopukhina arrive at
Lermontov’s Moscow address almost every day. But instead of the answer,
she receives the first version of his poem “The Demon” after a while. …He must not let love in his heart. Nobody can find Lermontov
anywhere in Moscow. He disappeared. “Following the instruction by the Head
of the School of Sergeants and Cadets, I order to appoint minor Mikhail Lermontov
to the Life Guards Hussar Regiment. Lermontov is now ranked cadet and shall
be enlisted as belonging to the gentry. It turned out that he abandoned university and left for St. Petersburg to study
at the Cadet School. Becoming a military — this is his goal now. It’s high time to start
living independently. Lermontov finds himself in unusual conditions
of marching drills and military maneuvers, parades and soldier’s rough everyday life. He is inspired
by his father’s military past, adapts quickly and writes about himself:
“I am warrior now.” Chapter 3. I AM WARRIOR NOW Lermontov masters
all military skills brilliantly. Aleksey Stolypin, his friend
and relative, studies together with him. He is sociable, jovial
and he loves Lermontov sincerely. Stolypin was hussar by birth. As a sign of special trust, Lermontov
invents a nickname for him: Mongo. This was said to be the name of the dog
that used to come to exercises and catch the regiment commander’s horse by the tail which quickened
the end of the exercises. Mikhail Glebov, a modest and kind minor
nobleman from the Orel Guberiya, was in special repute of Lermontov.
Michel patronized him as brother. No one of his friends, except for Glebov, could calm down Lermontov
when he was furious. These young cadets become Lermontov’s
companions in youthful amusements. For instance, he invents a game
“The Numidian Squadron”. He gathers his fellows at night
and they mount one another; the one above covers himself
and his “horse” with a bedsheet; the rider holds
a glass of water in his hand. On Lermontov’s signal,
the squadron takes off at a gallop, approaches their victim’s bed, tears away
his blanket and pours the water on him. Cadet Martynov is among Lermontov’s pals. Some inexplicable rivalry that manifested
in each of them preventing the other from becoming distinguished among the cadets
is established from the first sight. They encouraged and inspire one another
to sophisticated tricks and this made their friendship
strong, though strange… Lermontov is a master of fencing
with spadroons. He had almost no match in this.
His only competitor was Martynov. I remember we were taught fencing
on Fridays. This class was obligatory
for all the cadets. I preferred sabers and Lermontov
was the only of my friends who liked them as much as I did. So we would meet for fights
and these semi-theatrical performances attracted numerous audience
from among our comrades.” Why are you so excited, friends?
It’s a game, improvisation! Lermontov liked to torture us in ways
more sensitive and extraordinary. Without realizing, the cadets
encouraged each other’s tricks. Treading a tightrope, not merely having fun,
was considered to be special styliness. There was a meeting of a large number of young
officers of different regiments one day. One of the officers was recounting
his affections and feelings. Michel only dropped a remark: A man who has strength
to fight against afflictions of soul is not able to overcome physical pain… This phrase sounded like a challenge. Then the officer took
a burning lamp by the glass bulb with his hand before everyone’s eyes. Eventually, his hand had burnt
through almost to the bone and he had high fever for several weeks. O Lord! You have
no idea of what life I am going to live! That would be admirable!
First, vagaries and tricks of all kinds and poetry drowned in champagne!
My time of dreaming has passed — it’s gone. I want sensational pleasures now,
tangible happiness, a happiness that could be bought for gold
so that I could carry it in my pocket like a snuffbox and it would only seduce
my senses leaving my soul unaffected!.. It is forbidden
to read fiction at the school. Lermontov writes poetry very little
(in snatches, in classrooms by night) but he watches a lot. One day Martynov, who was going out
of his mind with competing Lermontov, finds his poetry and recites it publicly
with no permission and calls him “Pushkin”… Gentlemen, follow me! Rude army lifestyle and customs
absolutely different from the noble prevail among the cadets. Lermontov as if lets
all this world come through his heart. What uhlan’s life is without wine? His soul rests at the bottom of the glass
And he who isn’t drunk twice a day, Is — beg your pardon — not an uhlan. “Folks”, Lafa said belching,
Why staying here? Follow me! I’ll show you a gate to Paradise!…
A beauty! Dashing one indeed! “Let’s go!..” heated up like beasts,
The rakes roared all of a sudden, Jumped up and darted… Farewell, the happy days…
There… voices, rattle, clamor – they’re… The ground trembles… coming…
Jesus! But soon her fear vanished… Her hot breasts heaving…
Creator, close your eyes! Good people, stop your ears!…” …So many strange
things have happened to me, so that I do not know which way to take…
I am not the man I used to be: I now feel and speak differently and God only knows what
I will become during the year! My life makes me laugh now…
Laugh at myself and at other people… Dearest Virgin, saying my prayer
Now I address your radiant image, Asking not for salvation in battles,
Nor with gratitude or repentance Nor for my soul of a wanderer
In the world, godforsaken and homeless; I wish to entrust an innocent virgin
To thee, warm patroness of the cold world. Please, wrap her soul of merits with happiness;
Grant her companions full of attention, Heartwarming youth and tranquil old age
And peace full of hope to her heart unmalicious. And when the moment of the last farewell comes
Either in a morning eventful or in a quiet night Please sent your fairest angel
to the bed of sorrow To sustain the fairest of souls
in her heavenward flight! Two years later Lermontov graduates
from the military school. He has been promoted to the rank of cornet
and now sports officer’s uniform around town. His grandmother lavishes to equip her
grandson well and provide the young cornet with all surroundings she deemed to be
necessary for a brilliant guards officer. A cook, 2 coachmen, a servant, being
house-serfs in the village of Tarkhany, all of them were sent to Tsarskoye Selo
to serve their master. My friend, I still think
you don’t have enough money. I have found another 100 roubles,
so I am sending 1,500 roubles to you… The grandmother spares no expense.
Apart from occasional presents like this, she regularly allocates 10,000 roubles per
year to her grandson — huge money indeed! At that time Lermontov is crazy about
horses. This is an expensive pleasure. Parader, his faithful horse,
was bought for 1,500 roubles from a general and there were several more carriages
at his stable, waiting for their master… I have read your verse, my friend.
They are peerless and the thing that I liked the most was
that there is no violent love in them, so popular nowadays…” Chapter 4. A HERO OF OUR TIME Fledged and experienced, Lermontov
seems to be absolutely different now. At one of the balls, he meets HER again… He has reached manhood. His eyes
were looking with greater confidence. One could not help becoming confused
when he turned them with a sort of immobility. Lermontov knows Sushkova’s secret: she is
engaged to the brother of Varenka Lopukhina. He daringly assumes that she wishes
to marry for money, not for love because Lopukhin owns several
large estates and fife thousand serfs. Lopukhin is coming to St. Petersburg
soon and Lermontov knows this. My Lord! If only you wished
to guess how much you are loved! If only you wished to understand
how passionately, how humbly and how frantically some young man
of my age loves you! But first answer me to one question: if you
would be loved by two men simultaneously, one — let’s assume he be Lopukhin —
being rich, happy, everyone smiling at him, everyone admiring him, being able
to afford anything only because he is rich! The other young man is far from being rich,
famous and handsome but he is smart, passionate and perceptive.
And deeply unhappy! He is on the brink of the precipice because
he doesn’t believe in anybody or anything. He does not know what reciprocal feelings,
mother’s endearment and sister’s friendship means. And if this poor man dared
to address you and say: ‘Please, save me. I deify you. You will make
me great. Love me and I will believe in God. Only you can save my soul.
’What would you do then? What a kiss that was! Even if I lived
a hundred years, I will never forget it. It seems to me that I feel the touch
of his hot lips every time I think of him. I could not sleep all night long.
I must confess that I kissed my hand and squeezed it.
I was afraid to erase his kiss off.” …most passions begin that way,
and we frequently deceive ourselves when we think that a woman loves us
for our physical or moral qualities. True, they prepare the ground, dispose
the heart to receive the sacred flame, but nevertheless it is the first
physical contact that decides the issue.” Lermontov has resolutely
accomplished his intention. So light-heartedly
and carelessly of publicity, he prevents the wedding of Sushkova
and Lopukhin. The engagement is broken
and Yekaterina Aleksandrovna herself has completely changed her
mind about Lermontov. You can congratulate me:
I have started a good business. It was quite difficult but
I hope it will end brilliantly. Are you writing something? You are going to be heroine
almost everywhere. I feel faint!’ she gasped… She…
wanted to free herself from my arm, but I tightened my embrace
about her soft slender waist… I could feel a fiery glow from her.
“What are you doing to me? My God!” “Either you despise me,
or you love me very much,” she said at last in a voice
that shook with tears. “Perhaps you wish to mock me,
to play on my feelings, and then leave me… That would be so vile, so low,
that the very thought… Oh no!” Lermontov… One rainy evening an unknown messenger
delivers an envelope to Sushkova’s house. A long unsigned letter in 4 pages written in
French smearing some man without naming him. My gracious Yekaterina Aleksandrovna!
Let me… warn you that you are on the brink of precipice
and your love of him… will ruin you… Believe me, he is unworthy of you. There is nothing sacred for him
and he does not love anybody… I used to know him before…
he was younger then… which, however, did not prevent him from ruining a young lady equal
to you in both wit and beauty. He took her from her family and, after
having had his joy of her, abandoned her. Come to your senses; make sure
that this fate is prepared for you too… Believe me, he will never marry you…He will
simply confess that he has been pretending and will mock at you in addition. And this would the best outcome
which you might expect and which is sincerely wished to you:
your unknown, but faithful friend NN. The family investigation
has established soon that the author of this message
was Lermontov. Her relatives decide
that this affair compromises deeply both Yekaterina Aleksandrovna
and all of her family. Lermontov is refused in visiting their house.
Yekaterina Aleksandrovna is loosing her mind over not understanding what is going on
and over desire to see him. Locked at home as if in the cage, she had no
opportunity to have an explanation with him. However, the anger of her family calms down
and Sushkova appears in the society again. Her only wish is to see Lermontov. You are unjust and cruel. I am just he same as I have always been. What do you take vengeance on me for? Don’t torture me and say it plain:
why are you angry? Have I really any right
to be angry with you? I am happy with everything I have.
And I even grateful to you. For everything. For god’s sake, resolve my doubts
and tell me why you are angry with me. I’m ready to apologize to you but suffering
these torments without knowing why is unbearable. Answer me, calm me down! I have nothing against you. The mill cannot
grind with the water that is past. And I don’t claim anything.
In short, I don’t love you anymore… And I don’t seem to have ever loved you. Some thought it to have been his revenge for the abasement he was bearing
when he was young; some say Lermontov got frightened. Others explained what happened by his suffering from his plainness
and clumsiness. Two years later Yekaterina Sushkova
married to an old worshipper of hers, a man of modest means and,
generally speaking, ordinary kind person. Lermontov was said to have insisted on being
Yekaterina Aleksandarovna’s best man and, having been refused, nevertheless was
present at the church wedding ceremony… And also was said to be crying. Nobody understood
what Lermontov was feeling and enduring. He was wrapped up in himself most
of time after his breakup with Sushkova. One day he received
a letter when he was playing chess. He started reading it but suddenly
changed countenance and became pale. This was the news of the coming
wedding of Varvara Lopukhina. Lopukhin, Varenka’s brother returned
to Moscow after his engagement to Sushkova broke and told his sister that Lermontov
loves and sues Yekaterina Aleksandrovna. Varia was unaware of the details
but the story her brother told her made her sure once and for all
that Lermontov had preferred another woman, having left no other choice for her. Breathless with impatience I galloped on… Oh, but to see her for a minute, only one more
minute, to say goodbye, to clasp her hand… I prayed, I cursed, I cried, I laughed… Now that I realized
I might lose her forever, she became for me
the most precious thing on earth, more precious than life,
honor or happiness!.. And all the while I rode on,
spurring my horse mercilessly… Varenka’s destiny
has been decided by chance. Rich landlord Bakhmetiev
started attended balls in Moscow that year. Once he came to the ball
at the Moscow Assembly of Nobility. Lopukhina’s ball scarf accidentally
caught his tailcoat’s button. She had to stop to untangle
its fringe and that took quite a long time… Bakhmetiev was a superstitious man, so
he saw a sign from above in this accident. Soon he made a proposal of marriage
to Varvara Aleksandrovna. Varenka accepted it
at her family’s insistence. …He crashed to the ground.
I leapt nimbly out of the saddle, but try as I might to get him up, pull as I
might at the reins, my efforts were in vain. A scarcely audible groan escaped
from between his clenched teeth and a few minutes later he was dead. I was left alone in the steppe,
my last hope gone… I fell on to the wet grass
and sobbed like a child… All my resolution,
all my composure vanished like smoke — my spirit was impotent,
my reason paralyzed, and had someone seen me at that moment
he would have turned away in contempt.” Chapter 5. THE POET’S KILLED Rayevsky comes to St. Petersburg
from Moscow. He was transferred to serve
with the Military Ministry. Lermontov suggests him to share
a leased house to live in it like brothers. Rayevsky gladly agrees. They were true friends able of working
together and talking for hours. Lermontov recites his poetry to Rayevsky and
listens to his opinions with much attention. Rayevsky persuades Lermontov to submit
the poems for publication, but in vain. Lermontov is firmly against —
that was the extent of his self-doubt. It ends in Rayevsky stealing
his poem “Hadji-Abrek” and showing it to the editor of a major magazine and the
latter immediately orders to publish it. Lermontov learns of this.
He gets infuriated. However, the poem is not criticized;
on the contrary, it is praised in every manner possible. At that time young people
in St. Petersburg unite in circles again. Lermontov and Rayevsky attend one of them,
“The Circle of the Sixteen”. The circle was named
after the number of its members. After having a modest dinner the young men
spend evenings at the place of one of them, smoking cigars and talking about the events
of the day and everything surrounding them in free and easy manner. Following trends of the time, they oftener
and oftener talk about politics and tsar’s rule.
Freedom-loving romantics and poets, the young men do not mind at all being
reputed argent liberals among their friends. Young Prince Aleksandr Vasilchikov
was among the members of the circle. But he hardly always participated
in conversations of this kind. Everybody knows that his father is the Chairman
of the Cabinet of Ministers and emperor’s minion. Some have suspicious and apprehensive
attitude towards cunning Vasilchikov, but Lermontov values
his subtle sense of humor, likes to start arguments
with him to expose his “false bottom”. Vasilchikov’s presence points
the meetings of the circle… Lermontov writes a great deal. Despite boiling social
and literary life in St. Petersburg, he almost invariably prefers solitude. He seems to have no desires at all.
Except for one: he wishes his poems to be read by Pushkin. In the evening of 27 January, 1837, the news of Pushkin’s fatal injury
spread all over the city. The city stirred up. Crowds of people
besieged the house where Pushkin lived. It was impossible to move
on the banks of the Moika River — all classes of St. Petersburg’s society residents,
even illiterate ones, were gathering there. What was going on looked like
a mass manifestation. Pushkin died on 29 January at 2.45 pm. Lermontov’s poem shook Rayevsky
and he immediately made several copies — mainly to support Pushkin’s family
and is closest friends. These copies spread
all around the city in two days. They were duplicated in thousand copies. The poem was not only recited but
also learnt by heart virtually by everyone. No sooner had St. Petersburg said
the last farewell to Pushkin than talks about his successor
were heard everywhere. The death of Pushkin was
the talk of the town at those days. Among Lermontov’s friends were also
those who took the side of d’Anthes. Would YOU shoot at Pushkin? When standing at the station.
Even if he had offended you? Gentlemen, don’t you think
you reason like ladies in the salon? Lermontov was infuriated and immediately wrote another 16 lines right there,
on a table napkin. The “Postscript” —
as these lines were called — spread around St. Petersburg
even quicker then the poem itself. It was some young hussar accusing the closest
emperor’s circles of the death of the poet, not Pushkin’s death itself that became
the main theme of talks several days after… And several more days later
Nicholas I received by municipal post a copy of Lermontov’s poem titled
“The Appeal for Revolution”. Lermontov was summoned for interrogation. I was still ill when the news of Pushkin’s duel spread. Then, on impulse, I poured out
bitterness of my heart on the paper in exaggerated and wrongful words, without understanding that
I had written something reprehensible which could be taken by many people
as something referring to them. This was my first
and last experience of this kind. However, if no excuse is possible, my
young age and ardor will serve explanation because at that moment my passion
was stronger than cold reason. I myself have never given it
to anyone since then… But I cannot renounce them,
for truth has always been sacred to me.” Searches had been executed under
“The Case of Inadmissible Verse Written by the Cornet
of Life Guards Hussar Regiment Lermontov and of Distribution Thereof
by the Guberniya Secretary Rayevsky”. Rayevsky was arrested.
Lermontov was shocked. An official order was issued soon:
“For whiting verses on the death of Pushkin, Cornet Lermontov shall be transferred
to the Nizhny Novgorod Dragoon Regiment, retaining his rank, and Guberniya Secretary
Rayevsky shall be kept under arrest and then sent to the Olonetsk Guberniya
to serve with the local governor for the distribution of the said verses.”
Lermontov is furious with himself for Rayevsky having been involved
in a criminal case. I did not mention you at first, but then
tsar’s men became interrogating me: they said that no punishment
threatened you and that if I refused to answer questions
I would be demoted to soldier… I recalled my granny… and I could not.
I sacrificed you for her… I cannot explain what was going on
with me at that moment.” Weak and exhausted by worries,
Lermontov catches severe cold and falls seriously ill
on his way to Kakhetia, the place in Georgia where Lermontov
was supposed to stay during his exile. He is alone again. His condition is so serious
that he is unable to reach his destination. On his way, strange people literally
take him in their arms from the cart: he is unable to walk himself. Lermontov
stops in Pyatigorsk for treatment. Chapter 6. A WANDERING COMET His youthful liveliness yielded
to melancholy. Here, in the Caucasus,
he reconsiders many things. Life unveils to him form a new perspective.
He often leaves for mountains alone. There are not only written verses
among his papers but watercolors, pencil sketches from life. The mountain air seemsto affect him
in a very special way. My dearest friend Sviatoslav! I have
been on constant wander since I departed. In Circassian clothes,
with a rifle behind my back; I used to spend nights in the open air
and went to sleep to the cries of jackals. By Jove, I won’t promise to explain
or describe this wonderful feeling: you want nothing at these moments; you could
just sit and stare like that for all your life. There are no service duties here…
I have become a vagabond indeed… My dearest friend, please remember me
and do believe that you having been punished
over me is the greatest sorrow of mine. Faithfully yours forever, Lermontov. Yelizaveta Alekseyevna has been soliciting
for her grandson for all this time. She succeeded in a year: by emperor’s
order Warrant Officer Lermontov was transferred to St. Petersburg to serve with the Life Guards Hussar Regiment
in the rank of cornet. Wake up, bone-head! Hi, beauty! He is completely absorbed
in literary activities. He writes many lyric poems,
revises his poem “The Demon”, completes his drama “The Masquerade”,
edits the poem “Mtsyri” he wrote long ago, as well as several more plays.
He starts writing “A Hero of Our Time”. In a word, the most active period
in his life begins. Simuntaleously with Lermontov,
his friend Rayevsky returns from exile. Lermontov rushes to see him. He bursts into
the room and throws himself on his neck. He kisses him and, with his eyes
full of tears, says again and again: “Forgive me, forgive me,
my dearest friend!” The high life goes on
as usual in St. Petersburg. Lermontov is in surrounding of his friends. He seems to be incredibly happy
to be back and live the life he now lives. Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopukhina comes
to St. Petersburg the same spring. She arrived to stop here for a short
while before leaving abroad soon. Together with her husband and child. The wedding, the forced family life
and delivery of the child weakened Varvara Aleksandrovna’s health.
Varenka is absolutely different now: she is pale and slim; and it is her eyes
only that preserved their sparkle — they are as tender
as they used to be before. She will go abroad
for treatment many times, but the news of Lermontov’s death
will completely ruin her health and she will die at the age of 36. One day Lermontov comes home
disheveled and wet to the skin. The friends start asking him:
“Why? What happened?” And Lermontov, in joking manner,
narrates a story: I had a duel with some French!
We went to the Chernaya River. He chose foils: we stood knee-deep
in snow and started. He attached me inertly;
I neither attacked nor protected myself. I wanted to pierce his hand,
but hit at his foil and my foil broke. Mongo gave us the pistols. The French made a shot, but missed;
I shot in the air. We reconciled and parted… That’s it. These d’Antheses and Barrantes are nothing
but arrogant sons of a bitch. This story had no consequences
for quite a long time. Lermontov was attending high society
meetings just as before. Finally an imprudent young lady
exposed the story. Lermontov was summoned
for interrogation again. I attended the ball at Countess Laval’s
on 16 February; Mr. Barante began demanding
my explanation of the lines from my poem “The Death of the Poet” where,
according to him, I accuse the whole French
Nation of Pushkin’s death. I replied that everything told to him was
unjust but since this did not satisfy him, I said that I had no intention
to give any further explanations. His biting words met
the same biting reply of mine, to which he said that if we were in his country,
he would know how to finish this point. I replied then that the code of honor is as
strictly followed in Russia as everywhere and that we do not allow offending ourselves
with impunity even stronger than elsewhere. Lermontov is punished for this duel
with exile of a totally different kind. He is sent to the frontline of the then waged
Caucasian War by emperor’s personal order. He is assigned to command a detachment
of a hundred mounted “hunters”. These were demoted officers,
Cossacks, Kabardinians — all being men of reckless nature. Lermontov replaces their wounded commander
famous for his reckless bravery. Lermontov establishes his rules
in the detachment: he refuses all comfortable conditions,
lives the life the Cossacks live: he sleeps on the bare ground,
eats from the common pot, and pays no attention to the condition
of his uniform and appearance. But… he is quite happy
with this appointment. Lermontov fights recklessly
and his boldness amazes even old and experienced native Caucasian warriors.
His detachment is called “a wandering comet looking for the most
dangerous places in battles…” Outward recklessness of his detachment
turns in practice to be excellent skills in endless hand-to-hand fighting. Some
call them “a gang of dirty cut-throats” because Lermontov
and his men defiantly despise firearms: they fight against the highlanders according
to their rules and as against equals. Lermontov’s horsemen fight remaining
mounted, like highlanders or Cossacks. There was no single special mission
that his men would fail to accomplish. And Lermontov was…
the first to face the enemy. I write to you by chance; and really
I don’t know why and what for. I have already lost the right to.
So what will I say to you? Nothing! That I remember you? But Gracious God!
You’ve known this since long ago; And certainly you do not care. And you don’t need to either know
Where I am, what I do in what nowhere. We are no kindred spirits; and I must say
Affinity of souls hardly exists. But I remember you —
for sure I could not have forgotten you! First — ‘cause I’ve loved you very much
And loved for very, very long; Then — I have paid with torments
And anxiety for days of bliss; And then in fruitless repentance
I dragged a chain of joyless years; And I’ve killed the last blossom of my life
With my cold reasoning. Becoming close with people with caution,
I have forgotten the noise of youthful tricks, And love, and verse — but it was impossible
For me to forget you. Like bees the Cossacks scattered
In the broad field, with loud cries; First badges — two and more — are seen now
There, on the woods’ fringe. And out there a murid in the turban,
In red Circassian coat, rode prideful, His light-grey horse seething,
Waving, calling out. Who’s the brave one To fight to death with him?!..
But there — look: a Cossack In the black cap set out;
He skillfully drew out his rifle; He’s close… a shoot… a smoke…
“You, fellows, follow him!..” “What? Injured?!..” – “Oh, it’s nothing!”
And the skirmish started… But there is all talk and no cider;
In bold collisions of that kind On cool Caucasian evenings,
We used to watch them As a tragic ballet
With no bloodthirsty agitation. And, yet, I’ve seen performances
You’ll never see on stages… The silence was frightful
It did not last long, With many hearts beating quickly
In that strange waiting. A sudden volley…
There they lied… So what? Our regiments
are battle-tried And tested… “Charge!” “Together!” we heard the command.
Blood started boiling in the veins! All officers ahead…
Those still astride Attacked them riding… “Hurrah!..” And silence fell. The daggers bare “The buttstocks!”
and the carnage started. And for two hours we cut each other
Violently in the waters of the brook As animals, in silence, chest-to-chest.
The brook was full of dead bodies. The heat and fight made me weary
And I wanted to draw some water… But the turbid wave
Was warm and red. I asked my local friend: What is this place’s name? “Valerik”, he said, Which in your tongue will mean
“The River of the Dead” — The ancients Were right indeed
to name it this. One will not see
A trace of trouble or sorrow On your young face
And you have hardly seen People die. And please Lord
You’d never do. There are enough
Of other troubles. Is not it better
To end one’s life in self-forgetfulness? And fall into a heavy sleep
With dreams of close awakening? Now farewell:
I will be happy If my artless story
Would entertain you Even at a least degree.
If not, Then forgive it to me as a frolic
And whisper quietly: ‘He is eccentric…’” This was one of decisive battles
of that war… For the Battle of Valerik Lermontov
was put on a commendation list, with a reference to his valor. Lermontov was granted a three-months leave.
He returns to St. Petersburg. He is tired of war and submits
for resignation. But suddenly it becomes known that hehas
been deleted from all commendation lists. His resignation is rejected. And, as response to his grandmother’s
petition to prolong his leave, an order comes for him to leave St. Petersburg
and arrive at his regiment within 48 hours. Lermontov has an attack of nerves. He is in rage and fume, running around
his room and scattering papers. He comes to his senses by night only. On his way to the Caucasus, Lermontov
is intercepted in Tula by Aleksey Stolypin, his mate at the Cadet School,
that very friend who was named ‘Mongo’ by Lermontov when they studied
at the Cadet School. He persuades Lermontov to delay his arrival
at the regiment and stay in Pyatigorsk for a while on the pretext of having
fallen ill and needing spa treatment. Mongo volunteered to prepare
the permits by himself. Lermontov doubts and proposes
to decide what to do by casting lots. “Look, I’ll toss a fifty-copecks piece
and if heads come up, we go to the regiment; if tails up,
we go to Pyatigorsk. Agree?” The coin comes up tails. The friends start looking for a flat in the
downtown of Pyatigorsk. They are lucky: there are rooms
for two tenants in the house leased by their old friend Prince Vasilchikov. Soon the friends are joined
by Nikolay Martynov, another pal of theirs. He has changed greatly;
the war had a special effect on him: constantly gloom and taciturn,
he had grown his whiskers long and was wearing a plain Circassian coat
with a huge dagger and a white tall astrakhan hat pulled down
over his eyes. Martynov commissions
a local artist to paint his portrait in the astrakhan hat and with daggers. He takes from the war things
absolutely alien to Lermontov. If Lermontov sees the things going on
in the Caucasus as tragedy, Martynov is absolutely sure that the tactics
of scorched land should be used against the enemy. All his look was a statement of superiority
over the highlanders. Having participated in several major
battles, Lermontov, on the contrary, feels deep respect for the Caucasus
and its people. Lermontov and Martynov
often dispute about this subject. Lermontov wittily makes fun
of Martynov’s beliefs. The latter, in his turn, lacks wit to reply
at a proper manner. Pyatigorsk had a reputation of city
of card gambling at that time. Lermontov called him the Caucasian Monaco. The friends have lots of jesting,
dancing and drinking carbonated wine. One night Lermontov saw Martynov at a party,
dressed up in a Circassian manner, with two daggers on his belt,
and cried to him, laughing: You’re so handsome indeed, Martynov!
You look like TWO highlanders at once! These words were heard
around the entire room… I have asked you many times
not to joke in this manner in the presence of ladies, haven’t I? We’ll make our peace tomorrow. Never mind. When the party was over
and the friends were going their homes, Martynov caught up with Lermontov
and said his phrase again. Lermontov gave a smile and asked him: Are you going to challenge
me to a duel for that? Martynov’s response was resolute.
They appointed the day immediately. I might die tomorrow!.. And there will be no person in the world
that would understand me absolutely. Some think of me in a worse way,
the others in a better way than I really am… Some will say: He was a good guy;
the others will hold me for a scoundrel. Both points are false.
Is that really worth of living on? But you still live, out of curiosity,
waiting for something new to happen… It’s ridiculous and pity! A black cloud was slowly rising
over the mountain. Clouds in the sky,
you are ceaselessly wandering… The place for the duel was chosen in haste.
They did not take a doctor with them. As pearly chains
in the azure steppes glimmering… The seconds established two stations at
the distance of 15 paces one from another and measured 10 more paces
in each direction. Exiled as I have been, constantly hurrying… Long-range large-caliber
pistols were prepared. It was pre-agreed that the duelists
could shoot either standing, or on the go, or on approaching the stations, but in any case between
the commands “Two” and “Thee”. From native North
into South you are quickening. It was not allowed
to shoot after the “Thee”. Clouds in the sky… What drives you there:… Lermontov refused
to use his shot in advance. Everyone was sure that the duel
will end up in empty shots and that, after exchanging the bullets, the opponents
would shake one another’s hands and go to dine together. Some secret jealousy?
Or open wickedness? Or crimes hang heavy on you or some mutiny? Or your friends’ calumny
is cruel and poisonous? On approaching the point,
Martynov raised his pistol. Clouds in the sky,
you are ceaselessly wandering… No… The only thing that remained
to do was to pull the trigger. But why Lermontov does not shoot? …you were bored to death
with these fields’ fruitlessness… The rain showers in the faces
of the duelists. With all these passions
and alien misery, no. Ice cold eternally, in steady idleness You have no homeland
and suffer no outlawry. Lermontov fell down.
A wound steaming in his right side, blood leaking from his left side.
Martynov hurriedly came up, kissed him lying on the ground,
and then toured home. After a short while the friends
rushed to find a doctor and a cart, leaving Glebov at the place of the duel.
Lermontov was still breathing. The rain drove faster. Faithful Glebov
spent several hours near Lermontov and, as his friends had not appeared yet,
he covered Lermontov, cold and wet through, with his coat
and left for town to seek aid. In the pouring rain, bleeding and alone, Lermontov was lying for four hours at the foot of the Mashuk mountain… Many people came to see
the killed Lermontov out of curiosity. Passersby saw Vasilchikov ride
to the commandant to fetch the doctor, Glebov taken to the guardhouse;
“Mongo” Stolypin declared wanted because no one could find him even
in a day after the duel; Martynov put in prison where he spent
three days in the company of two prisoners, one constantly reading aloud the Psalms,
another crying out terrible curses… At the same time Lermontov’s grandmother
Yelizaveta Alekseyevna is selecting a new stud for Lermontov’s stable
to be presented on her grandson’s return. He will turn 27 in October… Varvara Aleksandrovna Lopuknina meets
with Aleksandra Vereshchagina at an Austrian resort and secretly
gives her Lermontov’s letters and poems she managed to safe
from being burnt by her husband. Rayevsky at his estate in Starvropol receives
a letter sent by Lermontov from Pyatigorsk and consults with his wife
if they should probably go to see Michel. That would be great indeed
to hug one another again… THE END OF THE FILM ©
Star Media Distribution LLC, 2014

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  1. Σύννεφα Ταξιδευτές

    Σύννεφα που περιπλανιέστε στον γαλανό ουρανό
    Μακριά περιδέραια από χιονάτα πετράδια
    Εξόριστα σαν εμένα, φεύγετε όλο και μακρύτερα
    Εγκαταλείπετε τον αγαπημένο μου Βορρά
    Και ταξιδεύετε άπειρες αποστάσεις

    Τί σας φέρνει Νότια; Μήπως η ύπουλη ζήλεια,
    Ή η φανερή κακία; Μήπως η Μοίρα;
    Ίσως τρέχετε να ξεφύγετε από κάποιο έγκλημα,
    Ή από μια γλυκιά αλλά μαζί φαρμακερή φιλία

    Όχι. Ταξιδεύετε στην απεραντοσύνη του ουρανού
    Δεν ξέρετε εσείς από πάθος, στενοχώρια ή τιμωρία
    Ελεύθερα – ελεύθερα στην αιωνιότητα
    Δεν σας δεσμεύει καμιά πατρίδα,
    Δεν σας φοβίζει καμιά εξορία

    Αφιερωμένο στους ποιητές που πεθαίνουν στα 26 τους

  2. Mikhail Lermontov is a relative on mine the name has evolved slightly over time but its traced back to him

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