Page:Poems, Alexander Pushkin, 1888.djvu/24

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Introduction: Critical.

also our bitterest self-reproaches, come ever like friends at the feast,—uninvited. You can be happy, blest at will? Believe it not! Happiness, blessedness willed is not to be had in the market at any quotation. It is not to be got. It comes. And it comes when least willed. He is truly rich who has nought left to be deprived of, nought left to ask for, nought left to will.…

3. Pushkin, therefore, was incapable of giving an account of his own poetry. Pushkin could not have given a theory of a single poem of his, as Рое has given of his "Raven." Poe's account of the birth of "The Raven" is indeed most delightful reading. "I told you so," is not so much the voice of conceit, of "I knew better than thou!" but the voice of the epicurean in us; it is ever a delight to most of us to discover after the event that we knew it all before. … Delightful, then, it is indeed, to read Poe's theory of his own "Raven;" but its most delightful part is that the theory is a greater fiction than the poem itself. It is the poem that has created the theory, not the theory the poem. Neither could Pushkin do what Schiller has done: give a theory of a drama of his own. The theory of Don Karlos as developed in Schiller's letters on that play