Page:Poems, Alexander Pushkin, 1888.djvu/36

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Introduction: Critical.

telligence, of aspiration, of feeling, becomes diffused over mankind. Soon it seeks organization. The poet, the prophet, the seer, cometh, and lo, he becomes the magnet round which all spiritual force of the time groups itself in visible shape, in formulated language.

12. Pushkin, then, is self-centred; but it is the self that is not Pushkin, but man. His mood is others' mood; and in singing of his life, he sings of the life of all men. The demon he sings of in the poem called "My Demon" is not so much his demon alone as also yours, mine, ours. It is his demon because it is all men's demon.

"A certain evil spirit then
Began in secret me to visit.
Grievous were our meetings,
His smile, and his wonderful glance,
His speeches, these so stinging,
Cold poison poured into my soul.
Providence with slander
Inexhaustible he tempted;
Of Beauty as a dream he spake
And inspiration he despised;
Nor love, nor freedom trusted he,
On life with scorn he looked—
And nought in all nature
To bless he ever wished."

And this demon—"the Spirit of Denial, the Spirit of Doubt"—of which he sings after-