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The Past, by Fyodor Tyutchev

July 19, 1998

Place has its undertone. Not all

Is sun and surface.

There, where across the calm

Gold roofs stream in,

The lake detains the image:

Presence of past,

Breath of the celebrated dead.

Beneath the sun-gold

Lake currents glint . . .

Past power, dreaming this trance of consummation,

Its sleep unbroken by

Voices of swans in passing agitation.

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN BY CHARLES TOMLINSON

From "World Poetry," edited by Katharine Washburn, John S. Major and Clifton Fadiman (W.W. Norton: 1,338 pp., $45)

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