NABOKV-L post 0026705, Thu, 17 Dec 2015 17:06:17 +0300

crystal to crystal & crystal land in Pale Fire
He consulted his wrist watch. A snowflake settled upon it. "Crystal to
crystal," said Shade. I offered to take him home in my powerful Kramler.
"Wives, Mr. Shade, are forgetful." He cocked his shaggy head to look at the
library clock. Across the bleak expanse of snow-covered turf two radiant
lads in colorful winter clothes passed, laughing and sliding. Shade glanced
at his watch again, and, with a shrug, accepted my offer. (Kinbote's

Shade's words seem to hint at the phrase in the burial prayer of the
Catholics and Protestants, "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust:"

For as much as it has pleased Almighty God to take out of this world the
soul of NN, we therefore commit his/her body to the ground, earth to earth,
ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for that blessed hope when the Lord
Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise

Note "blessed hope" mentioned in the text of this prayer. In VN's novel Dar
("The Gift," 1837) Alexander Yakovlevich (Yasha Chernyshevski's father who
went mad after his son's suicide) had turned out at the last minute to be a
Protestant and, before his body is cremated, the parson would say this

At the beginning of his poem Shade mentions "that crystal land" and, in the
next line, "the falling snow:"

And how delightful when a fall of snow
Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so
As to make chair and bed exactly stand
Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!

Retake the falling snow: each drifting flake
Shapeless and slow, unsteady and opaque,
A dull dark white against the day's pale white
And abstract larches in the neutral light. (ll. 9-16)

In the penultimate stanza of Eugene Onegin (1823-31) Pushkin mentions
magicheskiy kristal (a magic crystal) through which he did not make out
clearly at first the far stretch of a free novel:

Промчалось много, много дней
С тех пор, как юная Татьяна
И с ней Онегин в смутном сне
Явилися впервые мне --
И даль свободного романа
Я сквозь магический кристалл
Ещё неясно различал.

Many, many days have rushed by

since young Tatiana,

and with her Onegin, in a blurry dream

appeared to me for the first time -

and the far stretch of a free novel

I through a magic crystal

still did not make out clearly. (Eight, L: 8-14)

In his EO Commentary (vol. III, pp. 244-45) VN points out that "crystal" had
been applied in an analogous sense by Pushkin to his inkstand in a trimetric
poem of 1821, ll. 29-30:

Your cherished [zavetnyi] crystal

Contains celestial fire.

In the final section of this poem (entitled K moey chernil'nitse, "To my
Inkstand"*) Pushkin mentions bereg ada (the shore of hell) that will take
him for good and bequeaths his inkstand to Chadaev (the addressee of several
poems by Pushkin; after the publication in 1836 of the first of his
Philosophical Letters Chaadaev was officially declared insane):

Когда же берег ада
Навек меня возьмёт,
Когда навек уснёт
Перо, моя отрада,
И ты, в углу пустом
Осиротев, остынешь
И навсегда покинешь
Поэта тихий дом...
Чадаев, друг мой милый,
Тебя возьмёт, унылый;
Последний будь привет
Любимцу прежних лет.
Иссохшая, пустая,
Меж двух его картин
Останься век немая,
Укрась его камин.
Взыскательного света
Очей не привлекай,
Но верного поэта
Друзьям напоминай.

Drugie berega ("Other Shores," 1954) is the Russian title of VN's
autobiographical book Speak, Memory (1967). It alludes to a line in
Pushkin's poem Vnov' ya posetil: (I have visited again:" 1835): inye berega,
inye volny (other shores, other waves). On the other hand, in the
fourth-to-last stanza of EO Pushkin addresses his reader and mentions bereg
(the attained land):

Но шпор незапный звон раздался,
И муж Татьянин показался,
И здесь героя моего,
В минуту, злую для него,
Читатель, мы теперь оставим,
Надолго... навсегда... За ним
Довольно мы путем одним
Бродили по свету. Поздравим
Друг друга с берегом. Ура!
Давно б (не правда ли?) пора!

But a sudden clink of spurs has sounded,

and Tatiana's husband has appeared,

and here my hero,

in an unkind minute for him,

reader, we now shall leave

for long: forever. :After him

sufficiently we on one path

roamed o'er the world. Let us congratulate

each other on attaining land. Hurrah!

It long (is it not true?) was time. (Eight: XLVIII: 5-14)

Kinbote finishes his Foreword to Shade's poem on Oct. 19 (the anniversary of
Pushkin's Lyceum), 1959. VN leaves Kinbote "in an unkind minute for him."
But there is a hope that, after Kinbote completes his work on Shade's poem
and commits suicide, V. Botkin (the American scholar of Russian descent who
went mad after the suicide of his daughter Nadezhda and became Shade,
Kinbote and Gradus) will be "full" again. In the first line of his poem "To
Chaadaev" (1819) and in the last line of his epigram on Vorontsov
("Half-milord, half-merchant:") Pushkin mentions nadezhda (hope).

Shade mentions "crystal land" in Line 12 of his poem. In Chapter Ten of EO
(destroyed on Oct. 19, 1830) Pushkin mentions groza dvenadtsatogo goda (the
tempest of year 12):

Гроза двенадцатого года
Настала - кто тут нам помог?
Остервенение народа,
Барклай, зима иль русский бог?

The tempest of year 12

took place. Who helped us here?

The infuriation of the nation?

Barclay? The Winter? Or the Russian God? (III: 1-4)

In Line 37 of his poem Byla pora: nash prazdnik molodoy: ("There was a time:
our young celebration:") that he began to read (but soon burst into tears
and had to stop) on his last Lyceum celebration (Oct. 19, 1836) Pushkin uses
again the phrase groza dvenadtsatogo goda:

Тогда гроза двенадцатого года
Ещё спала. Ещё Наполеон
Не испытал великого народа -
Ещё грозил и колебался он:

Then the tempest of year 12

still slept. Napoleon

did not yet tried the great nation,

he still threatened and hesitated. (ll. 37-40)

Pushkin died in 1837, at the age of 37. In Line 812 of his poem Shade
mentions "some kind of link-and-bobolink" that he could find in life:

Yes! It sufficed that I in life could find
Some kind of link-and-bobolink, some kind
Or correlated pattern in the game,
Plexed artistry, and something of the same
Pleasure in it as they who played it found. (ll. 811-815)

In 1811 Alexander I founded the Lyceum. In 1815 Napoleon was defeated in the
battle of Waterloo and banished to the island of St. Helena (where he died
in 1821).

In the opening chapter of VN's novel Ada (1969) Marina Durmanov (Van's,
Ada's and Lucette's mother) quotes Demon Veen's words "snowing in Fate's
crystal ball" (1.1). In the next chapter "the crisp crystal night" is

Her [Marina's] meeting with Baron O., who strolled out of a side alley, all
spurs and green tails, somehow eluded Demon's consciousness, so struck was
he by the wonder of that brief abyss of absolute reality between two bogus
fulgurations of fabricated life. Without waiting for the end of the scene,
he hurried out of the theater into the crisp crystal night, the snowflakes
star-spangling his top hat as he returned to his house in the next block to
arrange a magnificent supper. (1.2)

*Martin Luther (a leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany) threw his
inkstand at the devil.

p. s. the third anagram in my previous post can be continued as follows:

Muni + lodka = Lunik/Lukin + moda = um + klin/link + oda = lundi + koma =
Mund + il + Oka = duma + Kolin

lundi - Fr., Monday

koma - coma

Mund -Germ., mouth

il - silt

Oka - river in central Russia, the Volga's tributary

duma - thought, meditation; cf. Byloe i dumy ("Bygones and Meditations"),
Herzen's memoirs; Ukrainian folk ballad (according to Pushkin, the title of
Ryleev's Dumy comes from German dumm); Duma - the Russian parliament

Kolin - one of the two dancers in VN's novel Mashenka ("Mary," 1926)

Alexey Sklyarenko

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