Kinbote completes his work on Shades poem and commits suicide on Oct. 19, 1959 (the anniversary of Pushkins Lyceum). Hazel Shade (the poets daughter who died in March of 1957) was born in 1934, twenty-five years earlier. Hazel Shades real name seems to be Nadezhda Botkin. In his poem Byla pora: nash prazdnik molodoy (The was a time: our young celebration 1836) that appeared in The Contemporary No. V (1837), the first issue that came out after Pushkins death, under the title (given to the poem by Zhukovski) Litseyskaya godovshchina (The Lyceum Anniversary) Pushkin mentions nadezhda (hope), sudby zakon (the law of Fate) and says that a quarter of century has passed since the day when the Lyceum was founded:


ݧ : ߧѧ ѧ٧էߧڧ ާݧէ
ڧ, ާ֧ ٧ѧާ ӧ֧ߧѧݧ,
֧ߧާ ҧܧѧݧ ٧ӧ ާ֧ѧݧ,
֧ߧ ڧէ֧ݧ ާ ݧ.
ԧէ, է ҧ֧֧ߧ ߧ֧ӧ֧اէ,
اڧݧ ӧ ݧ֧ԧ ާ֧ݧ֧,
ڧݧ ӧ ٧ ٧էѧӧڧ ߧѧէ֧اէ
ߧ ӧ֧ ֧ ٧ѧ֧.


֧֧ ߧ : ѧ٧ԧݧߧ ѧ٧էߧڧ ߧѧ
ڧէ ݧ֧, ܧѧ ާ, ֧֧ҧ֧ڧݧ,
ڧާڧ֧, ڧ, ֧֧ߧڧݧ,
ѧ ԧݧ ٧ӧ ֧ԧ ٧ѧ٧էѧӧߧ ѧ;
֧ ߧѧާ ֧ ߧ ѧ ڧԧڧӧ ݧק,
ߧ֧, ԧߧ֧ ާ ڧէڧ,
֧ا ާ֧ ֧է ֧֧ ѧ٧էѧק,
ѧ ާ ӧ٧էѧ֧ ާݧڧ.


֧ާ : էӧѧէѧ ѧ
ѧ٧էߧ֧ ݧڧ֧ է֧ߧ ٧ѧӧ֧ߧ.
ݧ ԧէ ֧է ߧ֧٧ѧާ֧ߧ,
ܧѧ ߧ ֧֧ާ֧ߧڧݧ ߧѧ!
֧էѧ ߧ֧! ާѧݧѧ ֧ӧ֧ ӧ֧ܧ!
֧ۧ: ѧܧ էҧ ٧ѧܧ;
ѧѧ֧ ӧ֧ ާڧ ӧܧ ֧ݧӧ֧ܧ,
ا֧ݧ էڧ ߧ֧էӧڧاڧ ҧէ֧ ?


The poems third stanza ends in the lines:


The whole world turns around man.

Can he alone remain immobile?


The word nedvizhim (immobile; stirless) was used by Pushkin earlier in Chapter Six (XXXII: 1-2) of Eugene Onegin, in the description of Lenskis death:


Nedvizhim on lezhal, i stranen

Byl tomnyi mir ego chela.


Stirless he lay, and strange

Was his brows languid peace.


Note tomnyi mir (the languid peace) of dead Lenskis brow.


In lines 6-7 of the same stanza of EO Pushkin mentions vdokhnovenie (inspiration), vrazhda (enmity), nadezhda and lyubov (love):


ާ ߧѧ٧ѧ էߧ ާԧߧӧ֧ߧ
ק ֧է ҧڧݧ ӧէߧӧ֧ߧ,
ѧاէ, ߧѧէ֧اէ ݧҧӧ


One moment earlier

In this heart had throbbed inspiration,

Enmity, hope, and love...


In lines 9-14 Pushkin compares Lenskis heart that has become forever silent to an abandoned house in which the window boards are shut and the windowpanes are whitened over with chalk:


֧֧, ܧѧ էާ ֧ݧ,
ߧק ڧ ֧ާߧ;
ѧާݧܧݧ ߧѧӧ֧ԧէ ߧ.
ѧܧ ѧӧߧ, ܧߧ ާ֧ݧ
ѧҧ֧ݧ֧ߧ. ٧ۧܧ ߧ֧.
ԧէ, ҧ ӧ֧. ѧ ݧ֧.


Now, as in a deserted house,

all in it is both still and dark,

it has become forever silent.

The window boards are shut. The panes with chalk

are whitened over. The chatelaine is gone.

But where, God wot. All trace is lost.


According to VN (EO Commentary, vol. III, p. 45), the description of the Lenski-Onegin duel is, in regard to its issue, a personal prediction on the poets part. In his note to Six: XXXII (EO Commentary, vol. III, p. 53) VN quotes Brownings poem After (1855), the soliloquy of a duelist who has killed his adversary. Browning is the author of My Last Duchess (1842), a dramatic monologue that ends as follows:


Notice Neptune, though,

Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,

Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!


Shades collection of essays The Untamed Seahorse appeared shortly before (or soon after) his daughters death:


Later came minutes, hours, whole days at last,
When she'd be absent from our thoughts, so fast
Did life, the wooly caterpillar run.
We went to Italy. Sprawled in the sun
On a white beach with other pink or brown
Americans. Flew back to our small town.
Found that my bunch of essay The Untamed
was "universally acclaimed"
(It sold three hundred copies in one year). (ll. 665-673)


As Kinbote points out in his Commentary, the title of Shades book was taken from Brownings poem:


See Browning's My Last Duchess.

See it and condemn the fashionable device of entitling a collection of essays or a volume of poetry--or a long poem, alas--with a phrase lifted from a more or less celebrated poetical work of the past. Such titles possess a specious glamor acceptable maybe in the names of vintage wines and plump courtesans but only degrading in regard to the talent that substitutes the easy allusiveness of literacy for original fancy and shifts onto a bust's shoulders the responsibility for ornateness since anybody can flip through a Midsummer-Night's Dream or Romeo and Juliet, or, perhaps, the Sonnets and take his pick. (note to Lines 671-672)


In his Sonet (The Sonnet, 1830), with the epigraph from Wordsworth (Scorn not the sonnet, critic.), Pushkin mentions, among other famous sonneteers, Shakespeare (the author of Macbeth who loved a sonnets play). The title of Shades Pale Fire was taken from Shakespeares Timon of Athens. In his essay Sudba Pushkina (The Fate of Pushkin, 1897) V. Solovyov mentions vera (faith), tvorcheskoe vdokhnovenie (the creative inspiration) and Shakespeares Timon Afinskiy (Timon of Athens):


֧ۧӧڧ֧ݧߧ, էѧߧߧѧ اڧ֧ۧܧ , ߧ֧ާߧ֧ߧߧ ߧѧէڧ ԧݧҧܧ ڧӧ֧ڧ ֧ ڧէ֧ѧݧ اڧ٧ߧ, ܧ ܧӧѧ֧ ӧ֧, ڧݧܧާ ާ٧֧ߧڧ ӧ֧ܧާ ӧէߧӧ֧ߧڧ. ԧ ڧӧ֧ڧ ӧ٧ާاߧ ֧է֧ݧקߧߧ ڧէ. اߧ ާ ֧ ڧէ֧ѧݧ ܧѧ ԧ ӧާݧ ҧާѧߧ ڧ٧ߧѧ ѧܧ, ڧӧ֧ѧڧ ڧէ֧ѧݧߧ ֧ҧӧѧߧڧ ܧѧ ܧߧѧ֧ݧߧ ֧էڧߧӧ֧ߧߧ է֧ۧӧڧ֧ݧߧ. ֧ ڧ ߧѧӧӧ֧ߧߧԧ  ܧ֧ڧڧ٧ާ ާڧ٧ѧߧڧ - ӧ٧ԧݧ, ܧ ާا֧ ҧ ֧ߧߧ, ܧԧէ ڧܧ֧ߧ֧, ܧѧ, ߧѧڧާ֧, ֧ܧڧӧ ڧާߧ ڧߧܧԧ, ߧ ܧ ߧ ӧէ֧اڧӧѧ֧ ݧԧڧ֧ܧ ܧڧڧܧ. (IV)


In his poem January 29, 1837 (1837) Tyutchev calls dAnths (Pushkins adversary in his fatal duel) tsareubitsa (a regicide), summons mir (peace) onto the Poets shade, mentions the poets vrazhda (enmity) and says that Russias heart, like first love, will never forget Pushkin:


֧ ܧ ӧڧߧ֧ ާ֧֧ݧߧ
֧է ѧ֧٧ѧ?
֧ ҧا֧ӧ֧ߧߧ ڧѧ
ѧ٧ڧ, ܧѧ ܧէ֧ݧߧ?

է ѧ ڧݧ ӧڧߧӧ֧
֧ ߧѧ֧ ѧӧէ ٧֧ާߧ,
ѧӧ֧ ӧ֧ ܧ
«ѧ֧ҧڧۧ» ٧ѧܧݧ֧ۧާק.


, ҧ֧٧ӧ֧ާ֧ߧߧ ާ
է ԧݧ֧ߧߧѧ ӧ֧,
ڧ, ާڧ ֧ҧ, ֧ߧ ,
ڧ ӧ֧ݧ ѧ ӧ֧ާ!..

ѧ٧ݧ ݧէܧާ ֧ݧӧ
֧ݧڧ ӧ ҧ ا֧ҧڧ ӧ!..
ҧ ҧԧ ԧѧ اڧӧ,
ܧӧ اڧݧѧ... ٧ߧۧߧ ܧӧ.


֧ ܧӧ ҧݧѧԧէߧ
اѧاէ ֧ ݧڧ C
֧ߧקߧߧ ڧ
ԧӧ ԧ֧ ߧѧէߧ.

ѧاէ ӧ ѧէڧ,
ݧڧ ݧڧ ܧӧ...
֧ҧ , ܧѧ ֧ӧ ݧҧӧ,
ڧ ֧է ߧ ٧ѧҧէ֧!..


One of Shades collections is entitled Hebes Cup:


Dim Gulf was my first book (free verse); Night Rote
Came next; then Hebe's Cup, my final float
in that damp carnival, for now I term
Everything "Poems," and no longer squirm.
(But this transparent thingum does require
Some moondrop title. Help me, Will! Pale Fire.) (ll. 957-962)


In the last stanza of his famous poem Vesennyaya groza (The Spring Thunderstorm, 1828) Tyutchev mentions capricious Hebe who spilled on Earth a thunder-boiling goblet:


ܧѧا֧: ӧ֧֧ߧѧ ֧ҧ,
ާ ֧ӧ֧ӧ ݧ,
ާܧڧڧ ܧҧ ߧ֧ҧ,
ާ֧, ߧ ٧֧ާݧ ݧڧݧ.


Youd say: capricious Hebe,

feeding Zeus eagle,

had spilled on Earth, laughing,

a thunder-boiling goblet.


The title of Tyutchevs poem brings to mind groza dvenadtsatogo goda (the thunderstorm of year twelve) mentioned by Pushkin in the fifth stanza of Byla pora: nash prazdnik molodoy:


ާߧڧ: ܧԧէ ӧ٧ߧڧ ݧڧ֧,
ѧ ѧ էݧ ߧѧ ܧ ֧ ѧڧ,
ާ ڧݧ. ӧ֧ڧ ߧѧ ߧڧ

ڧӧ֧ӧڧ֧ ާ֧ ѧӧ֧ߧߧ ԧ֧.
ԧէ ԧ٧ էӧ֧ߧѧէѧԧ ԧէ
ѧݧ. ѧݧ֧
ڧѧ ӧ֧ݧڧܧԧ ߧѧէ
ԧ٧ڧ ܧݧ֧ҧѧݧ .


Gromokipyashchiy kubok (A Thunder-Boiling Goblet, 1913) is a collection of poetry by Igor Severyanin. The penname of Igor Lotaryov* (1887-1941) comes from sever (North) and means northerner. In One: II: 14 of EO Pushkin says that sever (the North) is harmful to him. In Epistle II of Essay on Man (1733-34) Pope asks where's the North? and mentions Zembla:


But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed:

Ask where's the North? at York, 'tis on the Tweed;

In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,

At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where:

No creature owns it in the first degree,

But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he!


Shades mad commentator, Kinbote imagines that he is Charles the Beloved, the last self-exiled king of Zembla.


Kon morskoy (The Seahorse, 1830) is a poem by Tyutchev. In Pushkins poem Mednyi vsadnik (The Bronze Horseman, 1833) ogon (fire) rhymes with kon (horse):


ק ܧߧ ܧѧܧ ԧߧ!
է ܧѧ֧, ԧէ ܧߧ,
ԧէ ڧ ܧ?
ާߧ ӧݧѧ֧ݧڧ էҧ!
ѧ ݧ ߧѧ ѧާ ҧ֧٧էߧ
ӧ, ٧է ا֧ݧ֧٧ߧ
ڧ էߧ ߧ էҧ?


Pushkin compares Russia to the horse in Falconets equestrian statue of Peter I and calls the tsar moshchnyi vlastelin sudby (the mighty sovereign of Fate).


At the end of Brownings poem My Last Duchess the Duke of Ferrara mentions Neptune taming a sea-horse which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for him. In his poem K Vyazemskomu (To Vyazemski, 1826) Pushkin says that in our vile age gray Neptune is zemli soyuznik (the Earths ally):


ѧ ާ, է֧ӧߧڧ է֧ԧҧ֧,
ݧѧާ֧ߧ֧ ԧ֧ߧڧ ӧ?
ݧѧӧڧ ݧڧ ٧ݧ
֧ߧ ԧ٧ߧԧ ֧٧ҧ֧.


ݧѧӧ ֧ԧ. ߧѧ ԧߧߧ ӧ֧
֧է ֧ ٧֧ާݧ ٧ߧڧ.
ӧ֧ ڧڧ ֧ݧӧ֧
ڧѧ, ֧էѧ֧ݧ ڧݧ ٧ߧڧ.


So tis the sea, the ancient assassin

that kindles into flame your genius?

You glorify with golden lyre

Neptune's dread trident?

No, praise him not! In our vile age

gray Neptune is the Earth's ally.

Upon all elements man is a tyrant,

a traitor or a prisoner.


(VNs translation; see EO Commentary, vol. III, p. 358)


Note the rhyme vek-chelovek (age/century-man) that also occurs (in Gen.: veka-cheloveka) in the third stanza of Pushkins poem Byla pora: nash prazdnik molodoy


As VN points out, Pushkins epigram on Neptune was prompted by rumors (which later proved false) to the effect that Great Britain had surrendered the political migr, Decembrist Nikolay Turgenev, to the Russian government. According to Pushkin, he wrote Graf Nulin (Count Null), a narrative poem of 370 lines in which he parodied history and Shakespeares Lucrece, in two days: on Dec. 13-14 of 1825. The disastrous Decembrists uprising took place on Dec. 14, 1825. The name Nulin comes from nul (naught; zero; nil; cipher; nonentity). In Eugene Onegin (Two: XIV: 3-5) Pushkin says that we deem all people naughts and ourselves units and that we all expect to be Napoleons:


էاҧ ߧ֧ ާ֧ ߧѧާ.
֧էѧէܧ ڧ֧ҧ,

ڧѧ֧ ӧ֧ ߧݧާ,
֧էڧߧڧѧާ C ֧ҧ.

ӧ ԧݧէڧ ѧݧ֧ߧ;
ӧߧԧڧ ӧѧ֧ ާڧݧݧڧߧ
ݧ ߧѧ էڧ էߧ;

ѧ ӧӧ էڧܧ ާ֧ߧ.


But in our midst theres even no such friendship:

Having destroyed all the prejudices,

We deem all people naughts

And ourselves units.

We all expect to be Napoleons;

the millions of two-legged creatures

for us are only tools;

feeling to us is weird and ludicrous.


In the fifth and eight (last) stanzas of his poem Byla pora: nash prazdnik molodoy Pushkin mentions Napoleon. In the last sentence of his Commentary to Shades poem Kinbote mentions Odon (a world-famous actor and Zemblan patriot who helped the king to escape from Zembla) and a million of photographers:


God will help me, I trust, to rid myself of any desire to follow the example of the other two characters in this work. I shall continue to exist. I may assume other disguises, other forms, but I shall try to exist. I may turn up yet, on another campus, as an old, happy, health heterosexual Russian, a writer in exile, sans fame, sans future, sans audience, sans anything but his art. I may join forces with Odon in a new motion picture: Escape from Zembla (ball in the palace, bomb in the palace square). I may pander to the simple tastes of theatrical critics and cook up a stage play, an old-fashioned melodrama with three principles: a lunatic who intends to kill an imaginary king, another lunatic who imagines himself to be that king, and a distinguished old poet who stumbles by chance into the line of fire, and perishes in the clash between the two figments. Oh, I may do many things! History permitting, I may sail back to my recovered kingdom, and with a great sob greet the gray coastline and the gleam of a roof in the rain. I may huddle and groan in a madhouse. But whatever happens, wherever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set out--somebody has already set out, somebody still rather far away is buying a ticket, is boarding a bus, a ship, a plane, has landed, is walking toward a million photographers, and presently he will ring at my door--a bigger, more respectable, more competent Gradus. (note to Line 1000)


Odon = Nodo = odno

Nodo C Odons epileptic half-brother

odno C neut. of odin, one; according to Pushkin, the millions of two-legged creatures dlya nas orudie odno (for us are only tools); odno rhymes with dno (bottom), okno (window) and vino (wine).


In its unfinished form Shades poem has 999 lines. 999 looks like 666 (in the Book of Revelations, the number of the Beast) turned upside down. In Tolstoys novel Voyna i mir (War and Peace, 1866) Pierre Bezukhov, in an attempt to prove that he the man destined to kill Napoleon, makes calculations based on the Book of Revelations. The title of Tolstoys novel and that of his play Pyotr Khlebnik (Peter the Baker, 1894) bring to mind Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922), the author of the futurological Doski sudby (The Plates of Fate) and Tam, gde zhili sviristeli (There where the Waxwings Lived 1908), a poem in which staya lyogkikh vremirey (a flock of light timefinches) and besporyadok dikiy teney (a wild confusion of shadows) are mentioned. Shades poem begins:


I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

By the false azure in the windowpane.


Kinbote believes that, to be completed, Shades poem needs but one line (Line 1000 identical to Line 1: I was the shadow of the waxwing slain). But it seems to me that, like some sonnets, it also needs a coda (Line 1001: By its own double in the windowpane).


It seems that Professor Vsevolod Botkin (an American scholar of Russian descent who went mad and became Shade, Kinbote and Gradus after his daughters suicide) writes Pale Fire in a madhouse. In Pushkins story Pikovaya dama (The Queen of Spades, 1833) Hermann ends up in a madhouse where he occupies room No. 17. Pushkin graduated from the Lyceum in 1817. A hundred years later, in 1917, the Russian Revolution broke out. Pushkin was born in 1799, a hundred years before VNs birth.


*The maiden name of Igor Severyanins mother was Shenshin. She was a distant relative of Afanasiy Fet (Shenshin), the poet who was married to Maria Botkin.


Alexey Sklyarenko

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