Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich.
- Autograph manuscript of a poem signed ("APushkin"), in Russian
"Happy is he who can feel the pleasure
Of deep thoughts and verses
Who has got a real ability
to appreciate the beautiful.
The poets knew its charm
With an ardent and pure delight" [translation]
1 page, 8vo (c.210 x 135mm.), on a slip of letter-paper (watermarked "A.G." in Russian), with contemporary note of authentication on verso ("Ecriture de Pouchkine"), and a contemporary manuscript transcription and English translation (watermarked "T Edmonds 1831")
Sarah Sophia, Countess of Jersey: thence by family descent
S.K. Romaniuk, "Novyi avtograf A.S. Pushkina", Vremennik Pushkinskoi komissii, no.25 (St Petersburg, 1993), pp. 5-9; A.S. Pushkin, "K Zh[ukovskomu]" ("To Zhukovsky"), Polnoe sobranie sochinenii [Complete works] (St Petersburg, 2004), volume 2, part 1, pp. 25, 149, 511.
Autograph manuscripts by Pushkin are rare at auction. Pushkin is the greatest figure in Russian literature: comparable to Shakespeare and Dante, but more accessible than either.
This is the only known manuscript of these verses, which were unrecorded until the present manuscript was first described in 1993. The verses were not in the old Complete Works (Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii, volumes 1-4 (1956-1957)), and only included in the 2004 edition. They are a revised version of the final six lines of "To Zhukovsky" (1818), which was originally published as a 21-line poem in 1821, but which Pushkin altered many times. The watermark "A.G." is used on other Pushkin manuscripts during the years 1830-1836; that on the contemporary translation would suggest a dating at the beginning of that period.
The separate poem is a fragment, but is similar to a number of other epigrammic verses, particularly the eight-line "Uyedinenie" ("Solitude"--which begins "Blazhen, kto v otdalennoy syeni"), (I, p.366) and "Blazhen, kto v shume gopodskom" (I, 188).
The manuscript comes from the album of Sarah Sophia, Countess of Jersey (1785-1867). She was the heiress of the great Child's bank fortune and became one of leading political and society hostesses in London. Her homes at Berkeley Square and Osterley Park became centres for the whig party and Russian emigrés; it also attracted many literary and musical figures. Among her friends and rival hostesses was the Russian ambassador, Princess Lieven; they were lady patronesses of the exclusive Almack's club at Willis's Rooms, and as such exerted huge social influence. Sarah Sophia's album also included letters by Nicholas I Tsar of Russia, Byron, Mendelssohn, Manzoni and many others, together with manuscripts by Crabbe, Southey and Donizetti.