That through the air of spring fly dreams, And that the sky glows throughout the night. Alas! I did not have the strength to share The comfort of your delusions! Listening to you, I could not forget The foolish crowd, their blind judgment, I was thinking,--for what is your art, For what is this impulse of raptured speech, For what are these feelings recognized by none, For what does this fire burn on the empty steppe? God alone knows by whom kindled and forgotten, Unshielded from storm and foul weather, In the darkness this fire cannot long burn, In your breast it will soon expire . . .11
Peter, 18 March, '75
Well you'd never have guessed, my dear Arseni! and here I am: I've sat down and shall write to you. Doing the trio12 is not so easy as it seems. To give each of the three participants movement deriving from the difficult situation into which they have unwittingly fallen, and not to disentangle them from this situation, for it is not I who must disentangle them from this situation, nor themselves, but the Babbler Khovansky,--that's my task, made more complicated in addition by the relationship of Andrei Khovansky to Marfa, considering the violent and wild breed of the Khovanskys.--As God wills!
Kenevich willingly fusses with the Cossacks, but upon talking with one of them I got an impression, very much like talking with the Ukrainians: they know their own history, but they behave independently (!); I don't know if this will make any sense, aside from officialdom--of the most formal kind. I understand Kenevich. Before him stands the job of writing the history of the whole land of the Don army: this is good for him both on the face and on the reverse, yes, and good in general, too; and in that event I should be willing to edit____________________