“Gatchina” [– a fragment]


It is a lovely summer’s eve. I’ve left
The crowded city’s busy haunts to breathe
A purer air in the delicious place
Where the deep solitude is seldom broken
By distant steps, or sounds of human voice;
For Vice holds here no Fair to tempt the crowd
Who ever flock where Lewdness leads the way
And few are those who shun her tainted touch,
Preferring Nature’s charms. To them this spot
Is a beloved retreat for they are
Alone with their own thoughts, left to reflect
On the strange destinies of men and realms,
On what we are, and what we are to be,
And mourn o’er present miseries, and hope
That future years may bring us better fruits.

Insensibly the mind reverts to that
Which is around: thus the decay which here
Is visible reminds me of the past
Of those who reared, of those who dwelt within
That noble pile – where all is silent now.
The stone remains to shame the hand that built,
Yea, more than that […]

When I retrace the current of my years,
And sear the past, Remembrance loves to dwell
On one whose fate was somewhat linked with mine
And should have been so more, but that a curse
Is on my destiny, which robs the heart
Of all it yearns for. – I remember well
When yet a boy, I used to hold her oft
Upon my knee, and print affection’s kiss
On her sweet lips. – She was a lovely child,
And when her little hands clasped round my neck,
And she returned the pressure which I gave,
I almost thought that beauteous little thing
Dearer to me than all what life could lend.

And so she grew to be; for in my heart
Affection was a craving, which betimes
Sought for an object, and I found in her
That sympathy for which I panted [.]

To cite this section
MLA style: “Gatchina” [– a fragment]. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022. Thu. 26 May 2022. <https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred-nobel/gatchina-a-fragment/>