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Even so, one step from my grave,
I believe that cruelty, spite,
The powers of darkness will in time
Be crushed by the spirit of light.

[Но и так, почти у гроба,
Верю я, придет пора —
Силу подлости и злобы
Одолеет дух добра.]

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
“Nobel Prize [Нобелевская Премия]” st. 4 (1959) [tr. Stallworthy/France (1982)]

On his persecution for winning the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature for Doctor Zhivago, which had been condemned by the Communist Party and the Soviet government. The poem was not published until Selected Poems (1983).

This upbeat ending is how the poem officially ends. Two more, darker, stanzas were attached to the manuscript by Pasternak, but it is unclear if they were meant to be added (and, if so, where), or if Pasternak ever wanted the poem published.

(Source (Russian)). Alternate translations:

Even now, at the edge of the tomb,
I believe in the virtuous fate, --
And the spirit of goodness will soon
overcome all the malice and hate.
[tr. Kneller]

But even as my grave awaits,
the time will come. I've believed --
The forces of meanness and hate
will be vanquished by the spirit of good.
[tr. Mager]

Yet, as I approach my passing,
I believe the day is near,
When the heart of good surpasses
rage and baseness -- even here.
[tr. Moreton]

Even in my dying hour
I believe it still stronger:
Malice will be overpowered
By the spirit of Good Will.
[tr. Astrakhan]

Added on 2-Jul-24 | Last updated 2-Jul-24
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Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, “I told you so,”
Utter’d by friends, those prophets of the past,
Who, ‘stead of saying what you now should do,
Own they foresaw that you would fall at last.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 14, st. 50 (1823)
Added on 11-Nov-15 | Last updated 26-Mar-24
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