Yazykov was born into a gentry family & seems to have spent his youth enjoying himself so much that he spent long periods in later life travelling for the sake of his health. He was known as a writer of poetry & drinking songs & was very popular among his fellow students. He became more conservative as he grew older, but this poem, written when he was 20, reflects his more liberal youth.
O money, money, tell me why
My purse and you are so soon parted.
For now that Christmastime is nigh,
and all good Christians glad-hearted,
I am alone, cut off from all
The promises, the expectation;
My dreams are dreams of desperation,
My finances – very small!
Oh, there, where Peter’s city rises
I’d gladly fly; ’tis dear to me,
For there the first few modest prizes
My ardent muse bestowed on me;
It can’t be done, no use repining!
Sans money – what makes people glad –
No travel order for the signing
And no post-horses to be had.
A warrior on a field of woe
Might curse his fate in some such fashion
when, shattered by the stubborn foe,
He casts his spear aside in passion:
The garland not for him to wear,
No warrior’s fame in saga knowing;
He looks far off – his warlike stare
Now glinting as the tears start flowing.