The Bronze Horseman (poem)

The Bronze Horseman (poem)

The Bronze Horseman ( _ru. Медный всадник, literally: "The Copper Horseman") is a poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin in 1833 about the equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg. It is widely considered to be one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue became known as the Bronze Horseman due to the great influence of the poem.

Composition and publication

Pushkin wrote "The Bronze Horseman" between October 6 and October 31 1833 while he was staying on his family's estate at Boldino. Due to censorship, only the Prologue was allowed to be published during the poet's lifetime (it appeared under the title "Petersburg, an extract from a poem" in 1834). "The Bronze Horseman" was first published in full (although with certain alterations due to censorship) posthumously in Pushkin's periodical "Sovremennik" ("Современник") in 1837. [Little pp.xx-xxi]

Outline of the poem

Pushkin describes the fate of the poor young Yevgeny and his loved ones during a flood in which the Neva overflowed its banks. Tsar Peter the Great founded the new capital of Saint Petersburg to bring trade and prosperity to Russia, to open a window to the west, and to expand his military power westward. This strategic move, however, cost the lives of many thousands of common people who succumbed to diseases, floods, and hard conditions in draining the swamps and building the new city. Pushkin uses the flood of 1824 to show the conflict between the large interests of the state, represented by the Tsar's statue with its gaze fixed ahead and its arm reaching out towards the future, and the immediate needs of a simple person for life and safety. Although Yevgeny survives the flood, the home of his fiancée on one of the city's islands is completely washed away and all of its inhabitants drowned with it. The poor man is driven into despair and madness, and blaming Peter for his misery, eventually curses the Tsar's statue. At that, the bronze horseman appears to break free from its pedestal and begins to chase Yevgeny. Soon afterwards he dies, and his body is washed up on a bleak little island and deposited on the threshold of a ruined little house. He is buried out of charity.

Derivative works

Reinhold Glière made the story into a ballet. Nikolai Myaskovsky's 10th Symphony was inspired by the poem.



*"The Bronze Horseman" ed. T.E.Little (Bradda Books, 1974)

External links

* The text of at Russian Wikisource
* [ The Bronze Horseman]
* [ The Bronze Horseman]

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