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Towards our end, as life runs out,
love is more troubled and more tender.
Fade not, fade not, departing light
of our last love, our farewell splendour.
Shadow overshadows half the sky;
far to the west the last rays wander.
Shine on, shine on, last light of day;
allow us still to watch and wonder.
What if our blood runs thinner, cooler?
This does not make the heart less tender.
Last love, last love, what can I call you?
Joy and despair, mortal surrender.
Dated 1851-54. Translated by Robert Chandler
From The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, edited by Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski (to be published this month by Penguin Classics, RRP £12.99)
Listen to an audio version of ‘Last Love’ ()if you are reading on a mobile device, visit ft.com/lastlove)