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Extra info for Derzhavin: A Biography
What else canst thou employ to rend my breast asunder? Already hast thou usurped my worldly goods. My happiness hast thou usurped as well. ) Destroyed my innocence! In splendid amusements Have I spoiled also my chaste disposition. Spoiled and depraved, I plunged into miserable darkness, Became a scapegrace, brawler, prodigal, and gambler; And though I should have bent my talent to the good, Instead destroyed it with my sinful ways: Scorned now by all and held, too, in contempt, By all, by all good people now disparaged.
Life was also wretched—a remote, garrison-style life. In addition, their income was small and their family was growing. Within a year after the ﬁrst, a second son was born, and then a daughter, although she did not survive for long. The Derzhavins were people of limited education. Fyokla Andreevna was actually only semiliterate: it seems that she could do no more than sign her name. There was no talk of the arts or sciences in the house. Indeed, if not for their noble status, they might not have taught the children anything at all.
Having spent the summer and autumn with his family in Orenburg province, Derzhavin got ready to return to Petersburg. His leave was over. Finally he set oﬀ, taking upon himself two commissions: ﬁrst, to accompany his brother to Petersburg and settle him in his regiment there; and, second, while passing through Moscow, to buy from some people named Taptykov a small village, comprising about thirty souls, located on the river Vyatka. His mother had given him money for this purpose. In Moscow a too common occurrence repeated itself: the completion of the deed of purchase with the Taptykovs was delayed.
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