Anna Lisa Crone
It is a well-known fact, and has become part of the myth and cult of Aleksandr Pushkin as Russia's greatest poet, that Derzhavin proclaimed the adolescent Pushkin his successor in 1815 upon hearing the poem "Vospominaniia v Tsarskom Sele" (1814) at the graduation (from the lower to upper classes) of the Tsarskoe Selo Lyceum. That Derzhavin subsequently considered Pushkin Russia's greatest poet is confirmed by hi s comments to his friend S.T. Aksakov in 1815, the year before he died: "Soon a second Derzhavin will appear to the world: this is Pushkin, who still at the Lyceum has surpassed all our writers."
What did Derzhavin hear? A very ambivalent and ironic, yet great tribute to his own past poetic achievements.