“Poor Lisa” Karamzin in summary

In the vicinity of Moscow, near the Simonov Monastery once lived a young girl Liza with her old mother. After the death of Lisa’s father, a fairly well-to-do villager, his wife and daughter became impoverished. The widow became weaker day by day, and could not work. Liza alone, sparing her tender youth and rare beauty, worked day and night – weaving canvas, knitting stockings, gathering flowers in the spring, and selling them in Moscow in the summer.

Once in the spring, two years after his father’s death, Lisa came to Moscow with lilies of the valley. A young, well-dressed man met her on the street. Learning that she sells flowers, he offered her a ruble instead of five cents, saying that “beautiful lilies of the valley, ripped off by the hands of a beautiful girl, cost a ruble.” But Lisa refused the proposed amount. He did not insist, but said that from now on he would always buy flowers from her and would like her to tear them up just for him.


home, Lisa told Mother everything, and on the next day she picked up the best lilies of the valley and again came to the city, but this time she did not meet the young man. Throwing flowers into the river, she sadly returned home. The next day the stranger himself came to her house. Hardly having seen it, Лиза has rushed to the mother and with excitement has informed, who approaches to them. The old lady greeted the guest, and he seemed to her a very kind and pleasant person. Erast – that’s the name of the young man – confirmed that he was going to buy flowers from Lisa in the future, and she did not need to go to the city: he himself could call on them.

Erastus was a rather wealthy nobleman, with a fair mind and kind heart, but weak and windy. He led an absent-minded life, he thought only of his pleasure, sought him out in secular amusements, and not finding, bored and complained of fate. The immaculate beauty of Lisa at the first meeting shocked him: it seemed to him that in it he had found exactly what he had been looking for.

This was the beginning of their long meetings.

Every evening they saw each other on the bank of the river, or in a birch grove, or under the shade of century-old oaks. They embraced, but their embrace was pure and innocent.

So several weeks passed. It seemed that nothing could prevent their happiness. But one evening Lisa came on a sad date. It turned out that the groom, the son of a rich peasant, was wooing her, and my mother wanted her to marry him. Erastus, consoling Lisa, said that after the death of his mother he would take her to himself and live with her inseparably. But Liza reminded the young man that he could never be her husband: she was a peasant, and he was of a noble family. You insult me, Erast said, for your friend the most important is your soul, a sensitive, innocent soul, you will always be closest to my heart. Lisa threw herself into his arms – and at this hour the integrity had to die.

The error passed in one minute, giving way to surprise and fear. Lisa cried, saying goodbye to Erast.

Their meetings continued, but how everything changed! Liza was not already for Erastus the angel of integrity; Platonic love gave way to feelings that he could not “be proud of” and which were not new to him. Liza noticed a change in him, and it saddened her.

Once, during a meeting, Erast informed Liza that he was being drafted into the army; they will have to part for a little while, but he promises to love her and hopes to never part with her on her return. It’s easy to imagine how painfully Lisa was experiencing separation from her beloved. However, hope did not leave her, and every morning she woke up with the thought of Erast and of their happiness on his return.

So passed about two months. One day Lisa went to Moscow and on one of the big streets she saw Erast, passing by in a magnificent carriage that stopped near a huge house. Erast went out and was about to go to the porch, when he suddenly felt himself in Liza’s arms. He turned pale, then without another word, led her into the study and locked the door. Circumstances have changed, he told the girl, he is engaged.

Before Lisa could come to her senses, he led her out of the office and told the servant to escort her from the yard.

Finding herself on the street, Liza went to where her eyes are looking, unable to believe what she heard. She left the city and wandered for a long time until she found herself on the shore of a deep pond, under the shadow of ancient oaks, who several weeks before had been silent witnesses of her ecstasies. This memory shocked Lisa, but after a few minutes she was absorbed in deep thoughtfulness. Seeing the neighbor girl walking along the road, she clicked her, took out all the money from her pocket and gave it to her, asking her to give it to her mother, kiss her and ask her to forgive her poor daughter. Then she rushed into the water, and could not save her.

Lysin’s mother, learning about the terrible death of her daughter, could not stand the blow and died on the spot. Erast was for the rest of his life unhappy. He did not deceive Lisa when he told her that he was going to the army, but instead of fighting with the enemy, he played cards and lost the whole state. He had to marry an elderly rich widow who had been in love with him for a long time. Learning of Lysin’s fate, he could not comfort himself and considered himself a murderer. Now, maybe they have already reconciled.

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“Poor Lisa” Karamzin in summary