Nine years prior to the appearance of Nabokov's Onegin, The Partisan Review [in 1955] published an essay by Nabokov, titled “The Art of Translation: Onegin in English,” which amounted to a manifesto concerning the possibilities of Onegin in translation and the translator’s self-imposed standards for his own version of the novel:
To translate an Onegin stanza does not mean to rig up fourteen lines with alternate beats and affix to them seven jingle rhymes starting with pleasure-love-leisure-dove. Granted that rhymes can be found, they should be raised to the level of Onegin’s harmonies but if the masculine ones may be made to take care of themselves, what shall we do about the feminine rhymes? When Pushkin rhymes devy (maidens) with gde vy (where are you?), the effect is evocative and euphonious, but when Byron rhymes “maidens” with “gay dens,” the result is burlesque … . [p.277]
The three excerpts above are taken from the excellent article "Onegin in English: Against Nabokov" by Anna Razumnaya, as appears in Literary Imagination Volume 14 Number 3, pp. 277-291.