The article explores the history of use of the internationally attested Latin proverb “Et fumus Patriae dulcis” (“Sweet is the smoke of homeland”) in Russian discourse where it has been condensed and redefi ned as a metaphor-phrase dym otechestva, which can appear in various ideological, esthetic and structural contexts. This poetic formula made its appearance as early as in Homer’s Odyssey and acquired its canonical form in the works of the Roman poet Ovid. We give examples of use of the same metaphor in works of Russian poets, novelists, playwrights and journalists starting from the second half of the 18th century and ending with contemporary writers (F. Ya. Kozelsky, G. R. Derzhavin, F. O. Tumansky, S. N. Glinka, V. T. Narezhny, K. N. Batyushkov, I. I. Dmitriyev, A. S. Griboyedov, F. N. Glinka, A. S. Pushkin, N. M. Yazykov, P. A. Vyazemsky, V. G. Belinsky, F. M. Dostoyevsky, I. A. Goncharov, F. V. Bulgarin, A. I. Herzen, I. S. Turgenev, N. S. Leskov,
M. E. Salty kov-Shchedrin, A. P. Chekhov, D. S. Merezhkovsky, M. A. Kuzmin, V. V. Mayakovsky, M. Gorky, K. N. Paustovsky, M. A. Aldanov, K. M. Simonov, B. A. Slutsky, A. N. Rybakov, V. P. Aksenov, V. S. Pikul, V. O. Pelevin, etc.). We analyze semantic connotations associated with introduction of the metaphor in speech acts; artistic, ideological, parody-comical functions of the metaphor; transformational quibbles resulted from its use in works of various authors. In particular, we investigate how this metaphor is refl ected in Derzhavin’s poem To the Harp NN and in Griboyedov’s comedy The Woes of Wit, examine dictionary interpretations of the metaphor and summarize the existing works on this topic.