The term romance has a centuries-long history. Applied to narrative ballads in Spain, it came to be used by the 18th century for simple lyrical pieces not only for voice, but also for instruments alone. During the 18th and 19th centuries Russian composers developed the French variety of the romance as a sentimental category of Russian art song. "Ochi Chyornie" (Black Eyes) is a well-known example.
The name of Alexander Vertinsky is legendary. He was poet, singer and composer. His songs never did acquire the infection of revolutionary rhetoric - he remained a liberated child of his great culture.