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past of which they had known but little, described in poetical and ornate phraseology, a new impulse was given to the collection of all the remains of popular literature. In 1804 appeared a volume based upon those which had been gathered fogether by Cyril or Kirsha Daniloff, a Cossack, at the beginning of the 18th century. They were received with much enthusiasm, and a second edition was published in 1818. In the following year there appeared at Leipsic a translation of many of these pieces into German, in consequence of which they became known much more widely. This little book of 160 pages is important in many ways, and not the least so because the originals of some of the bilini translated in it are now lost. Since
fall of the Cossack republic. Besides these, the Russians can boast of large collections of religious poems, many of them containing very curious legends. In them we have a complete store of the beliefs of the Middle Ages. A rich field may be found here for the study of comparative mythology and folk-lore. Many of them are of considerable antiquity, and some seem to have been derived from the Midrash. Some of the more important of these have been collected by Beszonoff. Besides the bilini or legendary poems, the Russians have large collections of ska:ki or solk-tales, which have been gathered together by Sakharoff, Afanasieff, and others. They also are full of valuable imaterials for the study of comparative mythology.
that time large collections of these poems have been published, edited by Ribnikoff, Hilferding, Sreznevski, Avenarius, and others.
Leaving the popular and oral literature, we come to Earliest what has been committed to writing. The earliest written specimen of Russian, properly so-called, must be considered"
These curious productions have all the characteristics of popular poetry in the endless repetitions of certain conventional phrases—the “green wine,” “the bright sun" (applied to a hero), “the damp earth,” and others. The heroes of the first cycle are monstrous beings, and seem to be merely impersonifications of the powers of nature; such are Wolga Vseslavich, Mikula Selianinovich, and Sviatogor. They are called the bossatiri starskie. Sometimes we have the giants of the mountain, as Sviatogor, and the serpent Gorinich, the root of part of both names being gora (mountain). The serpent Gorinich lives in caves, and has the care of the precious metals. Sometimes animal natures are mixed up with them, as ziness-bogator, who unites the qualities of the serpent and the giant, and bears the name of Tugarin Zmievich. There is the Pagan Idol (Idolistche Poganskoe), a great glutton, and Nightingale the Robber (Solovei Razboinik), who terrifies travellers and lives in a nest built upon six oaks.
In the second cycle the legends group themselves round the celebrated prince Vladimir of Kieff, in whose time the Christian religion was introduced into Russia, as previously mentioned. The chief hero is Ilya Murometz, who performs prodigies of valour, and is of gigantic stature and superhuman strength. The cycle of Novgorod deals with the stories of Vasilii Buslaevich and Sadko, the rich merchant. The great commercial prosperity of Novgorod has been already described. The fourth cycle deals with the autocracy; alreddy Moscow has become the capital of the future empire. We are told of the taking of Kazan, of the conquest of Siberia by Yermak, of Ivan the Terrible and his confidant Maliuta Skuvlatovich. It is observable that in the popular tradition Ivan, in spite of his cruelties, is not spoken of with any hatred. As early as 1619 some of these bilini were committed to writing by Richard James, an Oxford graduate who was in Russia about that time as chaplain of the embassy. The most pathetic of these is that relating to the unfortunate Xenia, the daughter of Boris Godunoff. Yermak, the conqueror of Siberia, forms the subject of a very spiritcd lay, and there is another on the death of Ivan the Terrible. Considering the relation in which she stood to the Russians, we cannot wonder that Marina, the wife of the false Demetrius, appears as a magician. Many spirited poems are consecrated to the achievements of Stenka Tazia, the bold robber of the Wolga, who was a long time a popular hero. The cycle of Peter the Great is a very interesting one. We have songs in abundance on the various achievements of the wonderful czar, as the taking of Azoff in 1696. There is also a poem on the execution of the streltzi, and another on the death of Peter. In the more modern period there are many songs on Napoleon. The Cossack songs, written in the Little Russian language, dwell upon the glories of the sech, the sufferings of the people from the invasions of the Turks
and Mongola, the exploits of the Haidamaks and lastly the
the Ostromir Codex, written by the diak Gregory at the order of Ostromir, the posadnik or governor of Novgorod. This is a Russian recension of the Slavonic Gospels, of the date 1056–57. Of the year 1073 we have the I-borník or “Miscellany” of Sviatoslaff. It was written by John the diak or deacon for that prince, and is a kind of Tłussian encyclopædia, drawn from Greek sources. The date is 1076. The style is praised by Duslaeff as clear and simple. The next monument of the language is the Discourse concerning the Old and New Testament by Ilarion, metropolitan of Kieff. In this work there is a panegyric on Prince Vladimir of Kieff, the hero of so much of the Russian popular poetry. Other writers are Theodosius, a monk of the Pestcherski cloister, who wrote on the Latin faith and some Pouchenia or “Instructions,” and Luke Zhidiata, bishop of Novgorod, who has left us a curious Discourse to the Brethren. From the writings of Theodosius we see that many pagan habits were still in vogue among the people. He finds fault with them for allowing these to continue, and also for their drunkenness; not do the monks escape his censures. Zhidiata writes in a more vernacular style than many of his contemporaries; he eschews the declamatory tone of the Byzantine authors.
With the so-called Chronicle of NESTOR (q.v.) begins the Annalists
long series of the Russian annalists. There is a regular catena of these chronicles, extending with only two breaks to the time of Alexis Mikhailovich, the father of Peter the Great. JBesides the work attributed to Nestor, we have chronicles of Novgorod, Kieff, Volhynia, and many others. Every town of any importance could boast of its annalists, Pskoff and Suzdal among others. In some respects these compilations, the productions of monks in their cloisters, remind us of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dry details alternating with here and there a picturesque incident; but the Anglo-Sacon Chronicle has nothing of the saga about it, and many of these annals abound with the quaintest storics. There are also works of early travellers, as the igumon Daniel, who visited the IIoly Land at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century. A later traveller was Athanasius Nikitin, a merchant of Tver, who visited India in 1470. He has left a record of his adventures, which has been translased into English and published for the Hakluyt Society. Later also is the account written by the two merchants, Korobeinikoff and Grekoff. They were sent with a sum of money to the Holy Sepulchre to entreat the monks to pray without ceasing for the soul of the son of Ivan the Terrible, whom his father had killed. A curious monument of old Slavonic times is the Pouchenie (“Instruction”) written by Vladimir Monomakh for the benefit of his sons. This composition is generally found inserted in the Chronicle of Nestor; it gives a quaint picture of the daily life of a Slavonic prince.
In the 12th century we have the sermons of Cyril, the Religious bishop of Turoff, which are attempts to imitate in Russian liter*
Other popular £ales.
Codes of laws.
the florid Byzantine style. He is very fond of allegorical representations; thus, in his sermon on Holy Week, Christianity is represented under the form of spring, Paganism and Judaism under that of winter, and evil thoughts are spoken of as boisterous winds. An attempt to carry this symbolism through other portions of his writings leads him to many fantastic conceits which are far from being in good taste. And here may be mentioned the many lives of the saints and the Fathers to be found in early Russian literature. Some of these have been edited by Count Bezborodko in his Pametniki Starinnoi Russkoi Literatur? (“Memorials of Ancient Russian Literature”). We now come to the story of the expedition of Prince Igor, which is a kind of bilina in prose, and narrates the expedition of Igor, prince of Novgorod-Severski, against the Polovtzes. The manuscript was at one time preserved in a monastery at Yaroslavl, but was burnt in the great fire at Moscow in the year 1812. Luckily the story had been edited (after a fashion) by Count Musin-Pushkin, and a transcript was also found among the papers of the empress Catherine. The authenticity of this production has been disputed by some modern scholars, but without solid grounds. The original was seen by several men of letters in Russia, Karamzin among the number. There is a mixture of Christian and heathen allusions, but there are parallels to this style of writing in such a piece as the “Discourse of a Lover of Christ and Advocate of the True Faith,” from which an extract has been given by 13uslaeff in his Chrestonathy. Unlike most of the productions of this period, which are tedious, and interesting only to the philologist and antiquary, there is a great deal of poetical spirit in the story of Igor, and the metaphors are frequently very vigorous. Mention is made in it of another bard named Boyan, but none of his inspirations have come down to us. A strange legend is that of the czar Solomon 2nd Kitovras, but the story occurs in the popular literatures of many countries. Some similar productions annong the Russians are merely adaptations of old JBulgarian tales, especially the so-called apocryphal writings. The Zodonstchina is a sort of prose-poem much in the style of the “Story of Igor,” and the resemblance of the latter to this piece and to many other of the skazania included in or attached to the Russian chronicle, furnishes an additional proof of its genuineness. The account of the battle of the “Field of Woodcocks,” which was gained by Dmitri Donskoi over the Mongols in 1380, has come down in three important versions. The first bears the title “Story of the Fight of the Prince Dmitri Ivanovich with Mamai”; it is rather meagre in details but full of expressions showing the patriotism of the writer. The second version is more complete in its historical details, but still is not without anachronisms. The third is altogether poetical. The Poviest & Drakule (“Story of Drakula”) is a collection of anecdotes relating to a cruel prince of Moldavia, who lived at the beginning of the 15th century. Several of the barbarities described in it have also been assigned to Ivan the Terrible. The early Russian laws present many 1eatures of interest, such as the Russkaia Pravda of Yaroslaff, which is preserved in the chronicle of Novgorod; the date is between 1018 and 1054. Large additions were made to it by subsequent princes. It has many points in common with the Scandinavian codes, e.g., trial by wager of battle, the wergild, and the circuits of the judges. The laws show Russia at that time to have been in civilization quite on a level with the rest of Europe. But the evil influence of the Mongols was soon to make itself felt. The next important code is the Sudebnik of Ivan III., the date of which is 1497; this was followed by that of Ivan IV., of the year 1550, in which we have a republi
cation by the czar of his grandfather's laws, with additions. In the time of this emperor also was issued the Stoglav (1551), a body of ecclesiastical regulations. Mention must also be made of the Ulozhenie or “Ordinance” of the czar Alexis. This abounds with enactments of sanguinary punishment: women are buried alive for 'murdering their husbands; torture is recognized as a means of procuring evidence; and the knout and mutilation are mentioned on almost every page. Some of the penalties are whimsical: for instance, the man who uses tobacco is to have his nose cut off; this, however, was to be altered by Peter the Great, who himself practised the habit and encouraged it in others.
In 1553 a printing press was established at Moscow, Introduc and in 1564 the first book was printed, an “Apostol,” as tion of it is called, i.e., a book containing the Acts of the Apostles Printing.
and the Epistles. The printers were Ivan Feodoroff and Peter Mstislavetz; a monument was erected a year or two ago to the memory of the former. As early as 1548 Ivan had invited printers to Russia, but they were detained on their journey. Feodoroff and his companions were soon, however, compelled to leave Russia, and found a protector in Sigismund III. The cause of their failure appears to have been the enmity which they had stirred up among the copyists of books, who felt that their means of gaining a livelihood were lessened. They sticceeded accordingly in drawing over to their side the more fanatical priests, who thought it degrading that the sacred books should be multiplied by such an art, just as at the present day the Arabs refuse to allow the Koran to be printed. The first Slavonic Bible was printed at Ostrog in Volhynia in 1581. Another press, however, was soon established at Moscow; up to 1600 sixteen books had been issued there.
A curious work of the time of Ivan the Terrible is the Time of
Domostroi, or “Book of Household Management ” which is Ivan foury h Terrible
said to have been written by the monk Sylvester, althoug this statement has been disputed. This priest was at one time very influential with Ivan, but ultimately offended him and was banished to the Solovetzkoi monastery on the White Sea. The work was originally intended by Sylvester for his son Anthemius and his daughter-in-law Pelagia, but it soon became very popular and in general use We have a faithful picture of the Russia of the time, with all its barbarisms and ignorance. We see the unbounded authority of the husband in his own household: he may inflict personal chastisement upon his wife; and her chief duty lies in ministering to his wants. The Mongols had introduced into Russia the Oriental seclusion of women; those of the older time knew nothing of these restrictions. Sylvester, or whoever wrote the book, was a complete conservative, as indeed the clergy of Russia almost universally were." To the reign of Ivan the Terrible must also be assigned the Chetii-Minei or “Book of Monthly Readings,” containing extracts from the Greek fathers, arranged for every day of the week. The work was compiled by the metropolitan Macarius, and was the labour of twelve years. An important writer of the same period was Prince Alexander Kurbski, descended from the sovereigns of Yaroslavl, who was born about 1528. In his early days Kurbski saw a great deal of service, having fought at Kazan and in Livonia, But he quarrelled with Ivan, who had begun to persecute the followers of Sylvester and Adasheff, and fled to Lithuania in 1563, where he was well received by * In a curious letter of the date of 1698, and now among the manuscripts of the Bodleian, Bishop Burnet writes thus of a priest who accompanied Peter the Great to England “The czar's priest is come over, who is a truly holy man, and more learned than I should have imagined, but thinks it a great piece of religion to be no wiser than his fathers, and therefore cannot bear the thought of imagining, that anything among them can want amendment.”
'Sigismund Augustus. From his retreat he commenced a correspondence with Ivan, in which be reproached him for his many cruelties. Ivan in his answer declared that he was quite justified in taking the lives of his slaves, if he thought it right to do so. While living in Lithuania, Kurbski appeared as the defender of the Greek faith, which was being undermined by the Jesuits. He died in exile in 1583. Kurbski was a fluent writer, but Bestuzheff Riumin thinks that his hatred of Ivan led him to exaggerate, and he regrets that Karamzin should have followed him so closely. Besides the answers of Ivan to Kurbski, there is his letter to Cosmas, and the brotherhood of the Cyrillian monastery on the White Lake (Bielo Ozero), in which he reproaches them for the self-indulgent lives they are leading. Other works of the 16th century are the Stepennaya Kniga, or “Book of Degrees” (“ or Pedi. grees”), in which historical events are grouped under the reigns of the grand-dukes, whose pedigrees are also given; and the Life of the Czar Feodor Ivanovich (1584–1598), written by the patriarch Job. To the beginning of the 17th century belongs the Chronograph of Sergius Kubasoff of Tobolsk. His work extends from the creation of the world to the accession of Michael Romanoff, and contains interesting accounts of such of the members of the Russian royal family as Kubasoff had himself seen. Something of the same kind must have been the journal of Prince Mstislavski, which he showed the English ambassador Jerome Horsey, but which is now lost." To the time of the first Romanoffs belongs the story of the siege of Azoff, a prose poem, which tells us, in an inflated style, how in 1637 a body of Cossacks triumphantly repelled the attacks of the Turks. They had seized this town, which they were anxious to hand over to the czar Michael, but circumstances were not ripe for it. There is also an account of the siege of the Troitza monastery by the Poles during the “Smutnoye Vremya,” or Period of Troubles, as it is called,—that which deals with the adventures of the false Demetrius and the Polish invasion which followed. But all these are surpassed by the work on Russia of Gregory Karpoff Kotoshikhin. He served in the ambassador's office (posolski prikaz), and when called upon to give information against his colleagues fled to Poland about 1664. Thence he passed into Sweden and wrote his account of Russia at the request of Count Delagardie, the chancellor of that country. He was executed about 1669 for slaying in a quarrel the master of the house in which he lived. The manuscript was found by Prof. Solovieff (not the eminent historian lately deceased) at Upsala and printed in 1840. A new edition has recently appeared, and Prof. Grote has collected some fresh facts about the author's life, but we have no space here for a minute examination of them, The picture which Kotoshikhin draws of his native country is a sad one : ignorance, cruelty, and superstition are seen everywhere rampant. His work is of great importance, since it is from his description, and the facts we gather from the Domostroi, that we can reconstruct the Old Russia of the time before Peter the Great, as in our days the valuable labours of M. Zabielin have done in his work on Russian domestic life. Perhaps, as an exile from his country, Kotoshikhin has allowed himself to write too bitterly. A curious work is the Uriadnik Sokolnichia Puti (“Directions for Falconry”), which was written for the use of the emperor Alexis, who, like many Russian,
* Horsey says: “I read in their cronickells written and kept in secreat by a great priem prince of that country named Knez Ivan Fedorowich Mistisloskoie, who, owt of his love and favour, imparted unto me many secreats observed in the memory and procis of his tyme, which was fowerscore years, of the state, natur, and government of that comonweelth.”—Bond, Russia at the Close of the Sizteenth Century (Hakluyt Society), 1856.
of old time, was much addicted to this pastime. The Serb, Yuri Krizhanich, who wrote in Russian, was the first Panslavist, anticipating Kollar by one hundred and fifty years or more. He wrote a critical Servian grammar (with comparison of the Russian, Polish, Croatian, and White Russian), which was edited from the manuscripts by Bodianski in 1848. For his time he had a very good insight into Slavonic philology. His Panslavism, however, sometimes took a form by no means practical. He went so far as to maintain that a common Slavonic language might be made for all the peoples of that race,— an impossible project which has been the dream of many enthusiasts. From some unexplained cause he was banished to Siberia, and finished his grammar at Tobolsk. He also wrote a work on the Russian empire, which was edited by Beszonoff in 1860. In it he shows himself a widely-read man, and with very extensive Western culture. The picture drawn, as in the corresponding production of Kotoshikhin, is a very gloomy one. The great remedy suggested by the Serb is education. To this period belongs the life of the patriarch Nikon by Shusherin. The struggles of Nikon with the czar, and his emendations of the sacred books, which led to a great schism in Russia, are well known. They have been made familiar to Englishmen by the eloquent pages of Dean Stanley.” At Moscow may be seen the portrait of this celebrated divine and his tomb; his robes, which have been preserved, show him to have been a man of 7 feet in stature. The mistakes which had crept into the translation of the Scriptures, from the blunders of generations of copyists, were frequently of a ludicrous character; still, a large number of the people preferred retaining them, and from this revision may be dated the rise of the Raskolniks (Dissenters) or Staro-obriadtzi (those who adhere to the old ritual). Polotzki (1628–1680) the old period of Russian literature may be closed. He was tutor to the czar Feodor, son of Alexis, and may be said in a way to have helped to introduce the culture of the West into Russia, as he was educated at Kieff, then a portion of Polish territory. Polotzki came to Moscow about 1664. He wrote religious works (Wienetz Wiert, “The Garland of Faith,”) and composed poems and religious dramas (The Prodigal Son, Nebuchadnezzar, &c.). He has left us some droll verses on the czar's new palace of Kolomenskoe, which are very curious doggerel. The artificial lions that roared, moved their eyes, and walked especially delighted him. Alexis had probably ordered something to be constructed resembling the machinery we find mentioned in the Byzantine writers. There does not seem to be any ground for the assertion (often met with even in Russian writers) that Sophia, the sister of Peter the Great, was acquainted with French, and translated some of the plays of Molière.
And now all things were to be changed as if by an The enchanter's wand. Russia was to leave her martyrologies modern
and historical stories and fragmentary chronicles, and to adopt the forms of literature in use in the West. One of the chief helpers of Peter the Great in the education of the people was Feofane (Theophanes) Procopovich, who advocated the cause of science, and attacked unsparingly the superstitions then prevalent; the cause of conservatism was defended by Stephen Yavorski. The Rock of Faith of the latter was written to refute the Lutherans and Calvinists. Another remarkable writer of the times of Peter the Great was Pososhkoff, who produced a valuable work on Poverty and Riches, a kind of treatise on political economy. Antiokh Kantemir (1708–1744), son of a former hospodar of Moldavia, wrote some clever satires still read; they are imitated from Boileau. He also * Lectures on the Eastern Church. XXI. — 14
With the name of Simeon Polotzki. translated parts of Horace. Besides his satires, he published versions of Fontenelle's Pluralité des Mondes and the histories of Justin and Cornelius Nepos. He was for some time Russian ambassador at the courts of London and Paris. But more celebrated than these men was MICHAEL LOMONOSOFF (q.v.). He was an indefatigable writer of verse and prose, and has left odes, tragedies, didactic poetry, essays, and fragments of epics; without being a man of great genius he did much to advance the education of his country. He also made many valuable contributions to science. Basil Tatistcheff (1686– 1750), a statesman of eminence, was the author of a Russian history which, although written in a confused style and hardly superior to a chronicle, is interesting as the first attempt in that field, which was afterwards so successfully cultivated by Karamzin, Solovieff, and Kostomaroff. His work was not given to the world till after his death. There had been a slight sketch published before by Khilkoff, entitled the Marrow of Russian History. Basil Trediakovski (1703–1769) was but a poor poetaster, in spite of his many productions. He was born at Astrakhan, and we are told that Peter, passing through that city at the time of his Persian expedition, had Trediakovski pointed out to him as one of the most promising boys of the school there. Whereupon, having questioned him, the czar said, with truly prophetic insight, “A busy worker, but master of nothing.” His Telemakhido, a poem in which he versified the Télémaque of Fénelon, drew upon him the derision of the wits of the time. He had frequently to endure the rough horse-play of the courtiers, for the position of a literary man at that time in Russia was not altogether a cheerful one. From the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth Russian literature made great progress, the French furnishing models. , Alexander Sumarokoff (1718–1777) wrote prose and verse in abundance—comedics, tragedies, idyls, satires, and epigrams. He is, perhaps, best entitled to remembrance for his plays, which are rhymed, and in the French style. It took the Russians some time to find out that their language was capable of the unrhymed iambic line, which is the most suitable for tragedy. His Dmitri Samozvanetz (“Demetrius the Pretender”) is certainly not without merit. Some of the pieces of Kniazhnin had great success in their time, such as The Chatterbow, The Originals, and especially The Fatal Carriage. He is now, however, almost forgotten. In 1756 the first theatre was opened at St Petersburg, the director being Sumarokoff. Up to this time the Russians had acted only religious plays, such as those written by Simeon Polotzki. The reign of Catherine II. (1762–96) saw the rise of a whole generation of court poets, many of whom were at best but poor writers. Everything in Russia was to be forced like plants in a hot-house; she was to have Homers, Pindars, Horaces, and Virgils. Michael Kheraskoff (1733–1807) wrote besides other poems two enormous epics—the Rossiada in twelve books, and Vladimir in eighteen; they are now but little read. Although they are tedious poems on the whole, yet we occasionally find spirited passages. Bogdanovich (1743–1803) wrote a pretty lyric piece, Dushenka, based upon La Fontaine, and telling the old story of the loves of Cupid and Psyche. Perhaps the elegance of the versification is the best thing to be found in it. With Ivan Khemnitzer begins the long list of fabulists; this half-Oriental form of literature, so common in countries ruled absolutely, has been very popular in Russia. Khemnitzer (1744–1784), whose name seems to imply a German origin, began by translating the fables of Gellert, but afterwards produced original to: of this kind of literature. A writer of real ational comedy appeared in Denis von Wisin, probably of
German extraction, but born at Moscow (1745–1792). His best production is Nedorosl (“The Minor”), in which he satirizes the coarse features of Russian society, the illtreatment of the serfs, and other matters. The colouring of the piece is truly national. He has also left some very good letters describing his travels. He saw France on the eve of the great Revolution, and has well described what he did see. Russian as he was, and accustomed to serfdom, he was yet astonished at the wretched condition of the French peasants. The great poet of the age
of Catherine, the laureate of her glories, was Gabriel DerHe essayed many styles of zhavin,
Derzhavin (1743–1816). composition, and was a great master of his native language. Many of his lyric pieces are full of fire. No one can deny the poet a vigorous imagination and a great power of expressing his ideas. There is something grandiose and organ-like in his high-sounding verses; unfortunately he occasionally degenerates into bombast. His versification is perfect; and he had the courage, rare at the time, to write satirically of many persons of high rank. His Ode to God is the best known of his poems in Western countries. We can see from some of his pieces that he was a student of Edward Young, the author of the Night Thoughts. Tawdry rhetoric, containing, however, occasionally fine and original thoughts, rendered this writer popular throughout Europe. Other celebrated poems of Derzhavin are the Odes on the Death of Prince Mestcherski, The Mobleman, The Taking of Ismail, and The Taking of Warsaw.
showed the same simplicity of character. As Derzhavin was the poet of the age of Catherine, so Zhukovski (1783– 1852) may be said to have been that of the age of Alexander. He is more remarkable, however, as a translator than as an original poet. With him Romanticism began in Russia. The pseudo-classical school, led by the French, was now dead throughout Europe. In 1802 he published his version of Gray's Elegy, which at once became a highly popular poem in Russia. Zhukovski translated many pieces from the German (Goethe, Schiller, Dhland) and English (Byron, Moore, Southey). One of his original productions, “The Poet in the Camp of the Bussian Warriors,” was on the lips of every one at the time of the war of the fatherland (Otechestvennaia Voina) in 1812. He attempted to familiarize the Russians with all the most striking specimens of foreign poetical literature. He produced versions of the episode of Nala and Damayanti from the Mahabharata, of Rustam and Zohrab from the Shah-Namah, and of a part of the Odyssey. In the case of these three masterpieces, however, he was obliged to work from literal translations (mostly German), as he was unacquainted with the original languages. The Iliad was translated during this period by Gnedich, who was familiar with Greek. He has produced a faithful and spirited version, and has naturalized the hexameter in the Russian language with much skill. Constantine Batiushkoff (1787–1855) was the author of many elegant poems, and at the outset of his career promised much, but sank into imbecility, and lived in this condition to an advanced age. Merzliakoff and Tziganoff deservo a passing notice as the writers of songs, some of which still keep their popularity. As the poet of the age of Catherine was Derzhavin, and of that of Alexander Zhukovski, so the next reign, that of Nicholas, was to have its representative poet, by the common consent of his critics the greatest whom Russia, had yet seen. During his short life (1799–1837) Alexander Pushkin produced many celebrated poems, which will be found enumerated in the article devoted to him (see Poush KIN). It may suffice to say here that he tried almost all styles of composition—the drama, lyric poetry, the novel, and many others. In Alexander Gribojedoff (1794–1829) the Russians saw the writer of one of their most clever comedies (Gore ot Uma), which may perhaps be translated “The Misfortune of being too Clever” (lit. “Grief out of Wit”). The fate of Griboiedoff was sad: he was murdered in a riot at Teheran, where he was residing as Russian minister at the court of Persia. The poet is said to have had a presentiment of his fate and to have been unwilling to go. Pushkin, while travelling in the Caucasus, in the track of the army of Paskewitch, met the body of lis friend, which was being carried to Tiflis for burial. The satirical powers of Griboiedoff come out in every line of his play; he was unquestionably a man of nius. A few words may be allowed to Ivan Kozloff (1774–1838), the author of some pretty original lyrics, and some translations from the English, among others Burns's Cotter's Saturday Night. He became a cripple and blind, and his misfortunes elicited some cheering and sympathetic lines from Pushkin, which will always be read with pleasure. Since the death of Pushkin, the most eminent Russian poet is Lermontoff (1814–41); his life terminated, like that of his predecessor, in a duel. He has left us many exquisite lyrics, mostly written in a morbid and melancholy spirit. In quite a different vein is his clever imitation of a Russian bilina, “Song about the Czar Ivan Wasilievich, the Young Oprichnik, and the Bold Merchant Kalashnikoff.” The poet was of Scotch extraction (I.earmont), the termination being added to IRussify Jhis name. . In one of his pieces he has alluded to his
Caledonian ancestors. His chief poems are “The Demon,” “The Novice” (“Mtziri,” a Georgian word), and “Hadji Abrek.” He also wrote a novel, A Hero of our Time. He has faithfully reproduced in his poems the wild and varied scenery of the Caucasus and Georgia; from them he has drawn his inspiration—feeling, no doubt, that the flat grey landscapes of northern Russia offered no attractions to the poet. . people, and one of their most truly national authors, was Koltzoff (1809–1842), the son of a tallow merchant of Voronezh. He has left us a few exquisite lyrics, which are to be found in all the collections of Russian poetry. He died of consumption after a protracted illness. Another
celebrated of the romances of Zagoskin was Yuri Milo-Zagoskin;
slavski, a tale of the expulsion of the Poles from Russia in 1612. The book may even yet be read with interest; it gives a very spirited picture of the times; unfortunately, as is but too often the case with the writings of Sir Walter Scott himself, a gloss is put upon the barbarity of the manners of the period, and the persons of the novel have sentiments and modes” of expressing them which could only have existed about two centuries afterwards. There is also too much of the sentimentalism which was prevalent at the time when the author wrote. Among the better known productions of Lazhechnikoff are The Iseretic and The Palace of Ice. A slashy but now . forgotten writer of novels was Bulgarin, author of Ivan Wishigin, a work which once enjoyed considerable popular
ity, The first Russian novelist of great and original talent Gogol,
was Nicholas Gogol (1809–1852). In his Dead Souls he satirized all classes of society, some of the portraits being wonderfully vivid; take, for example, that of Pliushkin, the miser. Being a native of Little Russia, he is very fond of introducing descriptions of its scenery and the habits of the people, especially in such stories as the Old-fashioned IIousehold, or in the more powerful Taras Bulba. This last is a highly-wrought story, giving us a picture of the savage warfare carried on between the Cossacks and Poles. Taras is brave, but perhaps too much of a barbarian to be made interesting to Western readers. He reminds us of some of the heroes of the Cossack poet Shevchenko. Gogol was also the author of a good comedy, The Reviser, wherein the petty pilferings of Russian municipal authorities are satirized. In his Memoirs of a Madman and Portrait, he shows a weird and fantastic power which proves him to have been a man of strong imagination. The same may be said of The Cloak, and the curious tale Wii (“The Demon"), where he gives us a picture of Kieff in the old days. He has very dexterously interwoven his tales with the traditions and superstitions of Little Russia. The fate of Gogol was sad; he sank into religious melancholy, and ultimately into imbecility. Ise made great efforts to destroy all his writings, and indeed burnt most of the second part of his Dead Souls; only fragments have been preserved. His Confessions of an Author is the production of a mind verging on insanity. He died in 1852, aged forty-two. Since his time the novel has been very much cultivated in Russia, the school culminating in Ivan Turgenies, but it is the school of Thackeray and Dickens, not that of Dalzac and George Sand. The Russians seem to affect especially the realistic
A genuine bard of the Koltzoff.