Published in Shevchenko and the Critics 1861-1980, edited by George S. N. Luckyj (1980). Translations by Dolly Ferguson and Sophia Yurkevich
Excerpts from Shevchenko, the Ukrainophiles, and Socialism
A proper estimation of any man, of any writer, can only be made when he is examined from a historical and objective perspective as well as from within the context of the community from which he sprang and in which he worked.1 Studies of this type have demonstrated that never, in any era, have there been prophets who in fact gave full expression to their nation. These studies destroy idols and sacred relics but in return provide a true picture of the prophets of the past and direct us to examine in the future, not personalities with all their temporal and individual peculiarities and flaws, but rather ideas.
Neither as poet nor public personality has Shevchenko yet been subjected to an objective historical examination of this sort. To do so is indeed not an easy task, for those close to him did not provide the foundation necessary for such a study, neither detailed information nor even a complete and well organized edition of all that he wrote....
Not only Shevchenko's youth, but also that middle period of his life when he lived in Kiev and moved in the 'better' Ukrainian circles, are still obscure. Only now is what Shevchenko learned in Poland, from the Poles and from Polish literature, beginning to be discussed. Sirko talks about what Shevchenko derived from his stay in Warsaw during the revolution of 1830.2 For us all this is obscure. Little is known about Shevchenko's life in Petersburg, about what he learned there and what he thought of those Russian writers such as S. Burachek, Zhukovsky, and others whom he knew. Were someone to tell us which books Shevchenko read most frequently at which times during those years when his literary and social personalities were being formed, even if they could not say with whom and what he talked and wrote about in his letters, then it would be possible to make some positive judgments about his intellectual development in his early and middle years.
The strongest influences upon Shevchenko in his middle period were undoubtedly his Kievan companions of 1845-6, men far more educated than he, and his many friends of noble extraction in the provinces of Chernihiv and Poltava....
[From accounts of the relationship between Shevchenko and the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius] it can be concluded that it was not the educated members of society who led the way but Shevchenko. Why? Certainly not because of his learning but rather because of his fiery temperament and the fact that it fell to him to experience personally the fate of Ukraine. It was 'sweet' for the educated members of the Brotherhood to hear his 'unpublished' works, and 'awesome' as well!3 Perhaps it was for this reason that they 'kept him at a distance from the Brotherhood,' because the fiery-tempered poet would very quickly have impelled these learned Slavonists 'into politics,' and muzhik (peasant) politics at that.4 That Shevchenko occasionally became annoyed with his learned friends can be seen from the following lines from his 'Epistle' (I mertvym, i zhyvym, i nenarodzhenym zemliakam moim v Ukraini i ne v Ukraini moie druzhnieie poslaniie / To My Dead and Living and Yet Unborn Countrymen in Ukraine and not in Ukraine My Friendly Epistle):I Koliara chytaieteAnd you read Kollar / With all your might / And Safarik and Hanka / And elbow your way / Into the ranks of the Slavophiles. ... And all the languages / Of the Slavic peoples, / All of them do you know. As for your own / - Be it as God grants!...
Z usiiei syly,
I Shafaryka, i Hanku,
I v slovianofily
Tak i pretes ... I vsi movy
Vsi znaiete. A svoiei
The muzhik Shevchenko was the most noteworthy among his educated friends, the Kievan Slavophiles, both in his passionate social thought and his equally passionate Ukrainianism. In addition, he had seen more of the peasant world, and also more of Russia, than they. He had seen Petersburg with its tsar and the nobility in whom the members of the Brotherhood placed their hopes. In fact, the poem 'Son' (The Dream), in which Shevchenko clearly took a stand against tsarism, was written in 1844 when he was still in Petersburg and before he met Kostomarov (1845), who was undoubtedly the leading member of the Kievan Slavophile circle. There is indeed a great deal of truth in the words of the countryman of Shevchenko mentioned by Sirko, who indicated that Shevchenko came to Ukraine from Petersburg with his ideas already developed about the liberation of Ukraine from the Muscovite tsars. We know that in Petersburg Shevchenko lived among people far more educated than he, people whom he apparently respected but who were far from being republicans. Briullov alone may have occasionally expressed his annoyance with Tsar Nicholas I, his 'patron.' Yet it is a long way from this to what is to be found in Shevchenko's 'The Dream.' Clearly, while in Petersburg Shevchenko must have developed his anti-tsarist ideas more 'out of his own head' than with the help of learning and those more learned than he.
It was almost the same in Kiev where, if in fact he did learn anything new, it must have been something about Slavdom, which he had already begun to think about in Petersburg, observing in his 'Haidamaky' (The Haidamaks) how sad it was that 'the children of the ancient Slavs had become drunk with blood' (Starykh slovian dity / Vpylys kroviu). It could even be concluded from Shevchenko's 'Epistle' and the observations of Kulish and Kostomarov that, after his arrival in Kiev, Shevchenko began to lose his admiration for the Cossacks, not so much from having learned the history of Ukraine from his educated friends and acquaintances as from a sense of annoyance with their vainglorious self-image as 'the Ukrainian Brutuses and Cocleses.' And here too the semi-muzhik Shevchenko had to find his own way to the truth, without the help of learning or his learned friends.
Besides those belonging to the Kievan university circle, there was another group of people in Ukraine with whom Shevchenko associated, another group of Ukrainophiles -- the land-owners of the Left Bank, among whom Shevchenko was well known and well received....
This society was headed by several noble families whose aristocratic French education had already given rise to the beginnings of something higher. Yet, because of serfdom, which ruined the character of the nobleman by making him lazy, and the political order, which did not allow a capable man to do anything for the community, even those who had absorbed not merely France's fashions and dances but also her libertarian ideas were severely crippled. O. Afanasiev-Chuzhbynsky describes these people as follows:Here a few words must be said about the small circle which took Shevchenko up. This small circle of intelligent and noble people, most of whom were humane and enjoyed universal favour, belonged to that category of boon companions who, unable to devote themselves to social endeavours and renounce their youthful, dissipated life, found their only joy in drunkenness, choosing as their motto the Latin proverb in vino Veritas. This weakness, for which allowances were made among the aristocracy and which at the same time merited special praise because of its harmless character, did not, however, prevent the members of the circle from being pleasant conversationalists throughout the day, as they could drink a great deal and only attain to the state when the tongue refuses to function and objects double before the eyes in the evening. This circle was called 'the society of whistle-wetters'....5
Among the nobles from whose numbers these men came there were people who, in addition to being sincere and non-bureaucratic, possessed certain libertarian ideas which they derived from the works of Hugo, Lamartine, and others. For instance, they thought highly of a book by Mickiewicz that had been banned. Among them too were women who understood Shevchenko and who, he always believed, would appreciate his work (for example, S.A. Zakrevska, author of the story 'Institutka' [The College Girl], published in Otechestvennye zapiski). There was Prince Repnin, a man descended from the Decembrists and even perhaps the author of Istoriia Rusov (History of the Russes), a book which profoundly influenced Shevchenko; there were also men whom Nicholas I had exiled to the Caucasus, such as Count Iakov Balmen, to whom Shevchenko dedicated his poem 'Kavkaz' (The Caucasus), and others like V. Zakrevsky (honoured by the society of whistle-wetters with the title 'His Drunken Eminence'), who were taken to the Third Section for praising the French Republic. We venture to conclude that Shevchenko heard more daring libertarian European ideas (not systematic political thought but at least biting witticisms directed at church and government) from these people than from his Kievan university friends to whom, from all indications, non-specialized European writing was rather unfamiliar. These fragments of European political thought which Shevchenko heard from the nobility of Poltava province were more valuable to him than quotations from Safarik and Hanka, whose works the poet certainly never held in his hands, or Kostomarov's Slavianskaia mifologiia (Slavic Mythology), which was printed in Church Slavonic script.
Shevchenko ridiculed the Ukrainian land-owners 'who thronged to foreign lands in search of the highest good, the sacred good, liberty, liberty and fraternal brotherhood' (kotre perlos na chuzhynu / Shukaty dobroho dobra, / Dobra sviatoho. Voli! Voli! / Braterstva bratnoho!), and who crawled into the heavens and said: 'There is no hell, no paradise' (Nema ni pekla, ani raiu). And he was right when he upbraided them because from foreign parts they 'brought to Ukraine many big words and nothing else' (v Ukrainu prynesly / Velykykh sliv velyku sylu, / Ta i bilsh nichoho), because they cried out that God had not created them to bend the knee to falsehood -- yet all the same they bent as they did before and tore the hide off their unseeing peasant brothers. However, when these noblemen are compared with those belonging to the Petersburg Maiak6 circle which Shevchenko happened upon following those of his countrymen who were followers of Kvitka or even with the evangelical Kievan Slavophiles, then it must be said that some of these noblemen, if only because of those 'big words' brought from foreign parts, were useful to Shevchenko, because later he himself began to say many of the things he had heard from his high-born countrymen, things that had once made him angry with them....
According to Afanasiev-Chuzhbynsky's account, Shevchenko's life in Ukraine from 1843-7 emerges as a period of rather aimless semi-aristocratic idleness spent in the company of the country nobility, a time spent in drinking with the men, dancing and enjoying music with the women attending balls at the governor's mansion in Chernihiv, composing caricatures of young provincial women at various clubs, whiling away the time with students in Nizhyn, and so on, and occasionally, to use Shevchenko's own words, 'carousing' all day in bed. The only relief from all this was the leisurely reading of whatever books chanced to be at hand and thoughts and dreams about 'floating down the Dnipro on an oak log to Zaporizhzhia, then to Lyman, to search for remnants of antiquity,' perhaps sketching a church, etc. If the muse happens by, then a poem gets written; if the occasion arises -- a witty remark is uttered in the company of friends or to a group of muzhiks (for example, that a fire at a Jew's house also ought to be extinguished); if not, then the poet will resign himself to playing with children. From what his close friends tell us about this best period of his life, no plan for his work or life can be perceived because Shevchenko had none of those methodical views about life and work which only a systematic education can provide....
[In light of this we may] ask: did Shevchenko belong to the school of simple and hence peasant writers? ... [Did] Shevchenko write his poems for the muzhik, or rather, did he deliberately write in so simple a fashion that even the muzhik could understand him?
Anyone who reads the most beloved of Shevchenko's poems, especially those containing social ideas, will know that the poet intended them least of all for the muzhik. Why else would he bring in not only the 'Polish confederates' but all those Apollos, Cencis, and Coliseums, which he occasionally so sacrilegeously confused, knowing so little about both history and the mythology which he greedily consumed at the Academy. In a good half of the works that he wrote with the greatest fervour, Shevchenko emerges least of all as a poet writing for the muzhik. Just try, for example, to read his 'Epistle,' which some consider the very essence of Shevchenko, to the muzhik! And there is nothing surprising in this. When, as is now the case, the distance between people with respect to education is as great as it is between the land-owner and the muzhik, then it is not possible for the writer, and especially the writer who wishes to influence the community, to write so that he is understood equally well by the muzhik and the landowner. To be sure, a literary school favouring a simple manner can dispose a poet or prose writer to write as simply as possible. Thus the literary school to which Shevchenko belonged turned him against simplicity. Of Shevchenko as a painter, Mikeshin and Prakhov (Pchela, 16 ) write: 'Shevchenko lost little time in making the transition from Briullov's academic classicism to realism, the manner natural and native to his talent.' The same can be said about Shevchenko as a writer who learned to write by reading Zhukovsky and Mickiewicz. Shevchenko's canvases, their genre aside, reveal that he was never able to break completely with classicism; occasionally he only blended classicism with realism, 'the French with the Nizhnii Novgorodian' as, for example, in the canvas depicting water nymphs (Mikeshin and Prakhov). The same can be said about many of his later works, such as 'Neofity' (The Neophytes).
In saying this, we do not wish to imply that there are no 'unmannered' scenes in Shevchenko, which are occasionally so simple in their language that the most ignorant and unlettered person could in fact understand them. Such is the case, for example, in most of his non-political poems. It must be said, however, that their simplicity is owing more to chance than to design and more to the nature of poetry (which always tends towards simplicity), than to the school to which the poet belonged, a school that was anything but simple.
The same can be said about the subject matter of Shevchenko's poetry. Our kobzar began as a romantic, and romantic writers did not primarily strive to select subjects that were ordinary and hence typical. When Shevchenko was beginning to write, Russian literature had all but bid adieu to the romanticism of Zhukovsky, Kozlov, etc. Gogol brought romanticism to an end in Russia, while the remaining traces were dispelled by the truly 'social belles-lettres' of the first half of the 1840s (the literature that came between Gogol, on the one hand, and Turgenev, Ostrovsky, etc., on the other) and the criticism of Belinsky, that is, the criticism of the 'natural' and later of the 'social' schools. The natural school urged writers to portray people as they really were, and people who were ordinary rather than exceptional. The social school required that even social evil be depicted through ordinary people and preferably through ordinary people who were relatively good rather than evil. In this way it appeared not only more truthful but also had a greater impact upon the community, inciting it against existing conditions rather than extraordinary crimes. Such, for example, are the descriptions of the serfs and land-owners in Turgenev's 'Dva pomeshchika' (Two Land-owners), 'Mumu' (Moomoo), etc. Those familiar with Russian prose of the 1840s (P. Nestroev-Kudriavtsev, Sto Odin [A.D. Galakhov], Iskander [Herzen], Dostoevsky, etc.) will know that of all the European socialist ideas these writers were most taken by Robert Owen's idea that man is not to blame for what he has become or what he does, since he is what he is because of the environment in which he grew up and the conditions in which he lives. It was this notion that made the 'social' school of new Russian writers as described here.
This new idea was completely unknown to Shevchenko. He continued to judge and condemn people in the old way and even wished to 'terrify Hell and amaze old Dante with our magnates and lordlings.' Shevchenko never on his own attained the ideas of the natural and social schools and there was (and still is) no Ukrainian criticism similar to Belinsky's. Belinsky himself was disliked in Ukrainian circles partly because Ukrainians, whom the forces of history had made into provincials, that is, into involuntary followers, were not yet ready for him and partly because Belinsky, having been misled by conventional Muscovite belief and the Hegelian concept of statehood, would have nothing to do with 'literature of the provincial type.'7 In his earlier poems, Shevchenko was unreservedly a romantic ('Prychynna' / The Bewitched Woman; 'Topolia' / The Poplar; 'Utoplena' / The Drowned Maiden). Subsequently his work became more realistic, but he still succumbed to melodrama as, for example, in 'Kateryna' (the passage beginning 'Her father sits at the end of the table' / 'Sydyt batko v kinets stola' and even the scene in which Kateryna meets the wagoners and soldiers), in 'The Haidamaks' (when Honta buries his children), 'Vidma' (The Witch; the death of her father) and even in 'Naimychka' (The Servant Girl), the simplest and most life-like of all his narrative poems (the death of the servant girl). Until the very end Shevchenko occasionally selected completely unrealistic subjects. He stooped to using allegories quite inimical to poetry (for example, 'Velykyi lokh' / The Great Vault), or to obscure language [for example, 'Isaia. Hlava 35 (Podrazhaniie)' / Isaiah 35 (An Imitation), etc.]. Sometimes it is even pitiful to witness the childish ineptitude with which the poet dealt with living people and scenes from real life [for example, 'Sotnyk' / The Captain; 'The Dream' (1844) from which we need only cite the scene depicting the tsar's court, especially the passage noted by Sirko where 'the Tsar approaches the greatest of the lords ... and smashes him in the face' (tsar pidkhodyt / Do naistarshoho ... ta v pyku / Ioho iak zatopyt'), etc; 'Vo Iudei vo dni oni' / 'In Judea in those far-off days' when Herod licks the lictor's boots and begs for a half dinar for a drink]. Seeking to portray the loathsomeness of the landowners, Shevchenko always selected their most exceptional evil deeds (for example, 'Kniazhna' / The Princess; 'Varnak' / The Convict) and usually resorted to the 'sin of fornication,' neglecting other no less significant sins not so much of individual land-owners as of the land-owners as a group, ordinary sins, all the more serious for being committed by groups, not individuals.
I must repeat that in spite of this, Shevchenko gave us the most vivid scenes of everyday life (it will suffice to point to the old man, woman, and boy in 'The Servant Girl,' to 'Sadok vyshnevyi kolo khaty' / 'A cherry orchard by the house,' to 'Teche voda z-pid iavora' / 'Water flows past a maple tree'), and sketches portraits of officials, land-owners, soldiers, 'Muscovites,' Ukrainians, young girls (two types: Kateryna, the Servant Girl, etc. and Nastia in 'The Captain,' the girls in 'Iak by meni cherevyky' / 'If I had a pair of shoes' and 'Iakby meni, mamo, namysto' / 'If I had a string of corals, mother'). He revealed a great deal of everyday hardship resulting from existing conditions -- social hardship, the hardship of the soldier's life ('Pustka' / 'A Deserted Cottage,' etc.) and that of servants ('If I had a pair of shoes') -- in the simplest and most life-like manner. This, too, was a gift of the poet's nature and to some extent, as we know, of the times whose influence not even our poet could escape, but it was not a result of the school from which he came and whose influence his countrymen, his community, and its critics were unable to counteract. We have seen that it was quite beyond the capabilities of the Ukrainian community to provide Shevchenko with the education necessary for him in his era. Neither did it regularly assist him with its literary criticism. When our poet was in his formative years, foreign critics ridiculed him and his countrymen were only capable of bowing down before him just as they do to this day. The treasure which Shevchenko gave us he found within himself and it is a part of our heritage rather in spite of his school and his lettered countrymen than because of them....
[In] his early writing Shevchenko revealed himself to be just as pious as Kvitka and did not demonstrate that he was not taken with the attitude of the writers associated with the journal Maiak. The Slavophile circle in Kiev drew him even further into 'holy writ,' which left its mark on him for all time.8 To be sure, Shevchenko subsequently became an 'evangelical' Christian rather than a devotee of Orthodox 'Byzantism' and sought in the Bible the spirit of populist prophecy, those biblical sermons which speak of God's punishment of the unjust. We would not be far wrong were we to compare Shevchenko's faith during his middle years with that of an eighteenth-century Puritan Independent, adding only that as a poet, painter, and Orthodox Christian Shevchenko could thrust from his mind neither the Mother of God nor even the divine service.9 Shevchenko generally remained a 'man of the Bible' until his death, as can be seen, for example, from his 'Isaiah 35 (An Imitation),' written in 1859 or 'In Judea in those far-off days,' which ends with an apostrophe to Christ beginning with the lines 'Save us, blessed, mighty Child' (Spasy ty nas, mladenche pravednyi, velykyi!). Even in 'Mariia,' where Shevchenko moved furthest from the gospels, there occurs the following passage, which causes some critics to say that Shevchenko never ceased to be a Christian:
Vse upovaniie moie
Na tebe, mii presvitlyi raiu,
Na myloserdiie tvoie,
Vse upovaniie moie,
Na tebe, maty, vozlahaiu,
Sviataia sylo vsikh sviatykh!
All my hope / In you, my glorious Paradise, / In your mercy / All my hope / I place in you, Mother. / The holy power of all saints, / Immaculate and blessed!
These words could not have been written by an unwavering rationalist. The kind of rationalist that our friend [Sirko] reveals Shevchenko to have been, our poet never was nor could have been, for in order for this to be the case Shevchenko would have had to undergo a different schooling and to have kept different company. All those anti-Christian and even impious words and scenes to which our friend points are simply outbursts of despair uttered by a man of fiery temperament who does not see God's promises realized on earth. They are the blasphemies of a free-thinker or a poet's daring assaults. This is the same beginning of rationalism that we see in our folk tales and songs, which does not prevent the muzhik from going to church or seeking a priest's advice, but it is not something that can properly be called rationalism, for this term refers to consistent (consequential) and ordered (systematic) thought. We see Shevchenko jumping from impious outbursts to faith in the judgment of God. Even 'Mariia' demonstrates that he did not break with Christianity, but reveals his desire to reinterpret Christian faith to suit his own image of it and transform it into the handmaiden of his muzhik perception of the world. A consistent rationalist cannot have such dreams.
These conclusions can be supported by a year-by-year review of what both his friends and he himself have written and not only by excerpts from the 'uncensored' works contained in the second volume of the Prague edition of Kobzar, on the basis of which Sirko makes of Shevchenko both a deist and a rationalist.10
We have already noted how in 1845 in his 'Epistle' Shevchenko vented his anger against the Europeanized 'unbelieving' nobles. On this and perhaps also the subsequent periods of Shevchenko's life the following account by Kozachkovsky should be brought to bear: 'I was witness to an occasion when, having listened to the blasphemy of the master of the house in which he resided, he said: "Scoffing at ethico-religious beliefs consecrated by the centuries and millions of people is foolish and criminal".' And, obviously, not only deism but everything related to the Church, even all the facets of Byzantism, are consecrated by the centuries and the millions.
Only later, reflecting on the fact that 'God's punishment' and 'God's truth' were slow to come, does Shevchenko exclaim:A boh Kunaie. Bo tse bulo b dyvo,
Shchob chuty i bachyt i ne pokarat!
Abo vzhe azh nadto dovhoterpelyvyi...
And God slumbers. For it would be strange / Were He to hear and see but not punish! / Or else He is overly patient ...11
'The Princess' was written in 1847 and the introduction to it in 1858. Whether written in 1847 or inserted later, perhaps in 1858, these words are important as a revelation of the fact that it was Shevchenko's complaining about the absence of punishment for sin that produced the first bright sparks of his free-thinking assaults against the Christian God. During his exile this idea increasingly gave Shevchenko pause and in 1850 he concluded his poem 'Iakby vy znaly, panychi' (If you but knew, lordlings) with the following outburst:Ni! Ni! nichoho
Nema sviatoho na zemli!
Meni zdaietsia, shcho i samoho
Tebe vzhe liude proklialy!
No! no! there is nothing / Sacred on this earth! / It seems to me that men / Have cursed even You!
At the same time, however, attempting to console Kozachkovsky following a death in his family, Shevchenko wrote: 'believe deeply, wisely!' Even in 1857 in his poem 'The Neophytes,' Shevchenko still stood upon a foundation of Christian faith and even worshipped the Holy Cross, in no way revealing himself to have been a rationalist, as Sirko claims. Although in this poem he does say: 'All is a lie: the kings and the priests alike!' (Vse brekhnia: i tsari i popy!) he says this about the ancient Roman priests with their idols 'of stone'; he disallows prayer to anybody or anything on earth except truth (and not to kings) and when it comes to the heavens he issues the call: 'pray to our blessed Lord' (molites Bohovi sviatomu). How Sirko could have excluded these words, which stand immediately next to the passage from 'The Neophytes' which he introduces in his article (p 63) as proof of 'Shevchenko's full-fledged rationalism,' is beyond our comprehension. Only in 1859 while in Petersburg did Shevchenko begin to break out of the confines of Christianity and not simply Byzantism. This occurred, in our opinion, because Shevchenko was growing progressively more troubled by the absence of truth on earth and because in Petersburg he encountered that series of social ideas which prompted him to read Herzen, Karl Vogt, Ludwig Büchner, Feuerbach, etc. At this time too the devout Slavophiles began to irritate him. (See, for example, his prayer, 'Umre muzh velii v vlasianytsi' / The great man in the haircloth shirt will die), on the death of Metropolitan Grigorii, whom Shevchenko, following Herzen's Kolokol, calls a 'skirt chaser."12 In Petersburg, Shevchenko also began to mix to some extent with the group associated with the journal Sovremennik, which promulgated, as best it could, the new European philosophical ideas. Yet, whether it was his own lack of audacity and knowledge that prevented him from breaking with Christianity or the spirited opposition of his friends [one of whom, Kostomarov, took a stand against 'the fashionable progressives for whom it is convenient to ascribe materialism to the people'], Shevchenko, as S. Krapyvyna (Pravda, 3  104) testifies, was still praying to God each day, even in 1859 when he was already writing 'Mariia,' while in i860 he published his Bukvar Iuzhnorusskyi (South Russian Primer) with its prayers and a new kind of 'Byzantism....'
Shevchenko went furthest in his thinking about freedom for the nation and the community in his ideas about the rich and the poor. Here he was impelled both by his own fate and the fate of Ukraine. Here, too, the little schooling he had greedily absorbed from the people stood him in good stead. The Pole, Gordon, is correct when he says that in his social views Shevchenko belongs in the ranks of the purest reds.13 Shevchenko became one very early, in 1843-4, but we do not know how (undoubtedly largely on his own, without guidance). Shevchenko progressively became a more thoroughgoing red republican and democrat, tackling not only the problem of enslavement but also that of poverty.
We need not discuss the how and why: Sirko has done so in detail. We need only accurately fix the dividing lines between the stages through which Shevchenko's thinking about the Ukrainian nation and community passed in the middle and final years of his life. This can be done easily by means of a cursory examination of his writings, year by year.
Shevchenko's first poems expressed his longing for his native land ('Na vichnu pamiat Kotliarevskomu' / 'In Eternal Memory of Kotliarevsky'). Then came recollections of her fate and, of course, of the Cossacks and their wars with the Turks and the Poles (Ivan Pidkova; Tarasova nich / The Night of Taras; Hamaliia; The Haidamaks). And these recollections gave rise to the thought: how did it all end? Who took away Cossack liberty? Has it fallen into an eternal slumber? The answers to these questions appeared in his epistle 'Do Osnovianenka' (To Osnovianenko, 1840). At first the poet believed only that the glory of Ukraine 'will not die, will not pass into oblivion' (ne vmre, ne zahyne), that it would be recalled by bards such as Kvitka-Osnovianenko, who with their poetic voices and songs would take on the Muscovites more skilfully than he. Several years later in 'Chyhyryn' (1844), he recorded the expectation that his words would fashion knives which 'will cut out the bad, rotting heart' (rozpanakhaiut pohane, / Hnyle sertse) from the breasts of those of his countrymen who had forgotten their Ukraine, would drain the blood from it and fill it with living Cossack blood (cf. Isaiah 6). In the earlier poem, 'To Osnovianenko,' no political idea is evident and the poet emerges simply as a defender of his country, race, and language. In 'Chyhyryn' (Moscow, 19 February 1844), he speaks about 'the poison to our liberty' (voli nashoi otruta). In 'The Dream' (St Petersburg, 8 June 1844) Shevchenko already takes a stand against the Moscow-Petersburg tsars, executioners, and blood-suckers who have crucified Ukraine, attacking Peter I and Catherine II with the utmost vehemence and selecting images from Istoriia Rusov (A History of the Russes) for his onslaughts against the former.
All this makes it apparent that before the publication of the first edition of Kobzar (1840) Shevchenko had already come upon those countrymen in whose possession he was to find not only the works of Kotliarevsky and Kvitka, works which struck a responsive chord in the heart of this Ukrainian periodically overcome by melancholy in a land not his own and impelled him to write in Ukrainian, but also historical works such as Dmytro Bantysh-Kamensky's Istoriia Maloi Rossii (A History of Little Russia), which reawakened the poet's recollections about the Cossack burial mounds, the Haidamak era, and the like, recollections that he brought with him from the village, the legacy of his grandfather and others. Furthermore, between 1840 and 1844 Shevchenko became acquainted with A History of the Russes, attributed at that time to Archbishop Heorhii Konysky. This work captured his imagination with its Ukrainian autonomist ideas and Cossack republicanism, with its spirit in which the patriotism of the Cossack chroniclers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the dumy (epic songs) of the kobzars was blended with European republicanism of the Decembrist era. Shevchenko took entire scenes from A History of the Russes. In the years 1844-5 nothing, with the exception of the Bible, had such an influence on his thinking.
In 'The Great Vault' (Myrhorod 1845) Shevchenko emerged as a critic of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who swore allegiance to Moscow, and as a supporter of both Mazepa, whose warriors were slaughtered by Moscow in Baturyn and near Poltava, and especially of the famous Polubotok, whom A History of the Russes portrays as the last Cato of the Cossack republic.
It cannot be held, as Kostomarov does, that Shevchenko never had 'dreams of local independence.' In all he wrote in 1845 ('The Great Vault'; 'Rozryta mohyla' / The Ransacked Grave; 'The Caucasus') Shevchenko expressed what was later called Ukrainian 'separatism.' It can even be said that his separatism was largely Cossack in character, although without that somewhat seignorial spirit which the Cossack elders began to manifest in the eighteenth century. It was a more democratic separatism, very much like that in A History of the Russes, yet above all a separatism which traced all evil in Ukraine and even the existence of the nobility to foreigners, to the Muscovite, to Moscow's tsars. When it came to the Ukrainian nobility and officials, Shevchenko was especially stung by the fact that they were 'turncoats who helped the Muscovite to administer and torment their motherland,' Ukraine, that they chattered ineptly in Russian and scoffed at their own language ('The Ransacked Grave,' 'The Dream'). In 'The Great Vault' Shevchenko prophesied the birth of a new Honta who would let freedom loose throughout Ukraine; in 'The Ransacked Grave' he clearly led us to understand that, if 'what had been buried in the grave by our old fathers' were to be found, that is, the Cossack state interred there by Khmelnytsky, then 'the children would not cry, the mother would not worry' (Ne plakaly b dity, maty b ne zhurylas); and in 'Zapovit' (My Testament) ... he openly urged his countrymen: 'arise, rend asunder your chains / And baptize freedom with the blood of the foe' (vstavaite, / Kaidany porvite / I vrazhoiu zloiu kroviu / Voliu okropite). On everything that Shevchenko wrote in 1845 there is the imprint of his concern with liberty and, most particularly, liberty for his race and country, for the Ukrainian national entity, and for the Ukrainian state.
In the works written in Ukraine towards the end of 1845 ('The Caucasus,' Vlunyshche, 14 December; 'Kholodnyi Iar' / 'The Cold Ravine,' Viunyshche, 17 December), Shevchenko concentrated on serfdom (the reason needs no explanation), a theme that he had already touched on earlier ('A Dream,' 1844; 'The Great Vault'), but not to the same extent as here. This focus on serfdom and Kostomarov's Pan-Slavism, which engulfed him in 1845 [following 'Shafarykovi (Ieretyk)' / 'To Safarik (The Heretic)' there stands the notation Pereiaslavl, 22 November 1845] divested Shevchenko to some extent of his 'separatism' and diverted his verbal arrows from 'foreign people,' from the 'Muscovites,' and in the direction of his own nobility, those high-born Ukrainophiles and admirers of the Cossacks whose numbers he, above all, had caused to swell through his fiery word. In his 'Epistle,' Shevchenko 'scoffed at the glory of the Ukrainian Cossacks like no one else,' as Panteleimon Kulish says, while it was his own historical Ukrainian separatism derived from A History of the Russes that most significantly undercut his favourable opinion of the Hetmanate.14
After Shevchenko had distanced himself from the Hetmanate, the further development of his admiration for the Cossacks involved the transfer of his sympathies to the Zaporozhians of the end of the seventeenth century, who opposed both Muscovite bondage and the increasingly undemocratic urban-oriented Hetmanate, which was prepared to give up a portion of Ukraine's liberty, especially the liberty of the 'good-for-nothings' (the rank and file Cossacks and the Zaporozhians) to preserve its dominion. (See 'Son' / 'The Dream,' 1847; 'Za bairakom bairak' / 'Beyond the ravine another ravine,' 1847 and compare them with the Zaporozhian edicts contained in Hromada I, 12).15 The spirit emanating from Shevchenko's 1846-7 works, more akin to that of the rank and file Cossacks and Zaporozhians than the urban-oriented Hetmanate, reveals that Shevchenko had a truly unusual understanding, even an historian's understanding, for events....
Shevchenko's views concerning Ukraine's neighbours, those who had ruled and continued to rule her -- Poland and the Poles, Russia and the Russians -- underwent a similar development and modification because they were tightly bound up with his thinking about the Ukrainian state and nation. His early acquaintance with Polish noblemen and stewards, on the one hand, and Russian land-owners and officials, on the other, could not have left him with pleasant memories. A suspicion of and hostility towards foreigners, towards Ukraine's neighbours -- what is called 'discrimination' -- remained with Shevchenko until the end; in any case, not only these foreigners but even Shevchenko himself discusses this. Thus, the Pole, Gordon, who saw Shevchenko in 1850 in Uralsk, says that Shevchenko 'hates Muscovites, dislikes Poles.' [Gordon's Soldat is mentioned in Gwido Battaglia, Taras Szewczenko (Lviv 1865).] In Afanasiev-Chuzhbynsky we read the following:He did not like Poles but was somehow drawn towards Mickiewicz. On several occasions he began to translate Mickiewicz's lyrical dramas but never completed his work and tore the pages into tiny pieces so that not even a trace would remain. Some lines would turn out unusually well but if just one seemed laboured or false, Shevchenko would cast aside and destroy all those that went before.
'Perhaps fate itself does not wish me to translate Polack songs,' he would say.
Shevchenko's attacks on Muscovites are sufficiently detailed in the article by our friend....
We regard Shevchenko's 'hatred of Muscovites and dislike of Poles' as a natural circumstance and those unsympathetic aspects of these feelings (for example, about Muscovites) pointed out by Sirko as indeed being present. The problem is that Shevchenko has come to be regarded as a figure in public life offering 'guiding ideas' to his countrymen and even as a socialist.
The man with political ideas subordinates his emotions to his ideas. The man who holds the wide-ranging ideas of these new times, and is a socialist at that, cannot elevate one race so much above the others as Shevchenko did when he said: 'There is no other Ukraine in the world, no other Dnipro' (Nema na sviti Ukrainy, nemaie druhoho Dnipra), cannot perceive and reveal in other races only the bad side of their national spirit. And for these reasons a man of this type will come to accept the guiding idea that all races share in the aspiration to replace the current unfavourable order with something better or, more accurately, will come to accept a whole series of guiding ideas which specify how this aspiration can be realized. None of this is to be found in Shevchenko -- and because of this his national ideas as well as his ideas about the state went through the same process: that is, having initially proclaimed a discriminatory Ukrainianism, he then began to abandon it, formulated several wide-ranging ideas but did not develop them, did not provide all the particulars, and left his would-be followers without guiding principles concerning the national question in circumstances like those in which Ukraine found herself in the 1860s and 1870s.
Thus Shevchenko, like the early historians of 'Little Russia,' initially approached the Poles more from the perspective of an Orthodox Cossack patriot than from that of a son of serfs belonging to a Polish estate. In his early poems about the Cossacks, even the words 'Polack lordlings' (liashky-panky) simply represent an adherence to the traditions of the old folk songs, while the main concern is with the violation of Cossack rights and, to an even greater extent, the Union, rather than the peasants, who, even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, suffered at the hands of both Orthodox and Uniate squires. Even in 'The Haidamaks' (1841), we see the same thing except that here the poet's good-heartedness prevailed and, enjoining him to weep over the fact that 'the children of the old Slavs had become drunk with blood' (starykh slovian dity vpylys kroviu), set him on the path to wider-ranging ideas, a path which, with the aid of Kostomarov's Slavism, led him to hope 'that all Slavs will become good brothers' (shchob vsi sloviany staly dobrymy bratamy, 1845). His scoffing at the Hetmanate (1846), which brought Poland down and was then itself destroyed, and later the punishment which Shevchenko shared with a number of Poles (Bronisfaw Zaleski, Gordon, etc.) further softened his hatred of the Poles and he wrote his epistle to Zaleski, 'Shche iak buly my kozakamy' (When we were still Cossacks). Here the Cossack extends his hand to the Pole, requesting in return his hand and a pure heart so that in the name of Christ that quiet paradise may be renewed, the paradise which ostensibly existed in Ukraine in relations with the Poles and Cossacks until 'unsatiated priests and magnates set us at odds, divided us' (nesytii ksondzy, mahnaty nas rozluchyly, rozvely)....
This is also the case with Shevchenko's thoughts about 'Muscovites.' Here, too, the wave of Pan-Slavism which engulfed him and his critical reassessment of 'Cossack glory' and the Hetmanate softened his Cossack heart. Perhaps even more important in this regard were the friendship and respect shown him by 'Muscovites' in his final years in Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, and Petersburg. But this new, more favourable view of Russians was not expressed in his poetry. Living with Russian soldiers who were muzhiks like him and in bondage like him, Shevchenko, unlike other exiles such as Dostoevsky, did not leave us even one portrait of such a 'Muscovite'; the Russian muzhik given into military service by his master is portrayed by Shevchenko simply as one who recalls of his beloved that 'she was a rough one and did not forgive any more than another' [taka ukhabista soboi, i menshe beloi ne darila; see 'Ne spalosia, - a nich iak more' -- (I could not sleep, -- the night was like a sea), 1847]. The 'Muscovite' welcomed by the haughty Tytarivna-Nemyrivna was still only a vagabond for Shevchenko as late as 1860, just as in 1840 he had been a stranger. Clearly, if national poets talk of their neighbours in such terms, it will be difficult for the hope 'that all Slavs should become good brothers' to come true. This is why we doubt that Shevchenko could really have brought us together into a 'new, free,' and international family.
Shevchenko could have gone further in those social matters which relate to the liberation of the muzhik. His love for the peasants, for those in bondage, and later for the poor, was Shevchenko's guide both in his poetry and in his life. From the very beginning of his career as a poet, even immediately after gaining his freedom when, as Soshenko recounts, he behaved very much like a dandy, Shevchenko, like every living Ukrainian poet without exception, wrote about the muzhik. And throughout his life Shevchenko wrote most often about the muzhik, imitating muzhik tales and songs at first ('The Bewitched Woman,' 'The Poplar') and subsequently portraying the life of the muzhik ('The Servant Girl,' etc.) primarily in order to defend him against those foreign ('Kateryna') and native ('Epistle') land-owners who had wronged him and, secondarily, in order to provide the land-owners with an example to follow, concluding his narrative with the following words: 'Learn to forgive your enemies, people, like this uneducated one' (Ottak liudy nauchaites voroham proshchaty, iak tsei neuk). Shevchenko came very early to equate 'our Ukraine' with the Ukrainian muzhik and 'our truth' with a free and happy life for this muzhik. But we need not discuss this at length; it is a well-known fact and is discussed in detail by Sirko.
We need only pause to consider whether, as our friends, Sirko among them, often state, Shevchenko in fact thought about 'truth and liberty' and their materialization in the manner of a socialist. We will never agree that Shevchenko was a socialist. Indeed, we even venture to think that to agree would be harmful to the cause of socialism in Ukraine, as this would create a misconception about what socialism is.
In the first instance, there can be no genuine, indigenously based socialism in a community where serfdom has not yet been abolished and the economy is still not totally founded upon free, hired labour. We would add that there can be no indigenously based socialism where there is no statutory parliamentary state which alone can expose the dominion of the rich. Where serfdom and tsarist autocracy reign, socialism can only come from outside and will be more bookish than indigenous, more familiar, on occasion, with the thinking directed against serfdom and the governmental bureaucracy than with that of a truly socialist, anti-plutocratic character. This was the socialism of the Moscow and Petersburg circles in the years 1830-60, a socialism gleaned from French books; this, in certain respects, is the new socialism in Russia, although a foundation for it has begun to develop since the abolition of serfdom. Shevchenko wrote during the era of serfdom and was too closely in touch with the realities of his time not to direct more of his attention to the millions of enslaved serfs than to the hundreds of free hired men. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Shevchenko knew anything about Saint-Simon, Fourier, Louis Blanc, Proudhon, etc., nor even the social novels of George Sand, which in the 1840s were already being read in Moscow and Petersburg and towards the end of the 1850s to some extent in Kiev as well. There is no evidence that Shevchenko's more learned friends intended to acquaint him with the ideas of these European socialists because in their own writings there is no indication that they had any interest in these socialists and the issues of the working class in Europe which they raised. Consequently, Shevchenko would have had to become a socialist through his own efforts, and the wisest intellect could not have developed the precepts of socialism simply from what Shevchenko saw in the Russia of his own time, when there was not only autocratic rule administered by tsarist bureaucracy but serfdom as well.
Shevchenko bore down upon both -- and while he took a stand not only against bondage but also against the legalized extortion that it involved (that is, revealed the economic aspect of serfdom, as Sirko says), this does not in the least make him a socialist. And, further, can an opponent of tsarism avoid discussing the poll tax? Although, as Sirko says, Shevchenko did not regard tsars 'from the muzhik point of view' but rather 'as the source of all the extortion' (for the muzhik believes conversely that the tsar only wishes the peasant good and that the land-owners and officials do all the fleecing), a socialist also regards the state as in large (if not full) measure merely a fortress for the defence of the rich's dominion. It is not the legalized extortion that Shevchenko most denounced but rather the bondage and lack of respect for the individual manifested by the landowners, who in his works most frequently appear as violators of women and girls. The tsars are no better and are indeed violators of entire peoples, and murderers to boot. But the distance from this point to socialism is still great. What Shevchenko says about the rich and the poor, 'the goods stolen by your grandfathers' (didamy kradene dobro), and even the industrious and the 'earth, bequeathed to all' (zemliu vsim dannuiu) does not change one iota of what has been said above. Even in the Cossack duma of the seventeenth century we find Handzha Andyber complaining that the magnates 'took the shrubland and the meadows for themselves' (pozabyraly luhy i luky) and it would be strange indeed to speak of the socialism of the seventeenth-century Cossacks. Much has been written against the rich and the injustice of the rich, not only by medieval priests, but also by the Hebrew prophets. Yet, were we to include them among the socialists, the image of socialism would lose all its clarity and we would find ourselves in precisely that trap set by the enemies of socialism when they say that, in their opinion, socialism is merely the complaining of the poor against the rich and not a matter of the organization of all labour required by the community.
Even the Old Testament prophet Amos, for example, reproves those who trample the needy, grind the bones of the poor into flour, oppress them with taxes, possess magnificent vineyards and have large buildings constructed for them, pile injustice upon injustice, and heap spoils upon spoils in their palaces, etc.'16 The same is true of Hosea, Isaiah, and a number of other prophets. Hosea 10:12, for example, almost could have been written by Shevchenko. Shevchenko's lines about God's judgment of the wicked are very much like the well-known psalm, 'Arise, O Lord!"17 In Shevchenko's descriptions of the 'kingdom of truth,' all that is lacking is the image found in Isaiah of the wolf lying down beside the sheep.'18
Shevchenko loved the Hebrew prophets (see Kozachkovsky) and the psalter so much because he thought about social questions in their terms. Like a biblical prophet speaking of the tiny Jewish kingdom and the immense Assyrian or Babylonian powers, Shevchenko says to the Circassians: '...mighty knights, by God not forgotten! Fight on-you will be victorious! God is with you' (... lytsari velyki, Bohom ne zabuti! Boritesia - poborete! Vam Boh pomahaie; 'The Caucasus,' 1845). He considers what is now called 'social revolution,' 'social upheaval,' etc. in biblical terms:Koly zh odpochyty
Dasy, bozhe, utomlenym
I nam dasy zhyty!
My viruiem Tvoii syli
I dukhu zhyvomu.
Vstane pravda! vstane volia!
I Tobi odnomu
Pokloniatsia vsi iazyky
Voviky i viky!
When will you grant the weary leave to rest, / O Lord, / And grant us leave to live! / We have faith in your power and living spirit. / Truth will arise! Freedom will arise! / And to you alone / Will all the tongues bow down / For ever and ever!
Even in 1859, Shevchenko portrayed the 'wonders of the Lord' (dyva Hospodnii) -- how God would judge, free the long-suffering, and repay the wicked for their wickedness -- while just before his death he wondered when 'the apostle of truth and light' (Apostol pravdy i nauky) would come. During the periods when Shevchenko doubted that the judgment day and the messiah he awaited would ever come, he was still impelled to portray thoroughly biblical scenes of impending catastrophe, even though Jehovah was absent from them: 'Will there be a day of judgment!? Will there be punishment for the kings and princes on earth? Will there be truth among people? ... There should be! ... for the sun will rise and consume the defiled earth!' (Chy bude sud!? Chy bude kara tsariam, tsariatam na zemli? Chy bude pravda mezh liudmy? ... Povynna but! ... bo sontse stane i oskvernenu zemliu spalyt!)'19
Together with Shevchenko's biblical vision or, more accurately, within it, there were the recollections of the Dnipro peasant about the Haidamaks' vengeance upon the gentry -- and Shevchenko moved from biblical images of God's judgment and the Messiah to descriptions when 'the unlettered eye would gaze deep, deep into its master's soul, when the blood of the nobles' children would flow into the blue sea in hundreds of streams.' Yet even this Haidamak image is forced into the biblical mould: 'The day of judgment will come -- the Dnipro and the hills will raise their voices!' (Nastane sud - zahovoriat i Dnipro i hory!) Because his thinking was almost totally governed by the biblical prophets and by recollections of the era of the Haidamaks, Shevchenko cannot be included among nineteenth-century socialists.
True socialist thought and endeavour came into being in the nineteenth century because only now -- after the great political changes and revolutions of the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries -- has free capital and free hired labour in the employ of the rich assumed control of the state and because only now have the ideas of the leading thinkers of the eighteenth century concerning progress -- the natural, unceasing advance of society in the spheres of economics, social organization, science, and learning -- taken on definitive form and been confirmed.... [Shevchenko] had no clear and definite notion of historical progress because he was a man whose thinking was grounded in the Church; he lacked a European education and knew only Russian life of the period of Nicholas I. A man like that could not have become a true revolutionary or even a permanent public figure of the sort that existed in nineteenth-century Europe. To be sure, Shevchenko could have become a revolutionary for the independence of his people and country, a revolutionary of the type to be seen, for example, among the Poles, who can sometimes even do without faith in progress and is expressly drawn towards his nation's past. But we must not forget that the feelings of the Ukrainians concerning racial distinctness and political independence were never as strong as those of the Poles, while after the destruction of the Cossack state in the eighteenth century those feelings weakened further, so that in the period when he was most attracted by the ancient Cossack order Shevchenko himself could say: 'It existed once! But what of it?! It will not return!' (Bulo kolys! Ta shcho z toho?! Ne vernetsia!) In the final analysis it must be said that, no matter how passionately he felt about this cause, Shevchenko was nonetheless almost alone in his feelings, for there cannot be many people passionately committed to working in a community where there are as yet few members with well-formed ideas about the work to be done and where the total destruction of the community of interests shared by the people and national enslavement have weakened the spirit of comradeship and voluntary action. One man -- or even two or three -- cannot be warriors on the field of battle nor even organizers of the coming battle against all that is around them.
Thus, while Shevchenko was a man with admirable social aspirations and occasional dreams of rebellion, he did not become a sociopolitical or still less a revolutionary activist of the sort that a poet could become. Prior to 1847 only his friends were beginning to see the mighty destiny of Shevchenko's work and from then until 1876 it remained obscure, lying untouched for almost too long. We have already noted (Hromada, no. 2) that this did not happen with poet-revolutionaries such as Victor Hugo or -- in the Slavic context -- Mickiewicz.
This in no way diminishes Shevchenko as a man, but merely indicates the point beyond which his community had not developed (for whatever reason). To reproach it for not being one way or another is nonsense. The only sensible thing that might be done here is to examine what this community was like in order to understand what sort of person a man like Shevchenko could and had to become.
1 Translation of excerpts from 'Shevchenko, ukrainofily i sotsializm' in Drahomanov, Literaiurno-publitsystychni pratsi (Kiev 1970) II. The article first appeared in Hromada 4 (1879).
2 Sirko was the pseudonym of Fedir Vovk, author of an article on Shevchenko to which Drahomanov's study is a reply (ed.).
3 The words in quotation marks were employed by Kostomarov in his 'Vospominaniia o dvukh maliarakh' (Reminiscences about Two Painters) (ed.).
4 An observation made in 'Zhyzn Kulisha' (The Life of Kulish; Pravda 1868) and quoted more extensively by Drahomanov in a section of his study not included in this edited version (ed.).
5 A. Afanasiev-Chuzhbinsky, Vospominaniia o T. Gr. Shevchenke (St Petersburg 1861) (ed.).
6 Edited by S. Burachek, the journal Maiak fostered the fashionable idea of 'official nationality' (ed.).
7 Kozachkovsky recounts that Shevchenko also did not like Gogol or, as he puts it, 'was not sympathetic towards Gogol: in his words, Gogol's failure to realize his ambitions were the cause of his mental derangement.' Gogol is also disliked by other Ukrainophiles because he did not write in Ukrainian. The only problem is that the Russian poets and prose writers of today would not exist were it not for the Gogolian school. Among other things, it is because they have not gone through the Gogolian school that Ukrainian writers in Russia and Galicia lag behind their Russian counterparts.
8 Recalling the time in 1845 when Shevchenko stayed with him, Kozachkovsky writes: 'On occasion he would read the Bible, taking note of passages that impressed him with the exceptional greatness of the thoughts they contained. Of the projects that he was then planning I can recall two that were never realized: the first -- a large canvas which was to depict "Ezekiel's vision in the desert filled with dry bones".'
9 In a passage from his 'Vospominaniia o T. Gr. Shevchenke' (Kievskii telegraf, no. 25, 1875), removed by the censor, Kozachkovsky said that Shevchenko both praised the Protestant faith and criticized Orthodox believers for their submissiveness to the authorities and the land-owners. It is regrettable that Kozachkovsky does not say when Shevchenko expressed this thought, whether in 1845-6 or in 1859.
10 Taras Shevchenko, Kobzar, 2 vols (Prague 1876).
11 Here and elsewhere Drahomanov quotes lines from Shevchenko's poetry which have not been included in Shevchenko's definitive texts, established by scholars much later (ed.).
12 A rather inadequate translation of Herzen's special word 'iubkoborets,' which implies 'wrestling' with a skirt in more than one sense (ed.).
13 Jakob Gordon was the pseudonym of Maximilian Jatowt, a Polish political prisoner whom Shevchenko met in exile (ed.).
14 The change in Shevchenko's ideas about the Ukrainian past is best revealed by comparing his words in 'To Osnovianenko' (1841):
Slava ne poliazhe,
Ne poliazhe, a rozkazhe,
Shcho diialos v sviti,
. . .
I chyi my dity.
Glory will not fall, / Will not fall but will recount / What happened in the world ... and whose children we are.
with the following passage from his 'Epistle':Vse rozberit, ta spytaite
Todi sebe: shcho my?
Chyi syny, iakykh batkiv,
Kym, za shcho zakuti?
To i pobachyte, shcho os shcho
Vashi slavni Bruty:
Raby, pidnizhky, hriaz Moskvy
Varshavske smittia vashi pany
. . .
Ia rydaiu, iak zhadaiu
Didiv nashykh: tiazhki dila!
Iakby ikh zabuty,
Ia oddav by veseloho
Consider everything and ask yourselves then: / Who are we / Whose sons? of what fathers? / By whom, for what enslaved? / Then you will see that such are your renowned Brutuses - / Slaves, toadies, the scum of Moscow, / Warsaw's refuse / Are your masters, / The illustrious Hetmans! ... I weep when I recall / The unforgotten deeds / Of our grandfathers: burdensome deeds! / To forget them /1 would give half / Of my happy life!
15 Hromada was a journal published by Drahomanov in Geneva (1878-82) (ed.).
16 Amos 8:4, 5, 2; 6:12, 1-7, 14, etc.
17 Also Isaiah 5:8, 'Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field,' etc.; Isaiah 10:1, 2, about the judgment of wickedness.
18 Shevchenko's entire poem, 'Raduisia, nyvo' (Rejoice, verdant field, 1859), dealing with God's judgment of the wicked and the freeing of slaves is nothing more than Isaiah 35 with a few alterations (for example, the conclusion). Anyone wishing to be convinced of the hold that the Bible had upon Shevchenko to the very end need only make a word-by-word comparison of Shevchenko's psalm with Isaiah 35.
19 Cf. in Isaiah 33 the depiction of the vengeance for injustice, especially the description of how the stars in the heavens will be extinguished, the rivers turned into pitch, the soil into brimstone, and the land into burning pitch. In connection with the burning of the earth, see also Isaiah 24:6.