“A true defender of Russia – a history” – the birthday of Fyodor Tyutchev

The first 22 years of his adult life he was almost uninterruptedly held abroad. Both his wives were German women – so the house in Russian did not say all. But Tyutchev was selected for the position of Chairman of the Committee of foreign censorship and on his shoulders fell the highest order to create a positive image of Russia in the West. Poetry he regarded as a secondary occupation and never cared about sound, and especially the publication of their drafts. But in Russian history, he came primarily as a poet, and diplomatic skills were only a minor addition to his portrait.

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One day, walking along the Nevsky prospect, Fedor met Prince Ivan Sergeyevich Gagarin.

– What’s the news? – asks Tiutchev.

– A military court has just sentenced Haecker – meets Gagarin.

– Why is he sentenced?

– He will be sent abroad, accompanied by a courier.

– Are you confident in this?


– Go Zhukovsky kill.

That’s who he was. Sharp, decisive and externally passive at the same time, Tyutchev managed to live in a striking duality.

“This almost – alien, barely speaking when otherwise, as in French” poetry “seemed to breathe and could not breathe in the Russian language.” Aksakov wondered: “How incomprehensible revelation of the indwelling spirit was given him that pure, Russian, mellifluous, measured speech, which we enjoy in his poetry? How there, in the foreign environment might be created in this Russian poet, one of the best decorations of Russian literature?.. This was needed so the identity of the spiritual nature which it is impossible not to marvel”.

Personally acquainted and even friends with Heinrich Heine, Tyutchev as a senior censor at the Ministry of foreign Affairs mercilessly “slaughtered” his poems. The whole appearance of his life were politics and secular entertainment. Diplomacy, censorship, public speaking, ranks and awards, indicating the highest recognition of his contributions and endless high-society salons, parties, receptions… only this nondescript, casually dressed, clumsy and absent-minded people began to speak, he immediately became the center of any company. Even being advanced in years, he aroused awe and admiration of the opposite sex.

Embassy of the castle

In 1821, Fyodor Tyutchev, the representative of an old noble family and a graduate of the verbal Department of Moscow University, he entered the service of the State Collegium of foreign Affairs. Soon eighteen year old boy went abroad, to Bavaria, as an employee of the Russian diplomatic mission.

Service, frankly, disliked. Discipline – even more so. Gray monotonous everyday life suggests his spleen. Once in Turin, he was so homesick that, taking with him diplomatic ciphers, without warning, he left his seat and went to Switzerland.

This anecdotal situation of I. S. Aksakov describes: “Correcting, in the absence of the messenger, the position of chargé d’affaires and seeing that the cases actually did not have any, our poet, one day, having an urgent need to go for a short time in Switzerland, locked the door of the Embassy and was away from Turin, not having asked for a formal permission. But AWOL has not passed him in vain. Learned about it in St. Petersburg, and he was commanded to leave the service, and stripped him of the title of Chamberlain… Tiutchev, however, did not go to Russia, and moved again to a familiar, almost native to him in Munich, while waiting in St. Petersburg cleared up the misunderstanding and be reconciled with the original trick of the diplomat-poet”.

During these years spent outside of the Motherland, fit the whole life – marriage to Eleanor Peterson, the birth of three beautiful daughters, the death of his wife, a second marriage with Ernestina, Dernberg the birth of my daughter and son love Affairs and experiences… And as if incidentally, as a departure to the other world – poems, poems, poems… In 27 years, Tyutchev wrote the lines that reveal him as a profound philosopher, able to step back from the everyday hustle and insightful look at the world:


Shut up, hide, and Thai

And feelings and dreams —

Let psychic depths

Get up and go Onet

Silent as the stars in the night —

Admire them — and be silent.

How can the heart Express itself?

Another how to understand you?

Understand whether it than you live?

The thought expressed is a lie.

Exploding, stirred up the keys —

Eat them — and be silent.

Just to live in yourself learn —

There’s a whole world in your soul

Mysterious-magic thoughts;

They will deafen external noise

Fluorescent disperse the rays,

Hearken to their singing and be silent!..

“On the threshold of a double existence”

In 1843, is an important turn in the life of Tyutchev: he met with the powerful head of the third Department of His Imperial Majesty’s Chancellery, A. Benkendorf. The result of their confidential conversations was the support of Emperor Nicholas I of all the undertakings Fedor Ivanovich in the framework of a broad campaign to create a positive image of Russia in the West. The diplomat was allowed to separate statement in the press on political issues of relations between Europe and Russia, which was a Testament to the broad credibility in General impulsive diplomat.

In those years the West has caused great interest in the book of the French Marquis de Custine’s “Russia in 1839”. Hospitably passed in St.-Petersburg the Marquis in his work mercilessly denounced Russia – with hatred and contempt. He announced and secret plans of the West against Russia. “This insidious plan, wrote the Marquis originates from the era of Napoleon. Shrewd Corsican had seen the danger to Europe from the growing power of the Russian colossus, and wanting to weaken the enemy, resorted to the power of ideas…

He was sent to Petersburg, under the pretext to help realize the plans of the young monarch (that is, Alexander – approx.of the author), a whole galaxy of political workers – a sort of disguised army, which had secretly clear a path for our soldiers. These artful schemers got a job to creep into the administration, to seize, above all, popular education and to sow in the minds of young people’s ideas, contrary to the political creed of the country, or its government…”.

Tyutchev was indignant: Russia liberated Europe from Napoleon’s dominance, “in gratitude” has been subjected to constant hostile attacks of the European press. The Marquis de Custine he did not answer, but wrote to the Gustav Kolb, the editor of the influential German magazine:

“A true defender of Russia’s history, it in the last three centuries constantly resolved in favor of Russia all the tests, which she exposes his mysterious destiny.”

Tyutchev was noticed that the policy of strife and enmity, waged against Russia, is able to bear only bitter fruit. “And then, sir, – he wrote to German editor, you too will pay dearly for what once was to us unfair.”

On arrival in Saint Petersburg Tyutchev returned to the Ministry of foreign Affairs and since 1848 has held the position of senior censor, and another 10 years – 17 April 1858 was appointed Chairman of the Committee of foreign censorship. In this post Fedor will last 15 years, until his death. More than a successful career, success in social life (high society admires the wit of the poet and his eloquence, moved by its simplicity) don’t seem Tyutchev bring the soul of peace and tranquility.

I. S. Aksakov argued: “…he languished internal split and mental anguish. The mind is strong and solid – with faintheartedness, under impotence of the will, comes to weakness, the mind watchful and sober – with sensitivity of the nerves of the most delicate, almost feminine, – irritability, vosplamenenie, in a word, during the creative process of the poet’s soul, with all its instantly flashing ghosts and delusion; the mind is active, not knowing neither rest nor languor – with perfect inability to act, when acquired in childhood habits of laziness, if irresistible aversion to foreign labor, to any coercion; the mind is constantly hungry, inquisitive, serious, concentrated, penetrating into all the questions of history, philosophy, knowledge; the soul, insatiably eager enjoyment, excitement, scattering, passionately give impressions of the current day…”.

Poetry he regarded not as a profession and as a craft and as an outlet, away from all earthly things and attempt to be alone with yourself. The source of poetic creativity is not lacking in his soul until his last days, but the mind is always and wholly been concerned with politics. This duality Fedor moved in his poems.

Oh, my prophetic soul!

Oh heart, full of anxiety,

Oh, you’re on the verge

Like a double life!..

Not coincidentally Tiutchev with remarkable sensitivity how to depict the unsteady, transient, elusive state of nature.

As suddenly and brightly

To wet the sky is blue

Air raised arch

In his momentary triumph.

One end of the forest plunged,

For others the clouds are gone –

She grabbed half the sky

And in the height tired.


Oh, rainbow vision

What a bliss for the eyes!

It was given to us at the moment

Catch it – catch it quick!

See – it really pale

Another minute or two and well?

Left as it will go away completely,

What you live and breathe

Rainbow, seasons, lunar haze – all under the pen Tyutchev becomes a metaphor for those experiences that are swarming in the soul of man, itself a metaphor for changeable life.

As smoky pillar brightens up! –

As the shadow glides down the elusive!..

“That’s our life,’ said you to me,

Not light smoke, shining under the moon,

And that shadow, running from the smoke…”

Insight of the poet

He was sure the Russian autocratic monarchy based on divine law, and that it had the greatest and most noble mission – to protect Europe from eroding its revolutionary contagion.

In the article “Russia and Revolution”, written, by the way, in French, Fedor formulates his main political views: “for a long time in Europe there are only two real powers: Russia and the Revolution. These two forces today are against each other, and tomorrow, perhaps, will lock together. Between them there can be no agreements and treaties. The life of one of them means the death of another. The outcome of the struggle between them, the greatest fight ever seen by the world, depends on the century the whole political and religious future of humanity (…)

First of all Russia is a Christian country, and Russian people is Christian not only through the Orthodoxy of its beliefs but also by something more intimate. It is so because of the ability to self-denial and sacrifice, which is as it were the Foundation of his moral nature.”

Could he imagine that Europe will cope with the revolutionary contagion relatively little blood, producing with it a strong immunity. But the “Christian power” will be destined to recover from this infection so that not a stone will remain at least the external forms of its spiritual exclusivity. Why is his astute mind could not notice the main thing: from this disaster cannot be insured, cannot be applied to the whole nation the label “chosen people” and to accept this status (though, granted people myself) as a life-long immunity from falling into the abyss of rebellion.

The one-sided view in the article alternates with surprising insights: “the Human “I” – wishing to depend only on himself, not recognizing and accepting the other law but their own will, in a word, the human “I”, substituting himself for God, of course, is not anything new among the people, but it has become the autocracy of the human “I”, built in the political and public law, and seeks, by virtue of that right, to master society. This new phenomenon has been in 1789 the name of the French revolution.”

About this a bit later he will write in verse:

See how on river open space,

The slope of the newly revived waters

The comprehensive sea

For ice floe after swimming.


In the sun eh rosy shining,

Or late night in the dark,

But all neizbejno Ty

They sail to a single meta.


All together – small, large,

Having lost its former way,

All indifferent, like nature, –

Will merge with the abyss fatal!..


Oh, our thought the seduction

You human I

Eh is not your value

Isn’t that your fate?

Archpriest George Florovsky accidentally wrote a “Historical insight Tyutchev”.

Fedor back in 1873, said: “What strikes me most in the present state of minds in Europe, is the lack of a reasonable assessment of some of the most important phenomena of the modern era. This is a further execution of the same business, the deification of man by man is still the same human will built into something absolute and sovereign, the law is Supreme and unconditional. Such is manifested in political parties, for whom their personal interest and the success of their ideas far above all other considerations. She follows begins to manifest itself in the policies of governments, which, in order to achieve their goals, do not hesitate no obstacle, nothing is spared and does not neglect any means that could lead her to the desired result. (…)

Once properly identify the presence of this element and see a reason to pay closer attention to the possible consequences of the fight that broke out now in Germany, – the consequences, the importance of which is able, for all the world to reach the size unsearchable”. The poet prophetically predicts that Europe might end up in a state of barbarism, which have not yet watched history of the world. However, again we have to notice that this barbarism has not escaped and the Orthodox monarchy, which seems to be fighting an infection of the revolution and its flag with a huge letter “I”.

Tyutchev quite Patriarchal believed that the ideology of individualism (brought Europe to its logical extreme) – is the main cause of misery and suffering as individuals and humanity as a whole. And prescription of treatment he saw one:

Flesh, but the spirit was corrupt in our days,

And people desperately longs…

He rushes to the light from the shadows of the night

And, the light of abretti, grumbles and rebels.

Irreverence burning and parched,

This day makes it unbearable…

And conscious of his death he

And longs for faith but it is asking for…

I will not say never, with prayer and tear,

Like it or mourns in front of a closed door:

“Let me in! – I believe, my God!

Help my unbelief!..” (1851)

The act of faith, which was capable of, for example, the father of the possessed boy in the gospel story, unavailable, full and calm, confident mankind.

Tyutchev genuinely believed in the concept of “Moscow – the third Rome”, selecting for her a symbolic numbers game. According to his forecast, in 1853 – exactly 400 years after the fall of Constantinople – the Byzantine Empire will be reborn in the image of the new Orthodox superpower, however, located North of the former. The poet is convinced that the decision of Providence.

The beginning of the Eastern (Crimean) campaign have welcomed the poet, waiting for the imminent liberation of the Slavs and the long-awaited Liturgy in Sofia

Come days of struggle and triumph,

Reach Russia bequeathed borders.

And old Moscow

The newest of the three capitals

(“Spiritisticko prediction”, 1853)

However, soon the reality has made the amendments in such optimistic expectations. And in the poem “On the New 1855” the poet cannot hide their doubts in Russian, Slavic victory. Feeling dramatic for Russia, the ending becomes too obvious.

The reasons for the defeat Fedor was seen mainly in the economic backwardness of Russia and its internal political weakness. After the fall of Sevastopol, the poet burst into an angry tirade against the Supreme ruler – “this poor man, who during his thirty-year reign, being constantly in the most favorable terms, wasted it and blew it, managed to tie the fight at the most impossible circumstances.”

The poet, more recently, composing hymns to the Emperor, now sees him only as a traitor of national interests:

Not the God you serve and not Russia,

Serve only the vanity of his

And all your deeds, both good and evil –

It was all a lie in you, all the ghosts are empty,

You were not a king, and actor – will he respond to the death of Nicholas I.

But the accession of Alexander II revived him hope for a bright future in Russia. However, the demonstration of loyalty in his poems nearly always look sluggish and clumsy:

The benevolent king, the king of gospel soul

With love of neighbor Saint,

Accept, sovereign, grace

The hymn of simple gratitude!

Are you embracing the love of his

Not hundreds, thousands of people

You today beskrylaya her

Favored capping and poor me

Not saying anything yourself

And did not have the king’s attention

Other rights as the suffering!..

This is an excerpt from a lengthy ode, addressed to the Emperor Alexander II.

By the end of his life he has come into a position particularly close to His Imperial Majesty’s privy councillor, the Chairman of the Committee of foreign censorship, cavalier of many orders and distinctions. No significant poet in Russia after Derzhavin was not awarded such ranks and awards.

In respect of power he could afford everything, even to make fun of her. One day, after learning about the deplorable condition of Tyutchev, he was going to visit the Emperor himself. What Fedor immediately responded: “it would Be extremely indelicate if I die the day after the Royal visit”. About sharpness, of course, denounced. The highest visit was cancelled.

“Promising dirt sweet homeland”

His attitude to the native land was never granted. Perhaps this view is typical of anyone who has had the experience of a long stay abroad: the benefits of “their” lives become apparent – even in spite of the nostalgia for “home and hearth”. Fifty years of the poet, wanting to quickly return to Russia from another overseas trip, brought the remarkable formula: “I am not without sadness break up this rotten West, so clean and comfortable to return to this promising future dirt sweet Motherland.”

In his poems, letters, memoirs common theme of returning home – and the topic is shrouded in painful feeling the need to break with a clear and rational world. In 1839 he writes to his parents from Munich: “I’m tired of this existence outside of the homeland, and time to think about shelter in old age that is coming,” and five years later, from St. Petersburg, he complains to them that are weaned from the Russian winter, which had not experienced nineteen.

And well if only the weather was not staged – the whole structure of life was different.

In the summer of 1825, when an aspiring diplomat first returned home after two years abroad, Pogodin wrote in her diary: “Acute compared Tiutchev our scientists with the wild, koi catch things thrown to them by the shipwreck.”

Many in Russia it seemed Tyutcheva wrong, if not stupid. And the right would have innocently stupid, but often criminally stupid, leading to death. He was outraged by the widespread and seemingly self-evident suppression of spiritual freedom. “All were subjected to suppression, all kretinismus”, – he lamented. Accustomed to the clarity of thinking of the poet revolted that the management of the Affairs “belongs to the mind, which itself does not understand”. “The feeling is, as if you are inside the carriage, rolling down an increasingly steep slope, and suddenly notice that on the box there is the coachman,” wrote Tiutchev wife.

However, he publicly Russia is increasingly praised and preferred to talk about its great future. And the most mystery, even the hidden led in verse. Like every real poet, Tiutchev finely and sharply divided the temporal and the eternal. And so even the saddest events in the “outside world” couldn’t cool his faith in his country and his high calling:

These poor villages,

This meager nature –

The native land of long suffering,

Edge you Russian people!

Will not understand and will not notice

Proud look strange,

What comes through and shines secretly

The nakedness of thy humble.

Depressed burden of the cross,

All of you, native land,

The slave as the King of heaven

Came, blessing.

Portrait of the poet

A portrait of Tyutchev looks skinny old man in glasses, with soft tousled gray hair and a thoughtful face… He’s more like an old German, a music teacher or Professor of the exact Sciences. Collected, rational and decisive. But, according to Merezhkovsky, “on appearance it is difficult to judge it, as shards of sepulchral urns kept it in the incense and the tears spilled over her”.

In an astute observation Khodasevich, “he sought to arrange the Affairs of Europe, but in the Chaos understand more.”

The apparent simplicity and “erased” of his poems (no joke: these lines are absorbed by us from childhood) often prevent to really delve into their meaning. But it is necessary to grasp and bustle of the metropolis, burdened with small trouble and concern about the unresolved issues recede into the background.

Wizard Of Winter

Bewitched, forest stands —

And under the snow fringe,

Stationary nemoy,

The wonderful life he shines.


And he stands bewitched,-

Not dead and not alive

The dream fascinated

The whole entangled, the whole bound

Light chain down…


Sun winter whether meet

Him his beam scythe —

It nothing afraid,

He’s all flash and zableschet

Dazzling beauty.

*** *** ***

“We can not predict…” thoughtfully brought Tiutchev in the same pen with which he created his political articles and was right, of course.

Maybe when he wrote about the future of Russia and Europe, about the dangers of revolutions and changes were necessary, he was sure that this is the main work of his life, something that will be remembered by the grateful descendants.

But time has a remarkable property: all superficial, minor and insignificant erases it and makes it almost not being, leaving only the main. So, about journalism Tyutchev remember well, experts. And the poems he wrote as if on the sidelines of his biography, know all. In fact, they became his true biography. Moreover, they – contrary to the hopes on the power of proclamations and manifestos – can truly change a person.

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