Knight without reproach

Bitter compared by Alexander Blok with narrow floor clock exquisitely slender and meticulously accurate. For example, the theme of “the poet and the revolution” reveals most clearly and dramatically. One hundred years is the optimal time to try to look at these events from the outside.

  • Alexander Blok: “Aeolian harp” revolution
  • Alexander Blok. The silence after the music
  • Alexander Blok. “Christmas eve in the woods.” Reads Maxim Averin
  • Alexander Blok. “Christmas.” Reads Maxim Averin

What is there on the Internet! In the enormous amount of newsreels, generously thrown into a worldwide network, you can catch some real treasures. So careful a historian, otsmatrivali footage of the February revolution, the crowd drew a remarkably familiar face. It turned out to be Alexander Blok. In the midst of the events of 1917 on the Nevsky Prospekt – where he has to be!

Probably, at the time the operator felt that there is nothing more important than this national mass element, changing the course of history. But time has placed all in places. And so it was that this film survived only in order that through the decades, she “revealed” the poet. Here he stands in the crowd and suddenly he turns around – no, not to the camera, and to us born a century later. He stares and smiles at amazing smile – it seems to be open and sincere, but piercingly sad. Him watching the soldiers, looking around and still smiling, but his smile becomes a bit uncomfortable. I think he knows something more – something crowd available.


Oh, if I knew you

The cold and darkness of days to come!

A moment later, the smile from the face suddenly disappears and the poet casually out of the frame. In the throes of revolution Petersburg. In immortality, or rather eternity.

The knight of the pale

Maximilian Voloshin, describing the appearance of the Block, noticed the very calm, clear and cold face like a Greek mask. Pointed to the correctness and strictness of the devil, finely chiselled forehead, the curve of his lips. Put in advantage beautiful curly hair of the poet.

Andrew White has stressed simplicity and directness in his look, unusual and bright eyes. Often his appearance in his youth was compared with the image of Apollo. In later years – with Dante. But when you plunge into his destiny, there is invariably chivalrous way.

The knight Block were the object of worship, Beautiful Lady. Femininity, the eternal and the earthly, the Russian and the world that surrounded him since childhood, nurtured him as their future singer. Ideals have come and gone but the way accompanied him to the end.

Marina Tsvetaeva, who saw the Block only twice, saw in him something more than just one of the poets rich in creative people time. For her it was the only unique fellow “string rakomelo”, whose creativity reaches the heights of heaven.

“I will verse – missed a big meeting with the Block, she recalled. And there was a second… when I stood near him in the crowd, shoulder with shoulder… staring at a sunken temple, a little reddish, are ugly (sheared, sick) — poor hair… Poems in your pocket to lend a hand but faltered. Passed through the Ala (daughter of Marina Tsvetaeva) with no address, on the eve of his departure.” (From a letter to Tsvetaeva, Pasternak in February 1923)

Contrast space

The role of women in his life were decisive. Gentle and loving mother of Alexander Beketov (when he was born, she was only twenty years old). Grandmother Elizabeth G., great-grandmother Alexandra Karelina, three aunts – Catherine, Sophia and Maria. All were looking forward to his appearance. He instantly became everyone’s favorite, wrapped with tenderness and care.

Aleksandra Andreevna Asya, as she was called at home, was perhaps the most infantile and unbalanced of the daughters of Andrei Nikolaevich Beketov – a great scientist, botanist, and since 1876 – and even the rector of St. Petersburg University. At sixteen, for example, scared parents, she almost married a student of the naturalist, but changed his mind in time. Later it has been courted by Alexander L. Blok. At the second attempt he managed to get the girl’s consent to a proposal of marriage. Marriage, unfortunately, was not very happy and short.

Alexander Orlov graduated from the law faculty, but has had a troubled and violent temper. He was a sophisticated man, loved music and was considered a talented pianist. But the emotions in his behavior often prevailed over reason. It was said, went so far that during a joint with the young wife of the music-making he could pounce on her with his fists sung over the wrong place in the romance… the Love and affection in respect to his wife increasingly was replaced by anger, irritation and jealousy.

When in the rector’s building on the University embankment Sunday morning, November 16, 1880 was born Sasha Block, his father was away in Warsaw. The separation from his wife seemed temporary, but it turned out otherwise. Their life together was cut short.

Christmas Alexandr, not ready for the final break, came to see his son. “What color are your eyes?” – was the first question concerned parent. He approached the sleeping infant and began to raise his eyelids… Family idyll did not work. Almost immediately started a quarrel. A new father was forced to live with his relatives, and soon even go to Warsaw to continue the teaching of state and law at Warsaw University. However, before he achieved from his wife promises to come to him in the spring. That has not been done ever.

“From the first days of his birth Sasha has become the focus of family life… loved It all, starting with grandparents and ending with the old nanny… mother, needless to say,” recalled his aunt, M. A. Beketov. The relationship with the mother was generally the most sturdy and longest. Such a deep dialogue and inner likeness to her, he didn’t have anyone.

A. L. Block And A. A. Blok. Photo by R. Beyer, 1878, Petersburg. Literary Museum, Moscow

And he grew up sissy boy in greenhouse conditions. In the winter – in the heart of St. Petersburg, and in the summer, in the suburban estate of shakhmatovo. So his life has identified two highly contrasting space – stringent European Petersburg and the rural beauty of the most ordinary suburban estate.

It is easy to guess, some memories are born some of his most famous lines:

You’re in a dream is extraordinary.

Your clothes do not touch.

Doze and NAP mystery

And the secret — you shall sleep, Russ.


Russia, surrounded by rivers

And surrounded by jungle,

With the swamps and cranes,

And with cloudy eyes of a sorcerer…

“From early childhood – he recalled, – I remember constantly coming at me lyric waves…”. The family was recognized only Russian poetry of the XIX century, so the boy was inspired by the lyrics of Zhukovsky, feta, Polonsky, and, of course, Pushkin and Lermontov.

“My mother brought me to school”

Cost the boy to grow up a bit – and the life was revealed to him. The friendly and relaxed family in the world he was in a crowd of young scamps, who loved pranks and did not want to see used to be special Sasha.

“My mother brought me to school; for the first time in the life of a cozy and quiet family, I was in a crowd smoothly shorn and of loud screaming boys; I couldn’t stand being afraid of something, I’m willing to run away or hid somewhere… I felt like a cock, which was precentile beak chalk to the floor and he remained bent and motionless, not daring to raise his head… but the Main feeling was that I no longer belong to yourself, that I am someone and somewhere, and given that the way forward will be. To show his desperation and his fear, to Express them in some words or movements, or just tears — was unthinkable. Bothered about shame.”

About the ennobling role of education of any clearly thought-out upbringing was out of the question. Before the Block turned a depressing picture: “Children quickly become corrupt. Among us were some sick, stupid and weak-minded. Learned to smoke, he spoke and drew a lot of greasiness. By mid-school teachings of someone already got a novel… Teachers and educators was, I think, without exception, poor people: the poor, the downtrodden lessons, humiliated by superiors; all these were men or very young, barely graduated the teachers ‘Seminary, or even old, sodden from unloved labor for a piece of bread, embittered on all and drink secretly”.

The Charter of the Vedensky gymnasium had many formal restrictions. They define a clear list of forbidden leisure areas: Central garden, Livadia, Demidov garden, Tarasov garden. Forbidden “Smoking tobacco, drinking spirits, the wearing of canes, whips, sticks”. Needless to say that such a detailed description of the prohibitions and temptations became for the young hooligans in the regulations to the binding.

Misconduct of the Unit, according to the preserved data, was ridiculous: a lack of careful management of the diary, being late for prayer. Neither naughty nor whoop it up home boy is not pulled.

Alexander Blok, St. Petersburg, 1891. Photographer K. Shapiro

Beautiful Lady

In early childhood he came face to face with a girl – the daughter of the famous chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev. “When Sasha, the Unit was three years old, and lube Mendeleevo – two, they met on walks with the nurses. One nurse led pen, large, pink girl coat and bonnet of Golden plush, the other led pink tall boy in a dark blue coat and the same bonnet,” recalled M. A. Beketov.

The acquaintance continued after the end Block of the school. Later it was reinforced by the love of theater – together Sasha and Luba performed scenes from hamlet (he, of course, is hamlet, it is Ophelia) and “Woe from wit”.

One after another, gave birth to a beautiful poem, and later United by a common title – “verses about the Beautiful Lady.”

Love D. Block was not just a “girl wonder”. Strictly following the tradition of all tales of chivalry, he was willing to serve her reverently, without demanding anything in return and humbly bowing in front of her.

The affair ended with a wedding in the village Church.

Life made in the image of the Beautiful Ladies adjustments. It turned out that the Love her daughter very irritable, headstrong and too independent.

“Luba brought the mother to the disease. Luba drove me from others – lamented poet. – Luba spoiled me so much of my life has exhausted me and brought up the fact that I am now. Luba on earth — terrible, sent to torment and destroy the values of the earth. But I can’t part with her and love her.”

Alexander Blok and Lyubov Mendeleeva

“I’m hanging in the air”

Once he said about his poems: “This is a diary in which God allowed me to speak poetry”. So he wrote.

His poetry is easily decomposed into periods, coinciding with the period of most acute internal experiences. In 1901 – 1902 the cycle “Poems about a Beautiful Lady.”

“Poetry is prayer,’ written in 1902 Block. – First, the inspired poet-Apostle composes it in divine ecstasy. And everything he composes it, in that lies his real God. The devil takes him – and in him he finds the overturned, mangled, but all the sweeter – God. And if so, God is and all the more – not in one of the bottomless sky, and in “spring bliss” and “the love of women”.

In 1905, in his native Shahmatova, separated from the revolutionary events of distance, but encourage them to action, he created some of his best poems – including “the Girl sang in the Church choir.”

Had a burst of inspiration in 1907, 1908, then in 1914. After that, the poet is silent – in order to create in 1918, the year his most mysterious work – the poem “Twelve”.

With a light hand “proper” critics, in the head of the reading public years were driven verified formula “made the revolution”, “the poet of the masses”, “singer of the revolution”. But if you look at every major poet closely – these formulas inevitably divided about real life. All 1917 the Unit was trying to find the right attitude.

He was inspired by revolution, tried to be useful and even worked as the editor of “the Extraordinary Commission of inquiry to investigate illegal ex officio actions of the former Ministers, chief superintendent and other senior officials both civil and military and sea departments”. But gradually, the whole scale of what happened became apparent.

“I see nothing ahead, though the optimism does not always lose. All, all of them, “old” and “new,” sitting within us: in me, at least. I am hanging in the air: no land now, no, nor the sky. For all that, St. Petersburg is extraordinarily beautiful again”.

In General, the mood of the Unit after the revolution, reminiscent of the pendulum, famously writing trajectory from pole to pole.

“Everything that has happened,” he writes, ” makes me happy. Something happened, something no one can not estimate, because such a scale history has never known. Not could not happen, could happen only in Russia… Minutes, of course, very dangerous, but the danger, if it be, consecrated, which was not very long ago in our lives; perhaps never. All the countless dangers that were before us, were lost in the demonic darkness.”

And again: “Everything will be fine, Russia will be great. But how long and how hard it is to wait”. Gradually his eyes in a whirlwind of events vytseplyat really disturbing moments: “If history is to continue its extraordinary game, then perhaps all people will be repulsed by the things and the culture will die completely, which will be retribution, maybe just for the “humanism” of the past century.”

Alexander Blok during military service. 1916


“The case of the artist, the duty of the artist to see what is conceived, to listen to the music that thunders “torn by the wind the air.” The air around him really rattled. Nadezhda Pavlovich recalled:

“Circling in the Blizzard. Lamp dimly gleaming through the pillars of snow. There was not a soul. The wind, the snow, the light… the Whole way we were talking about something else. Suddenly the Block said:

That was when I wrote “Twelve”. Look! Christ! I do not believe, can not be Christ! Sideways snow, the same as now.

He showed in shaking from the wind the flashlight on the strip of snow, light and shadow.

— He goes. I look — no, Christ! Unfortunately, it was Christ — and I had to write.

Block spoke abruptly, almost sharply. Then he began to tell what an indescribable noise and rumbling, he heard for three days, night and day, as if the world collapsed and then all broke and subsided, and since then he had become deaf”.

Wind in his poems every year becomes more and more. “Twelve,” he seems to be drafty too.

Black night.

White snow.

Wind, wind!

The feet should not.

Wind, wind

On all God’s earth!

The wind ripples the

White snow.

Beneath the snow — crust of ice.

Slippery, hard,

Every Walker

Slides — Oh, poor thing!

The poem is written in the beginning of 1918 in Petrograd, mainly from 27 to 29 January. 29, the Unit was left in the diary entry: “Today I am a genius.”

In “Twelve,” the voice of the poet himself almost inaudible limericks, signs, posters, common dialect, yard swearing all mixed into a single voice of the streets, in the cacophony, which replaced music. The world of multicolor and diverse is converted into a monochrome image. White snow and black night. In a raging snowstorm sweeping out all the traces of inputs and outputs, suddenly there One whose appearance did not expect. And however His appearance is natural and logical. Because the second coming of Christ marks the end of the world and the beginning of its radical renewal.

In fact, the image of Christ appears on the first pages of “Liberty, liberty, EKH-EKH, without the cross!”. By the end of the poem He just becomes tangible.

Many of the poet’s contemporaries the appearance of Christ in the finals, surprised, angered and even shocked. Some thought it sacrilege, others flirting with the deposed religion. About the reaction to the ending of the poem succinctly expressed Maximilian Voloshin:

“What is surprising is that absolutely everything, I transferred the contents of the poem Block before the text came into my hands, saying that it depicted the twelve guards in the apostles and at their head is Jesus Christ. When I had one day in the society of St. Petersburg, close to the literary circles, and heard the poem in the reading, to assert that Christ is not at the head of twelve guards, and, on the contrary, pursued them, against me rose the cry: “why, Merezhkovskii outraged by the blasphemous meaning of the poem and-so and so-and-so broke up with her… It’s all Your usual paradoxes. Maybe you will argue that the Twelve are not the apostles?”

Hence I conclude that this understanding of the poem ordersphentermine and not only for dark intellectuals, but in the highest literary circles. Is nobody hearing the poem did not give himself the trouble to get a grasp of its meaning? What is typically Russian indifference to the artwork, which the neglect of the hints of someone else’s thoughts!”

In conclusion, Voloshin adds: “Now it (the poem) is used as the product of a Bolshevik, with the same success can be used as a pamphlet against Bolshevism, distorting and stressing her other side. But her artistic value, fortunately, is on the other side of these temporary fluctuations of political exchange”.

After “Twelve” in the life of the Unit came the emptiness. In 1919 he told tales: “can’t you hear that all the sounds stopped?”. Music he never heard. “Increasingly, the Unit is repeated about the spiritual deafness and blindness closing in on him, and talking about death.”

One of his most poignant diary entries – how hurrying to a meeting “world literature,” he for no reason “pushed the little boy.” “Forgive me, Lord,” he writes. “I haven’t confessed, and I have to confess” – notice he’s in “Confessions of a Gentile”.

Almost all who knew of the Unit at the time, mention sudden bouts of irritability and even rage. In one of these attacks he smashed a bust of Apollo, standing in his office.

One mother Unit, with which it has been in recent years, much closer than with his wife, suddenly jumped up and shouted, “Sasha, Sasha, what are you doing!”. In a few minutes entered the Block – a scared and tortured. “I came here,’ he said, and every gate had watched the snout, snout, snout”.

The cover of the edition of the poem of A. Blok “the Twelve” Yuri Annenkov. 1921

“The Inexorable Face”

Nadezhda Pavlovich wrote a quatrain:

The garden has Apple trees,

Women have children,

I only have the songs

And I — it hurts.

This Alexander Blok in August 1920, said:

Apple garden ripped out,

Children in women taken

The song is not to take, not to pry,

Sweet pain her.

It appears, then seriously discussed plans for the young country of the Soviets on the expected decree on the removal of children from mothers for public education.

Sixth of August, 1917, during the heat and combustion of peat, in Blok’s diary appears lyrical fragment, preceded by the words “Between two dreams”:

“— Save, save!

What to save?

“Russia ”, “Homeland.” “Fatherland”, I don’t know what to call it, so as not to become hurt and bitter and ashamed of poor, angry, dark, hurt!

But — save! Yellow-brown clubs, for which the decay and burning (as under Margolouis and Shuvalov, why at night the whole city is always shrouded in fumes). Trail millions of souls, the flame of hatred, savagery, tatarism, anger, humiliation, oppression, mistrust, revenge — here and there flashes; Russian Bolshevism walks, and no rain, and God sends it!

God, what we are terrible, depending on Your bread! We are not fighting with You, our “ancient piety” has long shielded us from industrial way; Thy Providence has been to us more than our fisheries. But the years went by, and we warped otherwise, we are left helpless, and now we have forgotten and Your Providence, your Providence in us is still there, and we depend on the ears You can crush lightning, trampled by drought and burn. Terrible Your Face, like an ancient icon, now relentless in front of us!”

“…Swan pure”

Last months of his life he suffered terrible pain.

May 26, 1921 exhausted Block Chukovsky wrote: “so, “live and now” we can not say: ate the same rotten, gulneva darling mother Russia as his pig pig”.

“Physical suffering in the last days were so horrible, writes Pavlovich, – that his moans and outcries were heard in the street from the second floor. He gasped for air. The doctors believed that he hopelessly mentally ill, and the physical recovery is not excluded.”

In February 1921, in the House of writers, he gave a speech at the 84-th anniversary of Pushkin’s death in which he himself and said:

“The role of the poet is not easy and not fun; it is tragic.<…>

People can turn away from the poet and his works. Today, they put his monuments; tomorrow want to “throw him off the ship of modernity”. It is determined by only these people, but not of the poet; nature of poetry, like any art, is unchanged; or that people’s attitude to poetry in the end indifferent. <…>

Peace and freedom. They are necessary to the poet for the release of harmony. But the calm and will also take away. Not external peace, and creative. Not childish will, without the freedom to be liberal, and the creative will – the secret freedom. And the poet dies because he has nothing to breathe; life has lost meaning”.

His earthly journey ended on 7 August 1921.

The funeral service was made by Archpriest Alexei Saparalum August 10 (July 28, old style) in celebration of the Smolensk icon of the Mother of God in the Church of the resurrection of Christ.

Alexander Blok in his grave. 1921. Drawing By Yuri Annenkov

Smolensk and now the birthday girl.

Blue incense over the grass spreads.

And streamed the singing panihida,

Not sad now, and bright.

We brought in Smolensk intercessor

Brought To The Most Holy Theotokos

Hands in coffin silver

Our sun, the flour is extinguished,

Alexander, Swan net.

Anna Akhmatova

In 1944, giving a tribute to the genius of the poet, his remains were transferred to Mostki at the Volkovo cemetery.

*** *** ***

Seventeen boys Alexander Blok filled the then fashionable “Album of confessions”. Your favorite characters, he is named hamlet, and Taras Bulba.

So, between the two poles, contemplation, and determination, focus on your inner world and understanding of the necessary actions and his life had passed.

Nadezhda Pavlovich, depressed by the death of a poet, went to the Optina Hermitage – the famous elder Nektary. She was amazed that the old man not only knew, but loved the poetry Unit, especially the “Verses about the Beautiful Lady” and “Italian poetry”. After hearing her confession, Nectarios wrote on a piece of cardboard: “for the repose of the servant of God Alexander” and put her on a square with icons. After a while he suddenly said: “Write the mother of Alexander that it was trustworthy: Alexander in Paradise.”

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