Arthur William Ryder (1877-1938), TolstoiA Critical Symposium
, VI. By the Olympian
, from his Original Poems, together with Translations from the Sanskrit
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1939), pp. 15-16:
The man by whom new fire is brought,
Is never understood;
They praise his most imperfect thought,
And blame him for the good.
Whatever fits their petty scheme,
With flowers of praise they strew;
Whatever makes them think, they deem
Fantastic and untrue.
Yet worse, the littler ones are sure
To organize his truth
Some school or church that shall endure
In everlasting youth.
And thus they always kill at length
The thing they organize;
The more the body gathers strength,
The more the spirit dies.
They of the Inquisition prayed
To him of Galilee!
The Renaissance of learning made
None seeking forms, or praise of man,
Or scholarship, or art,
Or any social glory, can
Be quite sincere at heart.
This Tolstoi was sincere; his pride
Of power and brain and birth
And glory, flickered out and died
In the vision of an earth
Where men should save their souls by pain,
Should conquer pride and bind it;
The ancient truth he taught again:
Who loses life, shall find it.
This is his lesson to his race,
Distort it as they can:
The world becomes a better place
For one brave, honest man.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.