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30 Christian poets. Part 1 ClassicsTranslated poetry of the twentieth century

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30 Christian poets. Part 1

“I believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, the Poet of heaven and earth” – this is how the Symbol of Faith could be translated. A review of Christian poetry must begin with the Bible, which is all filled with verses. And “Biblical motifs in poetry” is a separate topic in general – see the collection dedicated to this issue.

The next big section of poetry is worship. Among the authors of liturgical hymns there are truly great poets, for example, Roman Sladkopevets and Andrew of Crete. Read about the church songwriters.

In addition, Christian antiquity knew a lot of poets and theologians – to recall at least the poems of Gregory Nazianzus, or Grigor Narekatsi's “Book of Sorrowful Hymns,” a true masterpiece.

But our today's review is devoted to the Christian poetry of the Renaissance, the New time and the present.


"The Divine Comedy"

This great work belongs both to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. "Divine Comedy" has absorbed all the best that was in medieval Christianity and the gusts of the Renaissance: this is a fervent prayer to God, and a heartfelt love poem; tribute of antiquity and hymn to the saints; the embodiment of humility and dignity of man. This highly filled text evokes not only aesthetic admiration, but also provokes the work of theological and philosophical reason.

Dante wrote prose. “New Life” – his memoirs: a love story for Beatrice, auto-commentary on poems dedicated to her. Here Dante writes about the not yet created Comedy: “After this sonnet, a wonderful vision appeared to me, in which I saw what made me decide not to talk more about the blessed one, until I could tell about it more worthily. To accomplish this, I am doing my best, of which she truly knows. So, if He deigns Whom everything is alive, so that my life will last for several more years, I hope to say something about her that has never been said about any woman. ”
Not less interesting are the treatises and letters to Dante.


One of the central texts of European Christian culture. It is impossible to talk about it in the form of a brief annotation, so we will only dwell on the meaning of “Faust” as a prophecy about European culture.

Faust – “doctor”, scientist, hero of knowledge – this is Europe of the Enlightenment. The history of Faust begins with an attempt to rewrite Scripture, that is, at the point of Europe’s departure from Christianity, falling into the maelstrom of tempting events. Having lived through them, Faust comes to the idea of ​​ending European history, giving people happiness. As you know, happiness, Heaven on earth turned out to be a lie, but it is because of its belief in luck that Faust gives his soul to Mephistopheles. All this really looks like a symbolic sketch of the path of the West in the past few centuries.

We will only remember that the story of Faust does not end there – God saves Faust. If Goethe here is truly a visionary for the fate of the West, then one can hope that salvation will be prepared for the West – (fasting) Christian mankind.

Tragedies, comedies, chronicles

“If we wanted to understand how Christian culture influenced the tragedy, then we should reflect on King Lear. If King Lear was an Attic tragedy, it would probably have ended in the wasteland, at the peak of the madness of the protagonist, and at the point of his maximum and most demonic (that is ennobling) despair, in which he would achieve complete exhaustion of passion. Of course, there would not have been a strange and beautiful reunion with Cordelia, replete with imagery of resurrection and talk of forgiveness, since this scene of reconciliation (aimed at eschatological hope) makes Cordelia's subsequent death more terrible than anything possible in Attic tragedy: because the viewer is given a glimpse of joy — which tragic wisdom cannot overshadow — the joy of the return of a loved one — death that is seen as something completely meaningless, ugly, does not communicate no wisdom, resisting any embedding in any metaphysical scheme of intelligibility or consolation. It is also worth noting that Shakespeare again and again returned to this motive of the lost and regained daughter in “problem” and “romantic” plays – in Pericles, Cymbeline and (especially excitingly) in the Winter Fairy Tale, but always putting the resurrection at the end of the play ". – wrote a wonderful modern thinker David Hart.

Selected Pieces

The collection of the plays "Spanish", "Catholic Shakespeare" – Pedro Calderon, "an unattainable sample of loyalty to Christian ideals, human duty, sense of honor," according to Schlegel.

“Just as the ancient tragedy is connected through the feasts of Dionysus to a religious cult, the Spanish drama is connected through the medieval mysteries to the cult of the Catholic religion. Shakespeare broke this bond. In his drama – complete philosophical freedom, there is no trace of religious origin. Calderon is the deepest mystic, but not a philosopher at all ”- this is how Dmitry Merezhkovsky compares Calderon to the dramas of the ancients and Shakespeare.


The French classic, the great poet-tragedian. He was a member of the Jansenist circle (religious and philosophical trend in Catholicism, the main representative is Pascal).

The tragedies of Racine are examples of classic theater and poetry. Racine wrote mainly on antique themes (the exception is the ingenious "Esther").

Chateaubriand, comparing the tragedies of Racine with their antique models, emphasized how much Christianity “improved” them. Let us give his reasoning about “Iphigenia”: “Brymua’s father noted that Euripides, in Iphigenia, instilled the fear of death and the desire to escape, followed nature more than Racine, whose Iphigenia seems too resigned. By itself, this thought is good; but Father Brymua forgot that Iphigenia of the new time is a Christian daughter. Her father and the heavens expressed their will – all she can do is obey. Only the religion that changed the foundations of philosophy and morality could instill such fearlessness into Iphigenia Rasinov. Here Christianity triumphs over nature and, therefore, is in greater agreement with true poetry, enlarging objects and prone to exaggeration. The daughter of Agamemnon, who conquers her passion for the love of life, causes much more sympathy than Iphigenia, who grieves for her own demise. The natural is not always touching: the fear of death is natural, but when the victim mourns herself, she thereby drains the tears she shed. The human heart longs for more than is available to it; in particular, it yearns to worship and admire: the Creator has put in him a desire for unknowable beauty. ”

"Lost heaven"

"Christian Iliad", one of the main texts of European literature. A poetic story of Creation, the fall of Satan and the Fall.

Lewis wrote about the orthodoxy of Milton's "Paradise": "If it is soon a matter of dogma," Paradise Lost "is an unusually Christian poem. With the exception of a few detached fragments, it cannot even be called specifically Protestant or Puritan. It represents a great central tradition. ”

"Liberated Jerusalem"

Knight's poem describing the First Crusade, a classic work of European literature. Chateaubriand in “The Geniuses of Christianity” wrote about the “Liberated Jerusalem”, comparing it with the heroic poems of antiquity:

"" Jerusalem, in any case, proves that it is possible to create an excellent work on a Christian plot. "

“Why did Tasso, portraying knights, leave a sample of an impeccable warrior, and Homer, drawing people of a heroic era, created only certain monsters? Because Christianity from the very beginning put forward a wonderful moral ideal, or a wonderful ideal of characters, and Polytheism could not bestow this advantage on the singer Ilion. ”

Translation poetry of the twentieth century


Chesterton's poetry bears the same as his prose, essay, apologetics: grotesque and humor, ease of writing and play of thought, love for God and His creation, a sense of keen gratitude and clear joy.

Chesterton wrote in various genres: ballads in the spirit of romanticism, poems for children, typical English “nonsense poetry”, humorous poems, religious and philosophical poetry.

Let us cite one poem by Chesterton “Through the mouth of an unborn baby”, where his “mystical minimum” was expressed – thanks for existence, confidence that being is better than non-being; the vision of the world through the eyes of the first person — like a miracle, an oddity — is the true flesh of all reality.

If grass is low, and forest is high,
As in a crazy book what,
If the sea is blue there,
Behind my fragile wall,
If a round fire hangs in the sky,
To heat me from the outside,
If the hair is green in the hills,
I know what to do to me.
I dream lying in the darkness there
There are multi-colored eyes,
The thunder of the streets and the doors, with their silence,
And bodily people – for.
And let there be storms, but it's better for me
To be one of those who rejected darkness,
Than even for eternity to command
State of darkness alone.
If only I will be allowed
Just to be there for a day
I am for this grace, for this honor
Fabulous – I will give everything.
And I swear, he won't break out of me.
Neither pride nor moan complaints, –
If only I can find the door,
If I'm still born.


One of the greatest modernist poets of the twentieth century. Semen Frank wrote about him:

“The feeling of intimacy, blood love for God penetrates all the religious lyrics of Rilke, and he finds the most tender, touching, touching words to express it. But this is precisely why he must look for new, unheard of words, and new, daring concepts in order to more accurately and more fully express all the intimacy and tenderness of his feelings and attitude toward God. ”

Rilke's prose is no less significant than poetry. First of all, we recommend “Notes by Malta Laurids Brigge”.

Poems and poems
T.S. Eliot

The great Anglo-American (more precisely, simply English-speaking) poet, playwright, literary critic, thinker. One of the largest figures of XX century culture, an outstanding representative of modernism, whose influence on modern English-speaking (and not only – take at least Brodsky) poetry cannot be overestimated.

This is all the more remarkable that Eliot was not only a Christian, but all his work has a clear Christian character – the most valuable evidence that Christianity has not lost its cultural power, and can produce amazing fruits in the most sophisticated and high directions of modern art. His spiritual path is also noteworthy: from the present, which has forgotten its Christian roots, to the beginning, to the origins of faith. Raised in unitariansve (the extreme form of Protestantism, which denied the Trinity of God), in his youth – agnostic, then he becomes an Anglican, and then a Catholic.

Eliot was not only a genius poet, but also a first-class literary critic, essayist, thinker. We have presented two books of his essays.

Poems and essays
W.H. Auden

Anglo-American poet, playwright, essayist, critic. One of the greatest poets of the 20th century. For his complex intellectual experimental lyricism, Freudian and Marxist motifs were characteristic at the beginning, and Christian in later works.
No less significant is the essay of Auden.

Emily Dickinson

“I find delight in existence,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “to feel that you exist, is in itself a sufficient joy,” her quiet poems are imbued with this quiet, joyous joy. "Heroes" Dickinson – Sky, Clouds, Bee, Death, Dust, Window, Love, Immortality (she loved capital letters). But the main, though sometimes uncomfortable, interlocutor is God.

"Notice of Mary"

A poet, playwright, essayist, representative of the Catholic Renaissance in France, one of the “Four Fathers of the Church” as a joke called him, Peggy, Bernanos and Zhamma.

“The Notice of Mary” is one of the greatest creations made in our age. It does not enjoy loud fame, because it remains incomprehensible, but here the very spirit of Catholic Christianity is transmitted in a compressed form. The theme of the “Notice of Mary” can be defined as follows: love begets humanity in a comprehensive sense, that is, love begets a human person as the source of the people’s existence. (…) Love means life for, life for the Ideal, life for a comprehensive plan, where beauty and justice are safe. The theme of the “Notices of Mary” is love that builds the universe: after all, a person can have a consciousness of a comprehensive reality, a universe. If you understand this, then the play becomes understandable, ”writes Luigi Giussani.


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