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Russia and the English Church
During the Last Fifty Years

Volume I.
Containing a Correspondence between Mr. William Palmer,
Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford
And M. Khomiakoff, in the years 1844-1854

Edited by W. J. Birkbeck, M.A., F.S.A.

Published for the Eastern Church Association.
London: Rivington, Percival & Co. 1895.

Chapter I

Origin of correspondence--'To my Children'--Mr. Palmer's translation.

THE correspondence between Mr. William Palmer and Mr. Alexis Khomiakoff commenced in the year 1844. On neither of his two visits to Russia had Mr. Palmer made the acquaintance of the great Slavophil leader. This was probably because that up till then none of Mr. Khomiakoff's theological treatises had been published. Such of his writings as had appeared in Russia were either of a philosophical or of a historical complexion, and only indirectly touched upon questions such as Mr. Palmer went to Russia to study. The reasons for this will be perfectly clear from what has been already said in the Introduction, and it is therefore unnecessary to repeat them here. It was through their mutual friend, Mr. Redkin, that the correspondence which we are publishing in this volume commenced, and which led to their subsequent friendship. Upon the death of his two eldest children, Mr. Khomiakoff had written in the year 1839 his touching and beautiful poem upon the death of his two eldest children, which at the present day is known wherever the Russian language is spoken. Mr. Palmer translated it into English, and sent a copy of his translation to Mr. Redkin. The following is Mr. Palmer's translation; and to it we append Khomiakoff's Russian text, the exquisite grace and pathos of which it is impossible adequately to render in any language but in the original.

(Translated from the Russ of A. S. Khomiakoff by W. Palmer of Magdalen.)

Time was, when I loved at still midnight to come,
My children, to see you asleep in your room;
The Cross' holy sign on your foreheads to trace,
And commend you in prayer to the love and the grace
Of our gracious and merciful God.

To keep gentle guard, and watch over your rest,
To think how your spirits wore sinless and blest,
In hope to look forward to long happy years
Of blithe merry youth, without sorrows or fears,
Oh how sweet, how delicious it was!

But now, if I go, all is silence, all gloom;
None sleep in that crib, nothing breathes in that room
The light that should burn at the image is gone:
Alas! so it is, children now I have none,
And my heart how it painfully throbs!

Dear children, at that same still midnight do ye,
As I once prayed for you, now in turn pray for me;
Me who loved well the Cross on your foreheads to trace;
Now commend me in turn to the mercy and grace
Of our gracious and merciful God.

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