For people who are interested in the diplomatic vanity of vanities, Lithuania has always been the subject of political eloquence, precisely because of the historical claims of the Lithuanian people (by the way, nothing in common with the Slavs, and even more so with the poles, not having) to Vilna. But there was no case when a diplomat, who was well aware of the external state situation of Lithuania, became interested in the cultural growth of a young country, looking deeper not into the texts of treaties, notes and agreements, but into folk art, museums and songs, which give a completely unique idea of a small country with a great past. The Lithuanian envoy was right, who in a conversation with representatives of a newly formed state, who pointed to the growth of the country, finances, army, etc., coolly asked: – do you have museums? Such a question in Lithuania would be completely unthinkable, because the entire past of Lithuania is a rich, diverse and rare Museum of the once greatest state… Ruins that speak so much, crosses that are blackened by time, thousand-year-old ruins of pagan temples, monasteries that have preserved the dust of the middle ages, the remains of the vast possessions of the Bernardine, Franciscan and Jesuit orders, rivers that were crossed by the soldiers of Attila, Groznago and Bonaparte – these are monuments of the speaker of the past…
It is not surprising that against the background of this historical beauty, a whole galaxy of folk singers, poets and storytellers, completely unknown abroad in their homeland, has grown and risen, thanks to the most difficult and consonant of languages, which originates from Sanskrit… Meanwhile, Lithuanian poets have the right to take an honorable place among modern singers of Scandinavia and Eastern States. This is in Lithuania-the genius of Adam Mickiewicz grew and strengthened, there is still a house of the great poet in Kovno, there is even a stone on which the poet’s hand is inscribed with his initials. And although he wrote in Polish, the words addressed to his native land sound like the highest, FILIAL love: Oh, Lithuania, my homeland! A. Mickiewicz is all in the past, he is taught, studied, completely unfairly leaving aside the study of the true, Lithuanian, great poet,” the husband of great sorrow ” I. Maironis-Machiulavicius, who has been singing his homeland for more than thirty years. If Pushkin was the forerunner of the future destinies of Russia, if Henryk Sienkiewicz raised the name of Polish culture to the lawless heights, then he fully deserved the honorary title of spiritual leader of Maironis in relation to Lithuania. For Lithuania without Maironis is Russia without Pushkin, Poland without Senkevich, Latvia without Reinis… The paths of both major poets – Lithuanian Maironis and Latvian Reinis – are similar. Both peoples have in the past merits before their peoples, both foresaw the dawn of independence and both are solemnly sad in their chants. But the ways, but the ways are different… Rainis ‘ name is known far beyond the borders of Latvia, his plays are staged by the best theaters in Europe, and his songs, breathing beautiful simplicity, are the property of the world, because they have been translated into European languages. Maironis, who certainly deserves European recognition, is so little known. This is a grave sin of the Lithuanian public, or excessive modesty and unwillingness (I quote the poems of Maironis). It would be better not to see and not to hear, and to close your eyes to everything, to everything… Maironis is a clergyman, Prelate, preacher, hot and passionate in his innermost thoughts-poems. And in relation to it, as well as possible, the sharp phrase of Mickiewicz is applicable: “Curse the people who destroy their prophets!” The maironis who is the personification of Lithuania, with its sorrows, pains and joys. And his patriotism-interior, deep and not striking on the effect.
He is madly in love with his country and accepts it as it is – poor, simple and suffering:
In his first book, Maironis closes the ” keys of the heart “in the chamber of his” secret sorrow”, despite the fact that the book is assigned the ringing and joyous title” Pavasario Balsai “(“Spring Voices”). It should be noted that from the land of “ruins and gardens” came all the statesmen of Lithuania, brought up on the unapologetic, purest lyrics of Maironis. The “spring voices” were once a great and significant revelation for the few who thought in Lithuanian: the tempting dawn of free existence was rising before the people. There was a poet who wrote, who did not hesitate to write in the “khlopsky” language rejected by the townspeople, a poet who dared to say in” peasant ” words the beautiful truth of love… Especially popular in this book, which has survived seven or eight buildings, is “Beloved Lithuania”, where the poet describes the beauty of farms and gardens, always green, then “folk song”. Especially revered by the people: the famous poem (from the same book) “Song of youth”, full of the finest lyricism, just as “the Forest and the Lithuanian” – a heroic poem. When visiting Switzerland, Maironis wrote a wonderful ballad “Lake of the four cantons”, where in the most vivid colors is drawn the unparalleled charm that made Maironis “diamond heights” of the Alps. Maironis ‘ name became even more popular in Lithuania after the publication of his large poem “Jaunoji Lietuva”(“Young Lithuania”). Maironis also wrote a poem in Polish “Znad Biruty”, signed by him under the pseudonym”Galina from Poschen”. This poem was published separately in 1904, in distant Brooklyn, where there were many Lithuanian emigrants. Maironis ‘ work is diverse and, in the crown of his glory, the historical drama “the Death of keistut”, which was repeatedly staged on the stage of the Lithuanian State Theater, shines with an unfading light. It is on impression and force, on internal expression is equivalent to the dramatic work of Rainis “Fire and night” … it is a Pity that at this time it has not been translated, and the non-Lithuanian audience should hear about it only by guesses and random reviews in the press. It is also a pity that such a large, multi-faceted talent is still covered by the shadow of indifference of others who did nothing for a wide and worthy coverage of the works of Maironis.