I think the poet E. Baratynsky, to whom these lines belong, did not mean the whole of great Russia, but “a dear country”, in the sense of a native side, that is, his “corner on the ground.” What is now called a “small homeland”.
Best of all, it seems to me, in the distant and fatal 1941, Konstantin Simonov wrote about it in the poem “Motherland”. The poet-front-line soldier told him about the feelings of the fighter, at the last hour of death remembering “the homeland as you saw it in your childhood”:
That’s where we were fortunate enough to be born,
Where for life, to death, we found the
Tu handful of earth that suits,
To see in it the signs of the whole earth.
And Simonov concludes his poem with lines that in those years were repeated by all people:
Yes, you can survive in the heat, in a thunderstorm, in frosts,
Yes, you can starve and chill,
Go to death… But these three birches
In life, no one can give.
Everyone has such a “small homeland”. At me it is my native city Kharkov.
Once a cousin from Lvov came to see me. My brother praised his city so much: he was very old, and very beautiful, and Western, and generally “little Paris”. I wanted to show my brother in Kharkov not only the most-most, but also just my favorite places, which for me mean something.
First I took him to Freedom Square.
From the square I took my brother to the monument to the great Taras Shevchenko. He is also the most-most, but not in size: among the many monuments Kobzar Kharkov is the most highly artistic.
I showed my brother the buildings created by the architect Beketov. They are many in our city, and each is unique, each is a masterpiece.
And I showed an updated station square. Here is an example of how from a dull gray asphalt desert created a beautiful, colorful resting place with beating fountains.
But the main thing that I showed my brother – this is the cherished place where we like to visit with friends. This is an observation deck in the center of the city on the University Hill. Square with the Eternal Flame, and below, most of the city as in the palm of your hand. The Cathedral of the Annunciation is illuminated, the Poltava route is glittering, walking uphill. It’s good to stand there silently, think, admire. Here is my “corner on the ground,” it, if a terrible hour comes, I will remember and protect.