England is known to have been a leader in landscape gardening at the end of
the XVIIth century; a set of events, which were very close to sentimentalism
appeared in literature. The period is often called pre-romanticism, as it goes
back to the beginning of the XlXth century. The most positive in pre-romantic
literature of the end of the XVIIIth century was the fact that attention was
paid to folk art. Being unhappy with selfish and useless contemporary times,
missing heroic and poetic past years, many writers of England took a great interest
in folk songs and ballades (English, Scottish and Irish ones). The fact that
valuable heritage disappeared so fast forced writers and scholars to write down
songs and legends, that is, to do their best to save what had been left.
In the context of folk art traditions, James McPherson (1736-1796), a son of
a Scottish peasant, a village teacher and a fan of folklore, published his "Ossian's
works" and "Poems of Ossian, Fingal's son" in 1762-1765, both of them being
a great success not only in England.
Ossian, a Scottish bard of the IIIrd century accompanied his father, the king
of Morven, in his campaign against Ireland. After his father's death, he became
a commander of the army. With times, having got old and blind, Ossian gave up
state activities and began to write songs in honor of his son Oscar who was
traitorously killed. His son's widow Malvina stayed with Ossian, she learned
his poetry and shared it with others.
Ossian's epic story is constantly interrupted with lyrical digressions, melancholic
appeals to the sun, the stars and the elements. The main episodes of the poem
are of love character rather than a heroic one. The motive of family feud and
the death of two loving people were widely used in Scottish folk poetry; it
was very often used in this work as well. Ossian's characters were beautiful
girls (Kolma, Daura and others) who left their parents to escape with their
beloved ones; but having become victims of enmity, they died. Kolma cried over
both her fiancŭ and brother who killed each other at a duel, and she died
of grief; Daura died on the rock in the middle of the sea, while her brother,
fiancŭ and father tried, though in vain, to save her.
Ossian's lyrical digressions are penetrated with gloomy hopelessness as well
as some tragic episodes of his stories. Every poem has a tragic end for its
hero, followed by a description of the hero's grave. One poem says, "Now your
dwelling is small! The place of your eternal peace is dark! It takes me three
steps to walk your grave around. And how majestic you were before! The only
memory about you is four stones covered with moth. The tree with scarce leafage,
high grass which makes noise being affected by wind, all this, similarly to
a hunter's eyes, shows Morar's grave".
In spite of their darkness and sentimental pathetic, McPherson's poems played
a very important role for the development of the world literature, they were
reflected in landscape gardening art. Ossian, being a famous singer of Scottish
folk epos, was called "northern Homer". Ossian's heroes inspired young Goethe;
later Byron and Hugo.Yu.D.Levin's researches "Ossian in Russian literature"
proved that Russia was also influenced by this European social-literary passion
(Levin 1980). Ossian motives found their reflection in the works of Karamzin,
Derzhavin, Zhukovskyi, Ozerov and Gnedych, Ryleev, Kuhelbeker, Pushkin and Lermontov.
As Yu.D.Levin stated, they left their impact in Decembrists' poetry and favored
the formation of Russian romanticism.
Taking into consideration that one of the leaders of Southern Decembrists'
society, S.G.Volkonsky, lived in Uman, that several Decembrists, namely, P.I.Pestel,
M.P.Bestuzhev-Riumin, V.Denysov, visited Uman, that O.S.Pushkin visited Uman
on his way to Tulchyn in 1821, we can agree with D.S.Lykhachov's researches
- Ossian's motives are reflected in "Sofiyivka", and first of all one can see
it in the area from the Main Entrance to the Tarpeian Rock, which is know to
have been built in 1838-1859.
On the hill to the left there is a natural grove, called Dubinka. Indeed, there
once was an oak-tree forest, but only a 300-year-old oak-tree, situated in the
glade near Chinese pergola, survived. And the trees, which create a picture
of thick, natural, wild forest, were planted later; they are much younger. Some
of them were planted during the first period of the creation of the park; others
- later; there are many self-sown trees and bushes, which are cut down occasionally.
Some 100-150 year ago exotic trees were planted there. It would be right to
call this area Grekov forest due to the fact that once there was a forest, being
famous from the times of Turkish invasion in 1674 (Witness' Chronicles. - K.,
1971. - p.119) Probably, the gully which passes through the whole park along
its right side has got the name Grekova (the name of the forest). The last remains
of Grekov forest, which were saved near the upper part of Grekova gully, were
cut down at the beginning of the XXth century.
Right near the entrance to the left, the road stretches for 1 km and leads
to the attention, administrative zone. It was built in 1986 and rebuilt in 2002.
Picturesque hills planted with juniper, thuyas, fir-trees attract visitors'
attention. As it has already been mentioned, there is a collector-reservoir
for water from the source "Diana's Grotto", built in 1838. Nearby there is a
map of "Sofiyivka", its author, the chief architect of the city P.Klymenko,
marked major objects of the park and gave a brief historic reference.
Walking along the Main Alley which winds along the Kamianka
river, we can admire picturesque landscapes, listen to birds'
singing and gentle murmur of water, rustle of leaves over our
heads, we are fascinated by unique beauty of nature and the
creation of humans' hands. There are stone compositions ant
grottos in the left bank. No legends, myths or even folk stories
remained about them. This is the evidence that this part of
the park, created during the 2nd period of the construction
of the park, reflects Ossian's motives, which were so much in
fashion both in art and among intelligent people of Russia.
Look at this group of granite slabs where cypress grows, does it not remind
you of a symbolic grave made of four stones and belonged to one of the heroes
of Morar's poem?
And there a large grotto, made of a pendent block of granite, can reflect Fingal's
Cave. (Fingal's Cave is in Great Britain at the Coast of Staffa Island, Hebrides
islands). It is 70 meters long and 30 meters high. The bottom is covered with
water. The cave has many-sided basalt columns and unusual acoustics.
Further, along the Main Alley we can see a wooden pergola on a high rock cliff.
Being of light construction, it seems to blend properly wit the surrounding
landscape. It was first installed in 1839, later when it got older, it was taken
away, an only in 1950 the pergola was restored.
The cliff is called Tarpeian Rock. The southern-eastern wall in Capitoline
fortress of Ancient Rome had the same name; it still exists. The name was first
mentioned in L.O.Kazarinov's essay. During Potocki's time this was the end of
One of the legends of Ancient Rome tells that Romul (a legendary founder and
the first king of Rome) wanted to strengthen friendly relations with neighboring
tribes and his sons to get married to their girls. Sabinians did not trust Romans
and did not want their girls to marry Roman men. Romul ordered to arrange celebrations
and to invite their neighbors. During one of the celebration, Romul made a sign
for his warriors and they caught the girls from Sabine tribe. Tit Taci, Sabine's
King (a historic hero), declared the war. But the Capitoline fortress had strong
high walls and was inaccessible, so Tit Taci had to make a deal with the first
Capitol consul's daughter - Tarpeia. She had to open the gate of the fortress
for the warriors to enter, they, in turn, would give her the gold they carried
as bracelets on their left arms. When the warriors rushed into the fortress,
Tit Taci, showing his contemptuous attitude to a betrayer, also threw his shield
to her feet together with his bracelets. His warriors followed his example,
and Tarpeia died under the weight of what had been thrown on her. The conflict
was resolved peacefully: the siege of the fortress lasted for several months,
during this time Sabine girls could see that they were loved and respected and
not slaves at all; they let their hair down as a sigh of their sorrow and began
to beg their fathers and brothers not to kill their husbands.
Tarpeia's body was thrown down from the wall, since that time the rock has
been called Tarpeian. The customs to throw down the bodies of criminals and
betrayers sentenced to death existed till present time.
This part of the park can be viewed from the position of Ossian's motives.
Let us assume that the cliff on which the pergola is installed, is a lonely
stone rock surrounded by the sea where Daura, one of the characters of D.Zh.McPherson,
died. L.O.Kazarinov noted that in 1841 it was planned to supply water under
this cliff and to construct a cascade. This plan was not accomplished; the reason
could be that tsar Nicholas I did not agree to use the elements of Ossian's
motives in "Sofiyivka". Another proof could be the two towers at the entrance,
which were rebuilt from Gothic into Classical style.
There are still a lot of mysteries in the park, which have to be discovered,
having carefully studied literary heritage and archive documents of the past.