He went, he fought with valor, he conquered, and he died.
Louis KROPINSKI is placed in the first rank of Polish
poets principally because of his authorship of the trag-
edy "Ludgarda," the incidents of which were founded
upon fiction instead of historical truth. Yet it is so
well written that it was compared with Barbara Radzi-
wil of Felinski. It contains indeed many beautiful
passages, but, on the whole, it reminds one that it is
an imitation of French tragedies. At this present
time, aside from fine poetic verses, it has no value.
In its own time, however, it caused a great sensation
on account of its powerful dramatic effect.
He is also the author of a novel, "Julia and
s Adolph, or Extraordinary Love of Two Young People
on the Bank of the River Dniester." In this novel it
was the purpose of the author to show that the Polish
language was capable of equal harmony and expres-
sions of the most delicate shades of feeling with any
French production of a similar kind. He also com-
posed many beautiful fugitive pieces.
Kropiiiski was born in Lithuania in 1767. During
the reign of Stanislaus Augustus he entered the mili-
tary service, and as a lieutenant-colonel participated in
the battle of Maciejowice in 1794, and received in that
memorable battle thirteen wounds. After that event
he went to Italy, and as a true connoisseur he collected
many valuable works of art, and brought them to Po-
land. On his return he acted as secretary of war. In
1812 he was named general of brigade, and soon after
advanced to the rank of a general of division. After
the end of the war he married, and gave himself up
192 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
entirely to domestic life. He was honored with the
friendship of Thaddeus Czacki, and made inspector of
schools and colleges. He was also a distinguished
member of the "Society of the Friends of Learning"
in Warsaw. Ten years before his death he became
blind, and died in 1844. His "Ludgarda," written in
1809, was brought out on the stage in 1816. It was
translated into German by Melish and Pol de Pollen-
burg (brother of the poet Vincent Pol). Goethe gave
a flattering opinion of ' ' Ludgarda. " All of Kropiriski's
writings were published at Lemberg in 1844.
As by eternal decree,
Four seasons in the year there be,
So has a man
Four seasons in life's span.
In the spring,
Fearless and rejoicing
We bask in youth's glad beam ;
Our eagle souls are like the birds:
We sing, we soar, we fly,
Ever loftier and more high
And in this joyful career,
Sweeping through life on rapid wing,
At errors of our sires we sneer
But into the same traps we spring!
For youth has many a trap and net,
Crags and lures its path beset.
In summer, too, it still is pleasant.
With beams divine,
When the bloom is most bountiful,
The moon does shine
But not so fleet
During the heat:
Begin we then the shade to prize,
Within whose depths experience lies.
Less bright the fields of green become
Leaves grow sere, and fall here and thither,
And with them our hopes begin to wither.
No longer gaily do we sing;
And tears at times bedim the eye.
Still later 'though the sun shines high,
And upon its rays at times
Sends a breath of balmy climes ;
That breath reminds us of the spring,
But ah, it is no more the same thing!
The memory of those vanished days
Whispers: " We ne'er will come again!"
This thought a poignant torture has:
No longer we do soar and sweep,
But oft, alas! in silence weep.
But even that season chimes
With pleasantness at times.
It is a sort of " talking matters over,"
The Past, and what future time does cover;
Chatting with friends, prospects and aims,
This or that, the heart most dearly claims.
At last the winter reigns,
Nature is held in frosty chains,
And the white grass-plots
Glisten with diamond dots,
As if to amuse children.
194 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
But then, we can't so easily be beguiled,
Since unlike in the spring, summer and autumn,
By growth of green forgotten,
Life to death seems reconciled.
We begin to complain of the present,
And only the Past we call pleasant
Our senses we can scarce employ,
Like hours the moments slowly ebb;
And like a spider from its web,
From stuff of flimsy make,
Which any little wind may break,
We draw our joy!
We exist only by a fear
Lest something should break
We know not which course to steer,
Uncertain which road to take.
Where are we to live? what does await?
Thus by the eternal decree,
Man's stay on earth does terminate;
In life's fourth goes he.
And in his journey woe betide
Who to the realms of endless bliss
Has not pure conscience
For a guide !
A FRAGMENT FROM HIS ELEGY ON HEDWIGE,
QUEEN OF POLAND.
Too soon she drained the cup of bitterness,
Though her life's op'ning days seemed born to bless;
And with a sadness sweet she bore each bitter grief,
Religion was her shield, pure conscience her relief.
Louis OSINSKI was not only a superior poet, but also
a learned litterateur and a distinguished orator. He
was born in the province of Podlasie in 1775, and
received the first rudiments of education at the insti-
tution of Piiars, at Lomza, where he endeavored to
fit himself for the profession of a teacher. Unfavor-
able circumstances, however, connected with political
changes in Poland, changed also his purpose in that
respect. But he was always industrious, and never
slacked in his literary pursuits.
During the Prussian government of that part of the
country he published a volume of poetry which was
well received by the public. But the poetical field was
not the only one he traveled. He acquired great fame
as an orator. His legal argument delivered before the
high court in -defense of Col. Siemianowski was not
only very learned, but also one of the most eloquent
eiforts of the day. Another effort of Osinski "Eulogy
on Xavier Dmochowski," a distinguished Polish poet
delivered before the society of "Friends of Learn-
ing," only increased his fame as a national orator. His
command and skill in the effective use of the Polish
language was considered as something extraordinary.
When he lectured on literature hundreds, and we may
say thousands, of the most refined and learned people
listened to him with admiration.
During the existence of the " Duchy of Warsaw " he
was called into the public service as a secretary in the
department of justice, and subsequently as chief clerk
of the court of Cassation. In 1818 he was chosen as.
196 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
a professor of literature in the University of Warsaw.
Osinski also published a literary journal with a Latin
motto: u Omnes tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci "
(Containing all the points the useful with the pleas-
His poetical compositions and translations of dramas
and comedies, together with his lectures on literature
and his eloquent orations, were published at Warsaw
in 1861 and 1862. He died in 1838.
IN PRAISE OF COPERNICUS.
The highest sphere of mortal glory lies
In power to read the heavenly signs aright.
My song is worthy of Olympian height
To speed its flight. Urania, arise!
The fickle power of man to me is known
Such little grandeur I unworthy deem.
My thought upreaches to the star-girt throne.
I sing COPERNICUS the world my theme!
Free from earth's fetters, following on his track
I from unerring starry ways look back
And measure nature's breadth. In air upheld
These bodies by mysterious powers propelled
Roll on, ascend, attract, and then revolve,
The one grand end harmoniously to solve.
Shall I not reach at last where Deity
Himself, an august presence, guardeth space,
And holds the countless worlds unweariedly
Within his bosom their abiding place!
Insolent man, and perishable race!
Dust raised by pride which called the heavens its own,
And deemed that nature's aim likewise was base
To grasp all worlds, and rear to self a throne!
Men, mistaken, and of judgment blind!
Hath not the world recorded age ou age
To man unknown, where failed the clear-eyed sage
To fathom God's unfathomable mind!
" Must we for all high knowledge vainly pray
To Thee, God, whose omnipotence lies
Veiled in these outspread heaven's immensities?
Rend thou from them the veiling clouds away!
Show us thy wonders ! Man, though frail he be,
Moved by Thy spirit, grows more like to Thee!"
Thus spoke one man not having any thought
Of what the envious night withheld from us.
Thus, after lapse of ages that had wrought
Their work in darkness came COPERNICUS.
Even as the power of the creating word
To nature's shapeless germs gave life and force
While all the listening void of chaos stirred,
And moved to music in harmonious course,
So in the gloom by ages darkly shed,
Kindled by Thee, Copernicus, a spark
Of truth arose by no illusion bred
To overcome the world's abysmal dark!
'Twas night. The pale and queenly moon arose.
Man slept, forgetful of his troubled days.
198 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAXD.
All earthly creatures breathed a calm repose
Save one alone, who watched with upturned gaze
From where the Baltic's welcoming shore outspread
The wondrous course of planets overhead.
Never had he beheld so grand a sight!
On him a sense of glory seemed to smite.
hour supreme! soul-inspiring thought!
To crush the error by the ages wrought.
sudden change! Is it but nature's power
Revealing all these mysteries to his sight,
Or changes order with the changing hour?
Does God unseal his eyes to read aright?
The eternal structure shines resplendently,
Its secret workings to his gaze revealed
More wondrous in their grand simplicity
Than in their vast immensity of field.
From the unending, in a moment's space
Nature to fairer form and stature grew.
Behold, ye shades immortal! from your place,
How man's exploring mind creates anew!
Mind, that sought creation's bound to span !
What thoughts enchained thee what emotions fired
When nature's triumph, joined to that of man,
Placed thee on heights to which thy soul aspired!
Science ! thy power o'er nature reaches wide
Brings close the worlds that distance separates
And gives to dust the fashions that abide.
Strength and perfection on its presence waits,
And through thy skill, as by enchantment swayed,
The multitude of forms around us change.
Yet sought Copernicus of thee no aid
His skill and vision took a higher range.
His were the inner forces that unite
To break all fetters his the power to soar
Beyond this world of sense in upward flight
To conquer all unconquerable lore!
Higher he reached than any of his race,
And the grand problems over which he wrought
Shall in all after ages take their place
But as the consummation of his thought.
As wreck and ruin leave their trace behind
When hurricanes, that sweep in fury blind,
Level and overthrow with fearful shock
Both fragile structure and unyielding rock,
So ruin marks the ages in their flight.
Races are born and perish from the earth.
Earth changes form before the wondering sight,
Her old achievements grown of little worth.
But thou, Copernicus! whose living fame
Becomes our glory thou shalt conquer Time,
While the unnumbered ages bear thy name
Into eternities that roll sublime!
And while the Pole around which planets flame
Performs the ponderous task by thee foreseen,
Thine own remembered fills the space between !
200 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
"POLAND is NOT YET LOST" is the most celebrated
Polish historical song extant. After the third parti-
tion of Poland, in 1795, her enemies said: "There is
no Poland," but very soon after the sons of Poland,
who, under the command of the renowned General
Dombrowski fought in Italy, began to sing "Poland
is not yet lost," which was a strong protest against the
partition of our country. That patriotic song was com-
posed by Joseph Wybicki. General Dombrowski, the
organizer of the Polish legions in Italy (born 1755,
died 1818), actually entered Poland at the head of his
legion in 1807, and crossed the river Warta, and thus
the prediction of the song was verified.
This patriotic Polish song has been in bygone years,
and is up to this day, sung all over Europe, and we
may say in all parts of the habitable globe wherever a
Pole is found. It is always sung with a longing cheer-
fulness while hope is strengthening the realization of
the happy future in store for his suffering country.
"Wybicki was born in 1.747 near Dantzic. He took
an important part in the four-years Polish Diet, in the
revolution of Kosciuszko, and in 1806-7. During the
existence of the Duchy of Warsaw he was a senator,
and in 1818 held the high office of the supreme judge.
He died in 1822. Wybicki left very interesting mem-
oirs, which were published by Raczynski in Posen,
Many years ago the editor of this work had the song
set to music and published in the city of Philadelphia.
JOSEPH WYBICKI 201
POLAND IS NOT YET LOST.
(Jeszcze Polska nie zgingla.)
While we live she is existing,
Poland is not fallen ;
We'll win with swords resisting,
What the foe has stolen.
March, march, Dombrowski,
From Italy's plain;
Our brethren shall meet us
In Poland again!
We'll cross where Warta's surging
Gloomily its waters,
With each blade from sheath emerging
Poland's foes to slaughter!
March, march, etc.
Hence unto the field of glory,
Where the life's blood's streaming;
Where with talons red and gory,
Poland's eagle's screaming!
March, march, etc.
Poland! shall the foe enslave thee
Sadly and forever;
And we hesitate to save thee?
Never, Poland, never!
March, march, Dombrowski,
From Italy's plain;
Our brethren shall meet us
In Poland again!
IN YOUNGER DAYS.
ADAM MICKIEWICZ, one of the greatest of Poland's
poets, and indeed considered by many the greatest of
all. Almost simultaneously with the daybreak of the
morning star in Polish literature, there appeared in
the firmament of poesy a pleiad of most extraordinary
poetic minds. New bards stepped forward, and their
songs in sounds of delightful harmony penetrated al-
most every corner of Poland with melodies full of feel
ing and ardent love of their country.
At that time, especially, circumstances surrounding
the nation were at once exciting and uncertain, furnish-
ing adequate elements, from the sources of which
countless inspiring themes were drawn and sung with
patriotic boldness throughout the land. And the peo-
ple looked at the bards with astonishment and pride,
and well they might. They began to discover in these
new creations deep and philosophic truths, though
hidden in the imagery of poesy. They could see
better their past, and began to unveil their future. In-
deed, under these poetical figures, in perfect harmony
with the national spirit, were brought to light the na-
tion's genius and its future destiny. Thus a new and
fertile evolution of Polish poetry created new bards
of uncommon genius, who produced works of exalted
order which will be immortal as themselves.
Mickiewicz is one of those who is indebted to this
creative genius, in which he so prominently distin-
guishes himself, and he was fortunate enough to un-
derstand how to govern the elements of this peculiar
time. His poetic conceptions, supported by reasoning
204 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
and proofs, balanced in the scales of extraordinary
genius, accomplished what he wished; and hence he
created a new epoch in his country's literature known as
" PSEUDO-ROM ANTIC." It can be said of him what was
once said of Herder, " That he was the first to lift the
world of Poesy on his shoulder, and that he still car-
ries it." In their feelings of admiration the Polish
people had it at the time that Mickiewicz was " called "
to be the greatest creative genius of their nation, and
they were right for he had lifted them higher than
they were ever before. In this respect Mickiewicz is
really the representative not only of the people but
also of their feelings. Happily, too, for him, that the
materials for the epoch had already been prepared for
him; 'and that he understood its spirit is shown in his
" Primrose." Being as it was, it is not to be wondered
at that'his poetry permeated the hearts and souls of the
whole people, an occurrence seldom to be met with in
"When Mickiewicz's poetry first appeared it created
an unprecedented furor. Poetic inspiration took com-
plete hold of the people. Everyone, and especially
those possessed of fine feelings and who could under-
stand him, read his verses with unusual enthusiasm,
and committed many striking pages to memory so as to
recite them to others. All felt as if they were inspired
and enchanted by his poetry.
Mickiewicz exceeds all the poets in the power of
phantasy and beauty of expression. It is true that he
frequently indulged in allegory and mysticism, which
at times are unintelligible, but it is the opinion of the
masses these things did not detract an iota from their
merits. His poetry is so multifarious and diverse, and
written under so many different circumstances, that it
may be said there is not a branch which lie had not
touched and in which he did not excel.
When Mickiewicz was creating such tremendous im-
pressions on the young men and women, there was, of
course, as it generally happens in similar cases, a feel-
ing of jealousy engendered among the amateurs of the
pseudo-classic school against this innovation in poetry.
The disaffected ones met at dinner circles, coffee-houses
and club-rooms, to discuss and decry this new state of
things gotten up without their advice and consent, but
their adverse deliberations were in vain and fell harm-
less by the way. Even some newspapers begun severe
criticisms, but the pulse of the public heart beat too
strong. They could neither stifle the enthusiasm for
the young and gifted bard nor their admiration for his
splendid and inimitable poetic creations. But what is
equally interesting to note is that these gentlemen lit-
terateurs began themselves to wheel into the popular
ranks, and eventually became devotedly attached to
the new Pseudo-Romantic school.
Of all poetical creations of Mickiewicz as regards
themes and forms which present themselves to the
learned critic is a poem bearing the title " The Ances-
tors." The intention of this poem is ostensibly the edu-
cation of philosophic thoughts in regard to man's rela-
tions to the world. His "Grazyna" is also a great
poem, but relating to the incidents of olden times.
"Conrad Wallenrod" is a historical poem, the subject
of which is the crusade against Lithuania, exhibiting
great sacrifice and love of country. "Pan Tadeusz "
is a national epopee, in which Mickiewicz's genius as a
poet is fully shown. "Crimean Sonnets," written
under most pleasing impressions during his sojourn
in that charming peninsula. "Erotic Sonnets" and
206 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
"Farys" bear a stamp of foreign climes. Mickie-
wicz also translated Byron's '" Giaur." "The Book
of the Polish Nation and the Pilgrimage of Its Peo-
ple " is written in biblical style, and very beautifully,
too, because of its solemn and impressive eloquence.
That was the last and the crowning labor of the poet.
The entire groundwork of Mickiewicz's poetry is
feeling, which, if we may thus express ourselves, he
has communicated to his countrymen in a burning
state; letting them know their greatness as a people,
and their misfortunes, and pointing out to them a lesson.
In this Mickiewicz has done, perhaps, the greatest ser-
vice to his countrymen, because if a nation has no such
bards they cannot possibly have a full knowledge of
Mickiewicz was born on the 24th of December,
1798, in a town called Zaosie, in Lithuania. He re-
ceived the first rudiments of education with the Order
of Dominicans at Nowogrod (Newtown). In 1815 he
entered the University of Wilno, where he contracted
the most friendly and affectionate* ties with Thomas
Zan, a young man of rare qualities of the heart and
mind. It was a happy circumstance in Mickiewicz's
life to have met young Zan (of whom we will speak
under the proper head), for this young man having dis-
covered great poetic genius, took him under a brother-
ly care and stimulated him to noble actions and to the
unfolding of his poetic powers. The editor of this
work remembers well reading in younger days this in-
teresting incident of friendly attachment, and the im-
pression lasted through life.
After finishing his studies in the university he was
obliged to accept the professorship of Polish and Latin
literature at Kowno; then he returned to Wilno again.
Even at this period (in 1822) Mickiewicz had already a
great reputation as a poet, gained by his "Ballads,"
" Romances," ki Grazyna," and the fourth part of * 4 The
Ancestors," which we mentioned above. About this
time the Russian Government suspected some political
irregularity among the prominent young men of Wilno,
and instituted an investigation. The consequence was
that over a dozen of the best and most intellectual
young men were arrested and sent into the depths of
Russia. Mickiewicz and Zan were among them. In
1824 he was carried to St. Petersburg, but on account
of his already great fame he was well received by the
educated Russians. Among many friendships con-
tracted in the capital of Russia was one of the renowned
Russian poet Puschkin. Here Mickiewicz wrote his
" Ode to Youth." After a while he was transported to
Odessa, and was employed in Prince Woronzow's
office. Prince Woronzow, being an enlightened and
polished gentleman, treated the poet with much kind-
ness. Here he commenced his " Conrad Wallenrod,"
and " Crimean Sonnets." In the year 1825 he was sent
to Moscow, where he had a place in the office of the
military governor, Golibyn. Here it was where, through
the instrumentality of Princess Zeneida Wolkonska,
the salons of the most distinguished families were
open to him ; the princess took him under her protec-
tion and procured for him from the Russian Govern-
ment permission to reside at Moscow. She nursed
him in sickness, and translated his poems into the
Russian language. In the year 1828 he was again
transferred to St. Petersburg, was well received there,
and became acquainted with Alexander Humboldt. On
account of his " Wallenrod " he was accused by the
government, but through the influence of Princess
208 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Zeneida received an unlimited passport to Italy, Ger-
many, and France. His friend Olenin facilitated his
journey to Cronstadt, from whence the poet sailed for
Lubeck. In a few days after his departure orders were
received for his arrest, but the government officials
were too late.
In his travels through foreign countries he was
accompanied by . Odyniec, with whom he visited Ber-
lin, Dresden, Carlsbad, and Praga, and returning to
Germany he stopped at Weimar and made a visit to
Goethe, who received him with great hospitality,
respect and admiration. From Weimar through Rhen-
ish provinces he returned to Switzerland, whence,
through Splugen, Como, Milan, Yerona, Padua, Yen-
ice, and Florence, he arrived at Rome, where he
remained till May, 1830, and was received with marks
of great distinction by the highest society, and invited
to the "Tuesday Assemblies " at the house of Queen
Hortense (mother of Napoleon III).
From Rome he visited Naples, Messina, Palermo,
and lighted his cigars in the clefts of the Crater on
Mount Yesuvius; later, returning by way of Rome to
Switzerland, he stopped at Milan, and became
acquainted with the most celebrated Italian poets,
Gross, Manzoni, and Fosti. Through Lago Maggiore
and Chamouni he went to Geneva, where for the first
time he learned of the "July Revolution" at Paris,
which he had months before predicted. Here, too,
he made the acquaintance of Sigismund Krasinski, the
illustrious Polish poet. Parting at this place with
Odyniec, his personal friend and companion of his
travels, he started for Rome. It was here and at this
time that the most intimate and affectionate friendship
sprung up between him and Stephen Garczynski, a
young Polish poet of great genius. In 1831 he left
Rome and journeyed through Switzerland to Paris,
from whence, in company of Anton Gorecki, the poet,