zinski suifered patiently all sorts of personal taunts,
and while forgetting himself he did not cease defending
the cause. He published a highly interesting disser-
tation on Classicism and Romanticism, which was
printed at Warsaw. This dissertation proved to be
a species of watch-word for a subsequent stormy literary
war, which gave the contending parties two separate
names, to wit: Classicists and Romanticists. Brod-
zinski very modestly put himself on the neutral
ground, and would not participate in this polemic
struggle; but by occasional publication of his poetical
compositions in the " Review,' 1 and finally by pub-
lishing them in a volume (1821-2), subdued all
prejudiced minds, and favorably inclined them toward
his innovations in the literature of his country, at the
same time opening a way to a complete reform, not
only in the art of writing itself, but also in the concep-
tions necessary to the innovation. These innovations
and conceptions were taken up by another genius, and
very soon after put into practice.
230 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Brodzinski's poetical compositions breathed like the
gentle breezes of the wind, which seemed to send into
the popular heart a new life; it was a genuine national
breath, awakening in poetry pure native feeling and
turning attention to the land of our birth its inher-
ent qualities and its beauties; he chose for his images
simple and more accessible objects, rural life and
scenery, and beautifully painted their simplicity, their
innocence and charms.
Thus is his "Wieslaw " planned. It is like the first
flowers in the spring, which are not the prettiest in
outward appearance, but then one of these is the
violet, and who plucked the first violet in our litera-
ture was the first to welcome the spiritual spring of the
nation. "Wieslaw " is the most beautiful pastoral, the
most charming rural epopee, and after its publication
it created a sensation such as no other poem ever created
before. The youth of the country could repeat it by
heart, and even to this day the poem is known and
loved by all classes. It was welcomed at its first appear-
ance as a harbinger of a bright star of future poetry
which was to rise over the whole Polish nation. This
"Wieslaw," singing forth with the accompaniment of
a country fiddler, the Cracovian dancers, the bride-men,
the para-nymphs, came out with charms unknown
before. If Brodziftski had not written anything else
but that, it alone would have contributed greatly to the
Polish literature, and would have placed him in the
first ranks of Polish poets. He infused into his poetry
all the gentleness of his nature, his feeling, and his
Brodzifiski was born on the 8th of March, 1791, in
Galicia. In consequence of the early death of his
mother, and neglected by his stepmother, he grew up
amidst rural people and rural scenes. Later he was
sent to school at Lipnice. He finished the gymnasium
at Tarnow, from where he ran away with his brother
Andrew, and enlisted in the artillery in 1809. He
served in the campaign of 1812, and the year after
was wounded at the battle of Leipsic, and finally
taken prisoner by the Prussians. In 1814 he was
released, and returning to "Warsaw he left the military
service, and gave himself up to learning. At that time
(1818-) he wrote his dissertation "Of Classicism and
Romanticism," which called out, as before mentioned,
the celebrated literary war. Laboring on the commit-
tee of the department of the interior he, at the same
time, gave private lessons in Polish literature. In
1821 he taught at the Lyceum, and the succeeding year
was called to d, professorship at the University of War-
saw. His failing health compelled him to seek milder
climes, and in 1826 he left for Italy, visiting Switzer-
land and France. Returning again to his country he
continued in his usual labors till 1829. In the follow-
ing year he published "The Latin Elegies" of John
Kochanowski. Falling sick again he went to the Bo-
hemian waters, and died at Dresden on the 10th day of
The first collection of his poems, in two volumes,
was published at Warsaw, 1821. Afterward "The
Miscellaneous Writings," containing critical and ses-
thetical dissertations was also published at Warsaw,
1830. A complete edition of his works was published
in ten volumes at Wilno, 1842-4. Besides that the
translation of the tragedy of "Raynouard," Warsaw,
1819; "Latin Elegies," Warsaw, 1830; "Of Litera-
tur"e," in Turowski's Library, at Sanok, 1856.
232 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
THE FATHER AND HIS SON.
My son, give me my spade and plow
To labor is our lot,
And though a lonely being now,
I'll guard our little cot.
Within the valley of thy birth
Lies armor we will raise;
'Tis hid within our native earth,
Awaiting better days.
And when I see thee draw once more
Thy father's conquering sword,
I'll dream our night of slavery is o'er,
And freedom is restored.
And oh, my son, weep not for me;
These aged hands can toil
For our support but 'tis for thee
To guard our native soil.
My hope on God and thee depends,
And God will me reward;
My corn will grow to feed the friends
Whose swords our freedom guard.
See where yon trees their branches wave,
And shroud the church in gloom,
There, sooner than become a slave,
Thy sire will find a tomb.
And if returned from foes o'ercome,
To me be tear-drops given;
If not, thy arms must share my tomb,
And seek thy sire in heaven.
THE OLD MAN.
Young Man. Old man, tell me where to get bread.
Old Man. In early morning leave your bed,
And as the way is long and steep,
'Tis best the ploughshare's path to keep.
It will be somewhat wearisome,
But thereby health and peace will come.
Young Man. Where are your recreations here?
Old Man. No road through six days brings them near;
Through six days to your work attend ;
To make a home your mind must bend,
And boldly then when earned your pelf
On Sunday you enjoy yourself.
Young Man. Where are your schools and teachers here?
Old Man. Schools and wise teachers both are near;
But you'll lose time to go and ask,
Be giddy-headed with the task.
But for beginners, full of worth,
Are charts of sky and charts of earth;
And there is, too, Dame Nature's book,
That children learn from as they look.
People there are who lose or gain,
Whose hearts are full of joy or pain;
And they each other teach in turn, .
With pluck and spirit go and learn.
Search without idleness; refrain
From asking oft. The way is plain.
Young Man. Tell me where can I find a friend .
Old Man. That great boon none but Fate can send ;
With golden nets he is not caught,
With skill nor flattery is bought.
He who has found, indeed, a friend.
Whose heart with his through life may blend,
Blessed is he beyond compare !
For as the body needs the air
234 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
E'en so the true heart needs a friend,
He who will a few words extend,
If they be kindly and sincere,
Though why, may not to you appear.
Time passes, and day follows day,
Year after year will slip away;
But still your heart will yearn for him,
He reigns o'er you in silence dim.
Will all your hidden troubles guess
In fancied luck or hopelessness.
Your friend rejoices or he grieves,
If your devotion he receives.
To state a truth there consequent
To your voice let your heart be lent,
Exclaiming: I a friend have found.
Young Man. Tell me where pleasure does abound?
Old Man. 'Tis long since from it I have heard,
Others can tell you scarce a word.
Something of it I knew in youth,
Its mother was good health and truth.
Innocence it had for a wife,
Possessed goods many of this life;
Except with children it is found
Tis vanished now from sight and sound.
Young Man. Pray tell me where's Virtue now.
Old Man. It's lying ill and very low.
It prays for all most fervently,
Its own reward it used to be,
Quietly breathing its pure breath,
But now it weeps as if for death,
And terrible is its distress!
Young Man. Where then can I find happiness?
Old Man. In this direction it lies not,
By every one the way is sought,
But ah! no one knows happiness,
And so, I think, all will confess;
In search of it they still must roam.
You have left it in your sire's home;
Only in God you'll find it now,
Speak gently teach your heart to bow.
Seek peace in many a noble task,
And last of all your conscience ask,
And that will the whole story tell.
Young Man. Where does Faith about here dwell ?
Old Man. If from your mother you learned not
By children you can best be taught.
The straightest path to it would be,
Not to inquire of men you see,
Who happy seem, nor those world-wise,
Seek if in love for all it lies
In loving deeds and kindly thought,
And when all else has come to naught
It will, when troubles fast succeed,
Itself into your succor speed,
And to its home in safety lead.
Unlucky he who stands in slander's power !
Though great, for worms a lion may devour.
Like the morning sunbeam's shade,
Friendship with the evil made
Lessens every hour with time;
As the shade of evening lengthens
Friendship with the virtuous strengthens,
Till the sun sinks down sublime.
236 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Old Stanislaw came from his chamber-door,
His wife upon his arm, two bags he bore;
Whence thrice a hundred florins he told o'er,
And said, " Take these, my Wiestaw, and depart;
And bring a pair of steeds from Cracow's mart;
A well-matched pair. My son was slain in fight,
And grief and grievous age o'erpower me quite:
I've none to trust but thee, the prop, the stay
Of my old house. When I have pass'd away
Be thou its head; and if (Heaven grant the prayer!)
My daughter e'er should win thy love, thy care,
Twelve years rare beauty thou mayst wait; my tongue
Must not betray my heart; but thou art young."
"Yes! yes!" cried Bronislawa, "'tis for thee
I watch and train the maiden tenderly."
(She smoothed Bronika's cheeks while this she said;
And deeply blushed the young and simple maid.)
" I have no sweeter thoughts for her; and this
Were the full spring-tide of a mother's bliss;
! I was twice a mother. God above !
Can I weep out the memory of her love?
The fifth fruit scarce had blossom'd; she was reft,
And not a solitary vestige left.
Twelve wintry winds have stripped the forest tree,
And still her visions haunt that memory.
When war had ravaged Poland, when its brands
Fired our low cots, and razed our smiling lands,
When even the forests perish'd in the blaze,
And terror like a whirlwind met the gaze,
As if all heaven were frowning; overturn'd
* Pronounced Vieslav.
Our houses; rooted up, and tore, and burn'd
Our sheltering woods; 'twas as if judgment-day
Had gather'd all its terrors o'er our way.
Midst sobs and sighs and shrieks and wailings loud,
Through the wild tempest of the fiery cloud,
Our peasants rush'd to save us; while the foe
Fed upon plunder, scattering fear and woe.
Our father's cottage in the smoke-clouds fell,
And that beloved child, horrible!
That sweet, soft maiden disappear'd; no trace
Was left; 'twas all a bare and blazing place:
I sought her through the villages and woods:
There was no voice in all their solitudes.
No! she was lost forever! as a stone
Into th' unfathom'd trackless ocean thrown;
And I found nought but silence. Year by year
The harvest maidens wreath'd with flowers appear,
But she appears not; Oh! she is not there.
Heaven's will shall be Heaven's praise. I fix'd on thee,
My son, her representative to be.
Thou wert an orphan, and of old 'twas said,
That he who housed a homeless orphan's head
Should ne'er want comfort; and perchance my child
May yet have found a home, and 'neath the mild
And holy smile of a maternal eye
May dwell with other children joyously.
So have I train'd thee, so have I fulfill'd
A mother's duties, and my grief was still'd
With thoughts that mercy should for mercy pay;
For Heaven's rewards flit o'er our earthly way
In strange and wandering light. Perchance the mound
Lies on her head o'er the dark grave profound,
While her freed spirit in the realms of rest
Sits dove-like on the Heavenly Mother's* breast;
* The Virgin Mary.
238 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
And thence by prayers and tears on our abode
Sends down the smiles of angels and of God."
She could no more; her cheeks were drench'd in tears,
Tears, the prompt eloquence of hopes and fears;
Her daughter's heart seem'd bursting. Tears deny
Their soothing influence to man's sterner eye.
So Stanislaw, whose soul was full as hers,
Cried, " God in heaven directs weak man's affairs,
God, whose all-penetrating sight can rend
The curtains of all time and space ; a friend
And ever-present Father. None too mean
For his regards; he rules o'er all unseen.
Let grief give way to pious confidence !
Provide for Wieslaw now, and speed him hence,
And give him counsel and thy blessing; youth
Is ever hasty. Boy ! some pledge of truth
Thou'lt bring to thy betroth'd." In reverence meet
He bow'd, and then embraced the old man's feet;
Then pass'd the threshold, grateful to high Heaven,
Who to the orphan such kind friends had given.
Sweet evening with its twilight bathed the earth,
And lo! the gladdening sounds of village mirth
Fell upon Wieslaw's ear, as home he rode
Upon his new-bought steeds, the shouts were loud,
And gay the music; swift the horses speed:
He saw the bride-maids sporting in the mead,
All crown'd with myrtle garlands. Youths around
Stamp'd their steel heels upon the echoing ground,*
Then sprung to greet the stranger. First of all
The Starost^ spoke: " Tis well to claim, and call
A stranger, friend: from Proszow welcome thou;
*To stamp with the feet is the accompaniment of the Cracowiak
f- The head of the wedding festival.
Despise not the kind thoughts that hail thee now.
Come, share our joys, the joys which time and toil,
And God's good blessing, and our flowery soil
Confer; and thou Cracovia's maids shalt see,
Their dances, dresses, and festivity.
Come, join their sports; though thou art tired, perchance
Thy weariness may fly at beauty's glance,
For thou art young." The fair Halina, fair
As morning, she the queen, the day-star there,
Approach'd; she blush'd, she blush'd, but nearer drew,
And proffer'd cakes and fruits of varied hue
From her own basket: " Stranger, deign to share
Our fruits, our bread, our unpretending fare."
The stranger's vivid eye toward her turn'd,
And with a magic smiling brightness burn'd ;
Aye! from that very moment eye and soul
Were spell-bound by that simple maid's control,
And joyous sped he to the dance. The band
Of youth, with wine-fill'd goblets in their hand,
Bid him a welcome; and the Starost's word
Thus order'd : " Let precedence be conferr'd
Upon the stranger. Let him choose the song;
Be his to lead the mazy dance along.
Let him select a maiden, courtesy
Must on the stranger wait, and this is he
Wieslaw had seized her hand whose eye had shed
On him a heavenly influence, and he led
Halina forth, a long and laughing train
Of youths and maidens to the music's strain
Beat their responsive feet, and heel on heel
Like flitting shadows on the water, steal.
His hands were on his belted girdle, while
He gaily danced in that bright maiden's smile:
Into the vial silver coins he threw,
And bowing to the seated sires, anew
240 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Struck with his foot the ground, and lower'd his head
And thus pour'd forth his music to the maid :
" Beautiful damsel ! often I
Have seen what seem'd almost divine,
But never brightness like thine eye,
But never charms, sweet maid! like thine.
" Look on my face, and see, and see,
As my warm heart to Heaven is known,
How that fond heart would spring to thee,
And blend its passions with thine own."
Again he led the maiden forth, and danced
Like a young god by joy and love entranced;
Again the gladdening peals of music rang,
Again he stopp'd, and bow'd, and sweetly sang :
"0! had I known thee in the plain
Where Proszow rears his forest shades,
I should have been most blest of men,
Thou happiest of Cracovian maids.
" The blood that flows within our veins
Can all our fond desires enthrall:
Man plants and waters, toils and pains,
But God in Heaven disposes all."
With dancing step before the youth she flew,
With joyous ecstasy his steps pursue.
Again he takes her hand, and smiles; again
His thrilling lips resume the raptured strain :
" Ofly not, fly not, maid divine!
My life, my chosen one, art thou:
My heart shall be thine own bright shrine,
And never lose thine image now.
" So in the solitary wood
The little warbler finds its rest;
And consecrates its solitude,
And makes its own, its homely nest."
Now in his turn before the maid he flies,
And she to track his footstep gaily hies:
He stops, and laughs ; again his lips repeat
Words of light eloquence to music sweet :
" Gospodar* ! I have dearly bought
My steeds ; my money all away ;
Perplex'd and pain'd my rambling thought
And my poor heart is led astray.
" But wake, wake the song ! despair
And darkness gather o'er my mind:
I seek my home ; my body there
I drag, my soul remains behind."
She stretch'd her hand ; again he sings, the throng
Of youth hangs raptured on his ardent song.
Strike up, musicians ! 'Twas too late ; for they
Had sunk to rest beneath sleep's lulling sway.
And now Halina fled; her blush to hide
She sought the village matrons' sheltering side.
And Wieslaw to the Starost and to these
Made many a bow, and utter'd courtesies;
And many a whisper fell; and late and long
He linger'd midst the hospitable throng;
Linger'd until the bride-day whitening fell
In twilight on the hills, then said farewell !
His ears were full of music and of mirth,
His heart seem'd big with thoughts, yet void with dearth;
One thought in varied imagery was there,
One all- possessing thought, the thought of her.
242 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Wiesiaw o'er the field, the waste, the wood,
Sped swiftly; yet his bosom's solitude
And his love-grief were with him : for when love
Is seated in the heart no thoughts can move,
No reason drive it thence. And now should he
Divulge his love, or fan it secretly?
He would tell all to Stanislaw. He rode
To the court-yard, and to his loved abode
Was warmly welcomed by th' expectant crowd;
Sire, mother, daughter, some with voices loud,
And some with silent smiles. They smooth'd his horse
And tied him to the hedge ; and praised of course
His bargains and his quick return. The steeds
Old Stanislaw with looks approving leads
To their appointed stall; but first his care
Bids Bronislawa homely feast prepare.
And Wiesiaw reach'd the cot, and seated him
Pensively. " Art thou ill? thine eyes are dim! "
Inquired the anxious .women. No word pas&'d
His lips: he stretch M his hand, and gave at last
A present to Bronika: still he kept
Silence. Just then a curious neighbor stept
Over the thi'eshold, it was John, the seer
Of all the village, and though learned dear:
Prudent in council he; yet free and gay,
He sway'd the peasants, but with gentlest sway:
Honest and wise in thought, in language wise.
Yet why does gloom hang thick on Wieslaw's eye?
The father came, and all were seated round
Their sober meal; John's jests and jokes abound.
Yet Bronislawa could only dream and guess
What Wiesiaw's silence meant. " now confess,
Confess what clouds thy heart and stills thy tongue,
For gloom and silence ill become the young;
Thou'rt brooding on some grief." The words pierced thro'
His heart; his cheeks were stain'd with roseate hue;
O'erpower'd he fell at Bronislawa's feet.
" Yes! I will speak, say all. Indeed 'tis meet
To veil no thoughts from aged friends; for they
May guide the wandering youth that walks astray,
With words of wisdom. Better I had ne'er
Left this kind home, your kindness and your care.
Content I walk'd behind your cheerful plow,
And never knew the war of grief till now.
But man can only travel in the road,
Or smooth or rough, which is mark'd out by God.
His oracles are swift as rays of light,
Unseen as spirit, unopposed in might,
I pass'd a village, where a maiden stole
My heart, and charm'd my senses and my soul,
And holds them now. My parents rest in heaven;
You to the orphan a kind home have given
A shelter to the orphan's misery:
Yes ! you unbarr'd your friendly gates to me ;
Repent not now your kindness and your love.
Ye taught me toil, and fear of God above;
And gave your only daughter, a wreath'd * bride
To hang with fondness on the orphan's side.
Even when I rock'd her in her cradle, ye
Have often said, 'That babe thy wife shall be!'
And am I then ungrateful? Is my heart,
My obdurate heart, of stone, that thus would part,
Your hopes, my dreams? Nay! let me, let me speak,
For love is strong, and language is but weak.
Why must I grieve ye? why my shame declare?
No longer can I claim your fostering care;
For I must dwell with strangers. Come what may,
I cannot live where that fair maid's away;
* Wreath'd, affianced. A wreath is synonymous with a dower.
244 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
I hate myself; I'm useless to mankind;
Give me your blessing. Let me leave behind
Eternal gratitude. Your blessing give;
For who beneath a patron's curse could live?
Farewell! and God shall judge us." Tears of woe
Good Bronislawa's aged eyes o'erflow.
The old man bends his head, but not t' approve,
And utters these sad words of solemn love :
" 'Twas on thy father's death-bed that he gave
Thee to my care, and then he sought his grave;
And from that hour I loved thee tenderly:
Yes! nothing was more dear than thou to me.
Know'st thou old age is on me; and canst thou
Leave me to struggle with its miseries now,
And rush upon life's perils? quit the cot
Where sorrow and unkindness enter not,
Quit every future hope? Oh, if thou go,
Thou shalt bear with thee shame and tears and woe!
Thine is a dangerous course: I cannot say
'God bless thee!' Stay, my best-loved Wieslaw, stay!"
All wept, except the village seer. His head
He wisely shook, and thus he gaily said:
" How can the old man understand the young?
Freedom is in their heart, and on their tongue
Sweet change; tempt them with love, with riches' cares,
Still they look further, for the world is theirs:
For them restraint is weariness and woe;
And as the spring-bird scours the meadows, so
Proud, free and gay, rejoicing in his might,
O'er rivers, woods, and cliffs he takes his flight,
Until attracted by some gentle strain
He seeks the green and leafy woods again,
And by his mate reposes. Such the laws
Which nature round the star of youth-time draws.
In vain you stop his course, and why should he
Be check'd, when God and nature made him free!
He holds no influence o'er Bronika's doom;
'Tis mutual love makes happy wedlock bloom:
She is a lovely floweret, to be placed
On some fair stranger's bosom. Father, haste
And give thy blessing to thy son ; for each
Should seize the bliss that grows within his reach."
To whom old Stanislaw, : 'Not so! not so!
I cannot let my son, my Wieslaw, go:
Thou'rt full of knowledge ; but thou canst not know
A father's fondness, and a father's woe,
When the dear object of his grief, his cares,
With whom he lived, and loved, and labor'd, tears
His heart away, and leaves a dark abode
The once love-lighted dwelling where he trod;
Forgetting all all, e'en the tears they pour'd
In solitude, while at a stranger's board
The daughter sits. no! I long had dream'd
Of bliss to come, and sweet and bright it seem'd
To think her mother, when death's curtain fell
Upon my silent grave, in peace should dwell
In her own cottage; but 'twas vain to build
Such visions ; Be the will of Heaven fulfill'd !
Go with my blessing, Wieslaw go: let John
Escort thee, counsel thee; Heaven's will be done!
Go to thy loved one's dwelling. If the maid
And the maid's friends consent love's wreaths to braid,
Then bring her hither ; John thy guide shall be,*
And she be welcomed when betroth'd to thee."
So John and Wieslaw left their home at length:
And WiesJaw, sped by love and youthful strength,
Flew o'er the mountains, through the fields and dells,
* Among the peasantry it is the custom in Poland for the young