ternal glistening. He appeared to suffer mental pain,
and whenever he smiled his smile seemed to mingle
with yearning and grief. His faith and his prophetic
ken seemed wavering and uncertain.
and life were painted in dark and somber colors.
Although his poetry sprung from the purest sources,
yet it was oftentimes permeated with bitterness. Per-
sonal disappointments made him at times cold and
indifferent as to his fate. He began to doubt about
any happiness being in this world, so that even if he
saw a bright beam of it to him it was but a piece of
rotten wood glistening in the dark, without possessing
any real light or warmth.
The collection of his poetry represents three differ-
ent turns or kinds egotistic, popular, and social, with
an occasional touch of historical coloring. His burn-
ing soul loved to pour out, in short lyrics and in son-
nets, all his dreamings, his reveries, and his frenzy.
"The Child of Frenzy "is his confession before the
world, where in painful strains he sings the history of
his life. Pure but unhappy love is the reigning theme
extending throughout many tropes. Now and then it
connects itself with observations about the world and
peoples, and then again he complains with "Werther,
then philosophizing in the Childe-Harold style.
Such erotic feeling needs a highly creative individual-
ism to express in the usual way the feelings of an
enamored heart, and at the same time to impart to them
the witching tone of poesy. Such is his " Dream! O
My Soul, Dream!"
Wasilewski is altogether a different man when he
forgets his troubles and looks upon the surrounding
objects with a pleasant eye and good humor, when he
seeks a subject to which he could grow with his heart.
Such a subject he found in the Cracovian people. The
poet looked into their life, their customs, and their
manners, and their native character; he heard their
songs and was permeated with them through and
through, began to love them and wrought a beautful
wreath for them in his collections "The Cracovians."
Far from his own personal fancy, which other poets
would have tried to put into the people's conceits, he
was on the contrary not only a faithful but also an
ideal interpreter of their feelings in their different and
most minute shades. His " Cracovians " are so purely
natural that you can see them in their huts and houses
just as they are, only the description is embellished by
a beautiful diction. "The Mariner's Song "depicts
different phases of life with uncommon tenderness.
His " Cathedral on the "Wawel " is truly worthy of the
author. This mountain, around which are collected so
many recollections of the past and so many souvenirs
of national life, is to our poet an Olympus or a Hebron;
in a word the central point of the world; he turns to
it continually, for there he sees every foot-path, every
bnsh, every relic, brings to his mind a thousand pleas-
ing visions, and as Wasilewski is on the field of pop-
ular poetry so is he here a true poet. He exercised but
little care as to the outward smoothness of his verse;
being driven by the warmest current of feeling he
wrote whatever came to his mind without stopping,
giving slight heed to minor objects. In his " Cathe-
316 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
clral on Wawel " no art is visible but the ardent feeling
of truthfulness. Thoughts that led him on in this
poem pervade all other of his labors, for they were his
inseparable domestic idols. He worshiped them with
a faith and devotedness that cost him his life.
Wasilewski was born on the 16th day of November,
1814. While a child he came with his parents to Cra-
cow, and it was here that he was brought up and edu-
cated. After finishing his collegiate education he
accepted the situation as a librarian offered him by
Wielkopolski in the Kingdom of Poland; but after a
lapse of one year he returned to Cracow, where he
seems to have been persecuted by a relentless fate, and
had to labor hard to support those dependent upon
him. In 1844 he was married to his beloved and
much sung " Helka " (Helen). God had given them
a son, but he soon took the child away from them.
Edmund was twice attacked by mortal sickness, but on
the third attack he succumbed and gave his spirit up
to God, November 14, 1846.
A collection of his poems was published at Cracow,
1839; at Posen, 1849; again at Cracow, 1849, and at
Warsaw, 1859. "Cathedral on Wawel" was pub-
lished separately in 1840.
UPON THE ROCKY SHORE.
Upon the lonely, rocky shore
An old man walketh to and fro,
His head is bent 'neath tresses hoar,
His heart is heavy with its woe.
With eyes uplifted to the sky
And gray locks to the breezes tossed,
He calls his children. None reply
To him; they are forever lost!
lonely is the castle old,
And lonelier still his aged breast,
For life is drear to him, and cold,
Spent thus from those he loveth best.
Upon their names he fondly calls;
For them he weeps, alas! in vain;
Brave children ! to their father's halls
They never more return again!
Do you know the tear, lady, the sweetest tear on earth,
Which remembrance e'er forces from the "heart into view,
Which one pours out in silence or deeply hides at birth,
For memory of native land or friends tried and true,
Which tenderness must shed be we bashful or severe,
'Tis the tear above all others it is memory's tear.
Do you know the reveries, the meditations sad
Which carry us at will to the future or the past?
Do you know the power that makes that sorrow glad,
As your thoughts flow backward or coming time forecast?
Like the faithful ivy-green winding the ruins 'round
'Mid thoughts of future time and past these memories' dreams
318 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
.JOHN NEPOMUCEN JASKOWSKI. We regret that we
cannot furnish to our readers anything definite about
this poet's life. We only know that he was an elegant
writer of ballads, elegies, and dithyrambics. One of
his ballads, which is given below, is a specimen of the
naturalness of his style; as to its application to our
own times, the reader may form his own conception.
One Sunday, at eventide,
The old village church beside,
An old man 'stood and slowly tolled the bell,
When a man, young and unknown,
With grey dust all his clothes o'erblown,
In wonder list'ning to the solemn knell,
Paused to bashfully inquire:
" From this village, age"d sire,
Who takes thus solemnly his last adieu?"
" Though the circumstance is sad,
Since you are curious, lad,
Listen, and I'll tell the tale to you.
" There lived with us, years ago,
In this village, you must know,
A peasant. Wealth he'd honestly acquired;
His board was amply spread,
Never lacking salt nor bread;
He was happy, much beloved, and admired.
" In the household three there were:
His good wife and himself, sir,
Were two; an only son made up the three,
A bright, rosy, cheerful lad,
He was always finely clad,
As wealthy farmers' sons are wont to be.
" One eve the father came
From a house of noble name,
And said to his wife, as deeply he sighed:
' My God ! what a change is this
From the mansion's stateliness;
A peasant's hut is pitiful beside.
" 'A commoner among those
Of whom each one something knows,
Am I here. It does nothing signify.
God has given us a son;
Why, then, may he not be one,
I ask you, of the nobles, great and high.
" ' For two oxen we can sell.
He shall go to school, learn well;
And who can say what he may be in time?
He might even get a place
At the manor, by his grace,
Or to a preacher's office he might climb.'
"And they did accordingly;
But they erred most terribly,
For happiness from farm life may outgrow.
Learning in itself is good,
But whoever seeks it should
Seek it not from pride, sir. Is that not so?
" Every year more and more
Lessened still the farmer's store;
The grain went, and the stock its number lacked.
While the son in learning grew
His false pride was growing too,
And this was for his pai-ents a sad fact.
320 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
" So year after year was gone,
And no one, as time went on,
Saw him in his old home; and they began
'Bound to whisper, on the sly,
That he in a city nigh
Was playing the r61e of a gentleman.
" No priest; on the other side,
He was vain and puffed with pride,
Ashamed that his father's clothes homespun were.
God sends on him judgment dire
Who regards with scorn his sire.
Is't not so? What's the matter with you, sir?
" In the meantime, as they say,
Through the window and doorway
Into the cottage did poverty stare;
Taking wings, the riches flew,
While the old folks older grew,
And no assistance came from anywhere.
" Though the old man's fertile field
In his youth gave ample yield,
Through it since had the tares and cockles crept.
So his need was often great,
And, bewailing the sad fate
Of himself and son, oft the poor man wept.
" Till, unhappy, tired, and worn,
With affliction overborne,
He fell in the field, prostrate, by his plow,
He fell, never more to rise;
There were none to close his eyes ;
Why is this, young man? You are weeping now!
" But the tale is not yet told.
There was left the mother old,
Yes, she remained, entirely bereft,
Woe to ev'ry one thus thrown
On the dreary world alone,
And greatest woe when a woman is left.
" She requested one to write
To her son of her sad plight:
' My son, your vain and empty dreams release.
Have respect for my gray hair!
The estate requires your care;
Come, and you will find competence and peace.'
" Vainly were her prayers consigned,
'Twas like preaching to the wind!
The poor old mother quit her native spot.
Old and penniless from home
She departed, thence to roam,
A wanderer, 'mong people she knew not.
" So this morn, at break of day,
Dead they found her, as she lay
On her native heath, with her home in view.
And it is for pity's sake
The bells this requiem make.
For God's sake, sir, what is amiss with you?"
As the tale closed the young man,
With expression wild, began,
While from his eyes the tears were flowing fast:
" The sole murderer am I
Of my parents; dead they lie
As lies my happiness while time shall last.
" Much I fancied, and I dreamed,
Vain and empty visions beamed ;
But the wind scattered them, and now I see,
Having wakened to the truth,
In the home of my lost youth
Utter desolation ! Have pity on me!
322 POETS AND POETKY OF POLAND.
" In this village, on this day,
Pull amends for all I'll pay,
Eepent in sackcloth, with ashes on my head !
I will eat the humble crust,
And will murmur not; 'tis just.
Say, but say that my mother is not dead ! "
Falling prostrate on the ground,
From the depths of grief profound
Rained bitter tears from suffering so great.
The old man withdrew apace,
In his hands he hid his face,
Saying "Alas! it is too late! too late!"
THOMAS ZAN was one of the most exemplary and
high-minded young men who attended the University
of Wilno, 1820-3. After great political catastrophes
there always follows in our literature a review of his-
torical elements, social as well as literary. That very
thing occurred in the century preceding this and in the
first two decades of the present century. People
began to reflect upon the past, not only the nearest to
them, but also into the more remote periods of their
existence as a nation. The result of these reflections
was that all over the nation there began to form scien-
tific and literary societies. The learned and the littera-
teurs commenced establishing small circles, and though
they were scattered they worked together in the com-
mon cause of enlightenment. Thus, in this modest and
quiet manner, little societies were formed in Warsaw,
in Russia-Poland, in Lithuania, Ukraine, Podolia, Vol-
hynia, and in Lemberg (Galicia), and thus the progress
of knowledge spreading throughout the Polish nation
gave a great impetus and prestige to these associations.
For these there were extraneous causes, such as the
general movement in European literature, which about
this time, having shaken off the classic robes, began to
assume in the writings of several poets and writers
altogether a different direction. Another cause of the
impending change was the mental movement in the
universities. In Germany especially this feeling of
enthusiasm was created a few years before in order to
incite young men to join the ranks against Napoleon I,
and it was then, for the first time in the annals of the
324 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
world, that young men became political factors or ex-
ponents. This spirit was brought home from the
French wars, and was spread almost over all universi-
ties of Europe; hence since that time there grew a sort
of self-reliance, independence, and we may say sponta-
neous manner and ways which the young men marked
out for themselves a thing which in the preceding
ages had never occurred. This being begotten during
French wars was continued after their cessation.
This spirit of self-reliance took hold of the Polish
youth also, and was very palpable in the Kingdom of
Poland, in Russia-Poland, and formed a powerful bond
among the Polish youths in several prominent points.
Young men came there to stay at least a year to ac-
quire further knowledge, to be examined, and to receive
degrees of learning. The most important of these
places was the University of Wilno. Here, at the
head of all young men, was Thomas Zan, a young man
of rare virtues and the noblest qualities of the heart
and mind, his pure morals and extraordinary mental
capacities, and his eloquence, and withal being very
gentle and urbane in his manners, he attached to him-
self all the youths; he imparted lessons of wisdom and
general light to all around him. In this select circle
were established literary labors in almost all branches.
Some were studying natural sciences, some philosophy,
others again were deeply engaged in historical lore,
and those who possessed a talent for poetry composed
songs, verses on all subjects, tales, and moral essays.
From this famous circle came almost all celebrated
Polish authors, and it was from this circle appeared, as
it were, the patriarch of our epoch, Adam Mickiewicz.
In the galaxy of prominently unfolding talent
around him Zan perceived especially the extraordinary
poetic genius in Mickiewicz. An intimate and most
affectionate friendship sprang up between them. Be-
ing two years older than Adam, Zan, in a most deli-
cate and affectionate manner, assumed a careful guid-
ance over the future poet, stimulating him all the'
while by the noblest examples from history, and by his
own ideas, reflections and suggestions. These efforts,
still further stimulated by a patriotic love of country,
burning within the breast of both, had the desired
effect, and Mickiewicz's poetic powers burst forth with
a resplendent luster.
Thomas Zan was born on the 21st of December,
1796, in the neighborhood of Minsk. Shortly after the
taking of Praga by storm by the Russian army, his
father, Charles, then the mayor of Radoszkowice, was
compelled to conceal himself, while his mother had to
flee her home and seek protection at the homestead of
her husband's brother, called Miasota, where she
brought Thomas into the world. He was educated at
Minsk and Molodeczno. After finishing his collegiate
education he went, in 1815, to Wilno, where, at the
university, he pursued the study of natural sciences,
and where in a short time he obtained a degree of
master of arts. During a judicial inquiry against cer-
tain young men of the University, brought about by
Senator Nowosielcow, he was arrested in 1823, impris-
oned, and condemned in 1824: to be exiled; the order
was executed, and he was sent to Orenburg, in Russia,
where he devoted himself to the study of natural sci-
ences, and, by the order of Governor Perovski, estab-
lished a museum. In 1826, through the influence and
protection of Perovski, he obtained a position of libra-
rian in the mining corps at St. Petersburg. In the
year 1841 he returned to Lithuania, settled in a country
326 POETS AND POETRY OB' POLAND.
village called Kochaczyn, in White Russia, and died
there the 7th of July, 1855.
Zan translated into the Polish language Washington
Irving's "Life of Columbus," and published in the
Russian language "The Geographical Researches" of
travels in the Ural mountains and the steppes of
Kirghiz. He also wrote fugitive verses which were
published in different periodicals at Wilno. The most
noted of Zan's literary compositions is "The Kitten,"
a tale in two parts. We could get only a few of Zan's
"Triolets," part of which Mickiewicz has included in
his poem "The Piper."
For whom do you wreathe the nuptial wreath
Of roses, lilies, and thyme?
Whose radiant brow shall lie beneath
The blossoms wreathed in this nuptial wreath,
Woven in Love's warm clime?
Tears and blushes from them outbreathe.
For whom do you weave the nuptial wreath
Of roses, lilies, and thyme.
You can only bestow the wreath on one
Of roses, lilies, and thyme.
And what though another's heart be won?
You can only bestow the wreath on one,
Can only give tears to the heart undone
That will throb to your marriage chime
When the wreath is given to the happier one
Of roses, lilies, and thyme.
Tell me why did I fear
When my eyes beheld thee first?
Why so cowardly appear?
Tell me why did I fear?
No tyrant wert thou, dear,
Yet I, shrinking, feared the worst.
Tell me why did I fear
When my eyes beheld thee first?
We can love but once in life,
Once only and sincerely;
And but once feel Love's sweet strife;
We can love but once in life.
No words with wisdom rife
Can change the matter; clearly
We can love but once in life,
Once only, and sincerely.
328 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
CONSTANTINE GASZYNSKI has not left any great poems
behind him, but in all his effusions there is a soul
and with that he won the hearts of all his readers.
The chief quality of his composition is feeling. Of
those poetic effusions where he did not imitate anyone,
but let his heart take its natural inclination, we can
truly say that they are beautiful, and will never cease
to appeal to the finest feelings of our nature. Amidst
the changes of his life many a song flowed sponta-
neously from his heart. Some of his first compositions
remind us by their sweetness of Stephen Witwicki, and
are noted for their beautiful rhythmical form, "Three
Inspirations," "Soldier's Death," "Black Dress,"
"Death of General Sowinski," and "The National
Air," will always reach the national feeling and be
repeated by all; indeed, they have already become
national songs. Albert Sowinski, and even Chopin,
composed airs to them. They coursed throughout the
whole nation, and the generation of those days held
them as household songs. Who is there among the
Poles who does not know "When by the Shores of
Your Beloved Land" and "Usque ad finem " ? The
Polish youth committed them to memory and sung
them throughout the realm.
To the better poems of Gaszynski belong "Idyls of
Youth," "Cards and Card-players," "A Satire,"
"Horse Races," etc. His translations from Beranger
and Heine are splendid, and are all distinguished by
polished and correct language. Sigismund Krasinski
had so high an opinion of Gaszyfiski's rhythmical
knowledge that he would not publish anything before
first reading the manuscript to him. Besides those ele-
gant poems he also wrote romances, tales and memoirs.
After the revolution of 1863 he grasped his pen once
more, but only with a feeble hand. He composed,
however, several songs.
Gaszynski was born in 1809 at leziorno, not far from
Radom, and received his education at the Lyceum and
the University of Warsaw, and in the company of many
distinguished litterateurs often visited the salons of
Vincent Krasinski. From the year 1828 to 1830 he
edited with Zienkowicz "A Review for the Fair Sex."
With the outbreak of the revolution of 1831 he joined
the national ranks, and was through the whole cam-
paign; and after the downfall of the cause, with the
rank of first lieutenant, he emigrated with others into
foreign countries. The poet's health requiring south-
ern climate, he chose Provence as the place of his resi-
dence, and settled at Aix, where he passed many years,
leaving the place only to meet his attached friend, the
poet Sigismund Krasinski, or to make occasional visits
" The museums and the collections of arts at Aix en-
gaged most of his time. In 1852 he traveled exten-
sively through Italy, and his letters from that country
to a friend in Cracow formed a separate volume, which
was published at Leipzig in 1853. Speaking the French
language as well as the Polish, he, soon after he came
to reside at Aix, began to publish his literary labors in
the "Gazette du Midi" and "Le Memorial d'Aix,"
and after a few years became the chief editor of the
Being broken down in health, and suffering other
strokes of ill fortune, he died on the 8th of October,
330 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
1866, surrounded by many of his distinguished Polish
friends, as also by the first citizens of Aix, who truly
appreciated his genius and had the highest respect for
him personally as a high-minded and honorable man.
The first collection of his works was published in
Paris, 1833, entitled "Songs of a Polish Pilgrim;"
"Mr. Desiderius," also in Paris, 1846; "Other Me-
moirs," 1847; "A Chat Among the Olden-time Poles,"
1851; "Idyl of Youth," 1855; "Horse Races at War-
saw," Paris, 1856; "Poems," Paris, 1856; "A Collec-
tion of Poems pro bono Publico," 1858; "Card-play-
ing and Card-players," Paris, 1858; translation of
Krasinski's poem into French, "Before Daybreak;"
"The Last," and " Resurecturis," Paris, 1862. He is
also the author of many works and dissertations writ-
ten originally by him in the French language, the most
noted of which is "The Monograph," " Les Cabinets
de Tableaux Artistiques de la Yille d'Aix." He left in
the manuscript " Sigismund Krasinski and My Inter-
course with Him," but those interesting memoirs can-
not be published until a certain time after his death.
SHAKSPEARE (A SONNET).
Thou eagle! who with mind's audacious aim
Hast touched the stars where none have reached before,
And left us grand memorials in thy lore,
Hast known man's heart, as Phidias knew his frame.
Not Dante-like wert thou he reached for fame,
And gave his youth thoughts mysteries to explore.
Not like Byron, who roved from shore to shore,
To rest at last where Grecian stars outflame.
Thou stoodst alone, and from the wells of thought,
As Moses from the rock set waters free
Whose currents flow into eternity,
In thine own heart gigantic voices wrought
Echoes to reach with most harmonious note
The wondering ear of ages far remote.
WHEN BY THE SHORES OF YOUR BELOVED LAND.
(Gdy na wybrzeiach twoiej Ojczyzny.)
When by the shores of your beloved land
You chance to see a shattered vessel fill,
Wrecked by the pilot's lack of judging skill
Thi'ough shallow waters driven at his command
Give it, oh! give it at least a tear,
For thus is hapless Poland imaged here.
If you should chance upon an orphan child,
Alike of home and mother's love bereft,
Who, mourning in a foreign land, is left
To wait the hope's return that once beguiled,
Look in his tearful face, and you will see
Of Poland's sons a hapless refugee.
And if your glance should ever chance to rest
On some high mountain of volcanic fire
Whose flames through smoke and lava floods aspire,
Sent up from heat eternal in its breast,
Think then, 'Tis thus the ardent flames upstart
From love of country in the Polish heart.
And should your thoughts to other countries wend,
And find a people that are glad and free,
A land of plenty and fertility
O'er which no bloody scepter shall extend,
0! raise your hands and supplicate in prayer
That Poland too such happiness may share!
332 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
THE YOUNG WARRIOR AND THE SWALLOW.
A gallant young warrior in far foreign land,
By strangers surrounded, misfortune oppressed,
Unable his sad, bitter thoughts to command
Of his country so dear, he by sad fate distressed,
Beheld from the West a wee swallow flying,
And said, with expression of great pain and care:
You surely flew over where Poland is lying