Though the young soul knows them not by sight, yet it comes
And dream upon their bosoms, and the Muses sad
Bring them into this dark world; look! how bitter and yet
They to waken her with fiery kisses try.
Advance stripling into life! then he took at this decree
The traveling staff like pilgrim 'neath a sky
Dim with the twilight, gazed abashed, saying What troubles
Vainly seeking through mem'ry for reply.
Where are these lights without shadows, the truth that no
And where the lovely kindred spirits, to whom
He bade a sad farewell? here the mist profounder grows;
Yet still amidst the earth's intensest gloom.
BEETHOVEN (with enthusiasm).
He will preserve his hope that the light lives somewhere still,
And that he remembers her as in a dream;
Although outwardly bedimmed, she exists in him, and will,
'Neath the guise of conscience, though accursed she may
He prepares for life's battle, armed with hope, against all fears,
As for a dance with joy imagining
Works of might for the world, arranging plans for coming
But years cunningly disappear. Scarce a young genius shows
Promise of bloom when time claims it for its own;
Scarcely has the soul accomplished aught when weary grown
To youth's Allegro sings it the sad close.
And thou, too, art weary ; take a rest, bend down thy brow,
My oracle's words shall be in notes enchanted now.
(Here Music sits down on the steps of the column and begins
to entwine a ivreath from laurel leaves. During this time
the orchestra, hidden in the grove, plays " Allegro" from
Beethoven's Symphony. After the " Allegro" is finished
Beethoven lays doivn his pen; then Music rises.)
352 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Now the soul for the first time sits to rest beside the way,
Begins to look around . . . but by sadness is oppressed;
Although nothing seems to pain her, what tortui-es still her
When she begins to think endlessly her thoughts hold sway;
In life's symphony thought plays the Andante with grave
Looking at the world that is shut closely all around:
Seeing causes without effects, confession she seeks,
Upon elements, books, mankind, and boldly asks " Why? "
And when she has asked once o'er and o'er, the word she
To ev'ry one and ev'ry where.
And who will make reply?
The people's answers differ, so the mystery remains,
And Nature, who her wonders so willingly explains
Except to this "Why?" has reply for everything;
Then to Destiny the soul turns with its questioning.
Is Destiny responsive? will this an answer bring?
See! she grows a Titian; so quickly soars the mind,
She sends herself ambassador to God from mankind,
She criticises His laws, is astonished at His sway:
But why ever from these laws do all things go astray?
What light from her country in her conscience can she find?
Deepest melancholy envelops her.
Now is the dark hour. She is in doubt amid her gloom
As to the aims of life she has cherished long and well;
E'en dreams of eternal light these doubts dispel.
Ah! she keeps silence and even ceases asking "Why?"
(Music sits down again on the steps of the column and con-
tinues wreathing the laurel crown.)
I will take this moment while she is speaking not
To enchant in notes the mystery of human thought.
(He grasps the pen and writes. During that time the orchestra
is performing the " Andante" of the Symphony. With the
finishing of the " Andante " Beethoven also stops writing.)
BEETHOVEN (laying down his pen).
Here is the " Andante," bitterly solemn in truth,
I am as a player who counts an Enchantment's cost. While
I am listening to it I cannot in sooth
Forbear indulging in a bitter smile.
You are not alone who thus smiles. Nay !
Every one will thus smile who questions truth too near,
Ev'ry thinker bears with him a sign of sneer;
As an interrogation mark it stands for aye !
(After a while.)
Terrible soul's voice with irony rife;
Her pois'nous tears e'en through a stone will go;
In the grand symphony of life
She strikes the frantic Scherzo.
354 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
BEETHOVEN (grasps the pen).
Wait ... I will write Scherzo. The serpents beneath my
Already with venom hiss. . . .
Hold on a moment then,
In the soul open to the great
And pure light of inspiration this sneering may flit
With simple innocence, but it
Should ne'er be placed on a page separate.
(Beethoven pushes his pen and paper aside. A short silence.)
Now the pilgrim of life behold!
Having thrown the bitter smile from his heart
He rose, by longing thought controlled,
And withdrew into Mystery's realms apart.
He was unconscious while his thought did progress,
Powers unknown before within him woke to life;
Of life's problems from this day he will think less,
And he will live better, and more free from strife.
(With growing warmth.)
Man wonders with how many changes fraught
Life seems, when on it his full vision brought.
He touches it. The world is different far!
The rock of grief is harder than the thought,
But its flowers of pleasure more fragrant are.
The brave soul raised its head and looked around
As 'twere her element herself she bore.
Symphony! the brassy trumpet sound;
Life's a battle evermore.
See the man of destiny; his touch the keys obey;
He bears the standai'd away!
And sometimes loses standards.
Music (with a smile).
All the suns with their trembling rays,
Every angel with a beating heart,
From the skies with interest lean and gaze
On man in life's struggle bearing a part.
(Draws back as if in fear.)
It is a dreadful sight! ... Oh! what's doing there?
The angels are pale, . . . the suns no more are bright. . . .
Too many temptations! the spirit in despair. . . .
Man, before half fallen, . . . now is fallen quite!
Do you hear his moanings?
BEETHOVEN (with warmth).
God! wilt Thou
Arrest the fate that overwhelms him in this hour?
Will no hand rise to his assistance now?
Lives there for him no saving power?
Music (raising her hand).
Only one power can help him to rise,
Of which hell is jealous. Above
A vision bright appears from out the skies;
That vision is beauteous LOVE!
BEETHOVEN (gets up and raises his hand).
Above all his misfortunes now is he!
That which brought him to the world and nursed him too
Resurrects him now. In life's symphony, 'tis true,
Love is a hymn of victory !
Love ! thou mother of faith ! 'Tis through thee
356 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Man agrees with truths of eternal birth;
He who but once loved truly on this earth
From doubt of Heaven's joy is free.
(He becomes thoughtful, sits doivn sloivh), and leans his head
on his hands. After a short interval of silence he raises his
head, as if awakened from a dream.)
And the pain?
Pain? It is not needful that a mortal
Call for it from Heaven's portal.
He will find it here.
Every day it will appear,
In every-day tear, in his daily bread,
In that which is changing, in that which is dead;
But it is most fearful with conscience in its face.
Up to this time man everything has tried,
But since in Love sublime harmony he perceived
He ends all there. His symphony's run achieved
Great Finale and is glorified!
In life it is long and difficult to bear,
But the end receives its reward ev'rywhere.
The longer the years the stiller are they grown,
And remembrances speak in the loudest tone.
Some weep bitter tears, that bitter tears succeed;
Others in prayer watch beside the dear ones' tomb.
The days flit away, . . . time flies with the greatest speed,
And the soul hastes on to the gaol of its doom.
It clasps it, and with mantle o'er it spread
It raises it by funeral bells' deep tones,
And while on its way worlds rise from their thrones
With emotions of expectation and dread.
Then Destiny before the heavenly gates
Halted. Now it knocks, but not alone it waits.
This time it brings with its return a soul.
Happy spirits! Will you not open the door?
Then, my beloved one, tell me.
No. As to this
I am silent. This laurel for witness I take.
I promised to reveal life by song, but more
Beyond that is a problem
That death can break.
BEETHOVEN (folding his hands).
I will reveal God's mystery so great!
Even if o'er an abyss the spirit stood,
Even if love and pain followed her. They would
Of themselves ope the heavenly gate!
(He grasps the. pen and writes. Music sits down on the steps
of the column and finishes the icreath. During this time
the orchestra plays SCHERZO and the FINALE of the symphony.
As the last strains of the FINALE die away BEETHOVEN throws
his pen aside and, weary, hides his face in his hands, and
falls into a deep reverie.
Music arises, and ivith the laurel ivreath, ivhich is finished,
croivns BEETHOVEN'S bust on the column. She looks once
more upon BEETHOVEN, and, throwing him a hand-kiss, dis-
358 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
RICHARD YINCENT BERWINSKI was born in Great
Poland in 1819; finished his education at the Lyceum
of Leszno, and at the Universities of Breslau and Ber-
lin. He was for a long time a contributor to several
periodicals published in Great Poland, and was himself
the editor of a daily journal at Posen.
In 1845, while traveling toward Galicia, he was ar-
rested, and thrown into a political prison at Wisnica,
where he was kept for a year, and being given up to
Prussia he was again imprisoned at Berlin. In 1847
he was released, and in 1848 made a member of the
National Committee. In 1852 he was sent to the Diet
Leaving Polish soil he went to Turkey, and from
1856 served as an officer in the Ottoman army, under
the command of Sadyk Pasha (Michael Czaykowski).
He wrote a work entitled ' ' The Book of Light and
Illusions;"' "The Book of Life and Death;" "The
Last Confession at the Old Church;" "The Tower of
the Mice;" "Don Juan of Posen;" "Wawel;" "Cra-
cow;" "Duma of a Polish Soldier in the Turkish
Army in February, 1863." Part I of his poems was
published at Posen, 1844, and Part II at Brussels the
same year; also in the "Collective Almanack," 1854,
and in "The Friend of the People" at Leszno and
Posen. Still another was published at Breslau, 1840.
He died toward the end of 1879 at Constantinople.
Berwinski was a man of high poetic talents, and a true
lover of his country.
THE EXILE'S SONG.
Within my mother's orchard wide
The rose and lily drank the dews,
Field poppies and blue-bottles vied
To blend with sweeter flowers their hues.
The nightingale poured out its song
In many a sad, harmonious note;
The brooklet's murmur all day long
Through dream and waking seemed to float.
I wandered here in childhood's hours,
To me a paradise it seemed;
Lightly I ran amid the flowers
Or on the earth's soft carpet dreamed.
But now, a homeless refugee
Of bitter fate, I feel the smart ;
Footsore I wander wearily,
And bleeding is my exiled heart.
I think how there at home to-day,
The poppies and the cornflowers bloom;
Perchance the roses breathe away
Their sweetness on my mother's tomb.
Shall I again those blossoms see,
Or kiss my mother as of yere?
A voice prophetic answers me:
Thou shalt behold thy home no more.
ON THE LAKE GOPLO.*
Amid my native waters deep,
From a shattered bark,
* A large lake in Prussia-Poland, about thirty-five miles long and
eleven miles broad, by the cities Strzelno and Kruszwice.
360 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Among the billows wild I leap
Into the distance dark.
Around, above me, boundless space,
I swim in distance vast;
In all the world I hold no place,
My thoughts are on the Past.
Above me moon and stars are bright,
Here is a somber grave;
Dark doubt enshrouds me with its night,
Corpses are 'neath the wave.
Where do I swim I ask 2 Oh, where?
With pain to earth I bend;
A living corpse am I Despair
And Hope my bosom rend.
Where'er I go Hope's falcon goes,
Oh, bark swim safe and sure!
If I must die I would repose
In native waters pure.
In elements of native waves
Fly my good bark away;
Oh, rise, ye corpses, from your graves,
All in my star's dim ray.
Rise, and sepulchral fragrance send
Through the chill air to me,
And star above thy glory lend
That I some hope may see.
The star now shines; the corpses fast
Beneath my feet arise
The corpse majestic of the Past
Most fearful in my eyes.
He rises, looks, and all around
Now one by one they stand;
Deep saber-cut and bullet-wound,
And paws of lion's grand.
Dread shapes and colors strange are these,
Many a gory spot;
The dreadful masks my life-blood freeze
Avaunt! I know you not.
Away from me! for my sad heart
Is pierc'd with icy pain;
Bid all your threat'ning looks depart,
And never come again.
Take them away, and then to me
Direct your steps, I plead;
Why gaze you sadly, angrily,
Nor my entreaties heed?
Lions of life eternal vain
I call on you to go.
From me what do you wish to gain?
Speak quick! for I would know.
Give back our household gods once more
The countless hosts that knew
Our might and strength in days of yore
'Tis this we ask of you.
They bent to us and prayed for us,
O horror! can it be?
Our people sunk in waters thus,
Poor reptiles tread to see.
Our people? shine with hopeful gleam,
star in clouded sky!
362 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
All household gods a trouble seem
Fly fast, my bark oh, fly !
Oh, shine my star! 'tis not for me
'Neath native surge to lie;
Old household gods may perish, we
Immortals cannot die.
Hark! their sepulchral voices hear
In hollow, humming sound;
In fault they think me far and near
With frowns they gather round.
household gods! what is your want?
And corpse, what is your will?
Avaunt! old gods, and corpse avaunt!
bark, fly faster still!
Onward, onward, without delay;
The old god, what is he?
But weak and old he need not stay
To bar youth's pathway free.
Against the surge in crowds they swim;
My words are all in vain
Then peace be with you phantoms grim,
These tears and all this pain.
In vain, in vain, you wish to stem
Time's stern, relentless tide,
Since fate does to this world condemn
By laws that fix'd abide.
ancient god ! forgetfulness
No hope for thee can lend;
New light of faith that shines to bless
Descend on me descend.
Night's shadows all shall vanish fast
If thou descend on me ;
And ere another day is past
The people sav'd shall be.
'Twas thus I spoke, and like a knell
I heard a moaning rise;
On the grave of the god there fell
Two tear-drops from my eyes.
Oh, lightly may the earth, I pray,
Lie on thee evermore;
So shines my morn a little way
And sweet salvation's shore.
364 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
ANTHON MALCZEWSKI is one of the brightest stars in
the horizon of Polish literature. It is a curious fact in
the annals of Polish poetry that, without any previous
efforts, unaided by anyone, unheralded by any poetical
composition of his own, he sprung into celebrity at
once, simultaneously with his "Marya" (Mary). He
stood at once as a prophet emerging apparently from a
dark and unlearned crowd. He sent upon the world a
poem of great power and beauty, founded upon a tra-
dition of great significance, and left the crowd without
being understood or appreciated by them. "Marya"
is a poem of Ukraine, and there is not now a single
dissenting voice in the praise of that extraordinary
poetical production, replete with so many beauties and
touching incidents; the boldness of expression strangely
commingling with unsurpassed pathos and faultless ver-
sification placed him at once in the first rank of the most
distinguished Polish poets.
The plot of "Marya" is this: A proud old Palatine
betroth s his son to the daughter of a friend, and, as is
usual in such cases, neglects to ascertain previously
the mind of the young count. The son falls in love
with the daughter of a noble of inferior rank, be-
tween whom and his own father a hereditary hatred
exists. The father of "Marya," seeing that his daugh-
ter's happiness is at stake, reluctantly overcomes his
ancient enmity, and allows a marriage to take place be-
tween the young couple, which, though concealed for a
long time, is finally discovered by the old Palatine.
He hides his burning anger under the mask of appro-
bation, and invites Marya to his castle. His son is
then, in company with Marya's father, sent to repel the
invasion of the Pagan Tartars at some distance from
the castle. On his return, after having conquered the
enemy, he finds that his wife is murdered. He deserts
his home, and is never heard of more.
This remarkable poem created but a feeble impres-
sion at first. The critics of the day alleged against the
poet that his taste was unrefined, and that the way he
chose was a way leading only to error, but it was not
long before these impressions were dispelled and utterly
This poem, woven on the circulating local tradition,
was written in a bold and artistic style; the scenes and
incidents painted as with the brush of a great master.
Here we see, for the first time, on the Russian back-
ground, led out into sight two figures, after the ancient
Polish fashion the ideals of Polish feelings, truly na-
tional, presented as if taken living from the history,
sinking rapidly into the past, an apparition, as it were,
of a Polish Palatine, the ideal of a Polish aristocrat
and a sword-bearer, the father of Mary, also an ideal of
a Polish nobleman. Mary, again, is the ideal of a
Polish young woman who, with a pure and lofty feel-
ing, unites resolution and extraordinary courage, then
adding to it the thought of the invasion of the Tar-
tars, taken from the very heart of the annals of Polish
history magnificent picfure of Ukraine and its de-
lightful scenery, all brought out in almost tangible
shapes and embellished by the deepest feelings and
loftiest thoughts and nicest shadings, makes one think
that Lord Byron, whom Malczewski knew personally,
had exerted powerful influence over the Polish poet.
In "Marya" there is a tearing of the spirit to pieces
by strokes of adversity and grief that characterize some
366 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
of Lord Byron's poems; but still it is not the grief of an
English lord, but of a deep and earnest thought over the
misfortunes of native land, and a reecho of the intense
feeling and the sorrows of Ukraine's vast steppes,*
all this being brought out in the beautiful Ukraine.
With poetical feeling and native qualifications he was,
as it were, permeated by surrounding nature; he
dreamed himself into the local traditions and souvenirs,
and turned their native hues into poetry and there
we see the first strong impressions of romanticism.
This great poem breathes with pure feelings of religion
and morality, overspread with the expression of plaint-
ive and painful sadness which the readers see through
their tears. Mishaps and disappointments of life are
the intrinsic strength and charm of the poem. Fresh-
ness, coloring, and almost tangible plasticity are the ex-
ternal qualities. A strange historical reverie, introduced
for the first time into, Polish poetry by Malczewski,
became the characteristic of other poets; not only* the
mystery of the scene which, besides the hidden objects
and gradual unfolding adds to it a great power, but
also the avoiding of the elucidation, as if on purpose,
by scattering the particulars, and fantastic visions
are interspersed throughout this renowned produc-
tion. When this poem was once understood it spread
throughout the nation by several successive editions,
and finally became so popular it mattered not where a
Pole's foot trod he could not do without it. " Marya "
is written after the manner of an epopee. Malczewski
wrote also other compositions in verse: "A Journey
to Mont Blanc;" "The Carnival of Warsaw;" "To
Julia;" "To Peter and Paul." Besides, he wrote the
tales of "Iphigenia," "Atenais," and "The Journey. "
Malczewski was born in 1T92, in the province of
Volhynia, and came from a distinguished family. His
father was a general in the Polish army. He received
his initiatory education at Dubno, and then went to
college at Krzemieniec, where he attended lectures on
mathematics by Joseph Czech. In 1811 he entered
the army, and in a few years became quite distinguished
as engineer under Col. Malet; but breaking one of his
legs, he in 1816 left the ranks. During the following
five years he gave himself up to literary pursuits, and
traveled in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.
In 1824 he returned to Warsaw, but the experience of
living in a large city taught him to appreciate the mode
of life that was not degenerate ; hence he quitted Warsaw
and rented an estate, the village of Hrynow, in the county
of WJodzimierz, and thus avoiding noisy amusements
and social gatherings, he gave up his time to literature.
An interesting love aifair between himself and a
Polish lady by the name of Ruczynska forms quite an
episode in the distinguished poet's life. Having for a
long time lived in a state of magnificence he finally, by
being very generous to those who needed his assistance,
became reduced in circumstances. He died in 1826.
His "Marya" went through thirty different edi-
tions; the last was published (illustrated) by Zupafiski in
1865. The poem was translated into several languages.
EXTRACTS FROM " MARYA."
The Kozak* passing through the ravine wide,
Where only howling wolves and Tartars hide,
* Here Kozak does not mean Cossack, a Russian soldier, but a
sort of an attache of noblemen in Ukraine, and we may add in the
provinces of Podolia and Volhynia. These Kozaks were generally
selected from the comeliest and best developed young peasants, and
being trained as messengers to duty, were, as occasions required, sent
368 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Approached the statue where dark shadows throw
Likeness of specters buried long ago ;
Took off his cap, and thrice the cross he signed,
Then with his message hastening like the wind
Upon his snorting horse away he flew
Where Buh glides on, a streak of silvery blue.
As the bold Kozak fleetly rides along
He hears the hidden foes that round him throng;
But his good horse, as though he understands,
Bears him through blooming fields and thistly lands.
Naught speeds more swiftly underneath the sun ;
Like to an arrow from the bow he wings,
His head bent low his horse's neck upon.
And through wild causeways rush these desert kings,
Rider and steed two forces blent in one.
Thus loses Waciaw* all no more to find
His happiness and faith in human kind.
He cannot wake his loved one from her rest
She who was all to him of dear and best;
Whose noble spirit and angelic grace
Could shed illusion over falsehood's face.
How dark her death makes all the world appear!
Alone he strays, as in a desert drear,
Or by the statue on his loved one's tomb
He mourns the malice that has wrought her doom
And chased all tenderness from out his soul.
One bitter thought therein holds dark control
even to distant places with important dispatches and messages of all
sorts, also carrying letters to and from postofflces. They had a pecu-
liarly picturesque dress, and were the heroes of many interesting
love affairs among the pretty girls of those beautiful p'rovinces.
Each Kozak had a fine horse and a splendid equipment, including
a " ivihnyka" a sort of a short whip made of several strands of
leather woven together, and a fancy handle. These Kozaks were
also the heroes of many love songs and Dunikas, and form an inter-
esting chapter, especially in the history of the Ukraine.
* Waclaw, the betrothed of Mary ; pronounce Vatz-lav.
" Why did I leave her to another's care? "
When in the pallid face that greets him there
He reads of all the struggles she has known.
Then deep reproaches make his heart their own.
Of her destruction and his own, the cause,
Before this thought his life's pulsations pause
Then in his hands he hides his face to weep.
This mood is over soon, but all too deep
The wound within him festers, poison- frought;