Leaves in his once exalted soul a thought
Shared by the exiles that will never sleep.
This noble youth, is he the earth's disgrace?
Ah! rather ask wherefore hath goodness place
Here, where all good with evil is defiled,
Where death of parents profits to the child,
Where love of fellow beings is assumed
By those with envy of their joy consumed.
Where lofty roles and aspirations fail,
Revealing hypocrisies 'neath the veil,
And where but few the faithful hearts that blend
In love's divine ecstasy to end.
In describing "Marya" the poet says:
Though young, the winds of earthly pain
Have cast their breath upon her soul,
And, like the weary autumn blasts
That o'er the earth in anger roll
And wither flowers within the grove,
Have robbed her early hopes of love !
Within her beaming eye no more
Conflicting war of thought we see;
The flame that burned from lamp of love
And shone so happily on me
Now beams not, shows not e'en one spark,
Though with its smoke her brow is dark.
SEVERIN GOSZCZYNSKI is different in qualifications
as a poet from other bards of the Ukraine. The choice
of his genius was the more gloomy side of her history
and the inherent qualities of her nature. It is the
creative spirit leading vice to a feast of revenge. Dark
clouds of fantasy ever avoiding the serene sky and
searching everywhere charms overcast with dismal-
ness, are his characteristics. Wild transports of pas-
sion, battles, treason and murders are the usual themes
of his poesy. His pictures and figures are not put
forth as the ideals of a mere illusion, as Zaleski's; not
in any melancholy, dissolving itself over a landscape,
as in Malczewski, but they are thrown on the back-
ground of wild nature with a complete truthfulness
and reality. Such elements he has introduced in his
poetry with impassioned delight, and yet he does not
offend aesthetic feeling nor morality. We have no
poet who could excel him in painting so truthfully the
scenery of nature nor one who could more admire
and appreciate its beauties. His genius is still more
to be appreciated when we learn the fact that it is not
given to one and the same individual to excel in two
different things, to fathom the depths of passion and
to comprehend the grand and sublime respiration of
nature. "The Castle of Kaniow " represents scenes
of bloody adventures which filled the whole of Ukraine
with horror and pain. Here the poet brought together
all the horrible events of that painfully memorable
epoch. He dramatized this tale, interweaving into it
incidents at which the soul is horrified, not at all re-
372 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
lieved by introduction of any of the softening influ-
ences of heroic love at least burning faintly in the
depth of grief and revenge. He delineated, however,
the appalling reality, and placed its pictures in the
sight of his own poetical fastasy, illumed only by a
flame of a night's conflagration. Yet these wild and
terrible beauties are in fact the true beauties of a crea-
tive artist, the conception of the poem and its finish
of genius but perhaps its most striking features con-
sist in the prominence of figures and characters,
uncommon individuality. Only great mental powers
could produce a poem like it.
Goszczynski's poetic spirit is strong, inflexible, deep
and fiery; wide as the river Dnieper, and boundless as
the limitless steppes: hence his poetic creations are
likenesses unto himself. Occasional incorrectness of
expression and the lack of clearness in the elucidation
of subjects is alleged against him, as also great haste
and precipitancy; but his buoyant spirit would not at
all times submit to certain precisions in composition.
While soaring through his beloved Ukraine, with its
beautiful scenes engraved upon his heart, he breathed
forth his inspirations untrammeled by any small obsta-
cles that lay in his way. Ukraine was his mother,
who nursed and fostered his poetic spirit; and it was
there where he spent his youth.
When Goszczynski came into the Carpathian Moun-
tains, and having surveyed their gigantic proportions,
their scenery and their beauty, a lone wanderer
amidst this grandeur, he wrote a poem, " St John's
Eve," and proved himself, as in "The Castle of
Kaniow," to be a master artist in the delineation of
Severin had a different task from almost any other
poet before him. He cut loose from despondency and
ideals, and was the first to approach reality in the
spiritual world. He was the forerunner of bloody
and violent commotions; and Mickiewicz's "Ode to
Youth" was a sort of a political manifesto; so was
Goszczynski's "Feast of Revenge," a watchword
calling to action. His "Three Strings" is also a
poem of great inspiration, of loftiness and harmony.
His latest poem, "The Mother of God," turns the
heart and mind to those blessed sources whence flow
faith and life.
Besides these he wrote "The King of the Castle,"
in which he has shown that even in our prosaic age
and in every-day spheres of our lives there is poetry;
but the genius of the poet is here intensified to bring
into plain sight poetry -where a common eye cannot
see it, by representing objects in charming and en-
Goszczynski belongs to that class of bards who,
whenever they strike with their rods there immediately
appear rich treasures of poesy. If he had not written
anything else beside "The King of the Castle," it
would be enough testimony that the soul of the author
possessed the power of the enchanter's wand, who has
awakened poesy in stones, and, like the second Moses,
can draw a spring of pure water to refresh and strength-
en the enfeebled and waning vital powers of the dying
His talent of presenting his characters in bold re-
lief is worthy of great admiration. With the artistic
brush of a Shakspeare he takes objects of ordinary
kind and lifts them up to higher ideal powers. In
some of his poems we can see a certain degree of ex-
aggeration, but he is never deficient in presenting facts
374 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
on the foundation of historical truths. His style, with
its customary freshness and beautiful coloring, is occa-
sionally unpolished and sometimes rough, but it is
always in harmony with the spirit and substance of
the subject. Goszczynski comes out in his poems not
only as an artist, but he also represents himself as a
political individuality. In all his compositions he paints
prominently his youth, his dreamings, his tendencies
and action. From these we can discern his physiognomy.
Goszczynski was born in the city of Lince, in Uk-
raine, in the year 1803. From 1811 to 1814 he at-
tended school at fathers Piiars; later he attended the
school at Winnica, and in 1816 at Human; but his
education was completed at Warsaw, where he formed
ties of mutual friendship with such distinguished men
as Bohdan Zaleski, Louis Zioikowski, Maurice Moch-
nacki and Michael Grabowski. With the latter he
went to Vienna in 1818. Returning to Warsaw, he
was active in the general national agitation. After
the downfall of the revolution of 1831, toward the end
of the year he went to France, and immediately joined
the so-called sect of Towianski and became one of
the most ardent of his adherents* He was heard of from
France by publishing in Posen, in 1842, a tale, "The
King of the Castle." In 1864 he wrote a beautiful
but somewhat mystic poem, "The Mother of God."
In 1867, on the 4th of May, he sent his oration to the
cemetery of Montmorenci, at Paris, on the occasion
of unveiling the monument erected to the memory of
Adam Mickiewicz. He died in 1879.
His works were published: " The Castle of Ka-
niow," Warsaw, 1828; "Writings," in three volumes,
Breslau, 1852; "The King of the Castle," Posen,
1842; " The Mother of God," 1864.
In living body drest^
And yet a corpse, I keenly feel that I
Have long outliv'd myself, and vainly try
To find a place of rest.
Adverse my fate, most sad my doom;
I fear all things, all things fear me.
This radiant world to me is as a tomb;
A specter cloth'd in mourning must I be.
Suffering as a penitent,
I roam the world with weary feet,
Where'er I turn some grief I meet.
Shunned by all things innocent,
While all most bitter 'neath the sun
Forever to me closely clings;
But more than all my sufferings,
The phantom-like, nude skeleton
Of conscience comes a specter dire.
'Tis in the way before my eyes;
It ever eats my heart as fire,
And "suffer, son of baseness!" cries.
Endure life that's a living death;
One time you courage lack'd to yield your breath
For your own glory and for others' good.
Fate brought you to a tyrant's presence then.
The impulse Heaven gave you you withstood,
Though with oppression moan'd your fellow men.
Eyes that the people's chains beheld
Overflowed with pity mild,
But the brave heart, with throbbing wild,
Almost tore the breast wherein it swelled.
Of action then had fully come the time;
Before you lay a new and noble life,
Perhaps a tomb, lout freedom's tomb sublime,
The famous bed of glory after strife;
376 POETS AND POETKY OF POLAND.
Triumph's bright wreaths had budded for you sweet,
Hymns prepared your ears to greet
From grateful people you had sav'd. But, no !
You would not let your poor life go.
A cold ordeal yours has been,
Yet dark and dreadful was your sin.
Your duty you neglected. When I cried,
My voice to stifle long you tried.
Suffer yourself, struggle with dread,
Torment yourself, let your heart bleed.
Since you'd not die when there was need,
Die while you are dead !
NEW YEAR'S PRAYER.
God! who art above the skies,
Wanderers we come. Most wise,
To Thee to bring
Our prayers, and sing
For our dear country's sake.
God! our dear people bless,
Poland's sons save from distress.
Break thralldom's chain!
And slavery's bane
From our dear people take!
OGod! Wilt Thou bless our land,
Bless Poland's wandering band!
In freedom yet
May she forget
Grief ere her sun goes down!
Bless, Lord, every one
Whom Poland claims her son,
Who strives with zeal
That greater weal
May his loved country crown!
Oh, then, God of mercy! bless
Our sad watches with success.
May they be brief,
Our days of grief,
Leave to return neyer !
Look upon our sore distress.
Grand in Thy forgiveness,
May rays divine
Of Thy grace shine
Round our land forever!
VINCENT POL occupied the first place among the
true national poets. From the beginning of his poetic
career he was a faithful exponent of experienced im-
pressions. Pol is an inspired traditional bard, and ex-
quisite delineator of quiet scenes, of the home-hearth,
of patriarchal life, and always a lover of simplicity.
His poetical character is apparent in his "Songs of
lanusz," "Pictures of the Mountaineers," in his
"Fugitive Pieces," and "Songs of Our Home." His
" Songs of lanusz " are not only nicely adapted to the
present generation, but they are that class of composi-
tions which future ages are waiting for because one
can see in them a whole living nation in its past, the
present, and the unfolding of the future. It has been
said of him that, if in the memory of men all traces of
national life were obliterated, and the little golden
book containing the "Songs of lanusz" were pre-
served from destruction, the inspired historian could
guess correctly the character of Polish history that
was, and a new bard could equally draw his materials
from the same source, and could reveal its future.
"The Pictures from Life and Travels," in which
the poet presents his songs to the people through a
smiling tear, does not fall behind the "Songs of
lanusz," for, even if their limits are somewhat nar-
rower, they have enriched the people with treasures
hitherto unknown, for they have struck deeper into the
heart than anything of the kind before. Nothing is
more beautiful than these pictures. With a heart full
of love Pol went into the mountains, looked over and
380 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
around, guessed all and comprehended everything. He
makes the language of gigantic nature his own. "The
Songs about Our Land " are so many diamonds, which,
although glistening with various colors of different
Polish dialects, constitute nevertheless one bright and
luminous light for every part of the Fatherland.
In writing these songs it was the aim of the poet to
demolish the walls that separated different parts of
Poland by dialects and customs distinguishing them
from one another; to get them acquainted with each
other; lift their spirits above the common level sur-
rounding them; to place them together on high, and
to show them the beautiful land flowing with milk and
honey, and to say to them: "See, here! here is your
It can be asserted with truth that stillness is the
most charming Muse of Pol. She always delights in
calm tranquillity. She leads him into the shades of
eternal woods, so that they might tell him of their im-
memorial history. She takes him to the ancient clois-
ters, where their somber appearance tells him of events
of long ago. Wrapped up in reveries of charming
tranquillity he sings in elegiac tones of fertile fields, of
meadows, mountains, and the magnificence of Polish
rivers. These songs are not vain Jeremiads, but the
expressions of grand reality, and as they are founded
on truth they only charm the more. Pol can, in a
thousand ways, present his native land in the most
interesting and beautiful colors.
"With ever-present freshness Poi charms his readers
and insures his compositions a deserved reputation;
he knows how to knock at the heart, and the feeling of
his readers always approvingly responds. His diction
is stamped with manly age, comporting with the epoch
of which he is a distinguished representative. In him
one finds a certain fullness of form and vitality of in-
ternal powers, ever accompanied by a peculiar peace
of mind and an equilibrium between ardor and reflec-
tion leading the spirit into a world of calm resignation.
His family attachments are very strong, as is his at-
tachment to his fatherland and his native heath. In
his retrospection of the Past one can see the sorrows
and mourning of an orphan, but without any bitter-
ness, or any apparent feelings of deep affliction.
Thus far Pol has passed his life in literary pursuits,
not only with the greatest credit to himself, but also to
the pleasure and satisfaction of his countrymen. Some
of his poems -are wrought with the skill of a great
artist, for, frequently while reading them, it seems as
if he sung them himself with a harmonious and charm-
Pol was born in 1807 in Galicia, where his father
occupied a place in the judicial department. He
was educated at Lublin, and after finishing the course
he traveled in Rhenish provinces. After the events of
1831, in which he took an active part, he returned to
his native surroundings, and then traveled over the
Carpathian Mountains, and resided for some time
among the mountaineers. In 1846 he experienced
fearful strokes of misfortune. In 1847 he organized
the chronological publication of the library of Ossoliri-
skis. In 1848 he obtained a diploma of "Doctor,"
and became a professor of geography in the University
of Cracow. He afterward retired to Lemberg, where,
we suppose, he still resides, full of years and honors.
His works were published in Posen, Cracow, Leip-
sic, "Warsaw, and Lemberg. Among these we can
mention "Poetry of Yincent Pol," "Mohort," an he-
382 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
roic rhapsody, " Getting Home after a Storm," " Pic-
tures of tlie Mountaineers," "Song of a Prisoner,"
"Memoirs of Winnicki," "My Aunt," "The Word
and the Fame," "The Street Organ," "Songs of Our
Home," "A Tale without an End." Besides these
we can mention his "Dissertations on Natural Sci-
ence" and "Geographical Lexicon." "The Songs of
lanusz" (Piesnie lanusza) were all written by Vincent
SONG OF THE MOUND.
" Leci li^die z drzewa,
Co wyroslo wolne."
tree nursed by freedom!
Thy leaves are fast falling;
Over the mound yonder
A lone bird is calling:
There never was never
One hope for thee, Poland;
The dream is departed,
Thy children have no land!
Flame wraps ev'ry village,
Destroyed is each city,
And voices of women
Rise calling for pity.
From home and from hearthstone,
In swarms all are hasting,
In fields of their labor
The ripe grain is wasting.
When children of Warsaw
Repeated her story,
It seemed as if Poland
Would conquer with glory.
They fought through the winter
To summer's sad waning;
To welcome the autumn
None none were remaining.
The struggle was ended
For hearts vainly burning
To hearths of the native
No feet are returning.
Some earth cover'd over,
In dungeons some languish,
Some scattered in exile
Of home, dream in anguish.
No help comes from Heaven, .
No aid from hands human,
We weep o'er the waste lands
That flowers vainly bloom in.
dear country Poland!
If 'mid thy despoiling
The children who loved thee
Had taken while toiling
384 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Of earth but a handful,
By fatherland nourished,
Rebuilt on lost Poland
Another had flourished!
thou little star that sparkled
When I first saw light,
Wherefore has thy brightness darkled?
Why so pale to-night?
Wherefore shin'st thou not as brightly
As when I, a child,
On my mother's bosom nightly
Swiftly, swiftly, hast thou sped thee
Through the blue beyond;
In bewild'ring way hast led me
Ways I should have shunn'd.
Through the heavens thou speedest gaily,
Followed I thy lure ;
Of my life bloom weaving daily
But the roses in them faded
Yellow grows my May;
With the life so darkly shaded
No illusions stay.
On the vistas spread before me
Look I now through tears;
Since in heavens stretching o'er me,
Pale thy light appears.
ray little star! restore them
With thy sparkling rays;
Still my soul is longing for them,
For those happy days.
With them yet I fain would linger,
Past delights I crave
Ere my fate's relentless finger
Beckons to the grave.
Louis KONDRATOWICZ, known under the pseudonym
of Syrokomla, is one of those youthful poets who
in their time stood at the head of the bards of
greatest literary power. He was equally a learned
scholar and a profound thinker; he did not chase after
fame on account of his originality, but as a master of
the forms already in existence; he adorns them with
the pearls of his poetic spirit, besides an uncommon
ease and simplicity which throws charming surround-
ings around the reader. The lyrico-epic mantle of his
"Chit-Chats " is the same as Pol's and Zaleski's, gush-
ing from the sources of inspiration. To the minds sea-
soned to the glistenings of eternal youth of the
pictures of long ago his compositions proved welcome
visitors. In this species of poetic creations consists
Syrokomla's fondness. From his "Chit-Chats," in
which the historical narrator and sad-feeling lyrist
unites in himself the different qualities, we find almost
in every line in every thought, fresh fragrance of
nature and truth; we perceive everywhere natural
colors of simplicity, happily conceived, and so plainly
expressed that even a man unacquainted with the past
history of his country and literature, if he were only
possessed of pure feeling, would be immediately
initiated in Syrokomla's tenderness and simplicity. As
are the "Chit-Chats" so are also his "Fugitive
Rhymes," which we find in great variety, but always
marked by expressions of fidelity to nature and tender-
388 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
ness of feeling ; but when we still further consider the
beautiful intellectual principle and honest intentions
we still more admire their intrinsic value. There we
find a true love of God and humankind, honest and
appreciative feeling of beauty, and a noble incitement
to everything that is good, and always an upright
tendency toward progression.
Perhaps the most feeling of all of Kondratowicz's
poetic creations is "The Death of Acernus." He took up
very skillfully the beautiful and yet very mournful
scene of the death of the Polish poet Klonowicz(q. v.),
of the sixteenth century. The poet, impressed with
the solemnity of the hour, sings with great feeling and
tenderness the sad demise of the bard, who in the hour
of God's inspiration rebuked the sinners, and tried to
turn his beloved countrymen to truth, contrition, and
Another great service rendered by Kondratowicz to
Polish literature was the translation of Polish-Latin
poets, such as Kochanowski, Sarbiewski, Szyrnonowicz,
and others, which were published in his " History of
Polish Literature." Kondratowicz was one of the
most fertile of Polish poets, and although he did not
excel in everything, he could, with his simplicity and
deep feeling, draw tears from the eyes of his readers.
Enlivened by true poetic spirit, he excelled almost all
of his contemporaries in the depth of feeling and the
love of his native land. In these wonderful " Chit-
Chats" we hear the roar of the old Lithuanian forests;
we plainly perceive the winding of the grand blue
rivers; we again converse with our old and noble an-
cestors; we see the old battles, victories, and joyous
feasts; in a word, whatever this tender poet sings
from his pain-stricken breast breathes with love of
everything that is true, familiar, and natural. In
peace and harmony with the whole natural brother-
hood, he saw the salvation of the Polish land, and
upon this he founded the happy futurity of the people.
He rebuked and satirized the old foibles and chimeras
of the nobility, and tried to eradicate these stumbling
blocks so that the people could be once more united by
the reciprocal ties of brotherly affection. The chiefest
stamp of Syrokomla's poetry is the characteristics of a
people governed more by the impulses of the heart
than the mind.
Kondratowicz was born in 1822 at a place called
Smolkow, near the city of Minsk. He received his
education from Fathers Dominicans at Nieswiezo. At
twenty-one he was married and settled in a rural dis-
trict. In 1853, having lost by death several children,
and suffering himself from ill-health, he went to Wilno,
but in a short time returned again into rural life, not
far from where he resided formerly, and lived almost
in seclusion. After a while he gave his property up to
his parents and settled in the city of Wilno. In 1858
he traveled in Great Poland and visited Cracow, where
he was received with much cordiality and distinction.
Returning he lived again at Wilno, from whence he
went to Warsaw. Being overpowered by bodily sick-
ness and great mental depression, he succumbed to the
accumulated vicissitudes and died the 15th day of
All the writings of this distinguished poet belong to
that class that are truly popular. Although eighteen
summers are passed away since his death, the Polish
Nation can hardly realize that Syrokomla will sing for
them no more forever!
The following are among his works that were already
390 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
published: "Chit-Chats," and "Fugitive Rhymes,"
Wilno, 1853; " Baka Regenerated," St. Petersburg,
1854; "John Demborog," Warsaw, 1854; "Cottage in
the Woods," and "Margier," Wilno, 1855; '-Death of
Acernus," 1856; " Johnnie Cmentarnik," 1856; "The
Old Gate," " Easter Thursday," " Days of Penitence
and Resurrection," 1858; "Wanderings in My Dis-
trict," "Ulas," a war pastoral, 1858; "Sophia, the
Princess of Sluck," 1858; "Poetry of the Last Hour,"
Warsaw, 1862. Also "The History of Polish Litera-
ture," and a most beautiful translation of the songs of
Beranger. All the known and unknown writings of
Kondratowicz were published by lagielski, at Posen.
DEATH OF THE NIGHTINGALE.
Shut in a wire cage amid the great city's roar
Was once a nightingale;
But his desire to sing grew on him more and more;
So strong it must prevail.
Here is no shade, no elder trees, no hazel bush
His little head to hide;
No sweet companion here, for here no streamlets gush
And through the meadows glide.
No dear ones here to hear him sing, though he should die
Amid his bursts of song.
In the congenial open air he may not fly,