His narrow cage is strong.
Instead of gentle winds the wheels' harsh rumbling blends
With shaking walls' loud jar;
From carriages of rich men, finely drest, ascends
The dust-cloud near and far.
Murmurs of a noisy crowd instead of streamlet clear
In busy, bustling ways ;
Oh! where is peace and quiet? where is freedom here,
Prophetic songs to raise?
His soft breast almost bursts ; now his small head shakes,
He chokes with blinding dust;
But born into the world a nightingale, he makes
One effort sing he must.
With sweet increasing melody he lifts his song,
Sings out his longings vain;
But soon his voice is drowned by hurrying throng,
Intent but on some gain.
His notes soar higher and higher, o'er all the noise
In musical despair,
Thrilled by the memory of vanished joys,
When he was free as air.
His little wings are weak, he flaps them all in vain ;
He flutters with faint breath ;
His warm and tender heart just warbles one more strain,
But 'tis the note of Death !
THE SOLDIER WANDERER.
(Na tern twardem szczudle mojem.)
With this hard crutch to lean upon
I have wandered all the wide world o'er
Mourning the ills I've undergone,
My countless woes and trials sore.
God only knows how much I've borne
While fighting boldly in the war;
And proofs of valor I have worn
Where balls were flying thick and far.
392 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
How oft on picket I've remained.
Pinched with hunger, chilled with cold,
Yet murmured never nor complained,
But did my duty true and bold.
And at my general's behest
I've waded to the fortress' wall
Through blood of comrades I loved best,
Could aught more terrible befall?
Though I was not a soldier long,
I've fought on famous battle-grounds;
Have lost a limb, once good and strong,
And suffered honorable wounds.
Now I must beg from door to door.
Ye rich! with ample fortune blessed,
Though fate has granted goodly store,
Ye harken not to the distressed !
Such is the recompense of all
Who nobly acted, nobly fought.
And happily does it befall ;
My spirit grieves, but changes not.
THE PLOUGHMAN AND THE LARK.
'Tis morn ! You sing already, lark, and I begin to plough,
For man must dearly purchase life by toil and sweat of brow.
He labors for his household beneath the heavens so broad,
While ye, who toil not, live. Still we are children of one God.
You are my companion now, though different is our lot.
You dream of love and pleasure; but, oh! I know them not.
You are gay and happy ever, and when the morning breaks
You fly to swell the grand " Hosanna " the angel wakes.
Your sweet song pleases heaven, and your thanks are very dear
To our God, who gives the little that you require here.
And your joyous chatterings, oft repeated, o'er and o'er,
To all the world announce the praise to God forevermore !
You sing already, lark, and I with aching heart must plough.
As you heavenward rise, dear bird, pray for the ploughman
Say that, sailing o'er the village, you saw much misery,
And hunger, too.* Spring is not as kind as your sweet melody.
Rising early in the morning, we scarce can lift our hands
To praise our God. Our breasts are chilled, and sorrow by
The sight of spring nor moi'ning star can bring us gladsome
When every morn the church bell tolls the death of loved
The children cry, men suffer, and the world is hid by tears;
For the lark the spring is life, but death the ploughman fears.
Pray for us, lark, that pitying God may take us in His care,
And grant us heaven to sing His gloiy forever there!
COUNTRYMEN, I BEG ASSISTANCE.
(Pomoc dajcie mi Rodacy.)
Countrymen, I beg assistance,
Trouble sorely has bereft me;
I must beg for my subsistence,
Since for toil but one hand's left me.
Countrymen, in this land royal,
A poor wand'ring fellow mortal,
A bold soldier, true and loyal,
Begs for aid without your portal.
Both my aged parents leaving,
Leaving home and wife so cherished;
* Written during great scarcity.
394 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Leaving my poor children grieving,
Fought I where I might have perished.
On the battle-fields most gory
Fought I 'neath my country's banner;
Blood I've shed on fields of glory,
Now to beg beside your manor.
Of my wealth a thief bereft me,
Storm and fire my home molested;
Brother, mother, wife have left me,
In the grave they long have rested.
'Neath a cruel fate's oppression,
Scorn and need with grim persistence
Leave me nothing in possession,
Save one hand to beg assistance.
Joy and hope no longer burning
I but wander, wander ever,
For my native heath I'm yearning,
But I shall behold it never.
Some old friend my mem'ry keeping,
Mayhap thinks of me with longing;
Some perchance may fall to weeping,
Their sad thoughts toward me thronging.
Where steel clashed and balls were ringing
When I fought the foe, if only
Some swift ball from mercy winging
Had but stilled this heart so lonely.
Sword in hand death would have found me
Fighting 'mid the leaden shower;
But to-day grief closes round me,
Which no weapon can o'erpower.
MATTHEW'S UNLUCKY TURNS.
"(Przysz*a kryska na Matyska.")
Matthew lived in days now olden ;
His like since has ne'er existed
Handsome, with a fortune golden,
Of rare joy his days consisted.
He was loved and knew no trouble,
And though some with envy burning
Saw his fortune, none thought Matthew's
Golden tide would e'er be turning.
And a maiden, black-eyed, handsome,
Loved him with a love confiding,
Vowed Dear Matthew, my own darling,
My true love shall be abiding!
But another chap with money
Came and bought her heart's affection;
Matthew, spurned, received this cruel
Stroke of fate in deep dejection.
My dear Matthew, never mind it
Sorrow not for such a trifle;
To the tavern come and join us,
Quickly all this trouble stifle!
Thus his chums beguiled his sorrow
With their words of cheer and gladness;
"Eight, friends," Matthew said; this folly
Paid he for in grief and sadness.
In the bowl he drowned his sorrow,
Half a week he drank for pleasure
Treating all who came around him,
Treating without stint or measure.
But in paying for the liquor
All his money was expended
To his wretched home he wandered,
Ill-luck every step attended.
396 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
From his trouble and hard drinking
Matthew sickened unto dying
Then the doctor came to see him
All his trouble multiplying;
For his visits and prescriptions
Took three horses from the stable.
Then poor Matthew left the country
To endure his fate unable.
Ere he died he thus concluded:
By my friends to be remembered,
In my will I must leave something
To each one for service rendered.
In his hut, alas! was nothing
But some matting old and tattered.
And poor Matthew sighed perceiving
All his plans by ill-luck shattered!
At last dying, as Job's turkey,
Poor was he, and ruined wholly;
The old remnants of his wardrobe
Formed the rest for head so lowly.
At his funeral was no mourner;
Who has seen aught so depressing?
Four old beggars bore the coffin
Now was fortune most distressing.
'Neath the grave-sod in the churchyard
'He was buried; ah, poor fellow!
His demise no bells were tolling
In their tones so sad and mellow.
By the side of a small chapel
Is a fir-tree cross; the path you
Trace and read thereon as written:
" The last turn has come to Matthew.'
ANTON EDWAKD ODYNIEC, born 1809, is the author
of a few lyric productions, such as "The Wedding,"
etc. , but he distinguished himself chiefly by his trans-
lations. He translated Walter Scott's "Lady of the
Lake," "The Bride of Abydos" of Byron, "The Fire
Worshipers " of Moore, "Corsair" and " Heaven and
Earth" by Byron, also "Mazeppa," and rendered into
Polish the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," by Walter
Scott. The translation of ballads from Burger, Zu-
kowski and Pushkin, as also Schiller's "The Maid of
Orleans," revert greatly to the credit of Odyniec.
His satiric poem, "The "Specters," combines elegance
with great wit, and a wholesome moral to the would-
be poets. When nothing could drive away ghosts
from a haunted building, the declamation of an indif-
ferent poet of one of his compositions at the witching
hour of night set the ghosts to yawning, and so dis-
gusted them that they left the premises, positively and
forever. Mr. Odyniec resides at present in Warsaw.
His " Felicita, or The Martyrs of Carthagena," a
drama in five acts, as also "Barbara Radziwii," are
esteemed as productions of very high order.
PRAYERS (A LEGEND).
" Des Herzens Andacht hebt sich frey zu Gott,
Das Wort 1st todt, der Glaube rnacht lebendig." SCHILLER.
The sight of a lake! Oh! how beautiful!
At evening's hush in summer's time,
When over it gently the soft winds lull
The waves to sleep with a mystic rhyme.
398 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Oh! how gratefully then the billows' roar
Sounds in the ears of lookers on;
They glisten with blue near the further shore,
Slowly fade as they near anon.
With just such weather, the skies were bright,
Gently sighed the evening wind,
When a worthy pastor, at edge of night,
Beside the lake his way inclined.
Already the last bright rays of the sun
Behind the mountains strove to hide;
But from the West appeared a single one,
That strangely charmed the waters wide.
The pastor to heaven lifted his eyes,
And long he gazed in holy thought.
How good! how mighty is He! and how wise!
Who all these stars to being brought!
The sun's fiery course to His will He bends,
Compels the moon along her way;
To fill the soundless depths the water sends;
Bids them remain, and they obey.
Why is the grass upon the earth so green?
The night so dark? the day so light?
Who gave spring flowers? autumn's scene?
Sweet fruits and grain for man's delight?
Whose mandate, "Let there be," created all?
And whose breath caused this world to be?
Thus musing did the pious pastor fall
Before his God on bended knee.
After a moment's pause, upon the tide
He turned his eyes once more, and then
A peasant, leaping over a log, he spied,
And saw him jumping back again.
" That's for you, God,"' at ev'ry jump he cries,
And, jumping back, "this is for me."
The pastor viewed the act with much surprise.
" What are you doing? " questioned he.
" I pray." " How's that? " the pastor said; " 'tis odd.
Can it be you know not your prayers?
Have you no church? Have you no house of God?
No pastor who the Word declares?"
" I knew not from my childhood's early day.
Amidst the woods I've lived alone,
Nor wander hence. I have no time to stray,
But praise my God as best I've known.
" Whether I sow, or gather sheaves of grain,
Or whether I am making hay,
Whether the sun shines bright, or falls the rain,
I praise and thank my God alway."
The pastor marveling his knowledge spare,
Began the worth of prayer to tell,
Explained its nature, taught him the Lord's prayer,
And spoke of God and virtue well.
And when he deemed that he had well impressed
His teaching on the peasant's heart,
And said the prayers once more with him, he blessed
The boor, and went his way apart.
With a slow pace traveling o'er the sand
He passed at length around the lake,
And saw the evening star in luster grand
Above the hills in beauty wake.
Through the immensity of heaven's blue,
Swimming in the effulgent light,
Its rays from the lake's bottom glitter through,
Like memories of past delight.
400 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Its brightness seemed close to the bottom clasped,
Like virtue to an upright heart;
It will last unchanged, though by whirlpools grasped,
Though billows over it roar and dart.
As the mist of the valley upward goes
By sunbeams from the meadow caught,
So the pastor's spirit heavenward rose
On wings of happy, pious thought.
Then he heard a voice. From afar it spake,
And, ah! he is filled with sudden fear.
For, walking on waves of the rolling lake,
He saw the peasant drawing near.
"Wait, father! wait!" the peasant besought.
" Repeat the prayers before you go
Once more ; for what you told me I forgot,
Although I wish them well to know. 1 '
The pastor, seeing such strong evidence
That in God's grace he had a part,
Said to him: " Son, in your own way pray hence;
More than the words God loves the heart.
" Before the throne, my son, first precedence,
Your virtue and industry take,"
The pastor said. The happy peasant thence
Returned in safety o'er the lake.
JULIAN KORSAK. 401
JULIAN KORSAK has a peculiar characteristic of his
own in a certain style of lyrical boldness and loftiness,
and laudable competition in translations; and another
fact 'which is not to be overlooked is his noble en-
deavors (in which he was successful) to beautify the
Polish verse with flowers of Eastern poesy. The
whole is stamped with these attractions, and forms
quite a large volume "Poetry of Julian Korsak."
In this volume his lyrics are flashing with resplendent
light. The two-sided soul of his poetry is glistening
toward the "West with lyrics, and to the East with
" Bey ram."
Korsak has done great service to Polish literature
by his translation of the "Divine Comedy" of Dante,
upon which he labored for twelve years, and we may
say the best part of his life. In this work, permeated
and carried away by the spirit of the great master's
Christian poesy, we find many explanations of points
in the poem very difficult to understand.
In the translation of this poem Korsak had not
alone in view his own personal fame, but also a con-
scientious responsibility; uniting his own spirit with
the spirit of Dante, he seemed to have acquired new
poetic strength as well as inspiration; all conceptions
and thoughts in fact all the spiritual powers un-
folded within him on the grandest scale, befitting the
bard who sung the great theme of Eternity.
He was born in 1807, and after finishing his educa-
tion in the University of Wilno, from 1826 to 1830, he
resided alternately at Warsaw and St. Petersburg, de-
402 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
voting his time to still further improvement and cul-
ture. After the death of his father he succeeded as
heir to a large landed estate in the county of Slonim,
and was made the president of the county court ; but
at the expiration of his term he returned into rural
seclusion and devoted himself to literature and sciences.
In the year 1853, in order to improve his failing health,
he went to Nowogrodek (Newtown), and after a few
months' illness died on the 30th of September, same
His work " Poetry " was published at Posen, 1833,
and at St. Petersburg, 1839; " Lara," from Byron, 1836;
"New Parnassus," translation of Shakspeare's tragedy
of " Romeo and Juliet " ; " Twardowski the Sorcerer,"
"Dramatic Dialogues," " Camoens in the Hospital,"
and many fugitive pieces. The " Divine Comedy "
was published in 1840.
THE FROZEN TEAR
Soft o'er the white bed falls the moon's pure light;
'Tis bleak and chill, but Love its vigil keeps,
As maiden hither comes each dreary night,
And at her loved one's tomb till morn she weeps.
'Tis bleak and chill, but neither drifting snow
Nor wintry storm the maiden's heart appalls.
She seeks his grave to pray her sad tears flow,
And one bright drop upon the gravestone falls.
The tear was hot, but, chilled by the cold blast
And storm at night, was frozen to the stone
Like drops of sleet to tree limbs frozen fast,
Through all the night all, all the day it shone.
An angel saw it and with joy divine
Within his hand the frozen tear-drop bore.
JULIAN KORSAK. 403
Pity in heaven willed that it should shine
A pearl in her bright crown forevermore !
MY BELOVED ONE.
Her lips are ever streaming
Sweet kisses unto me,
Her eyes which light are beaming
Are light as eyes can be;
How beautiful is she !
Oh ! when to me she's speaking
My soul her accents hears,
And though my heart were breaking
She'd soothe my grief and tears;
How tender then is she!
Whene'er her true love greeting
She moves in airy grace,
Their lips in kisses meeting
And clasped in close embrace,
How passionate is she!
When change's wing soars over
Joys green and springing heath,
Misfortune finds her lover
And blasts him with his breath,
How constant then is she!
Before a week be flying
Another love she'll take,
And scorn her first love's- sighing,
Although his heart should break ;
How fickle then is she!
She bids her lover smother
His feeling, and depart;
Her hand she gives another,
But no one owns her heart;
How curst, how curst is she!
404 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
STEPHEN WITWICKI was born at Krzemieniec, in the
province of Podolia, where his father was a professor
in the Lyceum. After finishing his education he went
to Warsaw, where he obtained a position of great
honor and importance, being appointed one of the
chiefs in the " Commission of Learning." In the lit-
erary fights of those days between the Classics and
Romantics he joined the ranks of the latter. He left
his lucrative office, preferring to go to France, where
he became personally acquainted with Mickiewicz and
Zaleski, and turned his mind to the awakening of the
true religious feeling of the Polish people.
Witwicki was a thoughtful, careful, and a finished
poet. He wrote ballads, pastorals, and biblical po-
etry; also tales in verse, as, for instance, "Edmund,"
his "Life's Account of a Country Gentleman,"
"Spring," "A Change," and "The Yoices," the last
especially of great Christian humility, but full of po-
etic power. His moral and literary miscellanies are
pleasing and instructive. His "Evenings of a Pil-
grim," and in fact all of Witwicki's poetical works,
were published in Warsaw, Paris, as also in Leon
Zienkowicz's "Library of Polish Poets," Leipsic,
1866; his "Gadu-Gadu" (Chit-Chats), at Leipsic in
1850, and at St. Petersburg, 1852. This honored bard
died in Rome, 1847.
A little boy of curious ways,
With brilliant eyes and rosy lips,
With golden hair and damask cheeks,
I met with on my morning trips.
I gazed upon him for a while,
Thinking he -had a tale to tell
When with a lurking, meaning smile,
He asked me " If my heart was well? 1 '
But gazing at my visitor
I saw some arrows 'neath his wing;
Aha! said I, there's danger here,
With this mischievous little thing!
Again he asked, while there I stood,
If to his pangs I was a stranger?
I answered not, but quickly ran
From such a sudden, threat'ning danger!
With panting breast and bosom thrilling
At having 'scaped from such a storm,
I fled unto my Anna's dwelling,
To hide beside her lovely form.
But know ye what befel me there,
How I was caught in Cupid's snai-e?
I fell exhausted at her feet,
And lo! the little rogue was there.
('"Rrzy mqj guiady, ziemie grzebie.")
Yonder stands my sorrel neighing
Parting time draws near;
Farewell father farewell mother,
Farewell sisters dear.
Haste my steed! the voice calls loudly
To the battle plain
On the field thou lookest proudly,
Proudly shak'st thy mane.
406 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND,
To the field where hosts assemble,
With the wind away !
Let the foe before us tremble
We shall win the day!
'Mid the ranks of dead and dying
If I chance to fall,
Take thy way, my steed, in flying
Homeward free from thrall!
Hark! I hear my sisters calling
Shall we turn my steed?
No! to where the foe is falling
Let us haste with speed!
If thou shalt ever meet
Spring's sweetest, loveliest rose,
With balmy breezes sweet,
Whose cheek with brightness glows
Like Orion's purest light,
Whose words breathe but delight,
And if she ask with love for me
'Tis Josephine be sure 'tis she!
If like the silent stream,
When flowing without noise,
Or like the moon's sweet beam,
From thoughtless crowds she flies;
To all she knows is kind,
Pure, noble, and refined
And if she ask with love for me
'Tis Josephine be sure 'tis she!
If thou shalt see a tear
Roll down her rosy cheek,
And if she doth appear
With feeling pure to speak;
And in her brightest eye
Thou shalt see modesty,
And if she ask with love for me
'Tis Josephuie be sure 'tis she!
If thou shalt ever see
Some orphans or the poor,
Who driven by poverty
Enter her welcome door;
And if her heart doth beat
With sympathy replete,
And if she ask with love for me
'Tis Josephine be sure 'tis she!
But if thou e'er of love
To her by chance shalt speak,
And if a tear of sorrow
Do not bedew her cheek;
And not a sigh she give,
Her bosom does not heave,
And if she does not ask for me,
My Josephine, it is not she!
408 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
MAURICE GOS&AWSKI was born in 1805; a man of the
noblest heart and most exalted mind; not only one of
the greatest Polish poets, but also one of the truest of
Poland's sons. Being concerned in the revolution of
1831, he was never remiss in duty as a soldier, nor
neglected the cause of his country as a patriot. He
was so honest and honorable besides, that he had the
love of the whole country, and when he died we may
truly say that Poland lost not only one of her greatest
poets, but she also lost one of the most high-minded
and honorable of her sons. His death took place in
Stanishiwow (Galicia), 1839.
Almost all of his poetry breathes with most devoted
love to his country and a friendly and brotherly attach-
ment to the whole people. He is the author of "Po-
dolian Wedding," "Renegat," "Banco," and many
others. His fugitive pieces are full of great poetic
spirit and pathos.
HAD I THE ROYAL EAGLE'S WING.
"Gdyby orlem byd."
Had I the royal eagle's wing
How soon Podolia's air I'd breathe,
And rest beneath that sunny sky
Where all my thoughts and wishes wreathe.
'Tis there I first beheld the light,
There passed by happiest, earliest, years ;
Tis there my father's ashes lay,
Sunned with my smiles, dewed with my tears.
Oh! were I but the regal bird,
I'd fly to where my steps once trod,
And where my hopes are buried up;
Then change me to an eagle, God!
Oh! would I were a brilliant star
Whose light illumes Podolia's groves,
That I might gaze throughout the night
On her, the girl my spirit loves!
Then from the silvery clouds I'd send
Unto her eyelids visions bright
As those soft rays which Luna beams
Upon the lakes in summer's night.
To watch with eyes unseen her steps,
To gaze upon her form afar,
My soul's transported with the thoughts ;
Change me, heavens, to a star!
Why dream the thought, my bursting soul,
Thy aspii*ations are in vain;
Exiled to far and foreign land,
Ne'er shall I see my home again.
Accursed am I ! yon eagle soars,
The star of night rolls glittering on;
My home is far, my soul is chained,
Tears flow around me, hope is gone !
Dearest! I keep a secret still
A holy secret, all my own;
My eyes with tears for sadness fill,
I smile and make my rapture known.
410 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
But darling! in those eyes of thine
There glistens neither tears nor joy;
I see not there the doom divine
Which shall uplift me or destroy.
Thou hast no need to tell me twice
Of the destruction held in store,
One look from thee will still suffice:
In it are all my hopes and more.
My soul 'tis easy o upraise
To that which makes it paradise;
Its only need or wish to gaze
Into the heaven within thine eyes.
RAYMUND KORSAK. 411
RAYMUND KORSAK was born in 1767, in White Rus-
sia, and was a colonel in the Polish army. As a poet
he is mostly known by his elegant effusions "To Poe-
try," as also by his "Introduction" to the poem of
Rev. Baka on " Infallible Death."
He died in Podolia, 17th of November, 1817. His
friend, Bohusz, erected a monument to his memory,
with this inscription: "The memory of a virtuous man
shall outlive ages." He distinguished himself in lyric
poetry, especially in the composition of hymns.
ODE TO GOD.
Avaunt! ye empires, powers, kings,
That this too-little earth contains;
My Muse a higher theme now sings,
Heaven's pure regions she attains!
To her, my Muse, the Alpine height
Is as the valley spread below;
From turbulence she taketh flight,
From crash of storms that overthrow.
She speeds aloft on soaring wings,
And loses in aerial realms;
All monuments of earthly things