Before the glory that o'erwhelms.
Thou sovereign of birth and death !
At Thy command, supreme, divine,
Rose suns and stars and worlds beneath,
But never was beginning Thine!
And what our feeble thoughts transcend,
Thou neither yet shalt have an end!
412 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Thou sittest on majestic throne;
Time at Thy word begun its course;
All omnipotence is Thy own;
Of wisdom Thou Thyself a source.
Stern justice rests within Thy hand,
For us Thy mercy still provides.
Lord of all! whose sole command
Creates, exalts, upholds, divides!
Thou on unaided power dost rest,
Before whose thunder angels quake,
And through the heavens manifest
The might that stills when storms awake.
Thou lightest stars, and dost create
The rocks that hide not from Thy face;
Thou rulest o'er all human fate,
And with Thy presence fillest space.
In the beginning, self sustained,
Thy will itself created Thee,
Thy wisdom in its breadth contained
Of worlds the vast immensity!
Above the chaos spread around,
Mid elements confusion rent,
O'er darkness all unpierced by sound
Thy living breath, Thy touch, wast sent.
Then rose the sun with glowing ray,
And nature saw creation's day!
EXTRACT FROM A RELIGIOUS POEM.
For gifts bestowed since earth I trod,
That to my saddened heart were given,
I thank Thee mostly, great God !
That but a mortal I am here.
ANTON GORECKI was a writer of lyric poetry and
fables. The distinguishing marks of Gorecki's fables
are that they are in reality little satires, with a view
of pointing out the weak side of the society in which
he lived, and to correct faults and foibles in a general
way. His ballad "The Doom of the Traitor to His
Country " is truly beautiful. " The Taking of the Pass
of Samo-Siera " is also an uncommon production. All
his fugitive compositions are permeated by genuine wit
and patriotic feeling. As a poet his name will always
occupy a high place in Polish literature.
Gorecki was born in 1787, in the province of Wilno.
His education began at home and in the schools of
Wilno, and later he entered the University of Wilno.
In spite of the Russian government's orders he made his
way through to Warsaw and joined the army. In the
campaign of 1812 he distinguished himself as an officer
in the battle of Smolensk, and received the cross of the
Legion of Honor and participated in all battles. After
Napoleon's return he went to Cracow to be healed of
his wounds. He settled in the country with the rank
of captain, and gave himself up to farming pursuits,
literature and poetry. After 1815 he traveled in for-
eign countries, visiting Germany and Italy. Returning,
he settled in Lithuania, and was one of the most active
members of the so-called society of "Ragamuffins,"
but in reality a club of young men of great talent, who
published a newspaper called "The Street News," a
very celebrated institution of its day. After the break-
ing out of the revolution of 1830 Gorecki, being a
414 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
member of the national committee of Wilno, was made
agent, and went to Switzerland, London and Paris,
where, after the end of the revolution, he remained till
after his death. He was in close connections with
Mickiewicz, Zaleski, Witwicki and other distinguished
men, and shared with them the vicissitudes of a life
generally experienced by refugees. He died the 18th
of September, 1861.
His works were published in Paris. " Poetry of a
Lithuanian," 1834; "Fables," 1839; "Seyba," 1837;
"New Collection," 1858; "Another Little Volume,"
1859; and "Miscellaneous," 1861.
DOOM OF THE TRAITOR TO HIS COUNTRY.
" Smier6 Zdrajcy Ojczyzny."
The night was dark! The gloomy silence poured
Calmness on Nature's breast, to peace restored;
Then the pale moon arose to view,
And nearer the appointed moments drew
When spirits, on their tireless wings,
Descend beneath the star-beamed glow
To soothe with sleep the sufferings
That mortals know.
Beside the river
Which flows forever,
Whose turgid billows moan unrest,
A stately castle rears its crest.
There a loathsome traitor lies
On gilded bed, that gives no ease,
And waits for sleep to close his eyes,
And bring his guilty bosom peace.
Now and again the glimmering light
That from the costly lamps outshone
Showed through the shadows of the night
The wealth obtained through crime alone.
With care and labor, year by year,
Of gold he hoarded many a store.
The treasures of the world were here,
But, lacking peace, he slept no more.
The moments fly!
The town clock, striking solemnly,
Tolls twelve but yet no blessed sleep
Doth o'er his weary senses creep.
Yes! from his pillow sleep goes hence
To huts, and lets its blessing fall
O'er those who lived in affluence
Ere for their country they lost all.
But he, his land's degenerate son,
Waits still for sleep to bring relief,
And, trembling like an autumn leaf,
Remorseful shivers through him run.
Sleepless, he leaves his gilded bed,
Bends o'er the coffers filled with gold,
And thinks to soothe the spirit's dread
With glittering treasures there untold.
Hark! through the heavens a roll of thunder crashes!
The lightnings blaze in ire!
The flickering lights expire!
Backward the door, unhinged, the whirlwind dashes!
Then the pale moon gleams through,
Disclosing to the view
416 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
A stately form, and staid,
In mourning garb arrayed.
A still and somber guest,
With pale hands folded on a bleeding breast.
Beholding that pale form,
The traitor trembles. Whether it is warm
With life he knows not, nor can comprehend.
His hair stands up on end,
And he cries out, " Who tries to frighten me?
Speak, or die instantly! "
But from the form is heard
In answer not a word.
It only nearer draws, with silent tread,
And sighs instead!
The traitor then, despite his soul's alarms,
Growing more confident, resorts to arms.
The trigger pulls in ire!
The weapon flashes fire!
The bullet, in its eager thirst for blood,
Echoes through the air its thud,
And strikes the apparition but it draws
Nearer, with noiseless pace,
A noiselessness that awes,
And stands before the traitor face to face.
The phantom on his trembling shoulder lays
A hand whose chill dismays,
So death-like is its claspJ
His brow is dewed!
He sinks subdued,
Another weapon clutching in his grasp.
Then spoke a voice in gentle tones,
Like brooklet purling o'er the stones,
As musical as sound of lute,
As sad as winds in church-yard mute.
" Hold! for the ball is vainly sped.
I live not in this world, but with the dead.
Son, tho' thou wouldst doom me to the grave,
Yet still I live, and am here to save!
I see thy soul with keen remorse oppressed,
And I would win it to eternal rest,
And I forgive. No mother's heart is won
To turn against a son ! "
But as she spoke the dwelling rocked,
As by an earthquake shocked.
The shades of night made moan,
And through their shadows thrown
A dark-winged shape appears.
And in an awful voice of thunder says:
" Forgiveness there is none for him who slays!
Who sheds his brother's blood must reap in tears,
Stand up therefor
Before God's judgment evermore
Then ceased the spirit. On the couch he,cast
The traitor's lifeless form.
His soul he bore away through clouds and blast;
While moaned the wind, and lightning rent the storm.
"TO A LADY LAUGHING AT A STAMMERING POET."
Within these few lines are forever recorded
Two errors: I stammering, you manners unheeding.
Posterity's judgment will thus be awarded:
My error was nature, your's lack of good breeding.
418 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
THE OXEN AND THE SPANIEL.*
About a certain farm there arose a dispute.
A judicial tribunal undertook the suit.
All the oxen belonging to the farm involved
Anxiously regarded the question to be solved:
Who would be their future master? Wishing a report,
They asked the spaniel to please hasten to the court,
To ascertain the facts, if anybody knew.
But the spaniel answered, " Why should that concern you?
'Tis of no consequence to you, respected friends,
Who obtains the farm; for, howe'er the matter ends,
Be it John or Peter, or whatever the name,
You will be commanded to work on, just the same."
. THE BIG SHIP AND A SMALL BOAT.
It so happened once beside a coast,
A small boat, wise in its own conceit,
Lying in port, tied up to a post,
And seeing, far out, the wild waves beat
A large ship, as the storm beset her,
Said: "Shame! that it can swim no better!"
Just then more fiercely the wind up blew;
Lo! the small boat's line was snapped in two;
And helpless against the rock it crashed,
Till into small fragments it was dashed.
THE DROP OF WATER.
" What would it avail for me, one drop alone, to go
Away from my cloud-companions to the earth below?
Uselessly would I perish, and do the earth no good."
Thus reasoned every drop of the rain brotherhood.
*Written during the Vienna Congress, 1815.
GO RECK I. 419
In consequence of this did a fearful drouth succeed,
Till one of the little drops, perceiving the earth's need,
Said: " Whether I'll help or not, I'll make a sacrifice."
So down to earth she dropped from her cloud-home in the skies.
Then the heavens sent after her to the parching plain
Many more; till, drop by drop, there came a cheering rain
That revived the farmer's fields, and saved him from distress,
And made his heart o'erflow with joy and thankfulness.
'Tis noble to give a good example to others,
And make sacrifices for the good of our brothers.
Old sparrows grouping on a tree,
Very learnedly conversed,
Finding fault with ev'ry bird, whate'er it be
Hoopoe's tuft-head provoked their gossip first.
The jay, thinking he is pretty, is so vain.
The golden oriole, like the thrush, is plain.
The dove pretends modesty, but when she flies
Her aspiring flight her gentle mien belies.
The cuckoo, most selfish all the birds among,
Slips slyly in other nests her helpless young.
The bullfinch alights upon the highest tree,
Goldfinch thinks his song the finest melody.
And a crazy-head, the wagtail he flies,
As soon as the morning's light begins to rise,
Out to each nook and corner everywhere, '
With turned-up tail and eager, prying air.
But as these birds themselves were only sparrows,
They at others shot their arrows.
But idlers they through summer sweet,
Who but consumed the farmer's wheat.
420 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
CHARLES BALINSKI was a poet in every sense of the
word. He looked into the future, and wove it into
pains and disappointments, longings and anticipations
of his own life. In this respect he resembles leaves
which, when crushed, give fragrance they could not do
before being thus destroyed.
His poems, modestly entitled "Writings of Balin-
ski," are very well known wherever the Polish lan-
guage is spoken. Among them are contained some
compositions pertaining to the first epoch of his life,
when he was expelled to Siberia. These poems are of
remarkable beauty. " Faris, the Bard " occupies the
most prominent place. "The Prayer for a Cross " is
equally distinguished for poetic power. His transla-
tions from Calderon secured for him the first rank
among translators. Other original creations of Ba-
linski, as "The Voice of the Polish People," "A
Brotherly Word to the Songster of Mohort," "The
Cross-Road, " "Penned Up," stand high in poetic
merits. The rhythmical construction of the verse and
the beauty of expression remind one of the painstak-
ing and exactness of classic poets.
A year before his death he sent a part of the poem
entitled "The Sufferings of the Redeemer" to the
library of Ossolinskis. This splendid literary produc-
tion, though incomplete, is written on a more extended
poetic scale, well and happily conceived, and rendered
with great harmony in a truly masterly manner a
composition which could inspire its author with a just
pride. He also left, in manuscript, sketches of Polish
literature, or rather the development of the national
poetic spirit, including specimens of poetic and prosaic
Balinski was born the 27th of May, 1817, in a vil-
lage near the city of Lublin, While at the Lyceum at
Warsaw, and after the death of Arthur Zawisza, one
of the Scholars wrote on the blackboard "Exoriare
nostris ex ossibus nltor."* On account of this verse
the whole school would have been subjected to the
strictest investigation, but the noble youth (Balinski),
wishing the scholars of the Lyceum to go unharmed,
took the blame upon himself, and was imprisoned, but
after a thorough investigation released. However, not
long after that occurrence, he was suspected of partici-
pating in certain patriotic doings, was arrested, im-
prisoned, and finally sent to Siberia, where he re-
mained until 1844, but on the birth of the present
successor to the Russian throne he was released.
While in Siberia Charles lost not only his comely
looks, but also his health. The result of this un-
toward event was that his affianced, after seeing such
marked change in his looks, recanted her promise.
In the year 1848, being threatened with another perse-
cution, he fled into Galicia (Austria), then into the
Duchy of Posen, and at last found a shelter in France,
devoting himself to poetry and literary labors. In
1863 he returned to his native land to take care of his
brother, who was severely wounded, and lay very ill
at Cracow From here he went to Lemberg, and
found generous assistance in his literary pursuits.
The columns of "-The Annals of Ossolinskis' Library"
having been opened to him, he continued his poem
"Life and Death of the Redeemer,"" but death pre-
* May an avenger arise from our bones.
422 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND
vented its finishing. He died on the 10th of January,
1864. He was a near relative of Balinski the histo-
His "Writings" were published at Posen, 1849;
"A Few Literary Labors," Warsaw, 1846; "Talcs for
the People," Warsaw, 1846; "Brotherly Word," Lon-
don, 1857; "A Collection of Poetry," 1S56; "The
Sufferings of the Redeemer," Lemberg, 1864, etc. etc.
EXILE'S PRAYER IN THE SPRING
Our Father! Thou hast brought the spring again;
Again Thy hand strews gifts and makes us glad;
Joyful in rich profusion smiles the plain,
Yet Father, we are sad!
The winter gloorn has swiftly winged away,
The heavens above us don their clearest blue;
But with the grass that springs in fresh array
No hopes for us renew.
Earth hears the birds that, throng in joyous troops,
Reviving dew upon her bosom lies;
Behold the primrose of our hope! it droops
For lack of dew it dies!
Birds in returning home beyond the sea
Dip wings with tuneful song in ocean's foam ;
But we, poor pilgrims when, alas! shall we
Returning find a home?
The new sun lighting up the world to-day
Makes beautiful earth's bosom cold and stark
But for the exiled sheds no cheering ray
All, all for us is dark!
But we, so long as any strength is left,
Will with sad hearts united as in one
Pray with the voice of millions thus bereft,
Give us more sun more sun!
WHAT'S THE USE OF DREAMING?
What's the use of our love-dreams
Of plucking roses promise beams?
Roses shun our quest;
Now here like the migrating bird
We are on the outpost afterward
There perchance to rest.
Hearts, cease your dreaming! it is wrong;
Bearing our cross with cheerful song,
As to a dance go;
No more the sword-hilt we shall clasp,
But hands shall say in friendly grasp
God sends joy below.
Pleasure may come to us at last;
Thou knowest, God, the future vast
What will meet us there;
Thou knowest to whom smiles are dear,
And whose grave in the coming year
Flowers shall make fair.
THE LIVING CORPSE.
Near a city there is a grave;
Sadly Vistula, wave on wave,
By it ripples, but in the mound,
Look you! a living corpse is found.
Do not wonder the world is rife
With life in death and death in life.
424 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
The corpse looks forth and courage takes,
Sees the people pass to and fro;
Friends' kind faces that come and go,
Newly hope in his heart awakes.
They come to see me then, said he,
Ev'ry one sighs and thinks of me.
But thinking naught about the dead,
Pass the people with rapid tread;
Life is short it were all in vain
To fill their time with thoughts of pain.
Let the dead rest in peace, they say
And let who lives enjoy his day!
At last one comes, nor passes by
He gazes mournfully around,
Throws a flower upon the mound
His brow is pale and sad his eye,
Yet hastes he on as others do;
Is he afraid of corpses, too?
Then thought the corpse oh, thanks to thee
My brother, none have thought of me,
But all have coldly passed me by,
Light of heart, with averted eye,
All save thou alone, moaned he.
Alas! they've all forgotten me.
KORNEL UJE.JSKL 425
KORNEL UJEJSKI, the bosom friend of one of the
most renowned Polish poets (Julius Slowacki), was
born in 1823 in the county of Czortkow, in Galicia.
He wrote with great perspicuity and finish. His poems
are very chaste and classic. The poem written on the
death of Adam Mickiewicz only increased his celebrity
as a poet. His "Enamored Bride,'' "The Dreadful
Night," "The Funeral March," and the biblical melo-
dies "Rebecca and Jeremiah"; as also the " Plough
and the Sword," are contributions- to the Polish litera-
ture of the greatest value. We may also add that lie
is the author of " The Flowers Without Fragrance,"
"The Withered Leaves," compositions of great
.popularity; but the most popular poetical production
of Ujejski, known and sung as it were in every palace
and cottage, is his "Hymn of Complaint " "Z Dy-
mem Pozarow," which was written during the ter-
rible uprising of the peasantry, instigated by rascally
officials, in Galicia in 1846, when towns and villages
were burned and sacked by the infuriated mob.
At this present time he occupies the honorable posi-
tion of a member of the Chamber of Deputies in
Vienna, Austria. Mr. ITjejski is a gentleman of high
scholarly attainments, urbane and childlike in manner,
and highly respected by all classes of his countrymen.
Editions of his works in the Polish language have been
published in London, Paris, Leipsic, and Posen.
426 POETS AND POKTRY OF POLAND.
HYMN OF COMPLAINT.
(Z Dymem Pozurow).
With smoke of burning with blood outpouring,
Lord! our voice we raise to-day
In fearful wailing, in last imploring,
In bitter sorrow that turns us gray!
Songs without murmur we have no longer,
Pierced are our temples with thorny bands,
Like Thy monuments of wrath grown stronger,
To Thee imploring we raise our hands!
Lord! how often Thy hand has scourged us,
Our red wounds bleeding and yet unhealed;
We sought Thee vainly when anguish urged us:
Thou art our Father, and Thou shouldst shield.
But when we call Thee with hearts confiding
Then does the mocker, with fury shod,
Trample upon us and ask, deriding,
Where is that Father? where is that God?
We search the heavens for sign or token,
But suns of omen no signs unfold-
The silent azure is only broken
By eagle pinions that soared of old!
Our dreams grow fearful -with shadows teeming,
By doubts distracting our souls are stirred;
By hearts that suffer not rash blaspheming,
Judge us, judge not each frenzied word!
Lord! what horrors, what woes surround us!
What days of terror upon us come !
The Cains are many whose deeds confound us,
The blood of brothers will not be dumb!
But judge not sternly, their eyes are blinded,
Nor see the evil they do, Lord !
KORNEL UJK.TSKI. 427
punish instead the baser minded
Who roused the anger that grasped the sword!
In our misfortunes Thou still dost hold us
Close to Thy bosom. We pray for rest
Like birds grown weary: Thy pinions fold us,
Thy stars shine over our household nest.
Thy future favor reveal unto us,
Thy hand protecting above us spread;
Let flow'rs of suffring to slumber woo us,
And sorrow's halo surround the head !
With Thine Archangel to go before us
We'll march to battle and win the fight;
In hearts of Satans who triumphed o'er us
We'll plant Thy standard of victor's might!
Then erring brethren of error shriven
At Freedom's symbol their knee shall bow;
To vile blasphemers the answer given,
" God is almighty and reigneth now ! "
UNDER THE GROUND.
(Pod Zieniig Pod Zicmig.)
Under ground, under ground, far away from the crowd,
Let me seek for a peaceable corner;
This laughter disturbs me this voice is too loud,
That sound is like the voice of a mourner.
I would heap on my threshold sharp thorns to repel,
Place neai it a lion for warder;
All alone with my thoughts undisturbed I would dwell,
With only my God for recorder.
Around me this every-day prattling should cease,
All voices of slander and scheming;
Naught to darken the light of my sweet reverie
When, hand on my head, I am dreaming.
428 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
how happy to rest from this turmoil, away
From cynical sneers, a calm sleeper.
Hearing not of the envies the feuds of the day,
Or who in the mire has sunk deeper.
1 am happier far in beholding them not,
Our souls are so widely unmated;
That I shame when I look on their nature's foul blot
To be in man's image created.
My hand seldom meets in this sycophant throng
The pressure of brotherly fingers,
And I feel in my heart while its pride surges strong
That I am the last of God's singers.
Surround me with quiet and stillness, surround,
Save but for the kindred outpouring
Of spirits, who soaring on pinions unbound
Break out into tuneful imploring.
Where no one will enter to listen to me,
Where silence around me shall hover:
Six feet under ground let my resting-place be,
With one narrow board for the cover.
1GNATZ HOfcOWlNSKI. 429
IGNATZ HO!OWINSKI, Archbishop of Mobile v, and
metropolite of Roman Catholic churches in the Rus-
sian empire. He was born in 1807, in Volhynia. In
1825 he entered the seminary at Luck, and after finish-
ing his theological studies at Wilno he became a chap-
lain in 1831. In 1839 he made a pilgrimage to the
Holy Land, and in 1842 was made a rector to the
Roman Catholic academy at St. Petersburg. In 1848
he was named a bishop; three years later (1851) he
was advanced to the high office of Archbishop of
Mohilev. He died 7th of October, 1855.
Among his works we can mention: "Relations of
Philosophy to Religion and Civilization," and several
poetical compositions of great merit. He was not only
a good poet, but also a distinguished orator. How
deeply and effectively he could work upon the feelings
of his congregation, the orator at his funeral, who
knew him personally, said: "From his lips breathed
the Holy Spirit, and his powerful eloquence bore down
and crushed superstition and unbelief. He softened
the hardest hearts, and awakened from deadly lethargy
the most obdurate sinners. He warmed with his piety,
and those who shed tears he carried them up to
His sermons are the deepest treatises of subjects
he tried to preach, and they were delivered in the
purest and most charming eloquence.
430 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Hard, indeed, is the orphan's life.
The orphaned soul has much to dread;
To labor on with heart at strife,
To earn the bitter crust of bread.
Oh, fearful lot with sorrow rife!
Little Josie was left alone
In her fifth year, bereaved too young.
She from that time had only known
The charity from strangers wrung.
God ! save all beneath Thy heaven
From charity by strangers given.
Though pretty as a flower to see,
Her soul with richest virtue fraught,
What hand is oifered helpingly?
Who for the orphan taketh thought?
Whether her face be bright with glee,
Or tears arise from sadd'ning thought,
Poor orphan ! all is wrong, for she
Can satisfy or please in naught.
Parents in this God's world below
Caress the children that He gives,
But she for whom no parent lives
Doth grieve for all she must forego.
While all things smile for those around,
In homes by hope, with blossoms crowned.
For her alone the world is drear,
The faces 'round her strange and cold ;
What flowers upon her path unfold
She plucks and wets with many a tear.
Love, sympathy, for her are not.
Oh, dreary is the orphan's lot!
IGNATZ HOfcOWINSKI. 131
When the world shunn'd her in neglect,
Her soul she raised in fervent prayers.