The first small glass won't hurt you in the least.
The second you drink to the health of friends,
And if you stop there, all pleasantly ends.
136 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
But suppose you drink the third to the guest,
Be sure that at this point you will rest
For the fourth begets a coarseness of speech,
Words rude and vulgar your converse will reach;
At the fifth your anger is uncontrolled,
Loudly you talk not knowing where to hold;
And if, after all these, a sixth succeed,
You are left in a wretched state indeed;
And one's perception need not be acute
To see you've reached the level of a brute !
Where were you? I can hardly go. A re you sick? Yes,
You know I never humor myself to excess;
But such a headache as I've had words can't convey.
You must have surely had a gay time yesterday
That's why you are sad to-day, how was it? I think,
After a luscious meal, water is good to drink.
Nay, not so good my friend, and may that man be cursed
(I'll tell you how it was) who used that proverb first.
Day before yesterday I got drunk wife's birthday;
I regret it not that occasion should be gay.
'Tis a great day you know nor is it very wrong
To raise your neighbor's spirits wife was full of song.
We had lots of wine, and its quality was prime,
So you can bet we drank and we had a big time.
Till morn the feast continued, about noon I woke
Head like a chunk of lead to cough and spit and choke;
Madame proposed tea, but that's sickening, you know;
Somehow, 'twas but a chance, I passed a drug store. So
I took a drink of bitters, as anybody would,
Then I drank again, thinking it would do me good.
Still sick, again I drank, then I felt better quite,
And thus, then, happened two guests of yesternight;
Under such conditions a treat I could not shun
And then how can one treat and yet himself drink none?
That wouldn't do. I drank, it happened, so you see,
The liquor was A No. 1, and hot as it could be.
That's good for the stomach, and as my good luck willed,
The nausea was stopped that dreadful headache stilled.
Well, again, to happy home with my friends I went,
We found dinner ready, and it was excellent.
Mr. Andrew said temperance was a thing he prized,
Aye, long live temperance! drunkenness we despised.
At hand stood the bottle, the cork beside it laid,
Mr. Albert of dyspepsia somewhat afraid,
After the ham eaten, proposed a little wine.
One or two glasses drank for the health is fine,
Especially when the wine is pure and past its youth.
We acceded all to such self-evident truth
Talked of manly spirit, of bold and grand designs,
Talked of gold and silver, of digging in the mines.
And so the bottle dried up how? we scarcely knew,
And so another came and while our ardor grew,
Disappeared the third, the fourth, and then the fifth came on,
Then the sixth and seventh and eighth and the tenth was gone!
And when our arguments grew louder and more free,
Mr. Andrew dared to fling the name of fellow at me.
I, a fellow! I'll teach you not to be so bold
At me he goes, and I at him, we took fierce hold.
Albert interposed, and the servants next appeared,
I really do not know how the quarrel cleared
Certes it is a bottle was broken on my head,
Be drunkenness below to darkest regions sped !
What is there in it? There is trouble, strife and pain,
Nausea, bruises, plasters these are its only gain.
Well said: a pastime 'tis to which the lowest cling,
An upright man will scorn it as a shameless thing.
138 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
All sorts of feuds and trouble from its reign outcome
Mem'ry grows dull reasoning powers grow numb;
Health suffers, and its victim hastens to life's brink.
Just look upon a man who is a slave to drink!
A man but in appearance really a brute.
When a man is drunk 'tis fitting to compute
Him with senseless cattle justice, not abuse.
If heaven thought fit to place wine here for man's use,
It was to help him, not to incapacitate
The use of God's great gifts should e'er be moderate.
Though dumb brutes are senseless we oft are shamed by them.
Intemperance is a sin that animals condemn
In men who drink but not alone to slack their thirst.
Brutes drink what is needful man who calls them accurst
Js worse indeed than they are, more abject and low.
Heed not the wounds and plasters ; the meed of guilt is woe !
Far greater punishment than those bruises is meet
For those that keep transgressing in their blind conceit.
Knowledge, which distinguishes man from animal,
They often disregard for causes small.
What gain is sufficient to balance its neglect;
For its loss what profits sufficient can collect.
In those who commit not excesses base and vain
You'll find good sense and comfort and freedom from all pain.
See the results that with temperance agree
Perfect health, cloudless brain, and a mind gay and free;
Strength exceptional, and energy for their tasks;
Property in order, in smiles their household basks;
Cash to meet each needful and sensible expense,
These are the inducements to follow temperance;
And aught but total abstinence is risky,
It is: Good-bye I go to take a drink of whisky.
A certain king there was of projects grand
Would register the wise ones of the land,
The names likewise of all the happy found,
And set the scribes to search the kingdom round.
The seeker for the happy found but few,
But great the multitude of wise ones grew,
So great the scribe beheld his labor vain,
No paper left the number to contain !
THE LAZY OXEN.
The first commission of an ill
Delight is no less;
'Tis in the effect it brings about
That lies the bitterness.
As easily is proven by
This most veracious history.
In spring the oxen all refused
To plough the grassy plain ;
When autumn came they would not haul
From out the fields the grain.
In winter, being scarce of bread,
They knocked the oxen on the head.
THE MOSQUITO AND THE FLY.
If we must fly at all, I know
We should soar neither high nor low,
Mosquito said, who, buzzing by,
Saw in a pail a drowning fly.
And sadly he bemoaned its fate,
That it had not been fortunate,
And, like himself, had wings to fly
Where'er he willed, or low or high,
140 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
And mourning o'er its fate he turned,
Fell in the candle and was burned.
THE BOYS AND THE FROGS.
At evening a small lake beside
A group of boys with hop and stride
. Watching to see the frogs, ran by;
And when a frog with motion spry
Popped up, knowing of naught to dread,
They dealt a blow upon its head
Their love of sport to gratify.
But one frog, bolder than the rest,
With courage thus the boys addressed,
, * The while he rose into their sight:
" You'd better stop, '-it is not right
For you to play the way you do ;
It is but senseless sport for you,
For us 'tis death, or wounds and fright."
THE RAM AND THE JACKASS.
The ass complained in moving words
It was a shame and sin
To cast him from the stable out
And let the ram within ;
But while the loudest were his moans
Thus spake the ram in bitter tones :
" Be quiet, pray, my long-eared friend;
With anger be less rife,
A butcher's standing by my side
With ready, sharpened knife.
Comfort yourself with this conceit;
' Mankind will not eat jackass' meat! ' '
Betwixt the standish and the pen
A dreadful quarrel rose,
Which came to words of bitter kind,
Black looks and almost blows,
As to which penned a certain fable
That lay just written on the table.
Its author in the meanwhile came
The library within,
And, finding out the cause of this
Most sad and dang'rous din
Exclaimed: 4i How many bards at war
Just like this pen and standish are! "
THE DOG AND HIS MASTER.
A certain dog of watchful kind
To scare the thief away
Barked from the setting of the sun
Until the dawn of day.
His master at the morning light
Flogged him for barking thus all night.
Next night the dog in kennel slept
Sound with prodigious snore,
The thief broke in and seizing all
Made exit by the door.
When morning came they flogged the brute
Because the lazy dog was mute.
THE TALLOW-CANDLE AND THE TORCH.
A tallow-candle and a torch,
Both in a narrow place,
Were lighted, when the first began
To speak, with fancied grace:
" Fear not the dark, my glimmering brother,
My light shall the darkness smother."
142 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
" Fool! " said the torch, " and thinkest thou
That all the world are blind,
That thy pretensions will deceive
A sensible mankind?
Or that they do no difference know
'Twixt my bright light and thy faint glow ! "
THE FOOL AND THE SAGE.
A fool one day a wise man asked
What good was there in learning,
If it improved one's happiness
And ought diminished mourning;
E'er mended coats or broiled a goose,
In short, what was its aim or use?
At first the sage refused to speak,
But for a long time pressed,
In angry words yet courteous tones
This answer apt expressed:
" It becomes us this, its chiefest rule,
To give no answer to a fool."
THE TORTOISE AND THE MOUSE.
A tortoise crawling o'er the plain,
Bearing her shelly house,
Met 'fore she long had traveled
A fat and pompous mouse,
Who said: " I pity one past telling,
Who hath to carry such a dwelling."
" Reserve your pity, pray, my friend,"
The tortoise calm replied,
" And hie you to the palaces
Of man, to bloat your pride;
Though mine is formed of clumsy bone,
And is not handsome 'tis my own."
THE HAUGHTY RAT.
Upon the altar, during mass,
One Sabbath morn there sat,
Surrounded by admiring friends,
A consequential rat.
" For me," said he, " the incense floats,
And peal yon swelling organ notes."
E'en as he spoke, the incense cloud,
Borne by the summer breeze,
Came curling o'er the altar top
And made his ratship sneeze.
Hearing the sound, a wary cat
Leaped up adieu, my haughty rat !
THE CAT AND THE HOUND.
A pussy who in corner sat,
Devouring dainty mice,
Was by a mighty stag-hound asked
Why lived she not more nice?'
Said he, " I eat no mice-like gear,
But seize and slay the stately deer."
The cat replied with modest look,
" I grant my mice are small,
But please, my friend, to recollect,
That I consume them all;
Pi'eferring for myself a mouse,
To a deer for my master's house."
THE TWO PAINTERS.
Two painters once, 'tis said, there were,
Each bore a wond'rous name;
But one far o'er the other stood
In point of noisy fame.
144 POETS AND POETEY OF POLAND.
The best no cash nor blessing got,
The worst one had them both, I wot.
The first his portraits made from nature,
True to the copied one;
Correct in every form and feature,
With faithful care 'twas done.
The last drew little on truth's store,
Embellishing from fancy more.
THE CHILD AND THE ROD.
The father whipped his child because
He was so slow to learn;
Imagining the smai't would make
Him smarter to discern.
But e'er that way again he trod
His son and heir had burned the rod.
Next time when little John deserved
A heavy punishment,
The father, to the usual place,
To find his weapon went.
And, as 'twas missing, he was fain
To use instead his walking cane.
THE SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP.
A shepherd shearing sheep one day
Declaimed most zealously
Upon the care was ta'en of sheep,
From utter charity.
How they had homes to rest their feet
And in the winter food to eat.
The sheep he held was mute
The angry peasant cried,
"Ungrateful! no acknowledgment?"
When calmly it replied
" Well, God must pay men for their care:
From what is made the coats they wear?"
THE CAPTIVE BIRD.
" Why weepest thou?" a youngling bird
To older one appealed, .
"Art thou not better in this cage
Than in yon dangerous field?
For me the prison-house and care,
'Fore danger and the open air,"
"Peace!" said the elder bird, " be still!
Within this thou wert born;
But I have known the hallowed sweets
Of freedom in life's morn.
Bright liberty once sunned my brow,
I weep that I'm a prisoner now."
There lived somewhere, in olden time,
A proud philosopher,
Who, fixed in his opinions, thought
That he could never err.
Progressed through life without assistance,
And scoffed the thought of God's existence.
But sickness came, and with its pangs
Came loss of fortitude ;
And he who measured heaven's space,
And farther'st planets viewed,
Came not alone a God to know,
But all the fiends of hell, also.
146 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
THOMAS KAJETAN WENGIERSKI, the Polish PIRON, was
born in Podolia in 1755, and educated by the Jesuits
at Nowe Miasto, as also at Warsaw. He became a
chamberlain to the king Stanislaus Augustus, but his
unbridled passion for satires and epigrams caused him
many bitter enemies. All his writings are distinguished
for smoothness and great wit. His " Calash " and "The
Philosopher" are short poems, but excellent. He is
also the author of "Organy " (the organs), a poem of
great power and bitter satire. His satirical attacks of
persons connected with the king's court caused his dis-
missal, and he was obliged to leave the country.
He traveled in England, Italy, France, Martinique,
Hayti, St. Domingo and the United States of North
America. He gave a lucid account of his travels in
Southern France and Italy in the French language, but
the rest of his peregrinations were written in his native
There is no denying that Wengierski was a poet of
great genius, but his language is occasionally some-
what loose. He died at Marseilles quite young (at the
age of thirty-two), having impaired his health and
shortened his life by all sorts of excesses.
Lucian Siemienski, in his "Literary Portraits," pub-
lished in 1850, wrote an article on the "Travels and
Reminiscences of Wengierski," mentioning many inter-
esting incidents in the poet's life, softening greatly the
asperse criticisms on Wengierski, and acquainting us
with the unknown part of his life and character.
Strangely 'wilder'd I must seem,
I was married in a dream,
Oh, the ecstasy of bliss!
Brother! what a joy it is!
Think about it and confess
'Tis a storm of happiness,
And the memory is to me
Sunbeams, but sixteen was she.
Cheeks of roses red and white;
Mouth like Davia's; eyes of light,
Fiery, round, of raven hue,
Swimming, but coquettish too;
Ivory teeth; lips fresh as dew;
Bosom beauteous, hand of down,
Fairy foot. She stood alone
In her graces, she was mine,
And I drank her charms divine.
* * * * *
But in early years our schemes
Are but showy, shadowy dreams;
For a season they deceive,
Then our souls in darkness leave.
Oft the bowl the water bears,
Yet 'tis useless soon with years;
First it cracks, and then it leaks,
And at last at last it breaks.
All things with beginning tend
To their melancholy end
So her beauty fled.
Then did anger, care and malice
Mingle up their bitter chalice.
148 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
Eiches like a whirlwind flew,
Honors, gifts, and glories too;
And my lovely wife, so mild,
Fortune's frail and flattered child,
Spent our wealth, as if the day
Ne'er would dim or pass away ;
And 0, monstrous thought ! the fair
Scratched my eyes, and tore my hair;
Nought but misery was our guest,
So I sought the parish priest.
" Father ! grant me a divorce
Nay, you will grant it me, of course:
Eeasons many can be given,
Eeasons both of earth and heaven."
" I know all you wish to say:
Have you wherewithal to pay?
Money is a thing of course,
Money may obtain divorce."
" Eeverend father! hear me, please ye,
'Tis not an affair so easy."
" Silence, child! where money's needed
Eloquence is superseded."
Then I talked of morals ; but
The good father's ears were shut.
With a fierce and frowning look
Off he drove me,
And I woke.
WHAT ONE LIKES.
" Co kto lubi."
Let the toper his empty glass fill,
And the gambler throw his dice with skill;
Let the huntsman gallop his steed at will,
And the warrior other warriors kill;
Let the courtier buzz in the palace gate,
The usurer eat the youth's estate;
The lawyer pillage and prose and prate,
And rob even beggars, with looks sedate;
The monk may leave his sandals where
They tell strange tales, I nothing care,
If of this world's follies .1 get my share ;
Let each just as he likes that's fair.
The end of life is happiness. Pursue
That end life's transitory journey through,
Nor fear, on earth, while happiness pursuing,
That thou art storing up for heaven thy ruin.
But if thou fear the future, oh, beware
At every step, and tread with cautious care;
For in this world, to sin and sin unheeded,
A very decent character is needed;
So get a character, and then just do
Whate'er you please, the world will smile on you.
Helter skelter, a dandy scuds over the streets,
With his hot, foaming steeds, helter skelter,
The dread and annoyance of all that he meets,
Who fly at his coming for shelter.
His horses he flogs and cries " Out of the way,"
As they tear up the pebbles and stones, sir;
And he thinks it a great condescension to say
" Be off ! or I'll break all your bones, sir."
I saw him once knock a poor mendicant down,
And laugh as the luckless one stumbled;
And I said, " E'er he reaches the verge of the town
That cold-hearted pride will be humbled!
Sure a tyrant like this, one so reckless and base,
Should be curl'd to be cautious or quiet."
But still he dash'd on in his life-scorning race,
Till he rattled toward Nowy Swiat*
*Nowy Swiat," the New World, a fashionable part of Warsaw.
POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
When he struck on a stone at a corner and smack
Went the axle, and down came the hero.
He was thrown like a stone from a sling, on his back,
And his pride sunk at once below zero.
I have seen him on crutches, and hope he has found
This secret I need not reveal it,
'Tis easy indeed to occasion a wound,
But not very easy to heal it.
STANISLAUS TREMBECKI was a man of extraordinary
powers of mind. He possessed the greatest facility of
being easily impressed with all kinds of literary crea-
tions. He was well versed in Latin literature, wrote
in French as well as in Polish, and was thoroughly
learned in all Slavonic languages. In life, and in the
world around him, objects presented themselves to him
only as themes for writing poetry upon. He praised
many people and many things, but he loved no one
and nothing. He never had a soul-attachment to any
one. Persons and things that interested him he loved
but for a little while. Not having the popularity of
Krasicki, he was superior to him in taste and poetic
talent. Among the learned he had a great repute.
He composed satires, letters, fables, on common and
political subjects. We must also add that he was dis-
tinguished in epic poetry. In his lyrics he was cold
and constrained, but occasionally he warmed up with
patriotic feeling, but even then he was more eloquent
than poetic. His satires were the fruits of momentary
impressions and to.ols of contention. Open and hab-
itual derider, he comes out with bitterness and severity,
never trying to smooth things over with harmless wit
or even irony, frequently using common and even
coarse expressions. In his panegyrics he frequently
piles flattery with great profusion. Epic poetry was his
chief pursuit, in which he distinguished himself as the
poet most conversant with the patterns of the masters
of antiquity. Initiated into the mysteries of poetic
spirit, in the riches and adaptation of his native
152 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
tongue he was gifted with aesthetic feeling and a deli-
cate taste. Although an imitator and a disciple of a
new school, he did not know how to become a national
writer, neither did he wish to approach the grateful
simplicity and freshness of the poets of Sigismund's
times, yet he equaled them in power, dignity, and fer-
tility, but in the outward smoothness and polish consid-
erably outstripped them.
His most celebrated poem is "Zofiowka" (Sophia's
Park or Garden), a description of a garden of that
name, the property of Count Potocki, situated close to
the city of Human, in Ukraine. In this park of mag-
nificent proportions' and great beauty is a grotto, on
entering which your senses are struck with a delightful
sight of rare works of art and many wonderful curiosi-
ties. As you gaze around it the spell of enchantment
only increases, and you almost imagine that you have
entered the gates of Paradise. The following in scription
in Polish may perhaps be seen up to this day over the
grotto, the meaning of which is this:
Before you enter here leave your troubles all behind,
If you're already happy, more happiness you'll find.
The conciseness of presenting high thoughts, the power,
skill, and the appropriateness in description, the inim-
itable skill in the outer form of the verse, distinguish
him from all his contemporaries. Trembecki has been
called more of an artist than a poet.
He was born in 1723. While yet very young he
traveled over nearly all Europe, and resided for some
time in Paris, where he contracted a friendly intimacy
with many distinguished French poets. It was there
that he was impressed with the philosophy of the eigh-
teenth century, and with the manners and customs of
the French court of Louis XV. He fought thirty duels,
the cause of almost every one being women. Returning
to his country he became chamberlain to King Stanis-
laus Augustus; from this time hence he lived at War-
saw, and was engaged in the composition of different
kinds of verses. After the abdication of King Ponia-
towski he remained with him continually at Grodno
and St. Petersburg. After the king's death he resided
at Tulczyn, in the Province of Podolia, at Count
Potocki's manor. For thirty years he never ate meat
nor drank any wine. Toward the end of his life he
associated with but very few, and scarcely left his
house. He spent one day in the week giving alms.
He died in 1812.
All his works were published in 1828, in two vol-
umes, at Breslau, and in Leipsic in 1806 and 1836.
Quite a learned dissertation on Trembecki's poetry was
published by Hippolitus Klimaszewski in 1830. "Zo-
fiowka" was translated into French by De Lagarde.
Where the eagle in his rapid flight
With strong pursuit the birds do scare
And lurid thunderbolts with angry might
Rush though the regions of the air.
A strange pair whom fear has never checked,
Resolved to o'ercome Nature's laws;
And striking the road where Icarus wrecked,
Soared through the clouds without a pause.
With gas the vehicle the pair inflate,
Upward the air its course inclines
Its chains are threads, its rudder is fate,
They are competing with the winds.
154 POETS AND POETRY OF POLAND.
The lofty, gorgeous houses, one by one,
Lessen and disappear from sight,
And looking from the trap of the balloon
A ruined heap they all unite.
The broad Vistula, so august and grand,
Looked like a stream whose drops would fail,
Its width like a finger from a child's hand,
Though it flowed grandly in the vale.
Yet some attribute wonders strangely great
To this unsafe and crazy craft,
Perhaps 'tis so, yet I may truly state,
Wise men have at their judgment laughed.
Yet we admit that Nature's giant might
Has burst strong walls of stone and steel,
Man's wisdom, too, all obstacles shall smite
But give him time with work and zeal.
With gallant ships his fertile brain has filled
The stormy and the pathless main,
Of gems to rob the ocean he is skilled
Eternal rocks he rends in twain.
The mighty elements their wrath forego
Under his skilled and wise command;
He bids the waters leave the valleys low,
And mountains sink to level land!
With pleasure Heaven itself surveys
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with the falling state. POPE.
JULIAN UESIN NIEMCEWICZ, secretary to the senate of
the kingdom of Poland, .and soon after a senator,
president of the Royal Society of Science of Warsaw,
and member of many literary societies in Europe and
America, was born of an ancient and respectable family
in Lithuania, in the year 1758. As citizen, statesman,
author, historian, and poet, he shone with an eclat
unparalleled since the days of Crichton. While still
very young he was elected representative of the palati-