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had our HoUinshed, Bohemia her Hajek, and Poland
her Kromer. The time had not come for a really
critical investigation of early history ; but the
Renaissance had shown how to put the existing
materials into an elegant shape. Besides his history,
Kromer also wrote, Polonia, sive de situ, populis,
moribus et republica regni Polonici. His works in the
Polish language are not of great value ; one of them
has already been mentioned on the imprisonment of
Catherine Jagiello. They are chiefly polemical tracts
against Luther. He was for some time coadjutor
with Hosius, the Bishop of Warmia, and after his
death was elected to fill his place. Kromer died in
1589. Two centuries after a very different kind of
ecclesiastic, the volatile Krasicki filled the same

Two men deserve to be mentioned here on account
of the position they took up, with a view to the
reformation of Church and State ; they both wrote
in Latin. These are Andrew Modrzewski and
Stanislaus Orzechowski. The former, born in
1520, according to some, but more probably in 1503,


belongs to the men of the period of the Sigismunds,
who clearly saw the necessity of a change in the
existing state of things. The most important of his
works is that entitled, De Republicd emendanda
(1 5 51). He shows a wonderful insight, and speaks
with great freedom on the various forms of govern-
ment, on the social condition of the Polish ranks of
society and on education. He recommended the es-
tablishment of a National Church, which should be
independent of Rome — something ou the model of
the Anglican. He saw beforehand that the power
of the nobility, which knew no limit, must soon
bring disaster upon Poland, and he advocated an im-
provement of the criminal code, which in his time,
be it remembered, only demanded ten groschen as
the penalty for the wilful murder of a peasant by a
nobleman, and a double penalty for slaying a Jew.

Stanislaus Orzechowski had studied at Wittenberg,
and imbibed the principles of the Reformation. He
had become a disciple of Luther and Melanchthon.
After a short stay in Italy he returned to his native
land in 1543, entered into orders, and was, after some
time, promoted to the canonry of Przemysl. But
although a member of the Roman Catholic priest-
hood he could not entirely conceal his feelings, and
was further stimulated by his relative, Rej, of
Naglowice, the poet. Being the inhabitant of a
province (Galicia), where the orthodox religion was
prevalent, he expressed in his writings many opinions
favourable to the Greek faith. For this he was cited
before the ecclesiastical authorities, was obliged to
recant his doctrines, and his book was burnt.


His submission, however, was only temporary ; he
soon afterwards married Magdalen Chelmicki, and
when the Bishop of Przemysl cited him on that
occasion before his tribunal, he arrived in the
company of powerful friends, so that the bishop did
not dare open the court, but affected to judge him by
default, and signed a decree of excommunication.
He was declared infamous, and his property was
confiscated. But Orzechowski was in no way in-
timidated. He publicly entered a church while
divine service was going on, and uttered a justifica-
tion of his conduct. His sentence was suspended.
The tide was now running against the Roman
Catholics, as was strongly shown at the diet
of 1550 There were plenty of such men as the
Prince Radziwill, whom Horsey found such a
strong Protestant. At this diet Orzechowski made
his appearance. He read the exact terms of his
excommunication, and then asked whether the clergy
could dispose of a man's life in this way. The
diet decided that in these things a Pole was only
liable to his sovereign. In a bold manner Orzechow-
ski addressed both king and senate, and succeeded
in getting a delay ; and the Pope was to be con-
sulted as to whether he might retain his wife.

But Orzechowski was not consistently firm ; we
find him afterwards making peace with the Roman
Catholics. On the 17th of February, 1552, he was
absolved from his excommunication. He declared
to a synod his submission in points of doctrine, and
resigned his ecclesiastical dignities. He had hopes
that the Roman authorities would recognise his


marriage. He was a powerful noble, and one whom it
was worth while to conciliate. The great thing was
to detach him from the Protestants. But our Pole
was no respecter of Popes, and even dared address
Julius III. in the following strain: "Consider, O
Julius, and consider it well, with what a man you
will have to do ; not with an Italian, indeed, but with
a Russian [he was a native of Little Russia]. Not
with one of your mean Popish subjects, but with
the citizen of a kingdom where the monarch himself
is obliged to obey the law. You may condemn me,
if you like, to death, but you will not have done with
me ; the king will not execute your sentence. The
cause will be submitted to the Diet. Your Romans
bow their knees before the crowd of your menials ;
they bear on their necks the degrading yoke of the
Roman scribes ; but such is not the case with us.
Where the law rules, even the throne, the king, our
lord, cannot do what he likes ; he must do what the
law prescribes. He will not say, as soon as you shall
give him a sign with your finger, or dazzle his eyes
with the fisherman's ring — * Stanislaus Orzechowski,
Pope Julius wishes you to go into exile; therefore go.'
I assure you that the king cannot wish that which
you do. Our laws do not allow him to imprison or
to exile any one who has not been condemned by a
competent tribunal."

The works of Orzechowski were put into the Papal
index, and he was declared by the ecclesiastical
writers to be a servant of the devil. But instead of
being tamed by these proceedings, he broke out into
stronger invectives. This is the way in which he


Speaks of Pope Paul IV. : " Since the aborpinable
Caraffa, who calls himself Paul the IV., has ejected
from the church Moses and Christ, I shall willingly
follow them. Can I consider it a disgrace to be a
companion of those whom he calls heretics? This
anathema will be an honour and a crown to me.
The neglect of the ancient discipline has corrupted
and degraded us. Paul, take care to prevent the
final ruin of your see. Clear the city from its crimes ;
eradicate avarice, despise the profits arising from the
sale of your favours. I shall clearly explain and
prove to my countrymen that Roman corruption does
more harm to the Church than Lutheran perversity."

In others of his treatises he loaded this Pope with
abuse, and announced a new work, which does not
seem to have been published, but was seen in manu-
script by his friends, entitled, Repudiiim Romce, in
which he intended tc expose the crimes and errors of
the Popes. He declared that he intended to go over
to the Greek Church, which was then, as it is now,
the religion of the greater part of the people of the
province of Galicia.

Orzechowski, amidst much incoherent abuse, told
some stinging truths. Thus he showed that the oaths
taken by the bishops to the papal see prevented them
from being faithful subjects of the king. According
to him a Roman Catholic bishop invested with the
dignity of a senator was necessarily a traitor to his
country, as he was obliged to prefer the interests of
Rome to those of his sovereign, having sworn alle-
giance first to the Pope and then to the king. " The
oath," says Orzechowski, addressing the kingj


"abolishes the liberty of the bishops, and renders
them spies on the nation and the monarch. The
higher clergy having voluntarily submitted to this
slavery have in reality entered into a conspiracy
against their own country. Conspiring against you,
they are yet sitting in your council. They have
investigated your plans, and reported them to their
foreign master." And again, in another place, he says
of the clergy — " Let them baptize and preach, but not
direct the affairs of the country. If, however, they
wish to retain the senatorial dignity, let them re-
nounce the allegiance of Rome." Many of these bold
views of Orzechowski may be found in his work, Be
Pi'imatu Papce, which was published anonymously
in 1558, but is well known to have been written by
him. We have felt it right to dwell at some length
upon the career and opinions of this prominent man
of the sixteenth century.

A very active writer in Latin was the Dominican
monk, Abraham Bzowski, who died in 1637. He
edited in nine volumes the ecclesiastical annals of
Baronius. Klonowicz, who Latinised his name into
Acernus {Klon being the Polish for maple), wrote
some Polish and Latin poems. In, the first of these
entitled Fits (the boatman), he gives a minute
picture of the scenery on the banks of the Vistula,
the noble river which flows by the two capitals of the
country, Cracow and Warsaw^ He was thus able to
take a wide survey of his native land. His two
Latin poems are entitled " The Bag of Judas," and
Victoria Deoriirn. We thus see Polish poetry, as
far as it has advanced, somewhat of an exotic : it was


d hot-house flower produced for the half-chivalrous,
half-Asiatic society of the nobles, when they con-
descended to take interest in letters. For them alone
it was written ; the peasantry were sunk in ignorance
and poverty. The burghers of the towns were mostly
Germans or Jews, and for them Polish literature
would have little or no significance. There was some
amount of pulpit eloquence, but of rather a tawdry,
rhetorical kind. The palm in this style of writing
is carried off by Peter Skarga, whose activity as a
Jesuit has been already spoken of He was one of
the chief agents in bringing about the union of
Brzesc, the way for which he prepared by a theo-
logical work, published in Polish at Wilno, in 1577 : he
defended it also in a book issued the year after the
Union, entitled. Synod Brzeski i jego obrona (" The
Synod of Brzesc and its Defence"), 1597, Skarga
appears as an indefatigable author, but of his
numerous productions those best remembered are
his sermons, preached before the diet {Kazania
Sejmowe, 1600), in which he with fervid eloquence
warned the Poles of the fatal consequences likely to
ensue from their disunion, and the utter want among
them of real patri^j^ism. His miscellaneous sermons
(including those on the Seven Sacraments) are also
much admired, and Mecherzynski, in his " History of
Polish Eloquence," dwells with much praise on his
funeral discourses, uttered at the burial of the widow
of Stephen Batory, and the first wife of Sigismund HI.
He seems, like Laud, to have believed in a theocracy,
to which the royal power should be subservient.

History was written about this time in Latin by


WapowskI and others. The compilation of Alexander
Gwagnin (who was by origin an Italian, the native
form of his name being Guagnini) is valuable both
for Russian and Polish history. But this century can
boast of two historians who used the Polish language,
Stryikowski, a very learned man, and Martin Bielski,
born in 1495 at Biala, from which place he took his
name. His book was, however, long viewed with
suspicion on account of the leanings of the author to

Stryikowski was born in Mazuria in the year 1547,
but having taken up his abode in Lithuania, he com-
pletely identified himself with his new country, and
even began to grieve about her loss of political inde-
pendence, and that she was buried underneath her
Polish civilisation. He resolved to hand down to
posterity, the remains of her old nationality which
every day were more and more decaying. The
plan was an excellent one, but Stryikowski
had not the talent to carry it out thoroughly.
The requisite critical faculty and scientific training
were wanting to him — as, indeed, they were to nearly
every historian of his century — but he had two neces-
sary qualities, love of knowledge and in<Justry. He
acquired the Russian and Lithuanian languages
travelled all over Lithuania and Livonia, examining,
the scenes of battles, and digging up kiirgans or
funeral mounds. Moreover, he inspected a multitude
of towns and churches ; in a word, he was the first
Lithuanian archaeologist. All the varied information
which he had acquired in this way he put into his
book without any system ; just as nine-tenths of the

g6rnicki. 287

chroniclers of Western Europe were doing at the
time. Mixing them up with some autobiographical
details, he published them in a large work, with a very
voluminous title : Kronika polska, litewska^ &c.,
1582. About forty years ago a new edition of this
work appeared with an excellent preface. Stryi-
kowski died about the end of the sixteenth century.

The chronicle of Martin Bielski was the first
attempt in Polish to give a history of the country.
He begins with the creation of the world, just as
Raleigh does among ourselves. Bielski styled his
book Kronika swiata, "The Chronicle of the World.**
His son Joachim, who died in 1599, took that part
of his father's history which related to Poland, re-
arranged it and published it under the title, Kronika

Luke Gornicki, who lived in the latter half of the
sixteenth century, wrote a work entitled Dzieje w
Koronie Pohkiej, which gives us an account of the
doings of the Court of Sigismund Augustus, but he is
better known by his didactic work Dzvorzanin Polski
("The Polish Nobleman "j, written in imitation of the
Italian book of Balthazar Castiglione, Libri del
Cortegiano, which enjoyed such great popularity
throughout Europe. G6rnicki gives the following
framework to his treatise. He represents that at the
country house of Samuel Macieiowski, the Bishop of
Cracow and Chancellor, near Cracow, the noblemen
attendant upon the bishop (for at that time every
bishop had such in his suite), were collected together.
To pass away their time the}' discuss the question,
vVith what qualities ought the ideal courtier to be fur-


nished ? Each speaks in turn, and their dialogues
form the contents of the book.

A strange work belonging to this time is that of
Bartosz (Bartholomew) Paprocki, which deals with
Polish heraldry, and is entitled Flerby Rycerstwa
polskiego (" The Coats of Arms of the Polish Knight-
hood "), Cracow, 1584. It was reprinted by Turovvski
in his edition of the Polish classics. Nicholas S?p
Szarzinski, who died in 1 581, when but little more
than twenty years of age, deserves mention for having
introduced the sonnet into Polish literature, a form of
composition afterwards cultivated with great success
by Mickiewicz, and in a less degree by Gaszynski.
We have no space to enumerate the various transla-
tions of the classics which appeared ; but the produc-
tion of two elaborate versions of the " Ethics " and
" Politics " of Aristotle by Dr. Petrycy, the physician
of Sigismund III., will prove both that learned men
could be found in the country, and that the Polish
language had reached such a height of culture, as
placed it on a level with the best tongues of Europe.

But now the rising literature was to be checked in
its development, as were so many Polish institutions.
The frivolous system of education introduced by the
Jesuits brought on what has been called the Maca-
ronic period of literature, which, roughly speaking,
may be said to have lasted from 1606 to 1764. The
language was now mixed with Latin expressions ; not
only were many words introduced to the prejudice of
good Slavonic terms, words some of which exist to the
present day in the language and disfigure it ; but it was
the custom in prose works to alternate whole sentences


of Latin with Polish. Much of the literature of this
degraded period consists of fulsome panegyric, the
verse is full of conceits, devoid of all taste. The
poets of this period are rhymsters merely. Here and
there, however, a man appeared to whose name some
interest attaches, such as Waclaw Potocki (1622-
1696.?), now known to have been the author of the
Wojna Chocimska, or " War of Chocim." This epic re-
mained in manuscript till 1850; it has a great deal
of colour, and forms a kind of oasis in the literary
desert. It is unfortunately imperfect as a portion
of the only manuscript in which it was preserved
has been destroyed. The satirist Opalinski (1O09-
1656) has left some rough blank verse, devoid
of poetical merit, but important as illustrating the
manners of his time. In one of his satires he lashes
unsparingly the drunken habits of his countrymen,

^'Rozufnieniy ze pijanstwo w Polsce zasadzilo
Swe gniazdfl.''
(" I think that drunkenness has made its nest in


He exhibited a type of character which will be
found as long as human nature exists : that of the
man who attitudinizes as a censor morum, while him-
self of a lower moral level than the majority of his
fellows. For all his affected austerity, no greater
traitor than this worthless man appears in the history
of his country. An exception is also to be made in
these annals of dulness in the case of Vespasian
Kochowski, a soldier-poet, who has left us some



spirited lyrics. He served in the wars against the
Cossacks and Swedes.

The Macaronic period sees historical composition
take a retrograde step. Instead of works in the
vernacular, we now have the Latin chronicles of
Piasecki and Rudawski. Paul Piasecki was Bishop
of Przemysl, and has given us a history of the reigns
of Stephen Batory, Sigismund III., and Wladyslaw,
his son. A translation into Polish appeared at
Cracow in 1870. An indefatigable author of the
same time was Simon Starowolski. He wrote in
Latin various histories and works on philosophy.
At a later period of his life he was canon of the
cathedral of Cracow. It is said that Charles Gustavus
of Sweden, when he plundered that city in 1655, was
sent to sec the cathedral, and Starowolski acted as
his guide. When he came to the grave of Ladislaus
Lokietek, Starowolski said, " This is the tomb of a
king who, although driven twice from the throne, yet
on both occasions got his crown back again." Upon
this the proud Charles Gustavus, who kept his hat
meanwhile on his head, said, " But your present king,
John Casimir, when once he is driven from the
country, will never come back again." Starowolski
answered, " The lot of man is mutable ; God alone
can lift him up and put him down." These words
made such an impression upon the king that he
quietly took off his hat, and in modest silence sur-
veyed the rest of the monuments. He left the
valuable ornaments which the cathedral contained
uninjured, sparing even the silver shrine of St. Stanis-
laus. The year after the Polish king came back


into his country, but Starovvolski did not live to
see it.

After this period the use of the Latin language in
Poland for literary composition gradually died out.
But it seems to have been used, strange as it may
seem, for colloquial purposes now and then, and we
have curious stories on this subject from Coxe and
vOther travellers. Quite recently the Academy of
Cracow, among its other important publications, has
issued a series of the works of the Polish poets who
wrote in Latin.

The valuable memoirs of Pasek, written in Polish,
have been preserved, and give us a curious picture of
the times ; they have already been quoted. Towards
the end of the seventeenth century something of
French influence began to be felt in the country ;
we must remember that the wife of John Sobieski
was a French woman, and that the wife of John
Casimir had been brought up at the French Court.
The first tendency in this direction appears in the
writings of Andrew Morsztyn, a traitor to his
countr\', who afterwards died an exile in France.
He translated the Cid of Corneille into Polish, and
caught some of the lighter graces of the literature
of that land with which he sympathised so much.
Of Samuel Twardowski, a voluminous poet towards
the close of the seventeenth century, the only work
which deserves mention is a poem on the wars
between the Poles and Turks.

The eighteenth century in Poland was one of
political decay, as we have already shown, and the
literature which it produced harmonises with its


decadence. Madame Elizabeth Druzbacka (1695-
1760) wrote some pieces not devoid of a feeling for
nature, but her Polish abounds with Latinisms. In
1765 a national theatre was founded at Warsaw ; the
feeble and elegant Stanislaus Poniatowski was a
patron of such refinements. Actors had first ap-
peared in the country in the time of John Casimir.
A quaint story is told, how, on one occasion, some of
the Polish spectators became so excited with the
scenic representation, that they shot a volley of arrows
upon the stage, to the danger and consternation of
the actors. Religious' plays appear to have been
performed in early times ; sometimes in churches
and churchyards. The Jesuits also composed plays
to be acted by youths in grammar schools. Quite
recently Professor Bruckner, of Berlin, discovered in
the public library of St. Petersburg two Polish inter-
ludes of , the seventeenth century, in which the
characters of inferior rank use Lithuanian, just as
the subordinate persons in a Sanskrit play employ

A Polish Churchill appeared in the satirist
W^gierski, and in Krasicki (1735-1801), the friend
of Frederick the Great, a Polish embodiment of a
French abbe. The so-called epic of the latter on
th:^ war of Chocim is, as might be expected, no epic
at all ; but some of his lighter pieces and mock-
heroics are pleasing. He wrote, in prose, a survey
of the various literatures of the world. Of course he
finds Shakspere a very " incorrect " author.

A poetaster at best was Trembecki, the laureate of
the Court of Stanislaus Poniatowski, who, among


other productions, contributes Zofiowka, one of the
descriptive pieces for which the eighteenth century
was so famous.

Valuable material for the study of Polish history
at the decline of her independence is afforded by the
memoirs of the shoemaker, Jan Kilinski, who played
an important part in the year 1794. He fought in
all the Polish battles, and was finally taken off to
St. Petersburg, where he was imprisoned. He was
pardoned by the Emperor Paul, and on his return to
Warsaw again betook himself to his craft of shoe-
maker. Some years afterwards his " Recollections "
appeared, and have continued to be held in esteem,
both on account of the simplicity of the style, and
the air of truth which pervades them. Kilinski died
in the year 1820. Valuable also are the " Memoirs
of Kozmian" (born 1771, died 1856J. He has given
us true portraits of the leading actors in the great
events of his day. It is characteristic of him that he
thoroughly penetrated the hollowness of the promises
of Napoleon.

A genuine patriot was Stanislaus Staszic, who was
born in 1755, at Pila in Great Poland, and received
his education in Leipzig, Gottingen, and Paris. When
the kingdom of Poland was established at the Con-
gress of Vienna he was named minister, and his
career was one of benevolent activity : he improved
the existing schools and established new ones, and
through him the University of Warsaw assumed a
much more important position. During his office, also,
new manufactures were introduced into the country;
^n Institute fpr the Deaf and Dumb was founded, a


Conservatory for Music, and a School of Engineering'.
No man did more to advance the condition of tlie
country in its decline. He died on January 21, 1826.
A patriot also was Hugh Koll^taj (the name to
adapt it to Western pronunciation is sometimes
written Kollontaj). He was born in 1750, in the
palatinate of Sandomir, studied in Cracow, then took
orders and went to Ro:ne, to study theology and
ecclestiastical law. For three years he was Rector
of the Academy of Cracow, which he raised to a high
state of efficiency, and was afterwards made Chancellc^r
of the Crown. During the celebrated four years' diet
he displayed extraordinary activity. In speeches full
of eloquence he advocated reforms, and showed the
possibility of maintaining a standing army of 6o,O0J
men without a considerable outlay ; he wished for a
reorganisation of the government of the country and
its ministers. Such reforms might perhaps even then
have saved Poland. He longed to do away with the
curse of serfdom, and to give all classes of the com-

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