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Treny - Laments

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By: (1530-1584)

Jan Kochanowski (1530-84) was the greatest Polish poet of his time and probably the most famous name in Polish literature before Adam Mickiewicz (1798 - 1855). His masterpiece is considered to be his Laments, a series of nineteen poems commemorating his daughter Ursula, who died in 1579 at the age of two and a half . In simple but eloquent language, Kochanowski describes his journey from savage grief to reconciliation, and even in translation his verse retains much of its power and conviction.
In this bilingual presentation each poem will be read first in the original Polish and then in English translation.

First Page:

LAMENTS

BY

JAN KOCHANOWSKI

VERSIFIED BY DOROTHEA PRALL

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS BERKELEY 1920

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SYLLABUS SERIES NO. 122

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

Jan Kochanowski (1530 84) was the greatest poet of Poland during its existence as an independent kingdom. His Laments are his masterpiece, the choicest work of Polish lyric poetry before the time of Mickiewicz.

Kochanowski was a learned poet of the Renaissance, drawing his inspiration from the literatures of Greece and Rome. He was also a man of sincere piety, famous for his translation of the Psalms into his native language. In his Laments , written in memory of his little daughter Ursula, who died in 1579 at the age of thirty months, he expresses the deepest personal emotion through the medium of a literary style that had been developed by long years of study. The Laments , to be sure, are not based on any classic model and they contain few direct imitations of the classical poets, though it may be noted that the concluding couplet of Lament XV is translated from the Greek Anthology ... Continue reading book >>


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