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honors of a mediocre Latin author. As it was, when the impulses of an ardent and energetic mind compelled him to express its convictions, it was in his own language that he nust speak them ; for although Rey afterwards acquired a competent knowledge of the ancient tongues, and entered with interest into the philosophic and religious discussions of the day, which, up to his time, were conducted wholly in Latin, he never composed in that language with such ease and pleasure to himself as could tempt him to abandon for it the use of his native tongue, which he wrote with vigor and felicity. The father of Rey at length resolved to send his son to Cracow, then the centre of intellectual life in Poland, and to place him in the house of one of the great nobles, that he might enjoy the advantages of cultivated society. The Wojewode, who was chosen as the guardian of Rey, was a man of refined taste and accurate judgment; he discerned the capacities of his charge, and aided him by his counsel and instructions. The society of this excellent nobleman, and that of the literary men who frequented his house, quickened the intellect of Rey, and inspired him with the ambition to repair the defects of his early education. A few years of resolute study enabled the rustic noble to stand on equal ground with the trained graduates of the schools. In after life, he felt and acknowledged the benefits which his mind had drawn from this early association with men of refinement and learning ; and in his directions for the education of youth, he mentions especially the conversation of distinguished men as among the most important means of instruction.

The first literary productions of Rey were books of devotion and religious songs ; he was afterward distinguished for his polemical and philosophical writings; but his most remarkable work is that entitled “ Zwierciadło Szlacheckie,The Mirror of the Noble, otherwise known by the title, “ Zywot Poczciwego Człowieka,The Life of an Honorable Man. In this work he lays down rules for the conduct of each class in the state. The soldier, the deputy, the senator, the private man, has each his peculiar duties pointed out and inculcated. He gives many rules for a prudent choice in marriage ; and especially dissuades men from allying themselves above their condition, instancing many pleasant examples of the inconveniences attending this unwise ambition.

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still further by foreign travel, and by the society and works of his distinguished contemporaries. Kochanowski had already acquired distinction as an author by his works in Latin, when the idea inspired him of devoting his genius to the service of his country, and of doing for his native language what the great poets of Italy had done for theirs. His first labors were guided by devotion as well as by patriotism; he prepared for his countrymen a translation of the Psalms of David, which is said to be the most poetical version of those sacred poems found in any language, and that which conveys the most perfectly the spirit of the original. Mickiewicz says, speaking of this version of the Psalms :

“Kochanowski was in this work truly inspired. His diction is noble, clear, glowing. He has throughout a bold, bard-like walk, a measured dignity, and a priestly solemnity. Never can all the circumstances combine again which met to create this wonderful work. There were needed for its production, first, high poetical genius; secondly, a living spirit of devotion in the people; and, thirdly, that glow and exaltation of feeling upon sacred subjects, which the religious controversies of the time ex. cited. All parties alike appealed to the holy writings. The phraseology of Scripture, thoughts, maxims, images, drawn from it, became current in every-day life, and passed into the common language. The Bible was ever before the eyes ple, who lived in the midst of the fiery excitement of religious warfare ; and this excitement, possessing likewise the mind of the poet, raised him to that height of inspiration in which he gave forth the tones of the ancient Psalmist in all their fervor and sublimity.”

Kochanowski composed works in every style, lyric, dramatic, and satirical. His satires have nothing of the bitterness of the misanthrope, nor the sneering levity of a man who, with acuteness enough to discern the follies of his age, is yet not in spirit raised above them.

Kochanowski writes fearlessly, but nobly and gently; and, in the spirit of a good and true man and patriot, reproves the errors of his age and country. In the drama, he followed classic models, and drew his subjects from the Grecian poets. His plays were written for a private theatre, and for an audience of cultivated men, who were probably more familiar with the history and traditions of Greece than with those of their own country. His lyrics are graceful and charming ;

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but the most interesting of all his works are his elegies on the death of his daughter Ursula, taken from him in her early childhood.

These poems have nothing in common with other productions of this sort, — usually the constrained and elaborate expressions of a factitious sorrow, bringing no conviction of reality, and awakening no sympathy. The “ Treny” of Kochanowski are the very outpourings of grief and tenderness ; and even now, when, for three hundred years, the heart of the father has been as cold as the little form it mourned, his grief is still fresh and living as in the first hour of bereavement ;

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are not yet dried. Willingly would we set in our pages some of these gems ; but our purpose is with the living authors of Poland ; and we can but touch slightly, in passing, the names of these elder sons of Polish song, whose genius, after a sleep of two centuries, has at length waked again, to animate bosoms as faithful and as ardent as their own.

Szymonowicz must not be passed in silence. His idyls won for him the doubtful honor of the name of the Polish Theocritus, and were written professedly upon classic models. Yet, in the whole cycle of Polish literature, there is hardly a work in spirit more truly Slavonian. These idyls possess a life and reality wholly denied to modern compositions of this sort in other languages ; perhaps because only among the Slavonians yet continued to exist that simple, contented life, of whose modest hopes and quiet pleasures idyllic poetry is the expression. The Italian, the German, the French writers of pastoral and rural poetry, must transport themselves to classic regions, and call up the shadows of the shepherds and husbandmen of early Greece ; or, passing wholly into the realm of fantasy, dress out the knights and dames of a modern court to act the parts of their dainty herdsmen and soft-handed rustics. The scene of the idyls of Szymonowicz lies not in Arcadia. His nymphs and swains belong to the real world ; their cares and joys are actual. While Lycoris is milking cows in the stall, Lycidas chops straw, and sings a song in praise of labor and of his mistress at the same time. He does not paint her as he has seen her in the dance, nor dwell upon her charms and graces; he describes her as she sits at the spinning-wheel, or when, in the reaping-field, her sickle moves so quickly, that "no one can see it in her hand.” He praises her that she rises

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still further by foreign travel, and by the society and works of his distinguished contemporaries. Kochanowski had already acquired distinction as an author by his works in Latin, when the idea inspired him of devoting his genius to the service of his country, and of doing for his native language what the great poets of Italy had done for theirs. His first labors were guided by devotion as well as by patriotism; he prepared for his countrymen a translation of the Psalms of David, which is said to be the most poetical version of those sacred poems found in any language, and that which conveys the most perfectly the spirit of the original. Mickiewicz says, speaking of this version of the Psalms :

“ Kochanowski was in this work truly inspired. His diction is noble, clear, glowing. He has throughout a bold, bard-like walk, a measured dignity, and a priestly solemnity. Never can all the circumstances combine again which met to create this wonderful work. There were needed for its production, first, high poetical genius; secondly, a living spirit of devotion in the people; and, thirdly, that glow and exaltation of feeling upon sacred subjects, which the religious controversies of the time excited. All parties alike appealed to the holy writings. The phraseology of Scripture, thoughts, maxims, images, drawn from it, became current in every-day life, and passed into the common language. The Bible was ever before the eyes of the people, who lived in the midst of the fiery excitement of religious warfare ; and this excitement, possessing likewise the mind of

; the poet, raised him to that height of inspiration in which he gave forth the tones of the ancient Psalmist in all their fervor and sublimity."

Kochanowski composed works in every style, lyric, dramatic, and satirical. His satires have nothing of the bitterness of the misanthrope, nor the sneering levity of a man who, with acuteness enough to discern the follies of his age, is yet not in spirit raised above them.

Kochanowski writes fearlessly, but nobly and gently ; and, in the spirit of a good and true man and patriot, reproves the errors of his age and country. In the drama, he followed classic models, and drew his subjects from the Grecian poets. His plays were written for a private theatre, and for an audience of cultivated men, who were probably more familiar with the history and traditions of Greece than with those of their own country. His lyrics are graceful and charming ;

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century, had already acquired great popularity among the cultivated classes of Poland. A French theatre was, in 1650, established at Warsaw, in which the plays of the French tragedians were performed in the original, while translations of French authors supplied to the reading public the place of original Polish works. The prevalence of French taste continued to exert an unfavorable influence over the literature of Poland, even when, the pressure of Jesuitic domination being withdrawn, the national mind started into new life and activity, and poetry and the arts bloomed afresh, under the auspices of the amiable and cultivated Stanislaus Poniatowski. A crowd of scholars, eloquent men, and poets gave lustre to his court; but the titles of the Polish Voltaire, the Polish Boileau, the Polish Bossuet, which were accorded to them, prove that they drew their inspiration from foreign sources, and not from the wells of Polish genius and sentiment. The writers of this period may not stand with the elder bards of Poland, nor with her patriot poets of a later day ; they were men of shining talents, rather than of genius, and never reached that moral height whose attainment is needful to the full development even of the intellect. Yet they take a high place as scholars and elegant writers, and may claim to rank with the contemporary authors of the other countries of Europe.

The most eminent among them is the Bishop Krasicki, author of elegant and finished compositions in almost every department of literature. His works are distinguished for their piquant wit and easy gracefulness of style, rather than for depth of feeling or glow of fancy ; yet there are times when a higher spirit seems to kindle in him, when the patriotic ardor never wanting in any Pole lends a temporary glow to his pencil. There are passages in his “Wojna Chocimska” eloquent and stirring, and though this work cannot claim to be regarded as a great poem, it rises, in many parts, far above the level of modern epics. The fables of Krasicki are gracefully and pleasantly written, and have deservedly enjoyed great popularity ; but the most esteemed of his works, and those which have the best preserved their first reputation, are his satires. To this style of composition his powers were peculiarly adapted; for satire addresses itself to the intellect, and, making no demand upon the feelings, leaves us the less sensible of the absence of enthusiasm. VOL. LXVI. NO. 139.

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