26 May 2010

“Pan Tadeusz”

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Walenty Wankowicz, Mickiewicz na Judahu skale (Mickiewicz on the cliff of Yudah), 1828

The masterpiece of literature in the Polish language is Adam Mickiewicz‘s epic poem/novel Pan Tadeusz (1834).

(Pan is Polish for “sir or lord.” Tadeusz is the Polish version of the personal name Thaddeus.)

I happened to find a link on Facebook this morning to a really excellent reading of the poem’s opening lines, which proves (surprisingly to me) that Polish can be a beautiful language.

2:21 video

Litwo! Ojczyzno moja! Ty jesteÅ› jak zdrowie.
Ile cię trzeba cenić, ten tylko się dowie,
Kto cię stracił. Dziś piękność twą w całej ozdobie
Widzę i opisuję, bo tęsknię po tobie.

Panno święta, co Jasnej bronisz Częstochowy
I w Ostrej świecisz Bramie!
Tymczasem przenoś moją duszę utęsknioną
Do tych pagórków leśnych, do tych łąk zielonych,
Szeroko nad błękitnym Niemnem rozciągnionych;
Do tych pól malowanych zbożem rozmaitem,
Wyzłacanych pszenicą, posrebrzanych żytem;
Gdzie bursztynowy świerzop, gryka jak śnieg biała,
Gdzie panieńskim rumieńcem dzięcielina pała,
A wszystko przepasane jakby wstęgą, miedzą
ZielonÄ…, na niej z rzadka ciche grusze siedzÄ….

Lithuania, my fatherland! Thou art like good health:
How much one should prize thee, he only can tell
Who has lost thee. Your beauty and splendour I view
And describe here today, for I long for thee.

Holy Virgin who shelters our bright Częstochowa
And shines in Ostra Brama!
Meanwhile, bear my soul heavy with yearning’s dull pain,
To those soft woodland hillocks, those meadows, green, gleaming,
Spread wide along each side of the blue-flowing Niemen,
To those fields, which by various grain painted, there lie
Shimmering, with wheat gilded, and silvered with rye;
Where grows the amber mustard, buckwheat white as snow,
Where, with maidenly blushes, clover flowers glow,
And all as if beribboned by green strips of land,
The balks, upon which scattered quiet pear trees stand.

There is a superb film of Pan Tadeusz made in 2000 by Andrzej Wajda.

Culture.pl’s Adam Mickiewicz page.

Hat tip to Roman Skonieczny de Ostoya via Anna Borewicz-Khorshed.

Francisek Kostrzewski, Grzybobranie (Mushroom picking, Book III, Pan Tadeusz), 1860

One Feedback on "“Pan Tadeusz”"


Am so ignorant, but always learn something when I visit!

Our family greatly enjoyed the 2007 Russian fantasy film “1612” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139085/ About the Time of Troubles, tho we were bothered by the anti-Polish agenda. Stunning visually (will never forget those winged cavalry). Have a post on growing up in a neighborhood in London that had many exiles. http://artemisretriever.blogspot.com/2010/01/doomed-cavalry-and-tea-at-daquise.html My grandmother was a British Army driver for the leaders of the Polish Govt in exile during WWII.


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