Literatura renesansu w Polsce

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Opis

Janusz Pelc

Literatura renesansu w Polsce

wyd. 2 poprawione i uzupełnione

Podręcznik dla studentów wydziałów humanistycznych, nauczycieli i kandydatów na studia. Całkowicie nowe (po latach) opracowanie przedmiotu, może zainteresować też specjalistów.

ISBN 83-85810-33-1
Format B5, s. 298, ilustracje, bibliografia, indeksy, streszczenie w języku angielskim, OPRAWA TWARDA

 

SPIS TREŚCI

 

ROZDZIAŁ I

WPROWADZENIE DO PROBLEMATYKI

1. RENESANS -- DZIEJE POJĘCIA

2. HUMANIZM RENESANSOWY

3. RENESANS A REFORMACJA, ODNOWA ŻYCIA RELIGIJNEGO I SPOŁECZNEGO

4. RENESANS A PROBLEM GODNOŚCI I WOLNOŚCI CZŁOWIEKA

5. EPOKA -- STYL -- PRĄD. ARTYSTYCZNE I LITERACKIE STYLE I PRĄDY EPOKI RENESANSU

6. CHRONOLOGICZNE I TERYTORIALNE GRANICE RENESANSU. RENESANS "WŁOSKI" I RENESANS "PÓŁNOCNY"

7. ROLA RENESANSOWYCH POETYK I ROZWAŻAŃ O POEZJI

8. RENESANSOWE ROZUMIENIE IMITACJI

9. KSIĘGI RĘKOPIŚMIENNE I KSIĘGI DRUKOWANE

 

ROZDZIAŁ II

RENESANS W EUROPIE. SPOJRZENIE PERSPEKTYWICZNE, GŁÓWNE PRZEMIANY

1. PROBLEMY ŻYCIA OBYWATELSKIEGO

2. "CICERONIANUS" CZY "CHRISTIANUS"?

3. KLASYCYZM RENESANSOWY PRZED I PO ERAZMIE. APOGEUM RENESANSOWEGO KLASYCYZMU W RÓŻNYCH KRAJACH EUROPY

4. LITERATURA POPULARNA I LITERATURA OBIEGÓW BARDZIEJ ELITARNYCH

5. KRYTYKA WYNATURZEŃ ŚWIATA REALNEGO I POSZUKIWANIE ŚWIATÓW IDEALNYCH

6. LITERATURA A SZTUKI PLASTYCZNE

7. KRYZYS RENESANSU A JEGO TRWANIE. POWOLNY ZMIERZCH KLASYCYZMU RENESANSOWEGO. MANIERYZM, POCZĄTKI BAROKU

 

ROZDZIAŁ III

PIERWOCINY RENESANSOWEGO HUMANIZMU I RENESANSU W POLSCE

1. EUROPEJSKA WSPÓLNOTA ORAZ WĘDRÓWKI INTELEKTUALISTÓW, POETÓW, ARTYSTÓW. INSTYTUCJE: SZKOŁY, UNIWERSYTETY, KLASZTORY, DWORY

2. POCZĄTKI HUMANIZMU RENESANSOWEGO W ORBICIE KRAKOWA, TAMTEJSZEJ AKADEMII, DWORU KRÓLEWSKIEGO, INNYCH OŚRODKÓW

3. PISARZE "NOWEGO" I "STAREGO STYLU", A TAKŻE "STYLU POŚREDNIEGO MIĘDZY DAWNYM A NOWYM"

4. NA PRZEŁOMIE XV i XVI STULECIA

 

ROZDZIAŁ IV

PIERWSZA FAZA WYRAŹNEJ DOMINACJI RENESANSU (OKOŁO 1510-1543)

1. ROLA DRUKU

2. PIERWSZE KSIĄŻKI POLSKIE. LITERATURA SZEROKIEGO OBIEGU

3. TURNIEJE POETYCKIE Z 1512 I 1518 ROKU

4. POKOLENIE KRZYCKIEGO I DANTYSZKA

5. KLEMENS JANICJUSZ -- NAJWYBITNIEJSZY PRZED JANEM KOCHANOWSKIM POETA-LIRYK

6. KLERYKA -- POETA DWORSKI PISZĄCY PO POLSKU, ALE I TWÓRCA LITERATURY POPULARNEJ

7. DRAMAT I TEATR CZASÓW ZYGMUNTA I (DO ROKU 1542)

8. HISTORIOGRAFIA CZASÓW ZYGMUNTA I STAREGO

 

ROZDZIAŁ V

DRUGA FAZA DOMINACJI RENESANSU (1543-OKOŁO 1565). POD ZNAKIEM DIALOGÓW, POLEMIK, PRÓB FORMUŁOWANIA PROGRAMÓW ODNOWY

1. ROK 1543. WYSTĄPIENIA NOWEGO POKOLENIA, DYSKUSJE, PÓŹNIEJSZE PODZIAŁY

2. WIELKA KARIERA DIALOGÓW I FORM DRAMATYCZNYCH

3. REJ -- KOMPOZYCJE DIALOGOWE, PRÓBY DRAMATU

4. MARCIN BIELSKI -- "KOMEDYJA"-MORALITET. DIALOGI PERSON

5. DIALOGI KROMERA, ORZECHOWSKIEGO I SOLIKOWSKIEGO, FRYCZA I HOZJUSZA

6. PROZA ORATORSKA I PUBLICYSTYCZNA. "ROZWAŻANIA", POLEMIKI RELIGIJNE. FRYCZ, ORZECHOWSKI, HOZJUSZ, ARIANIE

7. PROZA HISTORYCZNA, HISTORIOGRAFIA

8. PROZA BIBLIJNA, KOMENTARZE DO NIEJ, PRZEKŁADY TEKSTÓW BIBLII

9. LIRYKA ŚPIEWNIKÓW

10. REJ -- OD DIALOGÓW DO "WIZERUNKÓW"

 

ROZDZIAŁ VI

APOGEUM RENESANSU (I)

CEZURA OKOŁO ROKU 1565

1. SPOTKANIE DWU POKOLEŃ

2. NOWE POKOLENIE TWÓRCÓW, JEGO WIELKI I SZYBKI SUKCES

3. WCZESNE UTWORY KOCHANOWSKIEGO, PRACE GÓRNICKIEGO I NIDECKIEGO

4. "DWORZANIN POLSKI", INNE ZWIERCIADŁA I "FRASZKI" KOCHANOWSKIEGO

5. POD ZNAKIEM NEOPLATOŃSKIEJ FILOZOFII MIŁOŚCI. DWA POLSKIE RENESANSOWE HYMNY DO BOGA

 

ROZDZIAŁ VII

APOGEUM RENESANSU (II)

KOCHANOWSKI -- TWORZENIE WIELKIEJ POEZJI NARODOWEJ

1. MARZENIA O EPOPEI A NIEŚMIERTELNOŚĆ ZAPEWNIAJĄCE "FRASZKI"

2. TWÓRCA POLSKIEJ TRAGEDII RENESANSOWEJ

3. MUZA ŁACIŃSKA I MUZA POLSKA

4. NOWA REDAKCJA "ELEGII"

5. KOCHANOWSKIEGO ŚWIAT "FRASZEK" I ŚWIAT "FORICOENIÓW"

6. PIEŚNI I ODY POLSKIEGO HORACEGO

7. "PSAŁTERZ DAWIDÓW PRZEKŁADANIA JANA KOCHANOWSKIEGO"

8. "TRENY"

9. PÓŹNE LATA DOJRZAŁOŚCI. WYDANIA JUŻ POŚMIERTNE

10. POLSKI ORFEUSZ

 

ROZDZIAŁ VIII

TWÓRCY WSPÓŁCZEŚNI DZIEŁU JANA KOCHANOWSKIEGO

1. WSPÓŁTWÓRCY APOGEUM RENESANSU W LITERATURZE POLSKIEJ

2. MIKOŁAJ SĘP SZARZYŃSKI, PROBLEM MANIERYZMU, WCZESNEGO BAROKU

 

ROZDZIAŁ IX

ZMIERZCH RENESANSU W LITERATURZE POLSKIEJ. LATA 1590-OK. 1614

1. RENESANS PO KOCHANOWSKIM

2. KLONOWIC

3. HISTORIOGRAFIA

4. PROZA POLEMICZNA, RELIGIJNA

5. TEATR I DRAMAT

6. W KRĘGU JANA ZAMOYSKIEGO

7. SZYMONOWICA DROGA DO "SIELANEK"

8. "SIELANKI" SZYMONOWICA -- PÓŹNY MANIFEST KLASYCYZMU RENESANSOWEGO

9. POLSCY SOWIŹRZAŁOWIE. LITERATURA POPULARNA PRZEŁOMU XVI I XVII WIEKU

10. NOWY CZY STARY MODEL ESTETYKI ORAZ POEZJI

 

ZAMKNIĘCIE

 

BIBLIOGRAFIA

RENAISSANCE LITERATURE IN POLAND. SUMMARY

INDEKSY

SPIS ILUSTRACJI

 

RENAISSANCE LITERATURE IN POLAND

 

SUMMARY

 

Chapter I. "Introduction: the Agenda of the Argument". This introductory section begins with a brief review of the history of the term "Renaissance". Following on from that, the author seeks to define the essence of Renaissance humanism, understood both as an intellectual formation and a way of perceiving the world. Humanism, we are told, was shaped and developed in the works of scholars involved in "studia humanitatis". These studies included liberal arts such as rhetoric, poetics and moral philosophy. Such as "jurists" who were people versed in the science of law, the representatives of "studia humanitatis" acquired by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the name of "humanists". The author stresses the fact that Renaissance humanists went beyond the limits of poetics, rhetorics and transcended even the broad scope of moral philosophy which instructed people how, with dignity, one may and should make a human being. Already in antiquity the notion of "humanitas" referred to the nature of man. It implied nobility of character, refined manners, charity, grace, goodwill, kindness, politeness, erudition and a high level of culture. It also involved an awareness of the cultural heritage of the past as well as a commitment and readiness to contribute to the culture of ones own times; the times in which those who inherited the ideals of "humanitas" lived and created their works.

 

Among the various meanings of the Latin adjective "humanus", most dictionaries quote "elegant", "refined", "educated", "of noble character", "dignified", as well as "friendly", "charitable" and "kind-hearted". Renaissance humanists reinforced these connotations. Searching for models of human existence they postulated a possibly exhaustive and unprejudiced, scholarly honest study of the ancient past. The notion of return "ad fontes" implied the wish to refer back to the ideals present in the works of the ancient masters. This idea was not limited only to the study of the closest cultural milieu, that is the influence of the ancient Rome. It was clear that the Roman masters were inspired by the Hellenic tradition. Moreover, the humanist ascribed a wider and deeper significance to the notion of antiquity by penetrating and exploring the heritage of pre-hellenic Egypt and of other Middle East cultures. However, stress was put primarily on the through understanding of the Greek and Roman traditions which were believed to have immediate relevance for Renaissance culture.

 

Renaissance humanists looked for the essence of humanity coded in the art and writing of the antiquity. To refer to the past, unravelled in its original, authentic shape and to aspire to the perfection of the masters, or perhaps even try to surpass them, was the aim of the Renaissance humanist.

 

One must remember that in social sciences the term "humanism" often denotes a universal, timeless phenomenon. Thus, for the sake of precision, it is always necessary to use it with an adjective which would point to a specific historical milieu. Different epoches and different culture have their own humanisms. Nevertheless, Renaissance humanism was evidently the first modern, and thus still very significant, concretization of this term. In the present work, devoted to the study of Renaissance humanism, the writer usually uses the full term. Yet, when continuous repetition seemed redundant the adjective was omitted for the sake of brevity and clarity.

 

The other major factor which, alongside with humanism, shaped the Renaissance world picture, was the Reformation. Its primary aim was moral reform, which was to be achieved through the return of true religion; hence the call to refer back to the religious foundations of human existence. This in turn necessitated the search for the authentic meaning of the Holy Scriptures and created the need to translate the Bible into modern languages. Critical scrutiny of traditional commentaries and the call for moral reform of institutionalized religion were also issues of primary importance. As a matter of fact, Renaissance "philologia sacra" served exactly the same purposes as, for instance, Marcilio Ficinos re-invention of Plato. And yet the ways of Humanism and of the Reformation soon parted.

 

Erasmus initial enthusiasm for the Reformation, for instance, quickly changed into an obvious reserve towards the founders of the new confessions. Meanwhile, Luther and other reformers, together with the spiritual leaders of post-Tridentine Catholicism, openly manifested their distrust of Erasmuss philosophy. Constructing the new or just re-shaping the old systems of dogmas and religious institutions, the reformers had to renounce many ideals so important for the Renaissance humanists, such as eirenic philosophy and tolerance towards those who did not share their beliefs. The members of reformed churches and post-Tridentine Catholicism created new, different versions of humanism.

 

The Reformation had a considerable bearing on the awekening and development of national literatures in different countries, including Poland. Of course, the impulse to create literary texts in modern languages came also from many distinguished writers and humanists of the Renaissance.

 

The central issue in the philosophy of Renaissance humanism concerned the freedom and dignity of man. The answers to the basic questions connected with these issues were different. Renaissance philosophers and artists distinguishes the notion of "natura naturata" which was the work of the hand of God, the Creator. Alongside with it, there existed "natura naturans" which came into existence as a result mans collaboration with the Supreme Being. Each human being thus shaped his or her own personality. Artists created the masterpieces of art and literature. To what extent then, were self-creativity and artistic creativity free from constraints? Where were the limits of this freedom? In the beginning, Renaissance humanists optimistically compared the creative powers of man with those of ancient Proteus. Later, they were gradually abandoning this excessive optimism. The members of some new confessions or denominations accepted even the idea of predestination. Others also abandoned belief in the full freedom of man and his selfcreation.

 

The author of the present book uses the term "Renaissance" to denote the specific epoch, artistic and literary style which dominates in this epoch and thus shapes its picture. Style or, should one perhaps rather say, styles? The author opts here for the distinction, especially in later phases of the epoch, of Renaissance classicism, which aimed at perfect representation of harmony; it valued adequacy, simplicity (of course a refined simplicity which was the exact opposite of vulgarity), clarity and proportion, which all together were to give the impression of grace. Alongside that, there appeared a trend which could be defined as humanist and Reformation pragmatism. Its principles were formed in the later works of Erasmus. Here, the focus on the strictly utilitarian function of literature, on the immediate impact on the reader and the accessibility of the work obfuscated the care for artistic perfection. Primary importance was given to the readability of the text, "as long as it was not untidy", as Erasmus warned. The third style of Renaissance epoch was mannerism. In some respect, it was a continuation and development of Renaissance classicism. However, it paid less attention to ideal order and harmony. Subtlety, virtuosity and fireworks of poetic wit gained here primary importance. The mannerist depicted the world of dramatic tensions, unrest, the world of labyrinths. In this world, man sought comfort in spiritual meditations, and expressed his anxieties through oxymorons, ellipses, paradoxes, which articulated the complexity of his existence.

 

Studies of the Renaissance frequently highlight the difference between the Italian and northern Renaissances, where the latter denotes the culture of the countries situated north of the Alps and is commonly identified with erasmianism. The author of the book notes the geographical specificity of Renaissance styles. However, his intention is to foreground the similarities between Renaissance art of different European countries. At the same time he discerns some distinctive features of the "northern" Renaissance. Still more stress is put on connection between the north of Europe and Italy. Needless to add, Erasmus belonged to the whole of Europe. It is also claimed that Italian influences played a crucial role in countries such as France or Poland, where they reinforced already strong Renaissance trends and thus determined the development of art and literature. In some European countries, Renaissance did not move beyond what may be called the initial stage of humanism. There, preference was usually given to pragmatism and practicality, which found an evident expression in literary works, and, to a lesser extent, in visual arts.

 

In the times of the Renaissance, great significance was ascribed to norms; the principles concerning poetry were codified in poetics and treatises. Equally relevant were the textbooks and treatises devoted to the art of rhetoric. From the works of Plato and the commentaries which accompanied them, derived the theory of "divine fury" ("furor poeticus"), which was believed to give a poet inspiration, and to grant him creative powers. Another model was that of a "learned poet" ("poeta doctus"), an erudite versed in the rules codified in poetics. A poet who combined these merits, a man of genius and an author of literary masterpieces received the honorary title of a "bard" -- "poeta-vates".

 

Most Renaissance poetics contained rules which applied to the genres of ancient provenance. Later, there appeared poetics which described the structure of the sonnets, canzones and other genres given equal stature by Petrarch. One can mention here, for instance, Antonio Minturnos Poetics (1564). Horaces Letter to Pizons was yet another textbook of good writing. Aristotles Poetics grew more and more popular, which made writers such as Francesco Robortello write their own commentaries on it. Meanwhile, Erasmus of Rotterdam valued alternative genres commonly referred to as "low" or "sylenic". Towards the end of the sixteenth century Giordano Bruno formulated the theory of "multiple beauty": "pulchritudo multiplex est". In addition, Bruno claimed that poetry does not come from norms, although the study of poetry makes it possible to define norms. A similar idea was expressed by Montaigne who argued that truly great poetry stood above the judgement of human reason and above the rules imposed by reason.

 

For the people of the Renaissance the poet was an imitator of "human deeds", and deserved the admiration of his audience. He imitated nature understood both as "natura naturata" and "natura naturans". His work could even surpass nature, according to Ovids theory: "materiam supperabat opus". Petrarch had already said that the imitation of ancient masters resembled the work of the poet whom Plato and Seneca compared to a bee: bees, they noted, collect nectar from various plants and then produce honey. Thus, although the poet follows the masters, he should try to surpass them. As a result, the conviction that "imitatio est aemulatio", gained many supporters. And yet some of the models, particularly Ciceros prose, were still believed to be beyond the reach of the Renaissance artists. Stronger, however, proved the belief that "Aemulator veterum verius quam imitator". Jan Kochanowski, for instance, already in the early version of his Latin Elegies, boasted that he wanted to compete with the masters. Moreover, the young poet decided to challenge Callimachus of Cirene, the first author of elegies and the master of the Latin masters.

 

In the times when Petrarch was writing his Canzoniere, and Bocaccio his Decameron, the manuscript book still predominated in Europe. The age of print began almost a century later; the first printed volumes appeared between 1454 and 1456, which resulted in the rapid growth of the reading public and made it possible to popularize Renaissance ideals. But humanists still showed great respect for manuscripts; they studied them diligently and treated the with piety. They believed that the manuscripts were "sources" ("fontes") which contained true knowledge both about the past and about the culture of the present.

 

@B_W = Chapter II. "Renaissance in Europe. A Survey". In this chapter the author deals with works which popularized the model of the humanist subject of "vita civilis". Many distinguished poets were authors of such treatises; there were also writers who specialized mainly in this kind of prose.

 

"Cireronianus" or "Christianus"? Which model should a Renaissance man and artist choose? It was Erasmus who brought into sharp focus St. Hieronimos dilemma, in order to reject the uncritical admiration of pagan antiquity and oppose the slavish imitation of the ancient masters, particularly of Cicero. The same dilemma preoccupied other writers, but some of them offered a different solution. Erasmus strongly advocated the primacy of Christianity ("Christianus"). Others suggested a compromise between the two models, and opted for their equality.

 

Erasmuss influence in Renaissance Europe cannot be overestimated. Many of his contemporaries and later humanists shared his ideals. Similar ideals informed the works of those who contributed to the development of Renaissance classicism and who created great national literatures. But his thought proved even more influential in those countries were the stress was put on the more immediate, pragmatic ends of literary production.

 

Renaissance literature was created and circulated in the courtly and academic milieux, which gathered the elite of the learned humanists. That was Renaissance high culture. In the later period, however, the introduction of print made it possible to popularize Renaissance literature. Renaissance popular culture did not neglect the heritage of antiquity, but saw it through the prism of the Middle Ages, and not above their shoulders. This mixture of antiquity with medieval and humanist traditions was often used to laugh at seeming wisdom and illusory power. Such popular works were also created by well known writers, as Erasmuss Moriae encomion (1511) shows. The Europewide carrier of Aesops fables provides another example.

 

Satire and grotesque offered a distorted image of reality, in order to expose the weaknesses and faults of the real world. In response to that, some authors began the quest for better, unspoilt worlds. These ideal visions often derived from the analysis of concrete social, political and moral problems. Such was the provenance of Andreas Frycz Modrzewskis and Bodins works. Some writers chose to present a picture of an ideal state which did not exist anywhere, anytime. The title of Thomas Mores seminal text, Utopia, soon became a generic term for such works. The end of the century brought one more utopia: Campanellas idealist description of the State of the Sun.

 

Theoreticians and practitioners of Renaissance art frequently stressed the close affinity of literature, poetry and the visual arts. Renaissance emblem books flourished at the interface of poetry and visual arts. The first modern emblem book, by Andrea Alciati (Emblematum liber, 1531) defined the characteristic features of the genre. The end of the sixteenth century witnessed the publication of yet another important book, Cesare Ripas Iconologia.

 

The development of Renaissance art and especially evolution of the classicist style lead to the triumph of mannerism. Perfectionism and harmony of classicism give way to subtlety and mastery. Disciplined is less valued than the originality of invention. These are the harbingers of the baroque style which took over the mannerist rejection of strenuous harmony and allowed for the flamboyant growth of rich ornamentation. Yet as long as Renaissance classicism and humanist pragmatism co-exist with and prevail over mannerism or even early baroque style, we can still speak of the Renaissance epoch.

 

@B_W = Chapter III. "The Origins of Humanism and of the Renaissance in Poland". The widespread knowledge of Latin had a considerable bearing on the development of the Renaissance in Europe. The new ideas were also spread by travelling students, artists and scholars who migrated across Europe. University towns had always attracted foreign students, but in the 14th and 15th centuries such migrations happened on a massive scale. One of the most prestigious Universities of the time was the Cracow Academy, famous not only in Poland and the neighboring countries for its contributions to astronomy, mathematics and social sciences. The Academy, along with the royal court and chancellery in Cracow became the centre of Renaissance culture in Poland. Of course, one should not underestimate the significance of other centers of culture, such as court of Grzegorz of Sanok, in Dunajow. Foreigners who came to Poland propagated the new style. Some of them decided to settle here, like the Italian, Philippus Buonaccorsi, known in Poland as "Kallimach". Some paid long visits, such as Conradus Celtis from Germany. Together with Polish enthusiasts of the new style, these foreigners founded in Cracow the first Polish society of Renaissance poets and scholars, Sodalitas Litteraria Vistulana.

 

The new style influenced the work of the Polish diplomats (Mikołaj Lasocki) and of orators connected with the Cracow Academy (Jan of Ludzisko). Kallimach, who began to consider himself a Pole, also wrote in the new style. Some writers, however, still prefered the "old" style. In some texts, elements of the "old" and the "new" styles co-existed; this writing "mediated" between the old and the new style, as Kallimach spoke about the tests written by Grzegorz of Sanok. In spite of his enthusiasm for Renaissance humanism, the poetry and prose of Grzegorz of Sanok were still strongly influenced by the medieval tradition. The mixture of style was extremely popular, not only in Poland. Renaissance humanism was gaining popularity much faster than stylistic innovations. The latter occurred slowly, gradually. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the new style begins to spread in Poland. The poetic works of Paweł of Krosno and of his disciples, Jan of Wiślica and Jan Dantyszek, provide good examples. However, many valuable works are still written in the "old" style.

 

@B_W = Chapter IV. "The Supremacy of the Renaissance in Poland: the first period (1510-1543)". Already in the 15th century the first printed books appear on Polish soil. They are mainly Latin texts, although we can also mention some Greek, Hebrew and even Old Cyrillic texts (one of these came from Fiols press in the last decade of the 15th century, in 1491). The first Polish printed books appear a little later, at the beginning of the 16th century. Before that, short texts in Polish could be found in Latin prints. These first printed books in Polish include mainly religious texts, such as, for instance, Biernat of Lublins The Paradise of the Souls (Raj duszny). "The History of Our Lords Passion" ("Historyja umęczenia Pana Naszego"...) might have appeared even earlier. We do not have to wait long for the first lay book in Polish. In 1516, or, as has been assumed so far, in 1522, the earlier mentioned Biernat of Lublin published his translation of Aesops fables, together with the Life of Aesop (Bajki Ezopowe and Żywot Ezopa). The year 1521 saw the publication of Jan of Koszyczkis translation of The Dialogue between the Wise King Salomon and Fool Called Marcholt (Rozmowy, które miał król Salomon mądry z Marchołtem...). A character based on German Eulenspiegel will soon join the company of such carnivalesque fools who in this type of text challenge the official authorities. Popular tales of medieval provenance were also very common. Later, some humanist motifs, derived, for instance from The Decameron, were introduced in the popular literature.

 

In the sphere of high culture, at the royal court of Sigmund I, literary competitions became an important event. They were organized to celebrate royal weddings, commemorize other important occasions and proclaim military triumphs. Polish and foreign poets, old and young readily entered for these competitions. In 1512 on the occasion of king Sigmunds marriage with Barbara Zapolya, for example, a German poet, Eobanus Hessus (Koch), was one of the competitors. In 1518, the Italians accompanied the princess Bona Sforza who arrived in Cracow to marry the Polish king. Of course, the competition was most popular among the Polish poets: Paweł of Krosno, Andrzej Krzycki and Jan Dantyszek took part in them.

 

Dantyszek travelled widely in the kings service. He went to Germany, where the emperor rewarded his literary merits (made him "poeta laureatus"), to Spain and Netherlands. He made many friends with many famous humanists; he knew Erasmus and More. From 1524 to 1531 he represented the Polish king at the court of Charles the Habsburg. Dantyszek was an experienced writer and a gifted diplomat. He traced carefully the development of the new style. His first emblem text, in which he followed Andrea Alciatis work Emblematum liber (1531) appeared also in 1531. His talents did not pass unnoticed in Europe. Erasmus spoke highly of his works. Yet another Polish poet gained Erasmuss highest respect. In his Ciceronianus Erasmus proclaimed Andrzej Krzycki the "prince of Polish poets". Krzycki, who was of the same age as Dantyszek. was a very versatile writer. However, his best works were short poems, in which he managed to grasp the atmosphere of the Renaissance court in Cracow. Both Dantyszek and Krzycki deepened their knowledge of literature in Italy. Dantyszek and Jan of Wiślica, the author of a Latin poem about the wars against the Teutonic Knights, were both disciples of Paweł of Krosno, who lectured in Cracow. One of their contemporaries was Mikołaj of Hussow, the author of Latin poems. His Carmen... de statura, feritate ac venatione bisontis praises the beauty of Polish and Lithuanian landscape and glorifies the power of the two states ruled by Sigmund I. Krzycki, Dantyszek, Jan of Wiślica and Mikołaj of Hussow are the mature poets of the Polish and European Renaissance. Erasmuss praises of Krzycki and Dantyszek work confirm this opinion. Dantyszeks another important contribution to the Polish culture was the fact that he invited to Poland Joannes Campensis, the famous Biblicist of the time. In the last years of his life, Krzycki became the patron of a young poet, Klemens Janicki, (Clemens Ianicius). Ianicius gained fame as the author of elegies based on Ovids texts, epigrams, poetical portraits of the Polish kings and arch bishops of Gniezno, occasional poems and a satirical dialogue, where for the first time in Polish literature we encounter Stańczyk, the kings wise jester, a mentor of the whole nation.

 

Ianicius studied in Padua, where he won the distinction of poet laureate ("poeta laureatus"). His poetry was valued highly by Pietro Bembo. Although he died young, Ianiciuss literary output is very significant; it includes two books of Elegies, a book of Epigrams, as well as other poems widely read and admired by his contemporaries. Beyond doubt, he was the greatest Polish lyrical poet before Jan Kochanowski.

 

Yet not all the poems written at the court of Sigmund I were in Latin. It suffices to recall the figure of Stanislaus of Bochnia Gąsiorek, the kings chaplain, and the author of Polish songs, popular verses, riddles, and of more official works celebrating important events.

 

Performances, spectacles at court, organized for the royal guest and, most probably, organized also by the distinguished professors of the Cracow Academy were also of high importance. The king cared additionally for the development of historical knowledge. No wonder that Polish historiographers of the time enjoyed high prestige in Europe; the history of Sarmatia by Maciej of Miechow was translated into many languages.

 

@B_W = Chapter V. "The Supremacy of the Renaissance in Poland: the second period (1543 - c.a. 1565). Dialogues, polemics". The year 1543 marked a significant change in the development of the Polish Renaissance. Many young poets published then their first important works. Copernicus, and perhaps also Ianicius died in this year. Copernicus was not only a great astronomer but also a talented translator; he translated Theophylactus Simocattas Letters from Greek into Latin. Dantyszek, now the bishop of Warmia (the Northern Diocese) was probably the only poet of the first generation who was still active. At the same time, the year 1543 saw the first printed work by Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski; Orzechowski launched the first of his anti-Turkish speeches (Turcica); finally, Mikołaj Rej who had published before, now gained public renown for his Short Dialogue (Krótka rozprawa...) Soon after that, Rej wrote a drama entitled The Life of Joseph (Żywot Józefa) and translated the Psalter. In recognition of his talent, king Sigmund I granted his a village, Temerowce. The donation formula read "Vati Polono alias Rymarzowi".

 

The year 1543 begins also the period of polemics and discussions which bring up issues as the necessary reform of the state, evolution of social institutions and religious revival. The edge of the controversy concerning this last issue becomes particularly sharp after the death of the old king, in 1548. The supporters of the Reformation, including Rej and Orzechowski looked forward to the reign of the new monarch; crowned even before his fathers death, Sigmund II August readily gave ear to those who called for reforms.

 

After 1543 the number of literary works written in the form of dialogues, drams or drama-like texts rapidly grows. They were believed to provide a handy tool for presenting arguments in the controversies that divided Polish society. Along with these, there appeared a lot of speeches and other publicistic texts, written by such distinguished authors as Frycz Modrzewski and Stanislaus Hosius (Hozjusz), a spokesman for the Catholic revival and one of the moderators at the Tridentine Council. Their works, translated into many languages, were well known in Europe. Yet another famous Polish orator was Orzechowski. In addition to that developed Polish historiography, Marcin Bielski, the satirist and the author of morality drams, wrote his great historical work in Polish. Latin History of Poland by Marcin Kromer were known and praised by Robortello; Kromers Polish and Latin dialogues, translated into German, also circulated in Europe. Religious controversies brought up by the Bible and commentaries. These works continued after 1565. Although the first impulse came from the supporters of new confessions, the issue was soon taken up by the Catholics. New hymns were written for Catholic and protestant versions of prayer books. There also appeared manuscript editions of popular love songs and romances. The evolution of Mikołaj Rejs work illustrates well the main tendencies of the period. He started by writing drams (apart from the earlier mentioned Life of Jozef he was the author of The Merchant -- Kupiec). Later, in the fifties, Rej decided that speculum can be more persuasive than drama; thus, in 1558 he published The Image of honest Mans Life (Wizerunk własny żywota człowieka poczciwego), based on Palingeuss Zodiacus Vitae. The second edition of this work had already appeared in 1560. Rejs close friend, Andrzej Trzecieski, compared him then with Dante and Petrarch. He called Rej Calliopes second son, the Polish Orpheus. For a Renaissance poet, this was the highest praise. In 1561 Rej was working on his Zodiac (Źwierzyniec) which he wanted to publish at the end of 1561, for the beginning of the following year. The four books of this work contained a rich collection of portraits representing historical figures, poets contemporaries and, finally, anonymous characters which personified a typical Renaissance subject. He added to that a book of Wanton Tales (Przypowieści Przypadłe)... In the later edition, published in 1574, this title changed, and now the book is commonly referred to as The Frolics (Figliki). Then followed a homiletic text, Postylla, widely read in Poland and translated into many languages. Popular was also his bitter, anti-Catholic pamphlet, The Apocalipsis (Apokalipsis).

 

Similarly telling is the evolution of Orzechowskis opinions. In the beginning he was a zealous supporter of the Reformation, then became a devout defender of the Catholic faith. In the early sixties Orzechowski wrote dialogues in which he ferociously attacked the idea of the Reformation and the people who stood behind it in Poland. He even argued that kings should be subjected to archbishops and, through them to the pope.

 

@B_W = Chapter VI. "The Climax of the Polish Renaissance (I). Turning Point: circa year 1565". In the sixties Orzechowski writes his last works (he dies in 1566). It is also the last period of Rejs activity, crowned with the publication of his greatest work. The Speculum -- Źwierciadło (1567-68). It contained The Life of honest Man (Żywot człowieka poczciwego) which has ever since been his best known work. Earlier, when he was preparing the first (on the beginning of 1562) edition of Zodiac (Źwierzyniec), Rej announced the appearance of a new great poet. Thus, thanks to Rej, the literary debut of Jan Kochanowski fortunately did not pass unnoticed. Interestingly enough, however, Rej confessed on this occasion that he had read many texts by Kochanowski. This means that, apart from the printed texts, he could have seen some manuscript versions of Kochanowskis earlier poems. He might have read, for instance, the manuscript versions of the Elegies, or of his Fraszki (facetious Epigrams). The second, posthumous edition of Rejs Zodiac confirms this supposition; a similar suggestion can be also found in Gornickis Book of a Polish Courtier (Dworzanin Polski), published in 1566. In the introduction "To the Reader", which in the second edition of Rejs Zodiac preceeds The Frolics, he calls his poems by the very same name as Kochanowskis epigrams: "fraszki". The word "fraszka" is of Italian origin and denotes in Polish a thing or a person of little significance, a trivial subject, or an innocent joke, a frolic but also little precious jewels. Thus, even the change of title of Rejs book of epigrams was most probably more by design than by coincidence.

 

Already the first half of the decade brings the important works of Jan Kochanowski. Łukasz Górnicki and Andrzej Patrycy Nidecki; the three young graduates of the Universities in Cracow and Padua. All of them decided to seek their fortune at the court and chancellery of king Sigmund August, but Kochanowski did it last. In 1561 or in the first half of 1562 there appeared a printed version of Kochanowskis hymn "What do you expect of us Lord, in return for your generous gifts" ("Czego chcesz od nas Panie...") -- the poem circulated earlier in manuscript versions -- published then together with Susanna (Zuzanna). Three early editions of Kochanowskis Concord (Zgoda) and three early editions of his Satyr or a Wild Man (Satyr, albo Dziki Mąż) appear in the years 1564-1565. In 1564 his Game of Chess (Szachy) was printed for the first time. The Elegy on the Death of Jan Tarnowski (O śmierci Jana Tarnowskiego) dates from 1561. The early version of Elegies -- Elegiarum libri duo could have circulated in manuscripts, like some early version of the Fraszki (Epigrams). There are reasons to believe that The Song of the Flood (Pieśń o Potopie) was published at about the same time, although this copy is lost. Kochanowski was already a famous poet. His Satyr served as a model for Proteus or the Changeling (Proteus abo Odmieniec), a work published in 1564, and determined the characteristic features of the whole genre later called "satyrian poem" ("poemat satyrowy"). In the poem included in the edition of Proteus Kochanowski was called the greatest Polish poet, better even than Rej. This opinion soon gained wide acceptance. In 1564 Andrzej Patrycy Nidecki submitted for publication his specimens of Ciceros Fragmenta which he had prepared with the help of Górnicki and Kochanowski; the book appeared in print in the following year.

 

On the 18th of July, 1565, Górnicki dedicated his Book of a Polish Courtier for the king; this volume was published in 1566. The dedicatory formula proclaimed, with pride, the triumph of his generation. Górnicki was did not make a mistake. Even though the reading public still paid equal attention to the works of Rej, Orzechowski, Kochanowski and Górnicki, the works of the younger writers, and especially of Kochanowski, were gaining popularity amazingly fast. The interest in the Reformation was beginning to decline. A more radical wing, the Polish Brothers, was growing more and more popular. Kochanowski, as a young man, paid a visit to the protestant Królewiec (Koenigsberg) where he was introduced to prince Albrecht, the patron of dissidents in Poland and Lithuania. He also had connections at the courts of the Firleys and the Radziwills, who were protestants. But his closest friend was Piotr Myszkowski, a tolerant, open-minded Catholic. After Myszkowskis resignation, the king endowed the poet with the prebendary in Poznań. Kochanowski was not a consecrated priest, but the office was a handy source of permanent income.

 

Three great Polish "specula" were written in the sixties: Rejs The Life of honest Man, Górnickis Book of a Polish Courtier, based on Castiliones seminal text, and, finally De optimo senatore libri duo (Venice: 1568; Basilea: 1593) by Wawrzyniec Goślicki, also a graduate of the University in Padua but (rather) younger than Kochanowski. Goślickis work proved more popular abroad, especially in England, than in Poland, Here the works of Rej and Górnicki enjoyed greater popularity. The former provided models for decent country life, and was a mirror of the Polish gentry. The latter described an ideal courtier and a perfect lady. Rej who had great respect for traditional values, defined the aspiration of his hero in accordance with the public and private ambitions of the Polish gentry. Górnicki was under strong influence of the European, particularly of Italian, models. Kochanowskis epigrams -- Fraszki can be read as a kind of equal to Gornickis work. References to these poems in the text of Górnicki prove this parallel.

 

Like Castigliones Il Cortegiano, Górnickis speculum ends with a beautiful hymn praising God -- the Creator, God -- the Dispenser of Goods. This hymn ending Górnickis work, and Kochanowskis poem "What do you expect of us God, ..." were informed by a Christian version of Renaissance neoplatonism.

 

Chapter VII. "The Climax of the Polish Renaissance (II). Kochanowski -- Creation of the Great National Poetry". During his stay in Paris, the young Kochanowski admired Ronsard, only a few years older than the Pole and already very famous. Like Ronsard before him, Kochanowski wanted to create great literature in his mother tongue. After the return to Poland, Kochanowski devoted himself to this task. Like Ronsard, who first planned to compose 24 books of Franciade but wrote only 4, Kochanowski also wanted to create great epic poem but he chose to practise smaller epic forms. But when in 1584, the last year of his life, the poet was preparing the final version of his short epigrams it must have been obvious for him that his seemingly trivial verse would enjoy immortal fame. The characters portrayed in his epigrams (Fraszki) became as famous as the heroes of more serious and great epic poems.

 

Along with the epic, the Renaissance public valued tragedy very highly. In this field, Kochanowski owed a lot to the ancient masters: he translated fragments of Euripidess Alkestis and read Seneca. He was also under the strong influence of Italian drama. Kochanowski wrote the first Polish modern tragedy, Dismissal of Greek Envoys (Odprawa Posłów Greckich). On the 12th of January, 1578 Jan Zamoyski ordered the staging of the play in a suburban Jazdów near Warsaw (today Ujazdów, in Warsaw); the performance was directed by Wojciech Oczko. In the letter to Zamoyski accompanying the first edition of the play, Jan Kochanowski spoke about his anxieties and hopes connected with this work. He was particularly concerned about the speeches of the Chorus, especially the third speech, written according to the ancient models. He was aware of his achievement, but at the same time knew best that this interesting and important work could not complete with his lyrical masterpieces.

 

All his life, Kochanowski wrote both in Polish and in Latin. He decided not to give up Latin, although he tried write more texts in Polish. Under the reign of Stefan Batory, who knew no Polish before he arrived in Poland, Latin regained its previous position. Earlier, already at the time of the interregnum, Kochanowski wrote an important Latin poem. Its aim was to refute the violent satire on Poland written by Henry Valoiss court poet, Philippe Desportes. At that time he wrote also other Latin poems.

 

Putting in practice his plan to create a great Polish literature, Kochanowski did not resign from preparing a new redaction of his Latin Elegies. This new version different significantly from the early version known in the manuscripts. The first two books also in the new redaction were to remain a reflection of youth, with their merits and faults left intact. Some of these elegies were even moved to the third, more "mature" book, devoted to praise of marital love and friendship. But Kochanowski introduced other important changes as well. He resigned altogether from the earlier autobiographical Elegy IX, and excluded Elegy X, very critical: at the end of the first book he placed Elegy XV about the legendary princess Wanda. The fourth book of elegies concluded with philosophical meditation on mans attitude towards the world and towards himself.

 

In his epigram "On human Life" ("O żywocie ludzkim") (I,3) Kochanowski claimed that all human thoughts and deeds are epigrammatic, insignificant, frolicsome and funny. The world of his Fraszki (Epigrams) embraced thus the whole human universe. It depicted human nature as inherently contradictory; great and dwarfish at the same time; referred to the external and internal structuring of a human being and reflected the most secret thoughts of the poets lyrical "I". Slightly different, in spite of all the similarities, is the represented reality of the Latin Foricoenia. These poems referred to and depicted the situations observed outside the home (the title: Foricoenium was an allusion to Martials "domicoenium"). The choice of characters in the two cycles is not identical. The Foricoenia portrait gallery seems more official, even though the addressees of the first and the last poems of the whole series, Myszkowski and Nidecki, were the poets closest friends. In the world of epigrams the author tries to keep a distance towards his creation that only God, "The Eternal Thought" is capable of.

 

The autobiographical epigram "To the mountains and forests" ("Do gór i lasów") ends with the principle of Horatian philosophy, "carpe diem". This maxim determined the evolution of Kochanowskis Songs (Pieśni) which becomes particularly visible when we compare the two preserved versions of "The Song of the Flood", and when we take into consideration the Horatian ending of the second version. In the song "For the Muses I sing and for myself" ("Sobie śpiewam a Muzom") which became his poetical manifesto, Kochanowski writes that Horaces poems "are more valuable than gold". He hoped that his Songs, more general and universal than the epigrams, which pivot around details, could have similar value. In St. John Eves Song, cycle of songs on St. John Eve and "Sobótkas" Fire, included in the collection, he highlighted the importance of tradition. The song was to teach people how to live wisely and accept the changes of fortune; it was the best companion of man for the good and bad moments of his life. Such poetry was as indispensable for life as bread to eat and air to breath.

 

In Kochanowskis paraphrases of the Psalms -- one needs to add here that the Renaissance public regarded Psalms to be hymns, a highly appreciated genre -- there ring notes of both Davids and Horaces lyre. Like Buchanan, who in the Latin imposed Horatian stanza and rhythm on the biblical psalms, Kochanowski sought to render the richness of the biblical meaning in the intricacy of the Polish stanzaic composition. Sometimes, however, he chose the simpler, distich form, reminiscent of old testament verse. In the dedication for Myszkowski he boasted that he had climbed Calliopes rock.

 

The other main lyrical work if Kochanowskis is his elegiac cycle, Treny (Laments). This great work articulates the crisis of faith which followed the death of the poets favorite daughter. The poet rejects the common opinion, according to which the death of small children is less significant, less tragic. He stresses the subjectivity of a child. The death of a close, perhaps the closest person leaves man helpless. Neither authorities, nor philosophy, nor religion can bring comfort if they are limited to seemingly obvious truths which at this moment prove so frighteningly banal. Where can man look for consolation? In dialogue with Cicero, who suffered the same experience once? With Orpheus? In the mediation of Jobs sufferings? Raging against cruel necessity, the poet-father melts his lyrical "I" with the voice of choral prayer. In this way, he is capable of re-descovering his individual tone and of re-establishing truly personal contact with God. And then in the dream poem, he is visited by his mother, who carries the girl in her arms. They appear as if in response to the poets dramatic call "Where art thou, ... if thou art?" ("Gdzieśkolwiek jest, jeśliś jest?"). A wise man must accept each, even the hardest fate, with human dignity. God is the lord of sadness and of reward. His ways are hidden. Man must experience different things, and although his fate is difficult, he must bear it patiently. Such are the rules of human existence. One must treat this mechanism with wisdom, humanly.

 

Kochanowski passed away when he was putting in order the work of his life. He did not finish this task. A collection of Kochanowskis works, sent for publication after his death in 1584 and published at the turn of 1585-86, did not bear any tile, save for the poets name: IAN KOCHANOWSKI. In the case of a great classic the poets name sufficed. The masterpieces of the ancient poets also appeared without titles, so did Petrarchs works. Kochanowskis last works prove that he still wanted to experiment with new forms; he tried, for instance, his talents in verses based on Pindars odes, and in essays. In the years 1585-1590, supplements to the earlier mentioned collection: IAN KOCHANOWSKI are published. Generally speaking, these publications, together with the edition of the Fragments or Remaining works (Fragmenta albo Pozostałe pisma), constitute the complete works of the poet. However, some more earlier unpublished poems will appear in the edition of Latin Lyricolum libellus (1612), and in 1611 an unknown version of Jezda do Moskwy (A Journey to Moscow) untitled as Wtargnienie do Moskwy) will be published.

 

Kochanowskis main ambition was to become Orpheuss equal. When he was preparing his version of the Psalms for publication he became aware that he was very close to this ideal. He created great national poetry, equal to Orpheuss work (Orpheus was the son of Calliope, the patroness of the Great Poetry). That was highest praise for a Renaissance poet, the most he himself could dream of.

 

@B_W = Chapter VIII. "Kochanowskis contemporaries". This chapter deals with the works of Kochanowskis contemporaries: Górnicki, Goślicki, Andrzej Trzecieski the younger, Stanisław Porębski and others. Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński, for instance, was a young poet who grew up in the atmosphere of Renaissance classicism and decide to abandon its ideals. Not infrequently, his manneristic poems are classified as early baroque texts, Szarzyński died before Kochanowski, in 1581. The author of the book would rather call Szarzyński a representative of the Polish mannerism. Szarzyński does not reject altogether the classicist heritage, but his main concern is to contest many of its principles. Sebastian Grabowiecki, whose collection of the divine poems was published in 1590 and Piotr Skarga, the Jesuit rhetoretician, followed Szarzyńskis path.

 

Chapter IX. "The Waning of the Renaissance in Poland (1590-1614)". The Renaissance in Poland did not end with the death of Jan Kochanowski, or with the posthumous edition of Kochanowskis collected works. The works of Jan Rybiński, Andrzej Zbylitowski and to some extent also those of Jan Smolik, form part of the Renaissance tradition. Sebastian Fabian Klonowic, an erudite and great pragmatist also remained a Renaissance poet. It is mainly in the historiography of the time that one traces the influence of the new style. The works on the Polish editions of the Bible continue. In polemical texts, for instance in Skargas speeches, there also appear new tendencies, although they are still not accepted by everybody. School theaters organized in Jesuit colleges develop rapidly; tradition and innovation meet frequently on these stages. The academic theaters in Gdańsk are more conservative, but they also experiment, for instance with the dramatic adaptation of The Decameron. Humanist drama still remains popular; Gornickis Troas (1589) is based on Senecas work, Jan Zawicki translates Buchanans tragedy Jephtes (1587), and Piotr Ciekliński translates Plautus. Szymonowic also shows interest in classical and humanist drama; his Castus Ioseph written in 1587 was translated in Polish by Stanisław Gosławski. At the same time Szymonowic watches carefully the development of new tendencies in drama and poetry, but his last dramatic work, Penthesilea continues the tradition of humanist drama.

 

Religious drama develops during the whole century. Medieval elements meet here the baroque preoccupation with the supernatural. Popular, carnivalesque plays are also marked with the baroque style. Not infrequently, they are used as interludes in school theaters.

 

Jan Zamoyski, the patron of Renaissance artists and the founder of Zamość is open for innovations but remains faithful to the Renaissance traditions. He wants the teachers in the schools of Zamość to teach Kochanowskis Polish Orthography and looks for a poet who would support him in his efforts. First, he connects some hopes with Klonowic, then chooses Szymonowic, who had earlier gained recognition at royal court and became the kings poet, "poeta regius".

 

To celebrate the kings wedding in 1592, Szymonowic wrote a pastoral epithalamion in Latin. His first Polish pastoral, The Wedding (Ślub), was written in 1593. It was included in the collection of his works -- Sielanki published later in 1614.

 

As a young man Szymonowic sought inspiration also in the new styles. He probably wanted to present in this way his wide learning; his Horatian Flaqellum Livoris is a spectacular presentation of the poets erudition. He wrote also Pindaric odes which came into fashion at the turn of the century. Even later, when he returned to the Renaissance classicism, Szymonowic incorporated in works such baroque elements as the fascination with the supernatural and the contrasts of light and darkness. He knew that the baroque was becoming the dominant style. His Sielanki -- collection of pastoral poems is the last great work of the Polish Renaissance, a valediction of the past.

 

Two years before this collection appeared in print, Jan Szczęsny Herburt, in his introduction to Kasper Miaskowskis Slavonic Hercules (Herkules słowieński), compared the literary output of Miaskowski, Kochanowski and Rej. Notably, he found Miaskowskis poems much more interesting, praising the richness of his style, ornamentation and the introduction of supernatural elements. Herburts text was the manifesto of the new, baroque aesthetics.

 

The carnivalesque literature of the 16th and 17th centuries drew mainly upon medieval traditions. Its preoccupation with the fantastic elements suited the tastes of the baroque audience. But Nowy Sowizdrzał (the new fool) envied the old one; a similar note of nostalgia is to be traced in the later works of Szymonowic. Neither did the young fool forget to pay tribute to Jan Kochanowski, the greatest poet of the past and of all times.

 

In the "Conclusion" the author sums up his argument. Setting the Polish Renaissance against the European background. He shows Kochanowskis works as analogies to Ronsard, but also to Montaigne. The Renaissance was not only the age of poetry. The short prosaic texts of Kochanowski, we are told, are similar to Montaignes Essays. They are some kind of essays, created also in Polish literature by Jan Kochanowski who was first of all a lyric poet.

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