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Jan Kochanowski, Laments, Lament II
Lament III → ← Lament I

Spis treści

      Jan KochanowskiLamentsLament IItłum. Dorothea Prall

      If I had ever thought to write in praise
      Of little children and their simple ways,
      Far rather had I fashioned cradle verse
      To rock to slumber, or the songs a nurse
      Might croon above the baby on her breast,
      Setting her charge's short-lived woes at rest.
      For much more useful are such trifling tasks
      Than that which sad misfortune this day asks:
      To weep o'er thy deaf grave, dear maiden mine,
      And wail the harshness of grim Proserpine[1].
      But now I have no choice of subject: then
      I shunned a theme scarce fitting riper men,
      And now disaster drives me on by force
      To songs unheeded by the great concourse
      Of mortals. Verses that I would not sing
      The living, to the dead I needs must bring.
      Yet though I dry the marrow from my bones,
      Weeping another's death, my grief atones
      No whit. All forms of human doom
      Arouse but transient thoughts of joy or gloom.
      O law unjust, O grimmest of all maids,
      Inexorable princess of the shades!
      For, Ursula, thou hadst but tasted time
      And art departed long before thy prime.
      Thou hardly knewest that the sun was bright
      Ere thou didst vanish to the halls of night.
      I would thou hadst not lived that little breath —
      What didst thou know, but only birth, then death?
      And all the joy a loving child should bring
      Her parents, is become their bitterest sting.



      Proserpine — Roman goddess of spring, spending winter in the underworld as a wife of Pluto; equivalent of Greek Persephone. [przypis edytorski]