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      Jan KochanowskiLamentsLament VItłum. Dorothea Prall


      Dear little Slavic Sappho[1], we had thought,

      Hearing thy songs so sweetly, deftly wrought,

      That thou shouldst have an heritage one day

      Beyond thy father's lands: his lute to play.


      For not an hour of daylight's joyous round

      But thou didst fill it full of lovely sound,

      Just as the nightingale doth scatter pleasure

      Upon the dark, in glad unstinted measure.

      Then Death came stalking near thee, timid thing,


      And thou in sudden terror tookest wing.

      Ah, that delight, it was not overlong

      And I pay dear with sorrow for brief song.

      Thou still wert singing when thou cam'st to die;

      Kissing thy mother, thus thou saidst good-bye:


      «My mother, I shall serve thee now no more

      Nor sit about thy table's charming store;

      I must lay down my keys to go from here,

      To leave the mansion of my parents dear.»

      This and what sorrow now will let me tell


      No longer, were my darling's last farewell.

      Ah, strong her mother's heart, to feel the pain

      Of those last words and not to burst in twain.



      Sappho (c. 612 BC–c. 570 BC) — a female Greek lyric poet. [przypis edytorski]

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