A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 3, Edited by Jerzy Jedlicki
Introduction: The Black Gown
Schowaj, matko, suknie moje, Keep away from me, mother, Perły, wieńce z róż: My frocks, rose wreaths, pearls; Jasne szaty, świetne stroje – Lucid robes now fit some other: To nie dla mnie już! No more frolics, swirls! Niegdyś jam stroje, róże lubiła, Once, about roses, apparels I raved, Gdy nam nadziei wytrysknął zdrój; As a spring of our hope gushed; Lecz gdy do grobu Polska zstąpiła, But now, that Poland descends to her grave, Jeden mi tylko przystoi strój: That’s my costume, and all things lush: Czarna sukienka! The black, black gown! Mourning gowns, pall ribbons, or jewellery featuring apparent patriotic- eschatological symbolism was made obligatory by the populace of Warsaw in 1861, the time of demonstrations preceding the January Insurrection� Clearly enough, this gloomy atmosphere intensified as the uprising fell� Characteristi- cally, the crushing defeat experience was initially described in a romanticist style, well-known and acknowledged at the time, but sounding naive today� The little poem quoted above, Czarna sukienka [‘The Black Gown’] by Kon- stanty Gaszyński (d� 1866), refers to Adam Mickiewicz’s ballads written a few dozen years earlier� In the face of the horrible disaster, metaphors of this kind and equally simple rhymes were in use among almost all the romanticist epigones� However, this trivial ditty perfectly renders the mood that overwhelmed Poles – at least, the educated individuals, completely formed in terms of national awareness, deeply concerned about the present and future condition of the en- tire nation,...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.