Jan Kochanowski was born into a noble family in the village of Sycyna, Poland. His parents were Piotr Kochanowski, a lawyer and judge, and Anna Białaczowska. Among their 11 children, two of Jan's brothers were also writers. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Then he attended the University of Königsberg (Królewiec), in Ducal Prussia, and Padua University in Italy. He returned to Poland in 1559. In 1563 he became a secretary at the royal court of Sigismund II Augustus. He married Dorota Podlodowska around 1575 and settled at the family estate at Czarnolas ("Blackwood"). Kochanowski is sometimes called "Jan z Czarnolasu" ("John of Blackwood"). He died of a heart attack in 1584 in the town of Lublin.
Jan Kochanowski wrote in Polish and Latin. He wrote Fraszki, a cycle of epigrams, Pieśni (Cantos) and Treny (Laments). The last work was written by the poet after death of his daughter Ursula. He lost another daughter, named Hanna, too. Kochanowski wrote also Pieśń świętojańska o Sobótce (Midsummer Night's Song) and Odprawa połów greckich (The Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys). Many of his poems are free translations from Horace. Kochanowski translated The Book of Psalms and Chess by Marco Girolamo Vida. Kochanowski established rules of Polish versification and introduced sonnet to Polish poetry. Many poems by Kochanowski were translated into English.
The translator Piotr Kochanowski was Jan Kochanowski's nephew.
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- Agnieszka Kwiatkowska. "Bilingualism in the Writings of Jan Kochanowski". Forum Poetyki. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "Jan Kochanowski (1530 - 1584)". InfoPoland. University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Retrieved 8 October 2016.