Sonnet on the Great Suffering of Jesus Christ

"Sonnet on the Great Suffering of Jesus Christ" (Polish: Sonet na całą Mękę Pańską) is a poem by 17th century Polish poet Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. It is one of the finest examples of sonnet form in Old Polish literature.[1] The poem is a part of The Poems of Lent (in Polish Poezje postu świętego). It was translated into English by Michael J. Mikoś (Michael J. Mikos).

Chist on the Cross. Painting by Gerard David, 1515
Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski in armour

The authorEdit

Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski was a Polish nobleman.[2] He was born in 1642.[3] He travelled a lot in his youth. He visited France, Spain, Italy and Austria.[3] He as interested in literature and theatre. After he had returned to Poland, he became a politician. He was a member of Sejm (Parliament).[3] He became also the Great Marshall (that is a secretary of internal affairs).[3] He died in 1702.[3]

The sonnetEdit

The sonnet was not very popular in Old Polish literature. This genre existed for three hundred years[4] in Italy, when Polish poets started writing such poems. The first poet to write sonnets in Polish was Jan Kochanowski. After him two notable poets wrote such poems. They were Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński[5] and Sebastian Grabowiecki.[6]

The formEdit

Sonnet on the Great Suffering of Jesus Christ is one of the best poems of the genre in 17th century Polish poetry. It follows the rules of Italian sonnet. It is made up of 11-syllable lines. All Italian sonnets were written in endecasillabo that is 11-syllable metre. The rhyme scheme is the most classical. There are only four rhymes. The scheme is abba abba cdc dcd.[1]

Wielkiej miłości i nieogarnionej
Tryumf, czy piekła łupy, czy mogiły
Zawisnej śmierci, czy niebieskiej siły
Są cudem męki, co zniósł Bóg wcielony?

Moc, myśl, żal, strach, pot, krew, sen zwyciężony,
Zdrada, powrozy, łzy, sąd i niemiły
Twarzy policzek, i rózgi, co biły,
Słup, cierń, krzyż, gwóźdź, żółć i bok otworzony

Są to dobroci dary, a nie męki,
Nie dary, ale łaski źrzódła żywe,
Nie źrzódła, ale boskie cuda ręki,

Tej ręki, co nam zbawienie szczęśliwe
Z swych ran wylała, za które niech dzięki
Oddaje-ć serce, o dobro prawdziwe![7]

An unusual feature of the poem is a long enumeration in the 5th line and in the 8th line. It is composed of 1-syllable words. In Polish language such words are very rare. Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski was not the only poet to use such a poetic device.[8] Daniel Naborowski used it earlier in the poem The Brevity of Life (in Polish Krótkość żywota). This poem was put into English by Michael J. Mikoś, too.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Jadwiga Miszalska, Sonet w Polsce od XVI do początków XIX wieku a przekłady z języka włoskiego (in Polish)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  2. Michael J. Mikoś, Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski (1642-1702).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski at Culture.pl (in Polish)
  4. Sonnet, poetic form at Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  5. Wiktor Jarosław Darasz, Mały przewodnik po wierszu polskim, Kraków 2003, p. 157-158 (in Polish).
  6. Mirosława Hanusiewicz, Świat podzielony: o poezji Sebastiana Grabowieckiego, Lublin 1994 (in Polish).
  7. Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, Sonet na całą Mękę Pańską at Staropolska.pl (in Polish).
  8. See translator's notes at Staropolska.pl
  9. Daniel Naborowski, The Brevity of Life at Staropolska.pl.