Sir Thaddeus

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The first edition of Pan Tadeusz, 1834
Handwritten text of the poem by Adam Mickiewicz
Thaddeus and Sophia. An illustration by Michał Elwiro Andriolli

Sir Thaddeus, or the Last Lithuanian Foray: A Nobleman's Tale from the Years of 1811 and 1812 in Twelve Books of Verse (in Polish Pan Tadeusz, czyli ostatni zajazd na Litwie. Historia szlachecka z roku 1811 i 1812 we dwunastu księgach wierszem) is a long poem by Polish romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz[1]. It is regarded as a national epic. It was first published in Paris in 1834. The poet was then in exile in France. Sir Thaddeus is a story of a conflict between two noble families, the Soplicas and the Horeszkos. The time is 1811 and 1812, shortly before Napoleon invaded Russia. When attacked by Russian soldiers, both families fought against the enemy. The conflict between the families was ended with the marriage of Thaddeus Soplica and Sophia Horeszko.

Adam Mickiewicz was born in the East of the former Polish-Lithuanian state. Because of that he called Lithuania his mother-country.

Litwo! Ojczyzno moja! ty jesteś jak zdrowie.
Ile cię trzeba cenić, ten tylko się dowie,
Kto cię stracił. Dziś piękność twą w całej ozdobie
Widzę i opisuję, bo tęsknię po tobie.

Lithuania, my country, thou art like health; how much thou shouldst be prized only he can learn who has lost thee. To-day thy beauty in all its splendour I see and describe, for I yearn for thee. (Translation in prose by George Rapall Noyes).

The poem is written in 13-syllable metre, very common in Polish literature[2].

References[change | change source]

  1. Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet at Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  2. Christopher Whyte, Reasons for Crossing, in: Scotland in Europe, ed. by Tom Hubbard, Ronald D. S. Jack, p. 77.

Bibliography[change | change source]

Other sites[change | change source]