Mickiewicz in Serbo-Croatian literature
Adam Mickiewicz in World Literature. A Symposium Edited by Wacław Lednicki. Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1956, p. 495-523.
The history of the development of nineteenth-century Serbo-Croatian literature was neither similar nor parallel to that of Polish literature. The main trends of the two literatures followed different roads and developed dissimilar characteristics; and various historical and political developments should also be taken into account, along with the cultural achievements. Romanticism had a later beginning in Serbo-Croatian lands than in Poland, and developed different tendencies from those which characterized the Polish romantic movement; in the early part of the nineteenth century, therefore, there was lacking the serious interest in the Polish romantics that might have been expected. This should be borne in mind when one sets out to explore the influence upon Serbo-Croatian writers of the works of the great Polish poet, Adam Mickiewicz.
For the first references to Mickiewicz in Serbo-Croatian literature one looks to the magazine Letopis Matice srpske and its editors and contributors. The founder and first editor of this periodical, which began to appear toward the end of 1824 and, with brief interruptions, has been continued ever since, was Đorđe Magarašević (1793-1830), a professor in the Novi Sad secondary school and a Serbian writer. His chief collaborator was P. J. Šafařík, also a professor and for a time director of the same school. With these two men the periodical could not but succeed in its program, which from the start was Slavic in emphasis. Šafařík was then writing his history of Slavic languages and literatures (Geschichte der slawischen Sprache und Literatur, 1826), and was able to provide Magarašević with notes and even whole written sections of his material for publication in Letopis. Moreover, Magarašević had organized an exchange of periodicals and newspapers with Slavic and non-Slavic countries and was in a position to draw material from this source, also. Thus Letopis was full of Slavic contributions, and was particularly rich in notices concerning books and publications in the Slavic languages. Poland had an honorable place among notices of the literary achievements of other nations. In its first year, Letopis had included in its pages Šafařík's review of Russian literature—a review which he used later as a chapter in his history. A good review of Polish literature appeared somewhat later; but since Šafařík followed in the footsteps of F. Bentkowski (Historya literatury polskiej, 1814) there is no mention of Mickiewicz in it. Later, however, Šafařík found elsewhere some information about him and included it in his history. Here we find words of praise extolling the Polish poet. As Šafařík was at that time popular among the Yugoslavs, his book became widely known soon after it appeared. Of the list of subscribers printed at the end of the book, Serbs and Croats make up the majority. We may suppose, therefore, that they received their first information about Mickiewicz from Šafařík's book.
Mickiewicz was first mentioned in Letopis in 1828 (Vol. XIV, pp. 151-152) in a notice—apropos of the Moscow publication of the Sonnets (1826)—in which he was well presented to Serbian readers: "The Poles have included this writer among their best poets. He has mastered the language of his people and has given poetical expression a new impetus." The notice gave warning that "since his genius tends to quite new ways, some people, those who are used to old models, are not satisfied with what he writes"; but it added that Mickiewicz had already published two books of poems which had "shown the whole world what an exceptional talent he possesses." Of the sonnets it said that they "sparkle with liveliness, and are full of vigorous expression and tender feeling." And finally, it mentioned the quotation from Goethe that was used as a motto for the Crimean Sonnets, and explained its significance. To be sure, Magarašević's notice reflected no direct knowledge of Mickiewicz's poetry, since he adopted his remarks ready-made from Šafařík; nevertheless it was important for its time, since it gave to readers of Letopis some knowledge of Mickiewicz and some idea of his poetic gifts.
With the death of Magarašević (1830) and with Šafařík's departure from Novi Sad (1833) Letopis did not lose any of its Slavic color. After Magarašević, the editor for a short time was Jovan Hadžić, a well-known writer who was active in cultural affairs and was chairman of Matica srpska (which published Letopis); in literature he was better known under his pen name of Miloš Svetić, especially as the most ardent opponent of Vuk Karadžić's reforms. Although he was not enthusiastic about the Slav cause, he published a good deal of information about Slavic literature, naturally including that of the Poles. So in the first number which he edited, No. 21 of 1830, he printed a note about Mickiewicz. It announced that "the famous Polish poet, the greatest among living poets," had published a new edition of his poems in Poznań.
In later years the editors of Letopis were P. Stamatović, T. Pavlović, and J. Subotić, all of whom were disseminators of Slavic ideas and connoisseurs of the Polish language. They all made translations from Polish. Stamatović printed many Slavic contributions—particularly in his almanac, Serbska pčela. Of the three, it was Pavlović (1804-1854) who did most toward spreading Slavic ideas. Since he had lived in Budapest (as a lawyer), he was a friend of Jan Kollár and was enthusiastic about his proposals—as he manifested in all his work, even as editor of Letopis. When Letopis was banned in 1834, he at once started another publication, Serbski narodni list (1835). In this journal, besides instructive items for the masses, he wrote a systematic series of articles about the Slavic peoples, and toward the end of its first year he published in it a translation of the important theoretical work on the unity of the Slavs by Kollar. It is noteworthy that Pavlović translated this work from the manuscript, with the result that his translation was published a year before the Czech original and two years before the German version. In Kollár's work, Mickiewicz was criticized (as was the Serbian poet Milutinović) for being too narrowly patriotic. Later, in the German edition, Kollár added Pushkin's name; he was probably the first and only person to put Mickiewicz and Pushkin in the same class with Milutinović. This is perhaps why, several years later, without knowing the works of Milutinović well, Mickiewicz, in his lectures, included this Serbian poet (together with Krasiński) among the great playwrights—a judgment hardly to be supported by Milutinović's actual achievements.
In 1837 Pavlović succeeded in starting Letopis again. The first issue after the prohibition was an all-Slavic one. Besides an article by Šafařík on the origins of the Slavs, there were poems by Milutinović, Pushkin, Padura, and Kollár, and a translation of Mickiewicz's Ode to "Youth (Oda na mladež). Pushkin and Padura were given in the original. Mickiewicz's Ode was the first translation into Serbo-Croatian of any of his poems. Although the selection is most praiseworthy, Pavlović's translation was neither exact nor fluent. We can forgive the lack of fluency, but not the inaccuracies, which obviously were owing to careless reading of the text. We know that Pavlović knew Polish well; yet much of the subtlety of Mickiewicz's famous poem was lost in the translation; Pavlović rendered the thoughts of Mickiewicz neither purely nor clearly enough. The reason Mickiewicz's final lines:
Witaj, jutrzenko swobody,
were translated so naively as:
Pozdravljena bud' nam, zoro sjajna!
was, perhaps, that Pavlović was afraid to welcome liberty openly.
In the 1840's Mickiewicz became popular with the Serbs, especially with Serbian youth. In the schools in Požun (Bratislava), Kesmark, Szegedin, Budapest, and other centers, they studied various Slavic languages and read Slavic writers in the original. It is known, for example, that in Požun Ljudevit Štúr, first as assistant to the professor of Slavic literature, and then as professor, interpreted the works of Kollár, Mickiewicz, and Pushkin in his lectures. When in 1836 W. Maciejowski visited Požun, where, apart from the Slovaks, the largest number of students were Serbs, he was surprised to find how well they knew the Polish poet. Mickiewicz's poems were read at school literary debates. And, since Požun was considered the main educational center, the students who did not go to school there considered it their duty at least to stop at Požun every year in order to absorb new impressions and learn new things. So every year a group of young Serbs would leave Požun for all parts of their homeland, where soon they were to become active as writers or politicians or to hold responsible state positions. In their heart of hearts they all bore a great love both for enslaved Poland and for the chief Polish poet, Mickiewicz. They lost none of that affection in their later years. One example may suffice, namely, Svetozar Miletić. He was perhaps the most active student in Budapest and Požun. When, in 1847, the Serbian youth issued Slavjanka, an anthology of their literary achievements, Miletić published several poems and a dramatic sketch in imitation of Forefathers' Eve, with the quotation: "Ciemno wszędzie, głucho wszędzie" (Everywhere it is dark, everywhere it is still). True, this quotation is the only item linking Miletić to Mickiewicz; the rest is planned poetry, pathetic and artificial, with a glorification of the Slavic poet per se, and therefore a far cry from Mickiewicz. But just before the Revolution of 1848, Miletić wrote in a letter: "I have hardly bothered about school matters: I am deep in the poetical works of Mickiewicz"; later, he became the political leader of those Serbians who were under Austrian rule; and when, in 1862, the Polish revolt broke out, he vehemently defended the Polish cause in a series of documented articles in his paper Zastava. As a politician, he kept fresh his memories of the enthusiasm and rapture of his school days. In an article from that period he wrote: "Whoever wishes for an independent and free Serbia must also wish to see Poland independent and free."
In the 1840's, also, the small principality of Serbia was in the focus of attention of the Polish emigrants headed by Prince Adam Czartoryski in Paris. The slightest change in Serbian affairs was noted, discussed, and carefully weighed, because the aim of the Polish emigration was to make Serbia the starting point of the struggle against Russian influence. Michał Czajkowski, the writer, at that time the agent of the emigration in Constantinople, sent information from there about events in Serbia. This was not always satisfactory, however, and special secret agents were sent to Belgrade. They were very active, particularly F. Zach, who quickly made contact with the most prominent men of Serbia of that day, beginning with the ruling Prince himself, with I. Garašanin, the most influential personality in Serbia, and of course with writers and others concerned in cultural affairs. In 1843, on the occasion of the reflection of Prince Alexander, when it was necessary to take measures to resist the Russian influence in Serbia, Czajkowski came to Belgrade from Constantinople to help as an organizer, since he was the most active and most capable Polish agent. It should be stressed that reports of these Polish agents from Belgrade were sometimes more trusted by the French and English governments than were those of their own consuls. Moreover, by their activities the Poles confirmed themselves as real and sincere friends of Serbia. And through these Polish agents Serbia was linked to the West. Under Russian pressure, the leaders of the "Defenders of the Constitution," Vučić and Petronijević, authorized Prince Czartoryski to represent Serbia before the French and English governments, convinced that such a representation would be best for their country.
On the other hand, because Serbia was in direct connection with the Poles, the Serbs received direct information on Polish questions. Moreover, the Serbian periodicals and newspapers were full of translations from Polish literature, and Serbian writers often chose, for their literary endeavors, subjects from ancient or recent Polish history. Mickiewicz was one of those about whom much was written. In those years it was the journalist Miloš Popović (1820-1879) who did most to make Mickiewicz popular with the Serbs.
Popović had begun his literary activities by writing poems, of which he published a collection as early as 1839. By them alone, however, he would hardly attract our attention today. He had, as it happened, an unusual journalistic gift. In 1841 he became the first assistant to Petar Jovanović in editing the almanac Bačka vila. Not long thereafter he went to Budapest, where he became a contributor, and for a short time the editor, of the Serbian paper Peštansko-budimski skoroteča (1842-1843). Early in 1843 he went to Serbia and became editor of the official journal Srbske novine and the literary supplement Podunavka.
At that time Mickiewicz had not yet appeared on the Serbian scene as a poet, but rather as a professor of Slavic literature and a politician, and his literary fame accompanied him only as a glorious and brilliant past. But that aspect of Mickiewicz's activity particularly suited the interests of Miloš Popović. In Skoroteča (No. 36 of 1842) we find a note about a Polish edition of Mickiewicz's lectures which certainly came from Popović's pen. In this note it was said that Mickiewicz did not want to have his lectures published before he revised them, because he felt that he had not dealt with the material profoundly enough. The writer added, however, that Mickiewicz had described the beginnings of Russian literature in an excellent manner, "as no one has done it before," and that he had presented some very interesting information because he had good sources. He criticized him for not making a sharper distinction between Polish and Czech literature. In No. 9 of 1843, in another note, the writer expressed his regret that he was unable to write about the book himself, and therefore quoted what J. P. Jordan had written about it in his Jahrbücher.
In Srbske novine, No. 19 of 1843, the first number that Popović edited, he printed a long article describing Mickiewicz as a lecturer which he had translated from the Allgemeine Zeitung of Augsburg. The introduction to this article was written by Popović himself. "The readers of this paper will probably know," he said, "that it has been only three years since the chair of Slavic languages was founded at the Collčge de France in Paris, at which time it was bestowed on Adam Mickiewicz, the most famous Polish poet." There followed, in the translation, a word-picture of Mickiewicz:
Here [i.e., in Paris] he teaches, surrounded by a throng of youth to whom his name has penetrated. The large audience which hangs on the words of the celebrated master reminds one of the picture by the Polish painter Stattler showing Mickiewicz reading The Books of the Polish Nation to a crowd in front of the Church of Our Beloved Lady, in Cracow. Yes, these are the noble features which the sculptor David immortalized at Goethe's behest, these are the dreamy eyes that reflect the glow of a heart fired with purest love. The gravity of the time is speaking from his mouth.... There is something of marble in this famous Pole's expression. His voice is clear. He pronounces French words in a lively, decisive manner. There is no flattery in his lecture, he does not hesitate or show any discomfiture. He is not fashionably dressed as the French are, those future knights of enlightenment; he is sitting in a simple brown coat, this serious man, unaware of his assembled listeners, with only an occasional gesture of smoothing back his gray, bristling, once shiny black hair. Unadorned yet powerful words flow from his strong, hearty lips. He sometimes lacks the right phrase; he searches for it,—and finds it. The listener seems able to feel the very development of the speaker's thoughts.
Further on is the statement that Mickiewicz, who had earlier thought only of Poland and her welfare, was now considering the whole of Slavdom—he now loved all the Slavic peoples and deplored their discord. He set out his thoughts on the past of the Slavs and their original homeland, and often sadly laments that this people is doomed to bear forever the yoke of slavery; that there is nothing in all the epochs of history which could be compared to its internal humiliation, if it is not its boundless suffering. These thoughts are usually followed by the religious consolation that the Slavs, too, will live to see happier days.
One can see from these quotations that the article gives both a description of Mickiewicz as a lecturer and a characterization of his leaching. It does not much matter that Popović, in his translation, made some departures from the German text; at any rate, he set before ih« readers of Srbske novine a picture of how the great poet and improviser appeared to a select Paris audience.
Immediately afterward, Popović began printing, in Podunavka, a translation of that part of Mickiewicz's lectures which concerns the Serbian national poems (from the end of the fifteenth to the twenty-first lecture, though the last one is incomplete), and thus the Serbs obtained what Mickiewicz had to say of Serbian literature while he was still lecturing in Paris. "We shall certainly try by all possible menus," wrote the editor, "to publish this very important and unique work in the Serbian language." The translation, entitled "Srblji i
Popović continued to follow Mickiewicz's work, but a minor circumstance shows that he did not quite clearly understand the change in Mickiewicz under Towiański's influence: in Podunavka, No. 93 of 1844, he wrote that a fervent preaching of "Towiański's Pan-Slavistic mysticism" had appeared in Mickiewicz's lectures and therefore he would not be lecturing another year; it was even said that he had already left Paris for Switzerland. But a year later Popović gave further information on this point from Kwěty, in No. 93 of 1845, when he said that Mickiewicz had "given up the Paris chair of Slavic literature, an event which caused great excitement among the youth," and had been replaced by C. Robert. But it seemed that it was difficult for Popović to admit that the chair had been taken from Mickiewicz, so when he wrote about Robert's first lecture he said, "Robert has been given the duty of acting for Mr. Mickiewicz." It seems as if Popović was expecting Mickiewicz to return to his old position.
In Podunavka, No. 27 of 1845, Popović printed the poem Mladeži—a translation of Mickiewicz's Ode to Youth. Under it he wrote that the poem had been translated before, but that this was a new translation. We should be pleased if the statement were true; but as a matter of fact Popović copied the translation (mentioned above) by T. Pavlović, with all its mistakes and roughnesses. Moreover, Popović also reprinted this same translation in his collection of poems Mač i pero in 1846. It is regrettable that he did not translate it anew, but only copied someone else, because he knew Polish well—as we know from his other translations. However, this reprinting did much to make Mickiewicz's famous poem more popular with the Serbs. And in 1851 Đ. Maletić included it in his schoolbook, Primeri poetski sastava.
Popović continued to be interested in the work of the Polish emigration, and mentioned Mickiewicz in particular several times. Often he got information from Polish journals, very likely with help from the Polish agents in Belgrade, among them L. Zwierkowski, better known as Dr. Lenoir, who knew Mickiewicz personally. In 1849 Popović closely followed Mickiewicz's review, La Tribune des Peuples. In Podunavka, No. 15 of 1849, he announced that the funds for starting it had been provided; that its editors were to be Mickiewicz, "the famous Slavic poet," and Michelet and Quinet, "the most famous French freedom-loving writers of modern times"; and that the review was to be "democratic" and "would have something to say particularly about the interests of the oppressed nations and about French foreign policy." He said also that he would keep his readers informed about this review, since these were most important times for Slavdom and it was necessary for all to be informed and to be on the alert: great events were ahead, and the Serbs should be prepared for them. When the first numbers of the Tribune des Peuples were received, Popović wrote, in No. 24, that they were interesting in all respects. In No. 41 he began translating the article "O Slavenima" from the review, but it was left unfinished. It was to have been continued in the following number; but instead, Popović printed General Bem's sharp proclamation against the Serbs. Side by side with the proclamation was an editorial commenting on the attitude of the Poles toward the Serbs during the war of 1849. Perhaps this indicates why he stopped giving news from La Tribune dcs Peuples. Attacks against the Poles because they had helped the Hungarians were later reported in his paper several times. Yet Popović did not stop reporting on the movements of Polish emigrants, particularly Czajkowski. In No. 52 of 1855, he wrote about the petition presented to the Emperor Napoleon III by some of the leading Poles in Paris, with Czartoryski at their head and Mickiewicz among them. Finally, in No. 136 of the same year, Popović reported the death of Mickiewicz. Besides the note reporting that Mickiewicz had died of cholera in Constantinople (which did not mention why he had been there), Popović also published a short but not inadequate note on the life and work of the Polish poet—in which, however, Pan Tadeusz was not mentioned among Mickiewicz's works. This was the last number of Podunavka to be edited by Popovic. Somewhat later, the new editor, J. Ristić, printed a further note on Mickiewicz which was much more nearly complete than Popović's, and in which Pan Tadeusz was declared to he the poet's best work.
Mickiewicz's lectures were popular among the Serbs, particularly those sections in which he spoke of Serbian national poetry—as is easily understandable. Popović was not the only translator. P. Jovanović, who had been Popović's protector and patron during his youth, had parts of them printed in his almanac Bačka vila in 1844 and 1845. T. Pavlović also translated some of them under the title "O prvom poreklu Slavena i o najstarijem imenu Srb," in Serbski narodni list, No. 8 of 1845, and
In this survey, Medo Pucić (or Orsatto Pozza, as he used to sign his name in Italian) deserves special mention. He came from an old and noble family of Ragusa, where he was born in 1821. He went to school in Italy and there became enthusiastic about Slavic unity—that unity which Kollár had preached. Very early he began writing poems—which, however, were of no great value. For us, he is interesting as a translator of Mickiewicz and, moreover, as Mickiewicz's personal acquaintance and collaborator—though, for lack of data, we cannot say much about the collaboration.
Pucić had already expressed his ideas concerning Slavdom in his first poems: Slavjanstvo, Bosanske davorije (1841). In another (1842), which was about Kollár, he wrote:
Sad je vrjeme bojak vojevati,
Very early he also became interested in the fate of the Polish people. In his poem A. Č. Poljaku (1843) he said that the national troubles of the Serbs and the Poles were mutual ones. From this poem we learn that he and a certain Pole, whom he does not identify, met "in a foreign country," that they were "sons of the same kin," and further, that Pucić asked the Pole to wait with him for better times. This Pole had certainly introduced Pucić to Polish literature, and particularly to Mickiewicz's works; we can make this latter assertion because already in 1843 Pucić had made his first translation from Mickiewicz, choosing the famous Improvisation from Part III of Forefathers' Eve. He translated it into Italian, under the title Gli avi, and it was printed in the Trieste periodical La Favilla. The selection could not have been better or more representative. Pucić also wrote in Italian a short essay on Mickiewicz. And he translated Mickiewicz into his mother tongue. In Zora dalmatinska, 1845, he published three extracts from Mickiewicz's work The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage; they were Požar (Books, VI), Gospodar razumni (Books, XV), and Krstjani i zidovi (Books, XV). They were the same extracts that Lj. Gaj had translated in Danica (1835), but Pucić translated them independently of Gaj and followed the Polish original more closely than Gaj had done.
In 1848 Pucić and Mickiewicz came into close contact. When Mickiewicz went to Italy to organize a Polish legion, he met Pucić in Rome on March 11. That same day Pucić wrote a poem, To Adam Mickiewicz, which begins:
Dobro đošo, o putniče brate,
There are some genuinely sincere stanzas in that poem. Pucić speaks of the great height to which Mickiewicz had risen as a poet, and recalls his own efforts to translate something from the poetry of that "heavenly eagle." He says that one day he will be able to follow Mickiewicz:
Ja za tobom ko za popom đače,
We do not know anything else about their meeting in Rome, but one of Mickiewicz's letters to Pucić informs us that somewhat later they saw each other briefly in Florence. Mickiewicz invited Pucić to come to Milan in connection with some political affair, but we do not know whether they met there or on any further occasion.
Pucić did not lose interest in Mickiewicz. In 1860 he translated part of his Paris lectures into Italian (Dei canti popolari illirici) in 1863, he printed a good and fluent translation of Mickiewicz's poem The Three Brothers Budrys (Tri Budrisića) in the periodical Zvijezda, published at Zara; and still later, when he wrote the epic poem Cvijeta, he showed some indebtedness to Mickiewicz, in the kind of poetic treatment employed, though perhaps not so much as some scholars would assume.
The eminent Serbian writer Ljubomir Nenadović (1826-1895), known especially for his wonderful travel descriptions, also wrote many poems. In the 1840's he manifested greater sympathy for the Poles than for any other people. On his travels he met many Polish emigrants, and it was even said that he had a love affair with a Polish woman. In Berlin he attended Professor Cybulski's lectures. When, in 1846, the town of Cracow was deprived of its freedom, he was deeply moved, and under the influence of this emotion he wrote a long poem, Slavenska vila, which was published separately in 1849. It voices the lament of a Slavic sprite hovering above the Carpathian Mountains: discord among the Slavs is the cause of all the trouble (this is a naive oversimplification), and the Poles are affected most of all:
Sirotuje po zemlji Francuskoj,
The poem is more interesting as a pouring forth of sincere feeling and sympathy than as a poetic creation. It was at this time, I believe, that Nenadović wrote the poem Jednoj Poljkinji in which he mourned the decline of Poland. And at this time, too, Nenadović translated Mickiewicz's poem The New Year (Šta želiš?). The translation is rather free, and the rhythm of the original poem is not adhered to. Nenadović transmitted Mickiewicz's thought in rough form only, and not clothed in the attire which the Polish poet had given it, with the result that the translation is far below the value of the original.
Stojan Novaković (1842-1915), prolific in scientific works, was active also in political affairs and even became Prime Minister; but what chiefly concerns us here is his literary life. As Đura Daničić's pupil he learned the Slavic languages early, including Polish. His juvenile work includes a good deal of poetry. Later, he influenced Serbian literature through the periodical Vila, which was issued for only four years, from 1865 to 1868, but was well known for its support of Slavic aspirations. From Polish literature Novaković translated the novel Kirdżali by M. Czajkowski (1862)—but from German, not from the Polish original. It seems that he became especially interested in Polish matters when he met Z. Miłkowski (T. T. Jeż), who lived in Belgrade from 1864 to 1866 as a Polish agent. Miłkowski tells us, in his memoirs, many details of this relationship. At that time, certainly, Novaković began publishing his first translations from Polish, among them a translation of Mickiewicz's poem To D. D. (Dušica moja, in Vila, No. 4 of 1865), which was also translated by Stanko Vraz in 1842. This translation is quite exact, though Novaković made two octaves out of two sestets. His translation of Grażyna was more important; it was more seriously undertaken and more mature. It was to have been printed in Vila in 1869, but this periodical ceased publication, and the poem appeared in Dubrovnik in 1876, and in 1885 as a separate book. In his translation Novaković allowed himself a small liberty: he rhymed only the last two lines of each stanza. But he kept the meter. As we read this translation today, we regret that he did not translate more: it is facile work and gives us real delight; the thoughts are transferred faithfully from the original, and the text preserves Mickiewicz's tone. To show how well Novaković succeeded, let us quote one stanza of concise description, lively in tempo and full of action:
Več konji ržu, već se bahat čuje,
(Already the horses are neighing, already a thundering may be heard, / Lo, out of the trench three knights are riding. / They have dismounted, they stand, the first one calls / And powerfully blows into a bronze horn; / He has blown once, and he blows again; / By horn the watch answers him from the tower; / The chains rattle, the torch burns, / And the bridge before the gates falls with a crash.)
Above all, the translation corresponds word for word to the original— no mean feat.
With this translation Novaković presented an excellent preface (following, in the main, the work of Spasowicz), which for the first time gave the Serbian reader a full biography and a survey of the works of the Polish poet. It was published also in a popular collection. The translation and the preface together did more than anything else to make Mickiewicz available to Serbian readers—a service that deserves emphasis.
Sima Popović (1844-1921) deserves mention, though more for the quality than for the number of his translations from Mickiewicz. As a writer he left two original works, Osvojenje Nikšića and Osvojenje Bara, but he was better known to the wider public for his presentations from the Mahabharata and the Ramajana, for which he relied upon the German versions. He also translated three of Mickiewicz's poems, Dve reči (Two Words'), in 1865, and Plemić i devojče (The Youth and the Girl) and Samac (The Pilgrim's Song), both in 1867. They were done with poetic feeling and facility. As one reads the lines:
Jagode po gaju
(The sweet child was gathering/Berries in the grove,/And on a black stood, a dragon / A yonth eame riding ...)
one truly feels the rhythm and poetical imagery of Mickiewicz. Although he sometimes altered the sense, we must rank Popović among the best translators of Mickiewicz in Serbian literature.
Danilo Međić (1844-1879) also played an important role in acquainting Serbian readers with the works of the Polish poet. He was an adventurer, with an extremely unsteady temperament; both in politics and in poetry he was strange and sometimes incomprehensible. lie wrote little, but his poems as well as his prose works showed a man of spirit and style, with a feeling for language and a noteworthy suppleness of expression. His wanderings brought him to Poland; at least,, so he says in his poem Prošlost, in which he relates that his thoughts had led him to a Polish girl on the banks of the Wisła. In the course of his roaming he also learned Polish well. In 1871 he published, in Novi Sad, a translation of Mickiewicz's Konrad Wallenrod. In the preface he gave some information about Mickiewicz, as "well as some historical notes to help explain the text. What can we say of this translation? Whoever takes it up will see at once that it is fluent and easy to read; the flow of verse is smooth and clear. But a number of departures have been made; Medic translated more freely than we should like. He also used meters different from those of Mickiewicz.
In later periods not a single important translation from Mickiewicz has appeared in Serbia, though much has been translated from Polish. To two men, nevertheless, Serbian literature owes a special debt for their translations from the Polish language, and for that reason they must be mentioned: Nikola Manojlović-Rajko (1864—1897) and Lazar Knežević (1876-1933). In the course of his short life Manojlović translated a large number of books from Polish literature. From Mickiewicz he translated only one poem, S očiju mi ... (To M——). Knežević translated the poem Bekstvo (The Flight). We must also add that Jovan Dučić (1874-1943), one of the most eminent of Serbian poets, wrote an excellent essay on Mickiewicz in his periodical Zora, in 1899. And may we mention also the writer of this article, who published Adam Mickjevič i njegov Pan Tadija (1935) on the occasion of the centenary of Pan Tadeusz? At the same time he translated, into prose, a somewhat abridged version of Pan Tadeusz, which was published in the youth periodical Venac (1934-1935).
Croatian interest in Mickiewicz was lively throughout the nineteenth century, particularly since his political and literary work, at least in its concluding stages, coincided with the most prominent political and literary movement in Croatian history, the Illyrian Movement, so called, the fundamental objective of which was the awakening of the Croatian national consciousness (for the Croats were threatened with Germanization and Magyarization) and the creation of a national literature in the vernacular. The movement was distinctly Slavic; it was closely related to similar movements among the other Slavic peoples, and furthered the idea of the community of interests among the Slavs propounded by Kollár. One name is indissolubly linked with it, that of Ljudevit Gaj (1809-1872), its chief ideologist and the spiritual leader of the Croatian people in the mid-nineteenth century. He was also first to arouse interest in Mickiewicz in Croatia.
As a child in the small town of Krapina, where he was born, Gaj often listened to folk tales about Čeh, Leh, and Meh, who, as the story ran, lived in that very locality before they set out to found the three great Slavic states. The myth quite captivated his imagination, and led him to speculate on the Slavs and their history; and certainly it made him proud of Krapina as the birthplace of the three heroes. It stimulated the boy to write a Latin version of the tale, and subsequently to translate it into German, in which language it was published as a small separate work as early as 1826. His interest in the Slavic languages began when he left home, in 1827, to study at Graz, where he joined a high-spirited group of Slavic students of different nationalities. His first interest in Poland and Polish culture dates from this time, for in 1828, when Andrzej Kucharski, then a newly appointed professor of the University of Warsaw, visited Croatia, Gaj accompanied him on his travels. One cannot say precisely what influence Kucharski had on Gaj, but there can be no doubt that from that time forward Poland stood first in Gaj's sympathies. In Budapest, Gaj became a Pan-Slavist. This is not surprising, since he was always in the company of Jan Kollár, the creator and chief propagator of the idea of Slavic unity. It was in Budapest that Gaj also made the acquaintance of P. J. Šafařík, and kept in close association with many Slavic students who gathered around Kollár and were inspired by his ideas. At that time Gaj also began studying the Slavic languages more seriously, Polish among the first. A cursory glance at the list of his books (although it is of a later date) shows Polish books well represented; they range from language reference books, including Linde's dictionary, to works by many Polish authors, including Mickiewicz, who is represented by the Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage, in the second edition, and by the first four volumes of the Paris edition (1828-1832) of his poetical works.
Gaj and his ideas enlisted a host of young followers, including V. Babukić, P. Štoos, Lj. Vukotinović, D. Rakovac, I. Derkos, D. Demeter, S. Vraz, and many others. The term "Illyrianism," with its reference to Yugoslav aspirations for unity, appeared in their vocabulary. It is no longer necessary to argue whether this term was a correct one or not, or whether it was justified and reasonable or the reverse. They found it extremely convenient, since it enabled them to avoid all the other terms—which were linked to individual provinces and regions rather than to nationalities; and the movement is called "Illyrianism" or "the Illyrian Movement" in Croatian histories of the nineteenth century. The movement began in an organized form on the day that Gaj commenced publication of his newspaper and of the review Danica in the Croatian vernacular, in January, 1835. It is chiefly through these publications that he won his distinguished place in the history of the Yugoslav peoples. His movement was joined by many Serbs, Slovenes, and others, as well as by Croats. The Slovene Stanko Vraz actually abandoned his mother tongue and wrote in Croatian.
Although the Illyrian Movement was presented in romantic colors, Gaj himself was something of a rationalist; and the trait was a useful one, in view of the lofty social aims he set for his program. When he conceived the idea of translating something from Mickiewicz, he did not translate the poems of Mickiewicz the torchbearer of romanticism in Polish literature, but rather those works which could best be applied to the conditions that prevailed in Croatia—and this meant, of course, the Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage. Gaj had certainly read them often and had published fragments of them in Danica on several occasions, three in 1835. The subsequent translations, which appeared in 1837, are not signed but only bear the inscription M——ć. It can reasonably be assumed that all of them were from Gaj's pen. Much later (Danica, No. 34 of 1843), Gaj printed another short translation from this work. It was the same fragment which had appeared earlier (in No. 34 of 1835), but it was now reissued under a different title and the translation was by someone else. The vocabulary is different, and the translation is closer to the original, since in the earlier version Gaj had purposely made departures from the text. Gaj's translations of Mickiewicz can be considered good for the period in which they were written, since minor errors do not affect the value of the whole; and it is to be remembered that they are the first Croatian translations from the Polish language.
But this is not the only thing which is important for us. Gaj was also actively engaged in politics. His views on many contemporary problems are properly to be determined on the basis of what he offered his readers; and we can say at once that, judging by what he printed, Gaj always displayed Polonophile inclinations. In the very first year of his Danica there are no fewer than seven articles and stories dealing with the tragic fate of the Polish people. Moreover, in his brief notes and articles Gaj always gave space to news items and reports on Polish literature and Polish cultural life. We also find two references to Mickiewicz in these news items before 1839. Later on, Mickiewicz's increasing importance for Gaj was also reflected in Danica, particularly when the question of the chair of Slavic languages and literatures at the College de France arose. In the Ilirske narodne novine (No. 54 of 1839) Gaj published a report from Paris that Mickiewicz went to Switzerland "in his professional capacity." He also cited the Courrier français, which declared that Mickiewicz was not only "one of the foremost poets," but also one who was acquainted with all the Slavic languages, and that such a man should be more than welcome at the College de France—a statement which was followed by sharp criticism of the policy pursued by French official circles which permitted "the only man capable of teaching the language and literature of a nation of a hundred million people brilliantly and successfully" to leave Paris. "But let us be consoled," the article concluded, "the College de France has founded a chair for the Tartar language!"
Gaj's choice of this article was a happy one, since it combined news with eloquence; and timely, since it preceded official endeavors to create a chair of Slavic studies. Gaj published all the news concerning the establishment of the chair of Slavic languages and literatures in Paris regularly and in detail. Learning from Tygodnik Illustrowany of the representation made by the Ragusan duke Sorgo on the need of such a chair, he passed the news on to his readers (Danica, No. 11 of 1840). He then followed the entire debate in the French parliament, including the voting, and finally published the speech made by the Minister of Education, Cousin, in defense of his proposal for creation of the chair. He published the details of Mickiewicz's professorial appointment, and never failed to stress his fame and greatness as a poet. A report he published in Ilirske narodne novine (No. 26 of 1841), describing Mickiewicz as a lecturer, was obviously written by someone who attended the lectures: "It was truly a sublime experience," exclaims the writer, "to see and hear Mickiewicz. It has been a long time since so many new ideas and truths surged from any French chair. The French, traditionally indifferent toward anything foreign, were most enthusiastic on this occasion." All the French papers, the article concludes, "are full of praise for Mickiewicz and his lectures." Finally, in Danica, No. 36 of 1843, Gaj published a complete essay on Mickiewicz's literary achievements. This was a translation from the Italian review La Favilla and occupies almost the entire issue. It is full of apt thoughts and favorable opinions on Mickiewicz, and ends with a eulogy of his poetry followed by the conclusion: "It is worth learning Polish for the sole reason that one can then read Mickiewicz." In No. 42 of 1843 Gaj translated a fragment of one of Mickiewicz's lectures.
It would seem that Mickiewicz's poetry interested Gaj far less, or it is perhaps a coincidence that he translated none of Mickiewicz's poetical works. But even on this point there is more to be said. It so happened that Gaj printed the first verse translation from Mickiewicz into the Croatian vernacular, but without knowing who was the author of the original. This translation, entitled Budris i njegova tri sina, and presented as "a free translation from Alexander Pushkin," appeared in Danica, No. 36 of 1845. The translator, who signed his work with the intials "M. D.," was Dimitrije Demeter; and the poem translated was actually Pushkin's version of Mickiewicz's poem The Three Brothers Budrys. The Croatian translation is smooth and the rhythm of Pushkin's verse is preserved. In Danica, No. 33 of 1846, the same translator published, also from the Russian, the poem Vojvoda, which is Pushkin's verse translation of Mickiewicz's poem The Watch.
Gaj also printed a translation of another of Mickiewicz's poems. It was entitled Vilija rijeka i Litvanka djevojka, and is from the end of the second chapter, "Song," of Konrad Wallenrod. The translation is fluent and good, but since it was unsigned we cannot name its author. It may have been by Gaj himself.
Although Gaj was the political leader of the Illyrian Movement, Stanko Vraz (1810-1851) was its most eminent poet. Among Gaj's numerous collaborators he was distinguished by his purely literary interests. He knew many foreign languages, and read widely in world literature. Mickiewicz had a prominent place in his library and exerted a major influence on his development as a poet.
When he was a student in Graz (1830-1837), Vraz formed a close friendship with Franjo Miklošić, later a well-known philologist. Miklošić was an exemplary scholar, Vraz a very bad one where school subjects were concerned, but extremely industrious at poetry and literature, giving most of his time to perusal of the great world writers. Both young men were inspired by ideas which were beyond their youthful capacities to carry out. They read Vuk Karadžić, learned Serbo-Croatian, then Polish, and later were to take up Russian and Czech. In a letter, Miklošić says that they were preparing to undertake a great task: Vraz to write a comparative dictionary of the Slavic languages (later done by Miklošić), and Miklošić to write a Slavic grammar. One hardly need say that nothing was accomplished at that time. Vraz, indeed, soon changed his mind.
Apart from Serbo-Croatian, Polish was the language closest to Vraz and Miklošić in those years. They were much in the society of Polish exiles, this being the time of the unsuccessful Polish revolt of 1830-1831. They were often guests in the home of Count Władysław Ostrowski, where Miklošić was a private teacher in 1835. It is obvious from the rich literary remains of Stanko Vraz—which date even from his youthful days when he still wrote in his mother tongue, Slovene—that his interest in Polish literature was keen. We have, for example, his verse translation of forty-eight "Krakowiak" stanzas—from Polish folk songs—with the rhythm and meter faithfully preserved. These songs made so deep an impression on Vraz that he wrote a series of short poems, and his longer poem Rožmarinci, in the same manner; and his best poetical work in the Croatian language, Đulabije, is written in the rhythm and meter of the "Krakowiak."
Mickiewicz, too, left his imprint on the early period of Vraz's work, as may be seen in Vraz's translation into Slovene of part of the Books, under the title Molitva romarja poljskega. Even this first of his translations from Mickiewicz reveals his comprehension of the style and language of the Polish poet, and the keenness of the translator's insights. With Mickiewicz as his model, he began writing the Slovene Books, which he called Knjige naroda; only a few pages now remain, however, of the contemplated work. Vraz must have read and reread Mickiewicz often in those years. His translation of the poem Daddy's Return (Oče domov pride), which he subsequently translated into Croatian as well, also dates from that time. Then too, a letter of his tells us: "I have written several sonnets 'à la maniere de Mickiewicz.' " And indeed many of his Slovene sonnets are markedly reminiscent of Mickiewicz in man ner and mood.
Vraz's wider literary career began with his collaboration in Gaj's Danica. From then on he no longer wrote his poems in Slovene, but. in Croatian. And Mickiewicz—in company with other great poets? Byron, Pushkin, Lermontov, Petrarch.—continued to occupy a prom i nent part in his poetic activity. He noted in the subtitles to some of his own poems that they were "inspired by the Polish," and headed others with quotations from Mickiewicz. To the Serbian almanac Bačka vila (1841) he contributed, under the title Razgovor, a translation of Mickiewicz's poem To D. D., which, slightly revised, appeared later in the anthology Gusle i tambura (1845), under the title Slušat i cjelivat. And to the Serbian periodical Peštansko-budimski skorotecu (1842) he contributed, under the title Anđeliji G. 1839, another translation of the same poem, which subsequently appeared with certain alterations in Gusle i tambura under the original title, Razgovor (Conversation). Also in the Gusle i tambura collection is his translation of Mickiewicz's poem Sleep ("Although you will be compelled ..."), under the title of Sanak; and in the anthology Sanak i istina his translation of Mickiewicz's sonnet Resignation, under the title Najbjedniji. He also translated the ballad Romanticism and Forefathers' Eve, Part II, which he entitled Trebine; and probably other poems also. In the anthology Glasi iz dubrave žeravinske (1841) there had already appeared the poem Djevojka, with the notice that it was "inspired by the Polish"; actually, it was a very good translation of the entire poem The Youth and the Girl, of which the first part was written by Odyniec, and 11n-second and third parts by Mickiewicz. In a footnote to his poem Lepa gospođa, in Gusle i tambura (1845), Vraz said that it was inspired by Mickiewicz's poem Pani Twardowska; it is, however, a translation pure and simple. Whatever poem we take, and whatever translation we compare with the original, it is clear that Vraz knew the Polish language well and thus was capable of grasping the essence of what, Mickiewicz wrote, which he usually succeeded in carrying over into the Croatian. He was perhaps closest to the original in his translation of Forefathers' Eve—which is understandable in view of the fact that Vraz most probably wrote this translation last, since he printed it as late as 1850 in Volume VII of his miscellany Kolo.
The influence of Mickiewicz can be clearly seen in not a few of Vraz's original works. It has long been noted, for example, that both in its atmosphere and its details Vraz's poem Pohode closely resembles Mickiewicz's poem Do D. D. Wizyta, and that the mood of the poems Sila leposti and Carica is the same as that of Mickiewicz's fourth sonnet. It has already been mentioned that Vraz himself admitted that he wrote several sonnets "in the manner of Mickiewicz." Vraz's biographer, B. Vodnik, says, quite justifiably: "As a sonneteer, Vraz translated Kollar, Prešern, Petrarch, Byron, Uhland, but still his sonnets remind us most of Mickiewicz's cycle, Sonnets."
How closely Vraz was linked to Mickiewicz, and not only in his poetical works, may be seen from the following. In a letter of July, 1841, to Vjekoslav Babukić, from Maribor, Vraz expressed his feeling of nostalgia for his homeland by saying: "Croatia is like health, which one can only begin to appreciate when one has lost it." No comment is necessary for those who remember the opening verses of Pan Tadeusz:
Litwo, ojczyzno moja! Ty jesteś jak zdrowie,
Vraz did much to acquaint the Croats with Polish literature, both as the initiator and as the editor-in-chief of the miscellany Kolo (1842— 1853). Besides the already mentioned translation of Forefathers' Eve, he published a number of notes on Polish literature, as well as a comprehensive survey of that literature by F. Zap which includes an entire chapter on the work of Mickiewicz.
We have dealt with Gaj and Vraz at some length because they exercised a dominant influence on Croatian literature at the time of the Illyrian Movement and long afterward, almost to the end of the nineteenth century. Romantic enthusiasm animated Croatian youth and inspired it with Pan-Slavist dreams. There was hardly a single young Croat student at that time who did not learn the Slavic languages and who was not able, in accordance with Kollár's precepts, to read the Slavic poets in the original. We know, for instance, that Fran Kurelac, later a philologist, collector of folk songs, and champion of the use of the vernacular, could recite from the works of many Slavic poets, including Mickiewicz, in the original. If this could happen in Zagreb, what then of Budapest, where Kollár worked and lived, or in Požun, where Štúr created a genuine Slavic movement! These young people, who were to develop fully their literary activities only in the 'fifties and 'sixties, were among the chief disseminators of Mickiewicz's poetry in Croatia. All that they could find in Gaj's papers and Vraz's poems only whetted their interest in Polish literature and in the greatest Polish poet.
Let us cast a brief glance at this period. In 1844 a group of Dalmatian patriots began publication, in Zadar, of a review entitled Zora dalmatinska. Many writers who later became well known, such as Petar Preradović, Ivan Mažuranić, and Medo Pucić, made their debuts in this review. In its second year Zora dalmatinska published a translation from Mickiewicz, again from the Books. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but these were the same fragments which already had been translated by Gaj; only this time they were translated by Medo Pucić. In No. 14 of 1845, Zora dalmatinska printed a biographical sketch of Mickiewicz, apparently an abridged version of a translation from the Italian review La Favilla, this time done by I. Grubišić. The next issue, No. 15, carried a translation by Petar Preradović of Cousin's speech on the proposal to establish in Paris a chair of Slavic languages and literatures. This translation is the first evidence of Preradovic's interest in Mickiewicz's lectures. It is known that Preradović came upon the idea of writing his drama Kraljević Marko after having read Mickiewicz's views on the Slavic drama. Certainly, Preradović was well versed in the works of both Mickiewicz and Krasiński.
Mickiewicz's death received but slight notice in Croatia, and no wonder. Under pressure of the rigid absolutist censorship of the 'fifties the press was condemned to a slow death. Only the review Neven of Mirko Bogović, also a poet and a translator from Polish, kept the Croatian public informed. The review printed many translations from the Polish and articles on Polish literature. No. 8 of 1852 included an informative biographical sketch of Mickiewicz, translated from the Slovene review Slovenska Bčela. And on the death of the poet Neven carried two brief notes. The first, in No. 50 of 1855, reported that he had died, after a brief illness, in Constantinople, at the age of fifty-seven, and added a very brief account of his writings and the statement that he was late Professor of Slavic Literature in Paris, "which post, as some newspapers say, he left recently for Constantinople on the orders of the Emperor Napoleon." It is excusable that Bogović was wrongly informed about Mickiewicz's professorship, since articles about Mickiewicz were forbidden in Croatia at that time. The next issue of Neven included an item about the committee which had been formed to take care of the poet's children, and the transportation of his mortal remains to Paris.
The main figure of Croatian romanticism, the poet and novelist August Šenoa (1838—1881), also helped spread knowledge of Mickiewicz's works among the Croats. Šenoa began his literary activities when a student at Prague, from 1859 to 1865, and showed from the beginning a marked interest in Polish themes. In 1862 he became involved in controversy with the enemies of Poland over the Polish-Russian dispute. It all began with the article "Poljaci i Rusi," published in Pozor, Nos. 179-180 of 1862; just as Hertzen wrote, at the same time, "We want independence for Poland because we want freedom for Russia," Šenoa declared, "A free Russia can only exist side by side with a free Poland." Šenoa also dealt with this issue in a series of articles from Prague, and thus became engaged in a polemic with A. Popović. It was then that Šenoa wrote his long "Odgovor Aci Popoviću" (Pozor, Nos. 142-144 of 1863), in which he expounded the basic motives of his pro-Polish attitude. Mickiewicz was much in Šenoa's mind at that time; not only did he begin writing ballads (the first of which was entitled Poljski slepac—1862) and romances (the theme of one of them, Stari plemić, is also from Polish life) ; he also published (Pozor, Nos. 215-216 of 1862) his verse translations of the Introduction and first two cantos of Konrad Wallenrod. This translation, we must admit, is less than adequate: the meter and rhyme of the original are not faithfully preserved, nor is the sense always accurately conveyed. Perhaps the "Song" chapter suffered its worst fate in the concluding part of this version (this was the same text which had been translated by an unknown author many years before in Danica under the title Vilija rijeka i Litvanka djevojka). Šenoa must have understood little or nothing of the sense of the original, since he thought that "Wilija" meant the same as the Croatian "vila" (fairy) and therefore began the poem as follows:
Vile naše, vile podvodnice,
which has nothing in common with the original—whereas the former translator had shown a true understanding of the Polish text. As Šenoa's early biographers affirm, he wrote many of his ballads and romances in the Mickiewiczian manner; the statement particularly applies to the poems Mrak, Guš, and Majčino mlijeko. We may add that Šenoa translated for Vienac (No. 9 of 1878) from the Polish newspaper Ruch Literacki an article, "Pius IX and Adam Mickiewicz," which describes the tribulations of Mickiewicz when he went to Italy for the purpose of forming a Polish legion. And it should also be mentioned that the subject of Šenoa's ballad Junakinja Sofa is taken from Polish history, and that he also translated some other Polish poets such as Gorecki and Słowacki.
We may glance, next, at three minor writers who were far more zealous translators of Mickiewicz. The first, Adolfo Veber-Tkalčević (1825-1889), was a distinguished Croat litterateur in the period from 1847 to the end of the 1880's. He was well known as an accomplished linguist and translator, and knew Polish very well. As a schoolboy he read Mickiewicz's Paris lectures, and his first translation from the Polish was a rendering of Mickiewicz's Paris (Pozor, 1862). Some time later he began translating Konrad Wallenrod, and when he came upon the minstrel passage he conceived the idea of translating it in classical hexameters, in defense of which he wrote a treatise which appeared in the review Književnik (1864); but it seems that the Croat poets who did not agree with him and who contended that hexameters are unsuitable for the Croatian language were right. Tkalčević published his entire version of Konrad Wallenrod in 1866. In 1867, in the Čitanka za IV razred daljnje gimnazije, he also presented a fragment from Pan Tadeusz, entitled Lov.
The second writer, Ivan Trnski (1819-1910), though close in age to the first Illyrians, belongs, as a translator, to a more recent period. He began writing poetry in 1837, as a contributor to Gaj's Danica, but his translations from Mickiewicz were published much later. These were Romanticism (Vienac, 1873) and the Crimean Sonnets (Vienac, 1874-1875). He reprinted all these translations in the book Iz slavenske rodbine (1904). Both his verse translations and his original works show Trnski to be a master of his mother tongue and of poetic technique. His translation of Romanticism does not flow smoothly, and is incomplete (the last five stanzas are lacking). His version of the Crimean Sonnets, though failing to preserve the lightness of the original, reveals a high level of technical competence. The quality of the subsequent translations, Zasjeda (The Watch) and Poturica (The Renegade), was still better.
The third writer, the Croatian romantic poet Andrija Palmović (1847-1882), who died young but left a few works which had some reputation among the poets of his time, spoke several foreign languages, including Polish, and was also an omnivorous reader. In accordance with the trends of the time and inspired by romantic ideas on Slavic unity and freedom, he often dealt with Polish themes. In the poem Naša tvrđa, for example, he recalls the Polish national hero Kościuszko; and Poland also proved a source of inspiration to him when he translated the poem Dva Poljaka from Lenau. Palmović also translated directly from the Polish works by W. Pol, J. B. Zaleski, and Mickiewicz—from this last Tri Budrisa and Njemnu. A distinguished Croatian critic spoke favorably of the Njemnu version; but others would say that these translations have many metrical and artistic shortcomings.
We should also mention Franjo Marković (1845-1914), poet, essayist, critic, aesthete, university professor, a man of broad culture and versatile interests which included the Polish language and Polish literature—in which, of course, Mickiewicz had the foremost place. Marković had already learned Polish as a student in Vienna, where he associated much with Slavic students. He read Polish authors, particularly Mickiewicz, in the original. In a letter written at that time he laments the tragic fate of his country and finds consolation in Mickiewicz amid the gloomy thoughts that assailed him:
Then I return home and turn to Mickiewicz for solace. He gives me new courage, while at the same time saddening me. Croatia is as unhappy as Poland; she too is in the coils of three serpents. But Poland is full of idealists: Poland has been pre-Borved for more than half a century by her enthusiasm and boundless idealism. A miblime idea proves its greatness by the number of its apostates. A great idea can be upheld and defended only by the strong: the weak must inevitably abandon it.... Shall we Slavs cling to the exhausted West, or shall we revive it and enrich it with new and lofty ideas, as the slave of two thousand years dreamt in his visions? Let Mickiewicz's genius lead us on, and Slavic genius must prevail.
In a lecture on ballads and romances which Marković gave in 1869, and which was published in Vienac, Nos. 44-45 of that year, he first reviewed world ballad literature and then dealt extensively with Slavic and Polish folklore. "Polish folk poetry," he said, "is almost exclusively lyrical." Polish literary poetry, he went on to explain, developed under French classical influence, but after the downfall of Poland, patriotism led her poets to Byron's romantic school. "Among the poets of this romantic school, the name of Adam Mickiewicz is foremost not only in Poland but among the Slavic peoples in general. And as a writer of ballads he is famed and respected throughout Europe." As an example of these ballads Marković gave a translation of Alpujarra from Konrad Wallenrod. He concluded his lecture by saying: "As for the future, we must be silent and listen to the immortal Polish poet Mickiewicz, who in his poem Paris gives a masterly description of the struggle of man against the forces of nature and his enemies, as well as his final victory and the establishment of the brotherhood of man." There followed a verse translation of the complete Paris.
Marković's interest in Polish literature continued until his death, particularly when he came into contact with the Polish writer B. Grabowski, with whom he corresponded regularly and whom he met on several occasions. Grabowski kept him informed of all the events and developments in Polish literature. Much later, after he had ceased his literary activities, Marković published a portrait of Mickiewicz in Vienac, No. 2 of 1889, accompanied by a brief essay on Mickiewicz as a poet. Here Mickiewicz is described as the most brilliant figure on the Polish Parnassus, and his poem Konrad Wallenrod is referred to as "one of the profoundest works." Much information on Mickiewicz's life is presented, his messianism is mentioned, but no reason is given for the loss of his professorship in Paris.
As a translator of Mickiewicz, Marković did not leave us much: only four poems, the two already mentioned and the ballads Ljiljani and Noćna jezda (a translation of the poem The Flight), which Marković wrote as late as 1889 (Vienac, Nos. 49-50). These are excellent translations. How faithfully Marković carried over even the form of the stanza can be seen from the first stanza of the poem Noćna jezda:
On vojuje—ljeto minu;
It should also be said that Marković's translations from the Polish were not limited to Mickiewicz. He translated the poem Maria by A. Malczewski, The Father of the Plague-stricken by Słowacki, and some of the works of S. Dunin-Borkowski and A. Kosiński.
Traces of Mickiewicz's influence are likewise noticeable in Marković's original works. Anyone who reads his poetry will be impressed by the number of verses, moods, and pictures which are clearly reminiscent of Mickiewicz. Some of them were even given a Polish setting. In one of his poems, Anđeo slavjanstva (1864), we find a sketch of an aged Pole banished to Siberia. The idyllic epic Dom i svijet reflects a fresh perusal of Pan Tadeusz. The beginning of the poem, particularly the part which describes the homecoming of young Bruno from his studies, is reminiscent of the Polish verse narrative. The description of the house was obviously inspired by the Polish word-picture (although, at the same time, it corresponds at many points with the author's home in Križevci). And elsewhere the atmosphere and descriptions often coincide with the corresponding parts of the Polish narrative. It is true that there is also a certain similarity to Goethe's Hermann und Dorothea, but it is likely that this influence is indirect and came through the Polish epic. The poems Zadnja zdravica and Zla kob ulso remind one of Mickiewicz, as does the narrative Kohan i Vlasta. Marković coined the name Kohan from the Polish verb "kochać" (to love). The fact that Canto IV of the poem is entitled Mjedni konjik (Bronze Horseman) reveals the influence of either Pushkin or Mickiewicz, since there are elements of both. When at last Kohan hurls himself into the fire after his Vlasta, we are reminded of Mickiewicz's Grażyna. Certain details, however, have led many literary historians to discern an influence of Konrad Wallenrod in Kohan i Vlasta.
We have, then, surveyed briefly the interest shown by the most prominent Croatian romantics in Adam Mickiewicz. But they are by no means the only translators and propagators of Mickiewicz in Croatia. There are many other lesser though industrious writers and translators who admired the poetry of Mickiewicz and made it accessible to their readers. The printed bibliography of Serbo-Croatian translations from the Polish ("Bibliografski pregled hrvatskih i srpskih prijevoda iz poljske literature od god. 1835 do godine 1947," Današnja Poljska—Zbornik Društva za kulturnu suradnju Hrvatske s Poljskom, Zagreb, 1948, pp. 207-252), though incomplete, offers convincing proof of the keen interest of the Croats in Polish literature in general and Mickiewicz in particular.
A few later translators remain to be mentioned. The Croat philologist and classical scholar Tomislav Maretić published in 1893 a verse translation of Pan Tadeusz, accompanied by an excellent informative preface—with which should be mentioned the chapter on Mickiewicz in the book by Milivoj Šrepel, Pjesnički prvaci u prvoj polovini XIX vijeka (1891). Maretić was not himself a poet, and his translation lacks poetic qualities; but he was a connoisseur of the Polish language, and as a translator he had already produced versions of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. He was verbally accurate, faithful in transference of ideas, and careful to preserve the rhyme and meter of the original.
Another Croatian translator from the Polish, Iso Velikanović, also helped acquaint the Croatian reading public with the works of Mickiewicz. An entire issue of Matica hrvatska was given over to Velikanović's translations from Mickiewicz, which included Soneti, Krimski soneti, Balade i romanse, Grażyna, and Konrad Wallenrod. This, together with Maretić's translation of Pan Tadeusz, made a large part of Mickiewicz's work available to the Croatian public. The widest remaining gap was filled when Forefathers' Eve was translated by Julije Benešić in 1948. Benešić, the best-known modern Croatian translator from Polish and the most active popularizer of Polish literature in Croatia, made translation his lifelong interest; his original literary work is completely overshadowed by the variety and abundance of his translations. It would seem that he devoted the greatest share of his imagination and poetic feeling to this work, since his translation of Forefathers' Eve can be read with the same pleasure as the original; and to translate Forefathers' Eve is by no means an easy task. It should be added that Benešić also translated the work of M. Jastrun on Mickiewicz in 1950.
Despite the already existing masterly translation of Pan Tadeusz, the young writer Đorđe Šaula retranslated this work and published it in Zagreb in 1951—an exploit which certainly does him credit, as more than ordinary courage was required to follow in the footsteps of so great an expert on the Polish language as Maretić. It is easily discernible that Maretić's work was a great help to him; nevertheless, he showed praiseworthy enterprise.
By way of summary, we may say that Serbo-Croatian writers carefully followed Adam Mickiewicz's work and often wrote about him in the course of the nineteenth century, and have continued to do so in the twentieth. Be it noted, only the most important items have been cited here. The many translations from Mickiewicz are also evidence of the acute interest in him; and again it may be noted that only translations by the better-known Serbo-Croatian writers have been dwelt upon. Mickiewicz was fortunate precisely in the fact that prominent writers chose to translate him. A translation by a famous writer will, of course, achieve wider currency than a translation by an obscure writer. One further fact is of importance. Since Serbian and Croatian are, essentially, one language, a translation from Mickiewicz automatically became the common property of both Serbs and Croats. And finally, it must be pointed out that Mickiewicz had an influence on Serbo-Croatian literature as a consequence of his influence on certain writers. To be sure, this influence was not spectacular, nor did it embrace popular circles. The reason is that Mickiewicz did not influence his immediate contemporaries. Bather, he influenced the late romantics and, in the main, men of strong individuality. Therefore, we have a distant and subtle echo of his poetry rather than an immediate and blatant copying. It is to Mickiewicz's credit that his influence may be seen in the work of great writers (even if it is of small extent) rather than in the work of obscure or second-rate scribblers.