Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic eBook

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languages, the elements of a regular system of long and short syllables.  So long, however, as there have existed Polish poets, they have not measured, but, in imitation of the French, have counted the syllables.  With the exception of a few recent poets, who have written in blank verse, and a few weak attempts to adapt the Greek principles of accent to the Polish language, all Polish poetry is, like the French, in rhyme; and the French Alexandrine is the favourite form of the Polish poets.[10]

FIRST PERIOD.

From the introduction of Christianity to Casimir the Great, A.D. 1333.

In dividing the early part of the history of the Polish literature into two periods, we follow the example and authority of Bentkowski; although it seems to be singular to pretend to give an account of a literature which did not yet exist.  The history of the Polish literature does not indeed properly begin before the close of the second period; yet that of the literary cultivation of the nation commences with the beginning of that period; and a few slight traces of it are to be found even in the middle of the first.  Of the language itself, nothing is left but the names of places and persons, and some Polish words scattered through the Latin documents of the time, written without orthographic rules, and therefore often hardly intelligible.  There exists an ancient Polish war-song, the author of which is said to have been St. Adalbert, a Bohemian by birth, who was bishop of Prague at the end of the tenth century;[11] but even according to Rakowiecki, a philologist who is more disposed than any other to find traces of an early cultivation of the Slavic nations, and especially of the Poles, this song, or rather hymn, is, in its present form, not older than the fourteenth century.  All that is extant from this period is written in Latin.  Besides some unimportant documents and an anonymous biography of Adalbert, there remain several historical works of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Martin Gallus, a Frenchman, who lived in Poland between 1110 and 1135, is considered as the oldest Polish historian.  Other chronicles of Poland were written by the bishops of Cracow, Matthew Cholewa, and Vincent, son of Kadlubec, who died in 1223; by Bogufal, bishop of Posen, some twenty years later; and by Godzislav Baszko, about thirty years later still.  Strzembski wrote towards the middle of the thirteenth century a history of the popes and Roman emperors.  In 1008 duke Boleslav, the son of Miecislav, invited Benedictine monks to Poland, who founded convents at Sieciechov and Lysagora, with schools attached to them.  This example was followed at a later period by other orders:  and in Poland, longer than in any other country, education was entirely in the hands of the ecclesiastics.  For several hundred years the natives were excluded from all clerical

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Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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