Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic.

Other poets of this age were, prince Lubomirski, who on account of his wealth and wise sayings is styled the Polish Solomon; prince Wisniowiocki, who published whole poems without the letter r, because he could not pronounce that letter; Bratkowski, the author of a series of happy epigrams; Falibogowski, Szymonowski, the Jesuits Ignes and Poniatowski, and others.

FIFTH PERIOD.

From Stephen Konarski, A.D. 1760, to the Revolution in 1830.

The Polish language, at the beginning of this period, was in a melancholy state; it was, to use Schaffarik’s expression, stripped of its natural gifts of perspicuity, simplicity, and strength, deformed by tastelessness, and grown childish and obsolete at the same time.  An able work, Memoirs, referring to the period between 1750 and 1760, written by K.H.  Kallontaj, and published a few years since by count E. Raczynski, gives a graphic picture of the miserable and illiterate state of society in Poland at that time; and shows clearly how the seeds of decay and destruction were already scattered with full hands on a susceptible soil.  It was a fortunate circumstance, that, just at the time when several of the most powerful Polish noblemen began to feel an intense and patriotic interest in their neglected language,—­the king Stanislaus Augustus and his uncle prince Czartoryski at their head,—­there awoke a number of gifted minds, who began to plant with so much activity on the long deserted though still fertile soil, that the field of Polish literature soon flourished and bore fruit again.  These fruits, however artificial and unnational in their character, could only be compared to green-house productions.  Various effective measures were taken for the revival of literature, and also for the promotion of science and art.  But the new patrons could not afford to wait.  The French literature of the day, with all its levity, shallowness, and splendour, seemed to be a material nearer at hand and more in harmony with the spirit of the court—­the only school of revival for Polish literature—­than their own national productions of former ages.  In this way we may explain in part the frivolous tone, the shallow-mindedness, which prevail in all the Polish works of this age; during a period when vehement passions and furious contests already tore the country in pieces, and deep sorrow and grief reigned among all classes of society.

The establishment of the Monitor, a periodical work, to which the best and ablest men of Poland contributed, first exerted a superficial happy influence on the language.[40] Of still more importance in this respect was the establishment of a national stage, at the head of which were distinguished and well qualified men.  But the measure which produced more effect than any other, was the appointment of a department of Education, resolved upon by the diet of 1775.  Public instruction

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