Meanwhile this department of literature, in Poland itself, has taken, in some of its branches, the same strictly national direction which characterizes the Russian and Bohemian tendencies of modern times. Many of the publications, which are reckoned under belles-lettres, are nothing better than drawing-room productions, so called, meant to satisfy the immediate wants of the reading world. Count Skarbek, J. Krascewski, F. Barnatowicz (ob. 1838), K. Korwell, Szabranski, and others, are popular novel writers. Among the poets we mention the same Szabranski, Nowasielski, Zialinski, Alex. Groza, Burski, and, above all, Lucian Siemienski and A. Bielowski. The latter, along with Kamienski, is the translator of Schiller. Count Vinzent Kicinski translated Victor Hugo; and Holawinski, Shakspeare. As successful dramatic writers are named, the counts Fredro, Korzeniowski, St. Jaozowski, etc.
Of an entirely national character are all the productions of Wladislas Woicicki, who devoted his life principally to the study of the antiquities of his country and its language. In 1838 he published an interesting collection of old Polish proverbs; several historical tales, scattered in Annuals; a greater work, entitled “Domestic Sketches:” and another on Polish Woman; all of them illustrations of Polish life and manners at certain times, and resting on an historical foundation. A rich collection of traditions and popular legends was published by the same scholar in 1839. This important national feature has at last excited some attention among the Polish scholars. In 1838 a collection of the songs of the people in the country adjacent to the Bug was published. Another appeared in the same year, prepared by the poets Siemienski and Bielowski (Prague 1838), with the title Dumki, i.e. Elegies, being Polish translations of Malo-Russian popular songs. The great and simple beauty of this poetry of the Kozaks surprised the literary world. But Woicicki and Zegota Pauli were the first who gave their attention to the really Polish Lekhian popular songs, i.e. songs of the peasantry in Masavia and Podlachia, the grand duchy of Posen, the territory of Cracow, etc. of which, until then, the existence was hardly known.
It would almost seem as if the Russian government, in placing all the evidences of the mental activity of its Polish subjects under its strictest guardianship, was ready to supply also the supposed want of popular poetry. There was recently published at Warsaw a collection of ballads, sixty-nine in number, devoted to the praise of all the sovereigns of Russia, from Rurik to Alexander. These ballads are in the popular tone, and were sold cheap. What degree of popularity they may have obtained, we are unable to say.