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Krasicki

Krasicki
Trembecki
Kozmian

Preface to Fables

There was a youth who led a temperate life,
An aged man, devoid of gall and strife, 
A rich man, who shared with the poor his grain, 
An author, much pleased when others won fame, 
A tax man who didn't steal, a cobbler dry, 
A soldier who didn't brag, a rogue of fight shy; 
A public servant who didn't think of gain, 
A poet, too, who checked his fancy's reign. 
Why is it a tale? All this can occur! 
True, but I'll put it in the fables' corner.

 

Son and Father

Each age has its bitter side and ills of its own: 
A son pored over books, while his old father groaned
One had no free rein, no leisure had the other: 
Son cried he was young; I'm too old, cried the father.

 

The Mouse and the Cat

On account of a book the mouse ate once whole, 
He convinced himself fully that he knew it all. 
So he told his friends: "I will end your agony, 
I will convert the cat, you just rely on me!" 
So they sent for the cat. Always ready, the cat 
Showed up immediately to engage in a chat. 
The mouse began a speech; he listened with care, 
He sighed and cried... The mouse, seeing his mood was fair, 
Became even more absorbed in zealous preaching, 
Stepped out of his hole - suddenly the cat caught him.

 

Birds in a Cage

A young siskin asked an old one: "Why do you cry ? 
Better comforts in cage than in the field nearby". 
The old said: "I'll forgive you, for here you were born. Once free, today in the cage, that is why I mourn".

 

Bear

Animals kept fighting under the old lion. 
When a peaceful reign was promised by his scion, 
They were all rejoicing. A bear sat quietly, 
Asked why he kept silent, he answered directly: 
"Let us wait for a while with this joyful report, 
Till the claws of the young lion are not so short".

 

Sacred Love of Our Cherished Homeland

O sacred love of our cherished homeland, 
Only noble minds can be moved by you! 
Baneful poisons taste good at your command, 
No disgrace to bonds and chains will accrue. 
You grace with honored scars the cripples' hand, 
You plant in the mind the delights most true, 
So long as one can help you and stand by, 
We don't mind misery, don't mind to die.

 

Rat and the Cat

"They burn incense for me" - bragged the rat to his kin,
Sitting on the altar during Mass offering. 
Suddenly, when he coughed because of incense smoke,
The cat jumped out, snatched him, and killed him with one stroke.

 

Translated by Michal J. Mikos
 

 


©2000 Jan Rybicki
This page was last updated on 02/12/01 .