Juliusz Slovacki was one of the foremost Polish romantic poets. He was a revolutionist, and he joined the Polish expatriates in Paris.
Slowacki was extremely conscious of the great literary traditions, and his works show the influence of other authors. His poetic tragedies deal with the conflict of good and evil, particularly in Polish history, and are reminiscent of the works of Shakespeare. Slowacki's Balladina (1834) and Lilla Weneda (1839) were drawn from early legends. His Horsztynski (1840) is known as the Polish Hamlet. King Spirit (1847), a philosophic poem influenced by Dante's Divine Comedy, reveals his later mystical tendencies and exemplifies his stylistic virtuosity. His epic of manners Beniowski (1841) brought the Don Juan theme to Polish literature. Slowacki is considered the national bard.
He died in Paris prematurely of tuberculosis.
Exiles came to the land of Siberia, and having chosen a broad site they built a
wooden house that they might dwell together in concord and
Surging like a vast current of salmon or sheatfish,
Coiling up and down like an iron serpent
That rears now its torso, now its head,
The armed horsemen breast the prairie grass. --
And lo, once on a time at night the Shaman waked Anhelli,
saying to him : 'Sleep not, but come with me,
for there are mighty matters in the wilderness.'
And when they drew near to the burial ground Anhelli heard the hymn of the tombs,
complaining, as it were a complaint of the ashes to God.
But as soon as the groans arose,