Verses Written on the Seashore at Agrigentum in Sicily, 1784: A Polish Poem

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I found the following interesting and whimsical verse written by a Polish poet named Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1758 – 1841):

Upon this lonely margin of a far-off sea,
Behold! With tears I trace thy well-beloved name;
With it, the dawn comes, crown’d with roses, back to me,
But wild waves wash the record out, erase thy fame.
I carved it on a tree-trunk, wrote it on the sand;
But moss soon marr’d it here, and there the tempest’s hand.
Only one signature shall never more depart —
‘Tis that which love’s red brand has burn’d into my heart.

The English translation was provided by Watson Kirkconnell in his 1936 book titled A Golden Treasury of Polish Lyrics.

For those who can read Polish, the original version can be found in Dzieła Poetyczne, Wierszem I Prozą J. U. Niemcewicza, Vol. 2 (1836). I have also included it here:

Na tym samotnym brzegu odległego morza,
Egle! ze łzami piszę imię twe kochane:
Lecz nim zejdzie rźami uwieńczona zorza,
Zetrą je w swym zapędzie wody rozhukane.
Pisałem je na piasku, pisałem na drzewie,
Te mech zakrył, tamte wiatr zdmuchnął w swym powiewie
Egle! te tylko znaki nigdy nic nie wzruszy,
Któreś ognistym grotem wyryła w mej duszy.

Typing this was a challenge.

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

9 thoughts on “Verses Written on the Seashore at Agrigentum in Sicily, 1784: A Polish Poem

  1. Thank you for these verses. I am Sicilian and I would never have thought that a Polish would have gotten to Sicily to write about his love. It is clear that Sicily inspires everyone but above all the poets in love

    Like

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