Santa gave me a particularly lovely Christmas present this year: a freshly published peer-reviewed publication! It is entitled ‘Better than Pindar? The Ode by Sidronius Hosschius to Sarbievius and Its Two Versions’ and is published in Terminus, a journal for Neolatin studies, in an issue devoted to “the Sarmatian (i.e. Polish) Horace”, Mathias Casimirus Sarbievius (Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, 1595–1640). My paper contributes to our knowledge of the international fame Sarbievius’s poetry enjoyed in the Early Modern age.
The main aim of the paper is to present and analyse an ode by the Flemish Jesuit Sidronius Hosschius (Sidronius [or Syderoen] de Hossche, 1596–1653) to Sarbievius. This eulogy has often been viewed as a masterpiece. In addition, it has two distinct versions: one published in a collection of poems in honour of Sarbievius (the so-called Epicitharisma), first printed in an edition of his oeuvre in 1632, and one in the collective volume of Hosschius’s own works issued posthumously in 1656. Both versions were first published by the famous Plantin-Moretus printing house in Antwerp. I have previously written two other papers, also dealing with poems to Sarbievius, composed by the Frenchman Gilbertus Joninus and the Fleming Jacobus Wallius.
The paper consists of three sections. The first one focuses on the relationship between Hosschius and Sarbievius and on the Nachleben of Hosschius’s ode. The second section offers a general analysis of the poem. Tracing the contents of Hosschius’s ode and its sources of inspiration, it argues that Hor. Carm. IV 2 is central to the poem’s understanding. The third section discusses the differences between the two versions, in an attempt to disclose why the poem was altered and how the changes influence the ode’s meaning. A number of larger changes affect the poem’s central message: while in the earlier version Sarbievius is said to outdo Pindar and even Horace, the later version is more cautious. All it does is admit that Sarbievius could perhaps equal Pindar and Orpheus.
Hosschius’s eulogy and the reception of Sarbievius through his composition have two different traditions: 1) the one found in most editions of Sarbievius’s works, where the poem basically proclaims him to be the best Latin lyricist of all time, thereby tying in with other laudatory contributions and promoting both Sarbievius’s oeuvre and the editions themselves, and 2) the one added to Hosschius’s own poetry, where the adjusted version—which contains more references to ancient literature and which could be called more personal, as well as, perhaps, more realistic—became a fan favourite.
In both instances, however, the reinterpretation of the psychological effect of poetry—the translation of furor poeticus from the author to the reader—and the re-evaluation of the concept of aemulatio could be the main reason why Hosschius’s ode was so highly valued.
Christmas in 1645 was extra special in the Dutch Republic: Marie-Louise de Gonzague, the new queen of Poland, travelled from Paris to Warsaw via the Netherlands. She arrived in Utrecht on Christmas Day, where she was welcomed by an ice skating crowd. On Boxing Day, she set forth to Amsterdam. She was greeted by one thousand soldiers and a salvo of cannon fire. A few days later, Marie-Louise met Prince Willem, son of stadtholder Frederik Hendrik, and admired the Schouwburg theatre. Having returned to Utrecht, she there spent New Year’s Eve. Find out more here.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 6.
Onlangs verscheen in Vilnius de dichtbundel Samotność (Eenzaamheid) van de Poolse dichter Sławomir Worotyński (1942-1983). De bundel bevat vijf van zijn gedichten, in zowel het originele Pools als in zes andere talen: Litouws, Russisch, Noors, Grieks, Italiaans en Nederlands. Ik mocht de Nederlandse vertalingen voor mijn rekening nemen.
De bundel is het eerste deel in een nieuwe serie uitgaves, getiteld Ścieżkami wileńskiego słowa/Vilniškio žodžio takais (Over de paden van het Vilnische woord), die als doel heeft meer aandacht te genereren voor de banden tussen Poolse en Litouwse literatuur. Hoewel Worotyński namelijk schreef in het Pools, werd hij geboren in het huidige Litouwen en debuteerde hij in een tijdschrift uit Vilnius.
De volledige titelgegevens van de bundel luiden: Sławomir Worotyński/Славомир Воротынский/Σλαβομιρ Βοροτινσκι, Samotność/Vienatvė/Одиночество/Ensomhet/Μοναξιά/Solitudine/Eenzaamheid, Paweł Krupka and Viktoras Tamošiūnas (eds.) (Vilnius: Krajowe Stowarzyszenie Literatów Polskich/Respublikinė lenkų rašytojų draugija 2020).
Freedom is central to Dutch and Polish history. Ever since the Dutch rebelled against the Spanish king, in the sixteenth century, their love for freedom has often been labelled typically Dutch. At the same time, Polish nobles developed their idea of Aurea Libertas, Golden Liberty, which stood for the privileges of the nobility. Both the Dutch and Poles, therefore, idolized a state system in which power was shared, not held by one monarch. Still, there were notable differences as well: while the Polish idea of Golden Liberty concerned the nobles, power in the Dutch Republic mostly lay with rich and powerful burghers and merchants. Moreover, the Dutch increasingly disapproved of the Polish love for freedom, which they thought was exaggerated and led to anarchy. In the eighteenth century, several Dutch authors argued that this was the cause of Poland’s eventual downfall.
The picture shows a statue from the tomb of William of Orange, in Delft. The figure holds a so-called freedom hat, which was a symbol of freedom. It is inscribed with the words Aurea Libertas: Golden Liberty.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 5. Also see my previous post (in Dutch), on early modern Dutch responses to Polish Golden Liberty.