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JAN KOCHANOWSKI - SONG II, 8
SONG 8, BOOK II
Do not turn grey, Nicholas, with worry,
Who will be king: a decree is ready
Before the Lord, not written with a quill,
But carved with a chisel in hardened steel.
Let's not await a master from the north,
Nor from the east, the west, or from the south:
He will be the king whom God designates;
All human hearts with ease He persuades.
He turned into laughter our vain counsels,
Passing over our better-known neighbors,
He brought us a king from a distant land,
But soon after someone else took command.
Where are now those boundless mountains of gold?
Where are the Gascons and armed troops enrolled?
What for were cannons and our tournaments?
Hopes filled with air burst in disappointments.
Fortune gives orders to the ships at sea,
In battles, Fortune bestows victory;
Councils and diets take advice from her,
While human designs turn into blunder.
Out wordy speakers, stop this grave discourse!
Let us attach on a pole at a course
A gold crown: may chance place it in the hand
Of a faster, if not a wiser man.
Translated by Michael J. Mikoś
John III Vasa of Sweden, Ivan the Terrible of Russia or his son Fiodor, Stefan Batory of Transylvania, and Habsburg candidates competed with a French prince, Henri Valois, for the crown.
King Henri Valois vouched to support four thousand hired Gascons as well as to arm and array the troops. He abandoned the Polish throne in 1574, after a reign of 118 days.
According to Kadłubek's
, written in the twelfth century, candidates raced for the crown as if they were knights in a tournament.