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T H E
JAN KOCHANOWSKI - SONG I, 2
SONG 2, BOOK I
The heart swells, when we look at this season:
Not long ago the forests were barren,
Snow was piled higher than a foot outside,
And on the river heavy carts could ride.
Now a trim of leaves graces every tree,
The wild meadows blossomed beautifully;
The ice has gone and over clear waters
Sail along the ships and the carved cutters.
Now the entire world is truly laughing:
The grain is up, the west wind is blowing,
The birds again are fitting out their nests
And burst into song before the dawn crests.
But the root of a truly happy sense
Is when a man enjoys a clear conscience
And in his heart suffers no blemished spots;
Why should he feel ashamed of his own thoughts?
No need to pour him wine and drink along,
Nor play the lute, nor lift the voice in song;
With water alone he will be happy,
As he truly feels free from all worry.
But the one who's gnawed by a hidden moth,
Will not delight in the rich dinner broth,
No song, nor even a voice will move him,
Everything goes past his ears with the wind.
Good cheer, which no one can ever enthrall,
Even by putting rich silks on the wall,
Do not look down upon my twigged arbor,
And stay with me, if I'm drunk or sober.
Translated by Michael J. Mikoś
Barges and boats with grain sailing along the Vistula to Gdańsk were a characteristic sign of spring.