Pan Tadeusz

Pan Tadeusz is perhaps the best known poem by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz.

The full title is: Pan Tadeusz or the Last Foray in Lithuania; a Story of Life Among Polish Gentlefolk in the Years 1811 and 1812.

pan tadeusz

An illustration from an early 20th century edition of Pan Tadeusz or the Last Foray in Lithuania.

This is how it begins (in English):

Lithuania, my country, thou art like health; how much thou
shouldst be prized only he can learn who has lost thee. To-day
thy beauty in all its splendour I see and describe, for I yearn for
thee.

Holy Virgin, who protectest bright Czenstochowa and shinest
above the Ostra Gate in Wilno! Thou who dost shelter the castle
of Nowogrodek with its faithful folk! As by miracle thou didst
restore me to health in my childhood — when, offered by my
weeping mother to thy protection, I raised my dead eyelids, and
could straightway walk to the threshold of thy shrine to thank
God for the life returned me — so by miracle thou wilt return us
to the bosom of our country. Meanwhile bear my grief-stricken
soul to those wooded hills, to those green meadows stretched far
and wide along the blue Niemen; to those fields painted with
various grain, gilded with wheat, silvered with rye; where grows
the amber mustard, the buckwheat white as snow, where the
clover glows with a maiden’s blush, where all is girdled as with a
ribbon by a strip of green turf on which here and there rest quiet
pear-trees.

Amid such fields years ago, by the border of a brook, on a
low hill, in a grove of birches, stood a gentleman’s mansion, of
wood, but with a stone foundation; the white walls shone from
afar, the whiter since they were relieved against the dark green
of the poplars that sheltered it against the winds of autumn. The
dwelling-house was not large, but it was spotlessly neat, and
it had a mighty barn, and near it were three stacks of hay that
could not be contained beneath the roof; one could see that the
neighbourhood was rich and fertile. And one could see from
the number of sheaves that up and down the meadows shone
thick as stars — one could see from the number of ploughs turning
up early the immense tracts of black fallow land that evidently
belonged to the mansion, and were tilled well like garden beds,
that in that house dwelt plenty and order. The gate wide-open
proclaimed to passers-by that it was hospitable, and invited all to
enter as guests … …

Download and read the whole of Pan Tadeusz as a PDF file here.

Pan tadeusz Adam Mickiewicz

Another illustration from a Polish language edition of the Polish poem ‘Pan Tadeusz’ by Adam Mickiewicz.

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