Jan Kochanowski

1530 - 1584

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Jan Kochanowski (Polish: [ˈjan kɔxaˈnɔfskʲi]; 1530 – 22 August 1584) was a Polish Renaissance poet who wrote in Latin and Polish and established poetic patterns that would become integral to Polish literary language. He has been called the greatest Polish poet before Adam Mickiewicz (the latter, a leading Romantic writer) and one of the most influential Slavic poets prior to the 19th century.: 188 : 60 In his youth Kochanowski traveled to Italy, where he studied at the University of Padua, and to France. In 1559 he returned to Poland, where he made the acquaintance of political and religious notables including Jan Tarnowski, Piotr Myszkowski (whom he briefly served as courtier), and members of the influential Radziwiłł family. From about 1563, Kochanowski served as secretary to King Sigismund II Augustus. He accompanied the King to several noteworthy events, including the Sejm of 1569 (held in Lublin), which enacted the Union of Lublin, formally establishing the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1564 he was made provost of Poznań Cathedral. By the mid-1570s he had largely retired to his estate at Czarnolas, where in 1584 he died, most likely of a heart attack. All his life, Kochanowski was a prolific writer. Works of his that are pillars of the Polish literary canon include the 1580 Treny (Laments), a series of nineteen threnodies (elegies) on the death of his daughter Urszula; the 1578 tragedy Odprawa posłów greckich (The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys), inspired by Homer; and Kochanowski's Fraszki (Epigrams), a collection of 294 short poems written during the 1560s and 1570s, published in three volumes in 1584. One of his major stylistic contributions was the adaptation and popularization of Polish-language verse forms.: 32  Source: Wikipedia (en)

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