U bram niebios. Oda (IV 30) Macieja Kazimierza Sarbiewskiego do Janusza Skumina Tyszkiewicza

Wojciech Ryczek


At Heaven’s Gate: Mathias Casimir Sarbiewski’s Ode (IV 30) to Janusz Skumin Tyszkiewicz

The main purpose of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it presents the edition of Latin ode written by Mathias Casimir Sarbiewski SJ (1595–1640) dedicated to Janusz Skumin Tyszkiewicz (1572–1642), voivode of Troki, after the death of his beloved wife, Barbara Naruszewiczówna (1580–1627). New Polish translation of this text and the comments have been also provided. Secondly, the first part of the paper, the invitation to close reading, aims at giving more detailed information about rhetorical architecture of the ode, particularly its composition, arguments, and figures.

Sarbiewski, regarded as the most brilliant imitator of Horatian lyric discourse in early modern Europe, used the petrified schemes and formulas to create a Christian consolation based on reinventing the lyric arguments. Persuasive power of his ode is strongly related to vivid, suggestive, and meaningful images. The correlation of divine inspiration and poetic perfection allows to renovate rhetorical patterns of epicedium. The poet wanted to demonstrate his capacity in using various modes of linguistic expression. Thus, in the heart of his consolation is the story about “the cracks” (rimae) in heaven’s gate and the poet who can glimpse for while in “the heavenly city” (urbs caelestis).

The consolation needs to confirm the belief that dead person can live now in the realm of eternal joy and happiness. Paradoxically, he (or she) can be happier than in earthly life. Despite its rhetorical refinement or poetical elaboration, it has always the same goal to achieve. Moreover, it becames possible only due to literary mediation. The poet appers to be the mediator between the world of living people and the land of the dead. The final verses of the poem bring a moral lesson best epitomized in a brief appeal “do not want more” (nec tu plura velis), adressed not only to Tyszkiewicz, but also to the poet himself and the readers.

Słowa kluczowe: Mathias Casimir Sarbiewski (Sarbievius), Janusz Skumin Tyszkiewicz, consolation, epicedium

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