English 18th-Century Women Poets and Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski: Adaptation, Paraphrase, Translation 

Krzysztof Fordoński


The article deals with six poems of three 18thcentury English women poets – Lady Mary Chudleigh, Mary Masters, and Anne Steele “Theodosia” - inspired by the works of the greatest Polish Neo-Latin poet Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski. The aim of the article was to present the three authors, their biographies and literary oeuvre, and within this context attempt an analysis of the poems in question.

The biographies, social position – Chudleigh was the wife a baronet, the two others belonged to the middle class – and education of the three authoresses differ and yet they shared the limitations resulting from the fact that they were women in 18th century England, the most important of which was lack of access to academic education. The analysis of the texts and biographies has proven that it is highly improbable that either of the three women poets could translate the poems from the original Latin. All of them are based on earlier translations, in the case of Chudleigh it is possible to point out the source text as the translation of John Norris.

The attitudes of the three women poets towards their work, inasmuch as it can be ascertained from the available biographical and critical sources and the results, varied. Only Masters acknowledges the source material in her publications, even though modern concepts of translation are different, her two poems: On a Fountain. Casimir, Lib. Epod. Ode 2 and Casimir, Lib. I. Ode 2 – qualify as translations by the standards of her times, and they are analysed in detail. Neither Chudleigh nor Steele mentions Sarbiewski in their publication and their decision can be justified as their poems, although clearly (though most likely indirectly) inspired by his lyrics, must be classified as free adaptations or even original poetry influenced by Sarbiewski, although this influence was filtered through earlier renditions (translations or adaptations) of the original poems.

Słowa kluczowe: Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, Mathias Casimirus Sarbievius, literary translation, Neo-Latin poetry, Augustan poetry, adaptation, poetry in translation, women poets

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