Jan Kochanowski

1530 - 1584 / Sycyna / Poland

Lament IV

Thou hast constrained mine eyes, unholy Death,
To watch my dear child breathe her dying breath:
To watch thee shake the fruit unripe and clinging
While fear and grief her parents' hearts were wringing.
Ah, never, never could my well-loved child
Have died and left her father reconciled:
Never but with a heart like heavy lead
Could I have watched her go, abandoned.
And yet at no time could her death have brought
More cruel ache than now, nor bitterer thought;
For had God granted to her ample days
I might have walked with her down flowered ways
And left this life at last, content, descending
To realms of dark Persephone, the all-ending,
Without such grievous sorrow in my heart,
Of which earth holdeth not the counterpart.
I marvel not that Niobe, alone
Amid her dear, dead children, turned to stone.
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