Jan Kochanowski

1530 - 1584 / Sycyna / Poland

Lament V

Just as a little olive offshoot grows
Beneath its orchard elders' shady rows,
No budding leaf as yet, no branching limb,
Only a rod uprising, virgin-slim -
Then if the busy gardener, weeding out
Sharp thorns and nettles, cuts the little sprout,
It fades and, losing all its living hue,
Drops by the mother from whose roots it grew:
So was it with my Ursula, my dear;
A little space she grew beside us here,
Then Death came, breathing pestilence, and she
Fell, stricken lifeless, by her parent tree.
Persephone, Persephone, this flow
Of barren tears! How couldst thou will it so?
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