Page:Sonnetsfromcrime00mick.djvu/21

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ADAM MICKIEWICZ

coming to an end, and that democratic modern world, where everything was to change, was close at hand, just over the crest, indeed, of this new century into which Fate was ushering him. He was to see the last of blind power and royal prerogative, and the first dawn of a modern spirit which in time would sweep away forever, the old. It was an uncertain, difficult transition period, without standards and without measurements.

As we take a fleeting, bird's-eye view of the stirring times in which his days were spent, his travels, his army life, his periods of professorship, we can not help but wonder at the amount of writing Mickiewicz did. And his life was not a long one; it did not reach to sixty years. But during the working years allotted him, before a mystical melancholy—which was threatening to degenerate into madness—had impaired his faculties, his mind was unusually brilliant, creative and marvelously disciplined. It obeyed at will. At one time he was professor of Latin in Lausanne; at another time he held the chair of Slavic languages in Paris. He taught Polish and Latin in Kovno. He traveled extensively in Italy in the interest of the Polish revolution. His mind was many-sided and capable of various activities. He devoted considerable time to advanced

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