Page:Sonnetsfromcrime00mick.djvu/24

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

time which was looked upon with disfavor by the Government. At length, because of his continued participation in it, he was exiled to southern Russia. On that trip, while he was going toward Odessa, he began the Crimean Sonnets. Their success was quick and astonishing. They were translated into every language of Europe. Although the form is the traditional and classic sonnet form, he makes use of it in a slightly different manner, not altogether as an exposition of the sentiments of the soul, and the convictions and emotions of the mind, but as an instrument with which to sketch what he saw upon this eventful journey. He used the sonnet form at that period just as Verhaeren used it in "Les Flamandes," to show us Flanders, and as Albert Samain in "Le Chariot d'Or," to picture the gardens of Versailles. This is worthy of note. And this we must remember was before 1826. In the poetical works of Mickiewicz there was always traceable an inclination to break tradition and to search for new and untried possibilities.

On this exile in Russia he learned to know Puschkin, then a young man like himself. Puschkin has written a verse letter to him which we transcribe in free prose. "He lived among us for a while—a people strange to him. And

XIII