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I am working through a book of poetry by Tadeusz Miciński, a Polish writer who was active toward the end of the 19th century. The book is called "W mroku gwiazd" or "In the Twilight of the Stars" and was published in 1902. I found a PDF copy of the book in an online archive, and it included a quote toward the beginning which was ascribed to "Eschylos" (which I understand to be Aeschylus). I am not at all versed in the Polish language, so I don't really have the ability to translate the passage very accurately, but I would like to present both the Polish and a "Google Translate" version in English to see if anyone recognizes the source of the quote:

"Za karę będę na okropnej skale
stróżował stojąc - bez snu i bez ruchu -
Jęk niczyjego mój nie dojdzie słuchu".

Google Translate:

"As a punishment, I will be on a terrible rock
standing guard - without sleep and without movement -
I will not hear anyone's ears"

I recognize the last line is probably a horrible mistranslation, but the first two seem to be like something an old Greek tragedian would write. Also, I'm new to this forum, but not the site, and if anyone feels a need to correct my format, or if this would be better answered somewhere else, please let me know.

  • Regarding the last line: Jęk niczyjego mój nie dojdzie słuchu". while technically correct, sounds a bit like a "Yoda speak", can be translated to My cries won't reach anyone's ears – Yasskier May 24 at 1:35
  • @Yasskier that certainly makes more sense. I've been trying to learn some Polish but there are a lot more conjugations and grammatical variations than in the Romance languages, and, well, poetry doesn't make it easier. – Nathaniel D. Hoffman 2 days ago
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It sounds very like lines 31–34 of Prometheus Bound:

ἀνθ᾽ ὧν ἀτερπῆ τήνδε φρουρήσεις πέτραν
ὀρθοστάδην, ἄυπνος, οὐ κάμπτων γόνυ:
πολλοὺς δ᾽ ὀδυρμοὺς καὶ γόους ἀνωφελεῖς
φθέγξῃ […]

In the prose translation of Herbert Weir Smyth, that’s:

Therefore on this joyless rock you must stand sentinel, erect, sleepless, your knee unbent. And many a groan and unavailing lament you shall utter […]

Miciński seems to have changed the persons so that it is Prometheus speaking, rather than Hephaestus speaking to Prometheus as in the original. (This doesn’t seem to be a Google translation error since ‘będę’ is “I will” whereas “you will” would be ‘będziemy’.)

  • I think you nailed it, thank you! This is an interesting observation at the end, and it definitely makes sense knowing the subject matter in the poems. – Nathaniel D. Hoffman Jan 28 at 22:37

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