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  • What does the character of writing say about a person?
  • Rewrite the poem Generalities by hand and compare the poet’s manuscript with your own.
  • What is the difference between writing/creating and rewriting/reproducing?
  • Look in Norwid’s manuscript: what changes did the poet make in the last verse? Think about its meaning in both variants.

As Introduction

When like a butterfly the Artist-mind
In Spring of life inhales its air,
It can but say:
‘The earth – is round – it is a sphere’.

But when late autumnal shivers
Shake the trees and kill the flowers,
It must elaborate:
‘Though somewhat – flattened – at the poles…’

Amid the varied charms
Of Eloquence and Rhyme
One – endures above the rest:

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Granting objects proper names!

Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Selected poems, translated by Adam Czerniawski, Anvil


When Artist-Spirit in life’s spring
Drinks like butterflies its atmosphere,
He is allowed to say but one thing”:
“The earth – is round – it is a sphere!”

But later when the cold days’ shivers
Shake the trees, and each flower falls,
At that time one should add this verse:
“It’s flattened – somewhat – at the poles…’

Above all charms that you proclaim,
You, Poetry, and you, Eloquence,
One – will forever be of essence:

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

To give each thing – a proper name!

Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Polish Romantic Literature. An anthology, tłum. Michael J. Mikoś, Slavica, Bloomington, Indiana 2002