Pleas for the improvement of Polish morals

Elzbieta Druzbacka (1695-1765)

I was born and raised in Poland;
I live in a free country, and I partake of that freedom also.
I am permitted to raise my voice against those actions
I do not approve of. I shall never praise with a servile pen
The bad habits
Which some people brought to our country
Under this or that guise.
The speech, the style of writing, the outrageous sycophancy are such
That can be compared to the manners of ancient Babylon.
It is distressing to see how other nations
Laugh and criticize these new Polish fashions.
And the authors who brought them in are supposed to be
I am not a stork, but if I were one
I would have swallowed all those reptiles
For I am afraid that some of the eggs brought to Poland
Will hatch, produce basilisks, and poison the entire Polish population.
I know I am not suited to raise a morals crusade,
My task is to stick to the needle and loom,
But I have the right to ask, my love for Poland forces me to do so,
And I do not want foreigners to laugh at us openly.

Nee Kowalska, wife of a landowner and a socialite, Druzbacka died in a convent in Tarnow after the loss of her family. Her volume of poems appeared in 1752 in Warsaw.

Potocki's "Na swoje wiersze;" Kuligowski's "Kazda liszka swoj ogon chwali" and "Apostolow szwedzkich w Polszcze pobrano;" Druzbacka's "Punkta dla poprawienia zepsutych obyczajow polskich przez pewnego senatora polskiego do opisania mnie podane-reskrypt na wyzej wyrazone punkta" can be found in Poeci polskiego baroku, vol. 2, edited by Jadwiga Sokolowska and Kazimiera Zukowska (Warsaw: PIW 1965).

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The Sarmatian Review
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