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Kristijonas Donelaitis

Kristijonas Donelaitis

 

Poet: Kristijonas Donelaitis

Dates: 1 January 1714 – 18 February 1780

Nationality: Lithuanian

Title of Poem: From Joys of Spring

The climbing sun again was wakening the world
And laughing at the wreck of frigid winter’s trade.
The icy season’s grip was thouroughly undone,
And heaps of high-piled snow had dwindled down to naught.
Each day a soft south breeze caressed the barren fields
And coaxed each blade and leaf to rise again and live.
Each hill and dale had cast away the snowy furs;
The bush and heath were glad to heed the springtime’s call.
All things that died away in tearful autumn’s mire,
All things that lay in sleep beneath the winter’s ice,
Or huddled shivering under a stunted bush,
Crept out in joyous throngs to hail the smiling spring.
The rats and skunks came forth from secret holes and nooks
Crows, ravens, magpies, owls sailed on from bough to bough.
Mice, moldwarps and their young, acclaimed the glowing warmth
The countless flies and bugs, mosquitos, gnats and fleas.
In ever growing swarms were rallying each day
And gaping all around to sting the rich and poor.
The queen bee, too, called forth her subjects to the task,
Commanding them to start again upon their work.
Soon endless swarms of them began to buzz and zoom,
Afifing merry tunes and flying far and wide;
Secluded in the nooks, lean spiders spun their threads,
Or, scaling up and down, stretched long entrapping nets.
Even the wolves and bears at the green forest’s edge
Hunted in joyous mood for some unwary game.

 

Kristijonas Donelaitis

Tr. Nadas Rastenis

 

Brief Biography: The Prussian-Lithuanian poet Kristijonas Donelaitis lived and worked in Lithuania Minor. He was a Lutheran pastor in Tollmingkehmen from 1743 until his death at 66 years of age. His major work, The Seasons, is the first classic Lithuanian language poem. It consists of four idylls, Joys of Spring, Summer Toils, Autumn Wealth and Winter Cares, written over almost 3000 hexameters.

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