Varshavianka

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Varshavianka

 

(in Polish, Warszawianka). (1) A popular revolutionary hymn of the Polish and Russian proletariat. The author of the Polish text of the “Varshavianka” was the Polish socialist W. Swiçcicki, who composed its words while imprisoned in the Warsaw Citadel (1878-79) to the melody of W. Wolski’s “Marsz źuawów,” a rebel song of the 1863 uprising. After his return from Siberian exile, Swiçcicki published the text of the “Varshavianka” in the underground Polish journal Proletariat (1883, no. 1). After this the “Varshavianka” spread widely in Poland with a partially modified (in the chorus) second, anonymous melody of “Marsz źuawów” which replaced the original one after the defeat of the uprising.

The “Varshavianka” was translated into Russian in 1897 by V. I. Lenin’s companion in arms G. M. Krzhizhanovskii, who was at that time in the Butyrskaia Prison in Moscow. The complete translation of the text of the “Varshavianka” was published for the first time (without melody) abroad in the journal Rabochee delo (April 1900, no. 6); two years later it was reprinted abroad (with a slightly modified Polish melody) in the collection Songs of the Revolution, which was published by the printing shop of Lenin’s Iskra in 1902.

The “Varshavianka” became popular among large masses of the revolutionary proletariat of many peoples of tsarist Russia during the first Russian revolution of 1905-07. At the time of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the “Varshavianka” acquired a still greater international popularity and spread to Central and Eastern Europe with the text translated into German, Czech, Bulgarian, Rumanian, and other European languages.

(2) Patriotic hymn of the Polish Uprising of 1831. The original text of the “Varshavianka” of 1831 (“La Varsovienne”) was written by the French poet C. Delavigne. Delavigne’s text was translated into Polish in early 1831 by K. Sienkiewicz and set to music by K. K. Kurpinski at the same time. The spread of this song in Poland as a hymn of the armed uprising began with its first public performance in the National Theater in Warsaw on Apr. 5, 1831.

REFERENCES

Belza, I. Istoriia pol’skoi muzykal’noi kul’tury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957. Page 256 (“O ’Varshavianke 1831 goda’), pp. 260-261 (sheet music of the first edition).
Zhitomirskii, D. “Pesni na stikhi G. M. Krzhizhanovskogo.” In the collection Biografii pesen. Moscow, 1965. Pages 90-100.
Kozlowski, J. Wac. Swiecicki poeta “Proletariatu.” Warsaw, 1953.

E. V. GIPPIUS