Wladyslaw Syrokomla

Syrokomla, Władysław


(pen name of Ludwik Kondratowicz). Born Sept. 29, 1823, in Smolhów, Bobrujsk District; died Sept. 15, 1862, in Vilnius. Polish poet.

Syrokomla’s first poem was “The Postman” (1844; known in Russia as the song “When I Was a Post-coach Driver”). The hard life of the serfs was the subject of the narrative poem Janko the Gravedigger (1856), and the poem “The Liberation of the Peasants” (1859) reflected topical discussions on peasant reforms. Syrokomla sharply criticized the ruling classes in a number of poems, including “The Doll.” The summation of his work is the unique, sorrowful Melodies From a Madhouse (1862).

Syrokomla also wrote the historical narrative poem Margier (1855), several dramas, and the History of Polish Literature (vols, 1–2, 1851–52; Russian translation, 1860–62). He translated works by Polish authors writing in Latin, as well as poems by P. J. de Béranger, Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, and T. G. Shevchenko. Syrokomla’s own poetry became well known in Russia in translations by M. L. Mikhailov, V. S. Kurochkin, and L. N. Trefolev.


Poezje, vols. 1–7. Mikołow, 1922.
Wybór poezji, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1961.
In Russian translation:
Kondratowicz, L. (W. Syrokomla). Izbr. proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1953.


Iliushin, A. A. “Vladislav Syrokomlia.” In Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.