To the Memory of Batholomew Tilski
A native of the north of Poland.
Who, in attempting to free his country from the merciless grasp of foreigners, was taken prisoner, and, in the vigour of his days, publicly executed. Oh ! men of Poland, remember Tilski, and never, never forget, that he who is tamely a slave offends his God, and proves a traitor to the human race.
The heroic fortitude with which he met his fate, the exalted qualities of his head and heart, shall all embalm his memory, and send it down sweet and pleasant to myriads yet unborn.
WHEN haughty Russia’s bloody train,
The scourge of half a groaning world,
Shall sleep beneath our green domain,
Or from our craggy coasts be hurl’d,
Then, Tilski, o’er thy lowly grave
Poland’s warm sons shall sorrowing bend,
Shall say—Here rests the truly brave,
The tyrant’s foe, the people’s friend!
When Poland’s flag shall proudly fly
In spite of Russia’s stern command,
When injured millions shout for joy,
And awful justice rules the land,
Then oft at eve, with dewy eyes,
Full many a melting maid shall come,
And whilst they heave the softest sighs,
Shall strew with flowers thy early tomb.
When the foul vampires of the state
Shall fall, or flit in other skies;
When man, with equal laws elate,
Shall feel the flood of mind arise;
Then to thy name the new-born land
Shall many an ardent tribute pay,
And time, with soft and soothing hand,
Shall wipe thy kindred’s tears away.
Then, too, the hoary sire shall tell,
Whilst round his sons indignant glow,
How the intrepid Tilski fell,
Unmoved amid severest woe.
Shall tell how torture stalk’d abroad,
While smoking ruins mark’d his way,
How murder flesh’d his sword unawed,
And ruffian rape e’en prowl’d by day;
Shall tell how these terrific woes
The generous soul of Bartle fired,
And how he join’d the oppressors’ foes
How in great Nature’s cause expired!
Yes, Tilski ! while yon Dwina rolls,
His foaming torrents to the sea,
Dear, dauntless youth ! true Polish souls
Shall ne’er forget their wrongs nor thee.