Niemcewicz, Julian Ursin
NIEMCEWICZ, JULIAN URSIN (1757-1841), was born in 1757 in Lithuania. In the earlier part of his life he acted as adjutant to Kosciusko, was taken prisoner with him at the fatal battle of Maciejowice (1794), and shared his captivity at St Petersburg. On his release he travelled for some time in America, where he married. He died as an emigrant at Paris in 1841.
Niemcewicz tried many styles of composition. He wrote comedies (one of which, The Return of the Deputy, Polish history are introduced. The poet dwells with delight upon the golden age of Sigismund I., and the reigns of Stephen Bathori and Sobieski. With the last of these, as with the fall of Polish grandeur, the collection closes, one piece only being added by way of supplement, entitled " The Funeral of Prince Joseph Poniatowski," the marshal of Napoleon, drowned in the Elster in 1813 after the battle of Leipsic. Niemcewicz also translated a great deal from the English, among other poems Pope's Rape of the Lock and Gray's Elegy. His reputation has somewhat waned since his death. He has been eclipsed in modern times by the genius of Mickiewicz, to say nothing of Slowacki and Krasinski, all poets of much greater calibre. Perhaps some of the enthusiasm which his writings once kindled may have been due to his being a patriot and a man of action during the death-struggles of his unfortunate country.